New Jersey Workers' Wages Explained, Violations Commonplace

December 16, 2011

While most are familiar with the minimum wage, some people may not realize that New Jersey law provides guidelines and protection regarding the wages employees get paid, how much they make in overtime and when they may be forced to work overtime.

Lawmakers have amended the law many times to provide protections for employees and employers and set up guidelines and regulations for each to follow. The law addresses questions about minimum wage, farm labor, the employment of minors, public contracts and other areas of employment law in New Jersey.

According to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, there are many laws on the books that mandate the minimum amount of money a person should make, when they should make overtime and how that's paid. Other wage-related issues are also addressed.

New Jersey Employment Lawyers have, for decades, represented workers who have been shorted wages, not been paid overtime in accordance with the law and faced other unlawful actions or behaviors in the workplace. We are available to discuss your case today.

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Minimum Wage:

The minimum wage in New Jersey is $7.25 per hour and has been that rate since July 24, 2009. It has increased from $5.05 per hour in 1992 to the current rate. That is the minimum rate a person should be paid and they should receive time and a half the employee's rate for working more than 40 hours in a week.

This wage isn't applicable to part-time employees primarily engaged in the care and tending of children in the home of the employer, to people under 18 who don't have a special vocational school graduate permit or to people who sell motor vehicles, outside salesmen and saleswomen or people who volunteer for nonprofit groups.

Fringe benefits: Many employers in New Jersey offer health benefits coverage to their employees as an incentive to attract and retain qualified employees.

The legislature has found that it is a disservice to workers not to require that an employer provide prior notification to its employees when the employee health benefits plan will be terminated, for whatever reason. The law requires 30 days' notice if a plan will be terminated.

Mandatory overtime: New Jersey law establishes rules for health care employees, such as nurses and doctors, including that they shouldn't be forced to work more than 40 hours per week. However, in cases of "unforeseeable emergency circumstances" when overtime is required only as a last resort, the employee can be asked to work.

Other health care employees may be asked to work "mandatory overtime" in cases when there is "chronic short staffing," but it should be voluntary. The refusal to accept overtime work cannot be grounds for "discrimination, dismissal, discharge or any other penalty or employment decision adverse to the employee."

However, in case of an emergency situation, when overtime is a last resort or if the employer has tried other efforts to staff, overtime may be mandatory. The employer is required to provide up to one hour to arrange for the care of minor children, or elderly or disabled family members.

If you feel your employer has violated laws governing wages in New York or New Jersey, contact the Resnick Law Group, P.C. at 973-781-1204 or 646-867-7997. We are located in East Hanover, N.J. and Midtown Manhattan on Broadway.