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New York and New Jersey Airport Workers Gain Minimum Wage Increase

Workers at major airports in New Jersey and New York City will see their minimum wage increased over the next few years to $19, the highest in the country, after a unanimous vote by the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 per hour for almost a decade, while New Jersey and New York have enacted higher state-level minimum wages. Despite these laws, New Jersey wage and hour law claims routinely allege failure by employers to pay their workers at or above the minimum rate. The PANYNJ’s wage increase, while only binding on employers at certain airport facilities, will hopefully lead to increases elsewhere.

Congress last amended the minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) in 2007. The minimum wage increased to $5.85 per hour on July 24, 2007; to $6.55 an hour on July 24, 2008; and to $7.25 an hour on July 24, 2010. 29 U.S.C. § 206(a)(1). New Jersey’s minimum wage has been set at $8.60 per hour since the beginning of 2018. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 34:11-56a4, N.J.A.C. § 12:56-3.1. The minimum wage in New York varies by location. As of December 31, 2017, employers in New York City with eleven or more employees must pay at least $13.00 per hour, while employers with ten or fewer employees must pay $12.00 per hour. N.Y. Lab. L. § 652(1)(a).

The PANYNJ is a government organization created by a compact between the states of New Jersey and New York, with the approval of Congress. It was formally established in 1921, although the two states first agreed to work together in 1834 to manage the port area, which now covers an area of about 1,500 square miles. The governors of the two states appoint the members of the Board of Commissioners. The PANYNJ manages multiple seaports, the PATH train system and numerous bus lines, multiple bridges and tunnels, and six airports. Its authority includes the ability to set a minimum wage for workers employed at its sites.

The Board of Commissioners approved the minimum wage increase for three airports: LaGuardia Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, and John F. Kennedy International Airport. This is likely to affect about forty thousand workers. The Board reportedly began the process of increasing the minimum wage earlier this year, but it did not become official until late September.

The first round of minimum wage increases began on November 1, 2018. The increases are not the same at every airport this year. As of November 1, the minimum wage for workers at Newark is $12.45, while it is $13.60 at JFK and LaGuardia. On September 1, 2019, the minimum wage at all three airports will increase to $15.60. The rate will increase by $0.60 the following year, and by $1 each year after that until it reaches $19 in 2023.

The Resnick Law Group’s team of experienced and knowledgeable employment attorneys represent New Jersey and New York workers, advocating for their rights in claims for unlawful employment practices under federal and state law. Please contact us today at 973-781-1204, at 646-867-7997, or through our website to schedule a confidential consultation to see how we can help you.

More Blog Posts:

How the “Gig Economy” Could Impact Wage and Hour Law Claims in New Jersey, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, October 15, 2018

FTC Settles Case Alleging Collusion Among Employers to Keep Pay Rates Low, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, October 4, 2018

Equal Pay Law Takes Effect in New Jersey, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, September 20, 2018

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