In New Jersey, the law ensures that employees are compensated fairly through a series of provisions known as wage and hour laws. These laws provide employees with the right to receive fair pay by establishing a minimum wage or prevailing wage for some jobs and by providing rules for overtime pay. Employers who infringe on employee rights by failing to pay the appropriate wage are in violation of the law and can be held legally responsible.
The minimum wage in New Jersey was changed beginning in 2014 to $8.25 per hour. Under the current law, the minimum wage will be adjusted each year based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in order to account for inflation. This means that most employees are entitled to receive at least $8.25 per hour this year, and that the minimum wage may change in future years. Although there are certain exceptions for tipped workers and workers under the age of 18, the minimum wage rule applies to almost all employees.
In addition to the minimum wage, certain workers are protected by the New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act. This law requires that workers in certain career fields be paid an alternative minimum wage based on the type of work they perform and the location in which they are employed. The specific wage that an employee is entitled to is determined by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. Employees can locate the applicable rate of pay by consulting a wage table.
Most employees are entitled to overtime pay for work completed in excess of forty hours per week. Covered employees are entitled to an overtime rate of one and one half times their base pay rate. Overtime provisions apply to both salary and wage employees. Not all employees qualify for overtime, however. For instance, certain professionals, executives, and administrators are considered “exempt,” and therefore, may not be eligible for overtime pay.
If your employer violated your rights, or you think you are not being treated fairly, because you have not been paid appropriately, you can take legal action to seek recovery. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Division of Wage and Hour Compliance handles wage and hour disputes. By filing a complaint with this agency, you can seek recovery from your employer for unfair wages or unpaid overtime. When bringing this type of complaint, it is important that you understand the process as well as your rights. An experienced employment attorney can explain the process to you and assist in filing your claim. An employment lawyer can also help you determine the pay you are entitled and fight on your behalf to make sure that you paid fairly.