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Wage And Hour Law Violations

The New Jersey Wage and Hour Law Wage And Hour Law Violations

The New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (NJWHL) provides in relevant part: “Every employer shall pay to each of his employees’ wages at a rate of not less than …for 40 hours of working time in any week and 1 1/2 times such employee's regular hourly wage for each hour of working time in excess of 40 hours in any week, except this overtime rate shall not include any individual employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity…” (emphasis added). N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a4.

On August 9, 2019 New Jersey adopted the Wage Theft Act (WFT) which effectively amended the NJWHL and the New Jersey Wage Payment Law to permit recovery of unpaid wages from two (2) years to a six (6) year prior to the commencement of a lawsuit seeking to recover such unpaid wages and stated that employees are permitted to recover of all wages due “… plus an amount of liquidated damages equal to not more than 200 percent of the wages lost or of the wages due, together with costs and reasonable attorney’s fees as are allowed by the court …” (emphasis added).

There is no requirement that an employee be paid premium overtime compensation for hours in excess of eight hours per day, nor for work on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays or regular days of rest, other than the required overtime for over 40 hours per week. N.J.A.C., 12:56-6.4(b). The NJWHL does not require employers to compensate employees on an hourly rate basis. Their earnings may be determined on a piece-rate, salary, bonus, commission, or other basis, but the overtime compensation due to employees shall be paid based on the calculated hourly rate. N.J.A.C., 12:56-6.5(b). Accordingly, the regular hourly wage of an employee is determined by dividing the employee’s weekly salary by the total number of hours worked in that workweek for which such compensation was paid. Id.

Any individual employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, professional, or outside sales capacity shall be exempt from being eligible to receive overtime pay. N.J.A.C., 12:56-7.1.The definition of these exempt categories are defined by the provisions of 29 CFR Part 541. Employees of health care facilities may not be required to work in excess of 40 hours per week except in the case of an unforeseeable emergency when the overtime is required only as a last resort. The purpose of this rule is to protect the health and well-being of employees and patients alike. Any individual employed by a common carrier of passengers by motor bus is exempt from receiving overtime pay. N.J.A.C., 12:56-7.3. Similarly, trucking industry employers are also exempt from the statutory overtime rate but must pay their employees an overtime rate of no less than 1 ½ times the minimum wage rate. N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a4.

For violations of the NJWHL an employee may recover the full amounts due him or her “together with costs and such reasonable attorney's fees as may be allowed by the court.” N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a25. A civil suit seeks to recover for unpaid overtime wages due must be filed no later than 2 years after the unpaid compensation became due. N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a25.1. Alternatively, an employee may file a wage and hour claim with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development – Wage and Hour.

The New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act

The New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act (PWA) requires workers be paid a prevailing wage rate who perform work for contractors or subcontractors under contract to provide public work such as construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration, custom fabrication, repair, or maintenance work which is paid for in whole or in part out of the funds of a public body. N.J.A.C. 12:60-2.1. "Prevailing wage" means the wage rate paid to persons working under union collective bargaining agreements by employers employing a majority of workmen of that craft or trade subject to said collective bargaining agreements, in the locality in which the public work is done. Ibid. Applicable prevailing wage rates are those wages and fringe benefits in effect on the date the contract is awarded. To view either the statewide and/or individual county lists detailing Prevailing Wage Rate Determinations click here. A violation of the PWA may require the employer to pay the entire amount of provable damages plus costs and reasonable attorney fees.

New Jersey’s Construction Industry Independent Contractor Act

New Jersey’s Construction Industry Independent Contractor Act (CIICA) makes it unlawful for employers in the construction industry who improperly classify employees as independent contractors deprive these workers of proper Social Security benefits and other benefits, while reducing the employers' State and federal tax withholdings and related obligations. It is unlawful for an employer or any other party to discriminate in any manner or take adverse action against any person in retaliation for exercising rights protected by the CIICA. N.J.S.A., 34:20-9.

Contact Mashel Law (732) 536-6161 or fill out the contact form on this page if you believe your employer has violated the NJWHL, PWA and/or CIICA.. Mashel Law located in Marlboro, New Jersey, is dedicated exclusively to protecting the rights of employees.

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