New Jersey’s minimum wage rate is going up again. The new minimum wage rate during this incremental increase is $13 per hour effective January 1, 2022.
In 2019, Governor Murphy signed legislation raising New Jersey’s minimum wage rate. The ultimate rate will be a minimum wage $15 per hour, with incremental increases between the law’s enactment and the final increase to $15 in 2024. This contrasts sharply with the Federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour.
The Regulatory Scheme
New Jersey and Federal minimum wage rates are governed by different legislative schemes. New Jersey’s minimum wage and overtime rates are governed by the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law. The Federal minimum wage and overtime rates are governed by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. While the $7.25 Federal minimum wage might be sufficient in some areas of the country, New Jersey has decided that the cost of living here cannot justify a wage minimum wage that low. Moreover, many workers on New Jersey public works projects, such as highway construction, must be paid the “prevailing wage,” which is normally much higher than minimum wage.
Exemptions to the minimum wage and overtime requirements apply. The most common exemptions are for executive, administrative, and professional employees, which are similar under both the Federal and New Jersey employment law. Other exemptions include: motor vehicle salespersons; employees at Summer non-profit camps; full-time college students in work-study programs (although they must be paid at least eighty five percent of minimum wage); outside sales people; and part-time in-home babysitters and day care providers, among other exemptions.
Contractors versus Employees
While under both Federal and New Jersey employment law independent contractors are not subject to minimum wage and overtime rates, misclassification of employees as contractors to avoid minimum wage requirements, as well as to avoid payroll tax and other costs, can bring severe consequences. Most of these consequences are civil and monetary, but misclassification of employees in the construction industry can bring criminal liability.
Employees may sue in the Superior Court of New Jersey or the United States District Court. In addition, employees may file complaints with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, or with the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor. Both Federal and New Jersey employment law provide for employers paying their employees’ attorneys fees if they are successful, and may also provide for additional sanctions should the employees prevail.
What We Do
We represent employers and employees in all aspects of New Jersey wage and hour law.
- Litigation. We represent employers and employees in prosecuting and defending claims of alleged failure to pay minimum wage and/or overtime in state and federal court, and state and federal administrative agencies.
- Counseling. We counsel employers and employees on their rights and obligations under New Jersey and Federal wage and hour laws.
- Negotiation. We represent both employers and employees in seeking to negotiate an amicable resolution to potential wage and hour violations.
- Compliance. We help employers comply with their legal requirements under Federal and New Jersey wage and hour laws. We review their practices, draft policies and procedures to ensure compliance, and draft employee manuals and handbooks to make sure their policies and requirements are clear to managers and employees, and that they follow them.
Our New Jersey employment attorneys represent employers and employees in all aspects of New Jersey employment law. Call us at (973) 890-0004 or complete the contact form on this page to schedule a consultation with one of our New Jersey employment attorneys. We can help.