10 Frequently Asked Questions on New Jersey Wage Law

What is the minimum wage in New Jersey?

The minimum wage in New Jersey is $7.25 per hour.  With few exceptions, employees must be paid this hourly rate.

During the course of my employment, can my employer reduce my rate of pay? 

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Yes, but only prospectively and not to a rate below the minimum wage.  A reduction in your rate of pay cannot be made retroactively for any time already worked.

When does my employer have to pay me my overtime?

If you are considered a not exempt from the overtime law, that is, if  your primary duties are not administrative, executive or professional,  you are likely entitled to overtime.  Overtime is mandatory for any worker not exempt from the overtime law provided you work in excess of 40 hours in a seven-day work week.

Can I waive my right to overtime?

No, your employer must pay you overtime at a rate of one and one half times of your regular rate and you cannot agree to waive entitlement to hours worked in excess of 40 in a work week.

Can my employer require me to work overtime?

Unless it violates a union contract or some special regulations, your employer can require you to work overtime.

Is my employer allowed to deduct money from my paycheck for mistakes that I make or for shortages in the cash register?

No, nothing can be deducted from your wages other than those items required or permitted under Federal and State law.  Your employer cannot lawfully deduct money from your pay check for damage to company equipment or for cashier shortages.

Can my employer deduct money from my paycheck for the uniform that I have to wear at work?

No, the NJ Wage Payment Law specifically states that no deductions from the pay of employees shall be allowed for uniforms.

What does it mean to be misclassified as an exempt employee?

A common mistake that many employers make is misclassifying employees.  Exempt employees get salaries but not overtime pay.  Nonexempt employees are usually hourly works and sometimes misclassified as salaried employees.  If you believe that you have been misclassified as an exempt employee, then you may be entitled to the hours of overtime work that you have not been paid.  A consultation with an experienced employment lawyer may afford you with the advice that you need to determine whether you have been misclassified.

My employer hasn’t made payroll for weeks and is promising to pay us, but I am afraid that if I complain, then management will terminate me.  What can I do?

It is illegal to retaliate against an employee for filing a wage claim or complaining about unpaid wages or other violation of the wage laws. You have many options.  You can file a claim online with the NJ Dept. of Labor, Wage and Hour Division for claims up to $30,000.00.  You can also hire an experienced employment law attorney to bring a civil action where you may recover up to 3 years of back wages, overtime due, including an equal amount in liquidated damages. Your employer can also be held liable for your reasonable attorney fees if you prevail in your case.

I am afraid that if I bring an action against my employer for failure to make payroll, then the owners of the company will declare bankruptcy and avoid paying my salary altogether. What can I do?

Under the Federal FLSA and NJ Wage and Hour Law, officers and directors of companies may be personally considered the “employer” for purposes of collecting judgments in wage and overtime law cases.  In other words, the officers and directors that work for your employer may be held personally liable to you in any action against your employer for failure to pay your regular or overtime wages.

Whether you are an employer looking for assistance with employment law issues, or an employee who feels unfairly treated, Fred Shahrooz Scampato can provide you with the benefit of his over twenty years experience in employment law. His goal is to prevent workplace problems from becoming costly litigation. He can be reached at Scampato@aol.com, Scampato@njlaborlaw.com or 908-301-9095. Visit his website at www.njlaborlaw.com.
 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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