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The New Jersey Business & Industry Association is supporting legislation heard in the Senate Labor Committee today that would provide tax credits to employers who hire workers under 18 years old.

The bill, S-718, is designed to help mitigate the impacts of youth hiring following the signing of New Jersey’s $15-an-hour minimum wage law signed last year.

“One of the unintended consequences of increasing the minimum wage so dramatically is an expected decrease in the employment of high school students,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele N. Siekerka, Esq. “Our members have told us that as the minimum wage increases, they will be less likely to hire youth workers with limited skills or less experience.

“Without this legislation, many young workers will have challenges attaining that after-school or summer-vacation work experience that has helped set so many of us on our way in the workforce,” Siekerka said. “This bill would make it more feasible for an employer to hire someone under age 18.”

Specifically, the bill provides an employer with a refundable tax credit against the corporation business tax or the gross income tax, as applicable, for the extra wages and payroll taxes paid to a worker under age 18.

The bill is one of several measures NJBIA is advocating for to help mitigate the negative effects of the minimum wage increase. Others include an “economic off ramp” to suspend minimum wage increases in a severe recession or after a natural disaster, providing tax credits to businesses with 10 or fewer employees, and a requirement to study the impact of the minimum wage increase on the economy.