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Minimum Wage & Overtime in Employment Law

The minimum wage in New Jersey is $7.25 per hour. New Jersey law requires that all “non-exempt” private sector employees must receive “overtime” pay – one and a half times their normal hourly rate – for all time worked in any given week in excess of forty hours.

While New Jersey, like all states, has the option of providing a higher minimum wage, New Jersey’s current minimum only just meets the federal requirement of a $7.25 per hour minimum wage, which went into effect July 24, 2009.

Exempt employees are those who work in executive, administrative, or professional capacities. In any of these categories, the employee must made at least $455 per week to be exempt from overtime requirements.

A worker in an executive position includes an employee who manages an enterprise, division, or department, directs, oversees or manages the work of at least two other employees, and has the authority to hire or fire other employees, or otherwise is charged with suggesting or recommending employment status changes for other employees.

An administrative employee is someone whose primary duty is the performance of office (non-manual) work directly related to the management or general business operations, and includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment regarding important matters.

A professional employee is one employees whose primary duty is the performance of work which requires advanced knowledge following extensive study, invention, originality, or talent. This typically includes, for example, doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, and scientists.

Other types of employees are also exempt from the overtime laws, such as babysitters (part-time employees engaged in the care of children in the employer’s home), motor vehicle or “outside” salespersons, farm laborers, employees of a common carrier of passengers – such as bus or limousine drivers – and full time students employed by their colleges.

While many people believe that tipped employees, such as waitresses, are not subject to the minimum wage, that is not accurate. While employers are only required to pay tipped employees, such as those in the fields of food or hotel services, $2.13 per hour in direct wages, the employers must also demonstrate that the total wage, including cash and gratuities, equals the normal minimum wage of $7.25.

Employees who do not receive the required overtime pay or minimum wage may be able to recover both the wages they were supposed to receive, plus costs and attorneys fees incurred in the attempt to recover those unpaid wages. In some cases, the may be able to recover double their unpaid wages if the violation was willful. Further, New Jersey’s Commissioner of Labor is authorized to assess and collect administrative penalties against the employer in the amount of $250 for a first violation and $500 for each subsequent violation.

McLaughlin & Nardi’s employment attorneys are experienced with helping employers ensure that they are complying with both federal and state wage and overtime laws. They are also experienced at counseling employees regarding their rights and representing employees who have been denied proper payments from their employers. To contact us to learn more about what we can do to help, please visit our website or contact one of our New Jersey lawyers by e-mail or telephone at (973) 890-0004.

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