By: Douglas KleinFollowing last month's passage of a bill to increase NJ's minimum wage to $8.50 in 2013, currently awaiting Governor Christie's signature, today the NJ Assembly passed a bill that will allow voters to cast ballots next November on a proposed constitutional amendment increasing the state's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25, and tying future increases to the Consumer Price Index. In order for the amendment to appear on the ballot next year, the Assembly and Senate must pass additional measures in 2013. However, by passing the bill today, the Assembly signaled its intent to achieve a minimum wage increase even if Governor Christie vetoes the minimum wage bill awaiting his approval. Unlike the November bill which calls for an initial minimum wage increase to $8.50, the constitutional amendment calls for an initial increase to $8.25. Nonetheless, an $8.25 minimum wage would still give NJ one of the country's highest minimum wages. Like the bill pending before Governor Christie, the constitutional amendment also ties future increases to the Consumer Price Index, and does not provide any mechanism for lowering minimum wage in the event the economy falters. NJ employers are again advised to assess how a raise in minimum wage will impact operations, and to work with counsel to evaluate current pay practices to ensure compliance with federal and NJ minimum wage and overtime requirements. Counsel may also assist in determining whether any exceptions to minimum wage requirements are available. For more information on the potential increase to NJ minimum wage and our firm’s wage and hour compliance audit services, please contact John R. Vreeland, Esq., Director of the firm’s Wage & Hour Compliance Practice Group, email@example.com, or Douglas J. Klein, Esq., firstname.lastname@example.org.