New Jersey Labor and Overtime Laws
Below is an overview of the minimum wage and overtime pay laws that apply to workers in the state of New Jersey. Private actions to enforce New Jersey’s wage and hour laws, and recover unpaid overtime due to workers, are commonly brought (on a contingent fee basis) by employment law firms such as The Lore Law Firm. If you believe that you have been deprived of the overtime pay that you are legally entitled to, please contact us for a free and confidential review of your situation.
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New Jersey’s minimum wage will increase from the current rate of $10.00 to $15.00 from 2019 to 2024:
- July 1, 2019: $10.00 per hour
- January 1, 2020: $11.00 per hour ($10.30/hour for small, seasonal, & agricultural employers)
- January 1, 2021: $12.00 per hour
- January 1, 2022: $13.00 per hour
- January 1, 2023: $14.00 per hour
- January 1, 2024: $15.00 per hour
Prior Minimum Wage Rates Include:
- 1/1/2019: $8.85 per hour
- 2018: $8.60 per hour
- 2017: $8.44 per hour
- 2015: $8.38 per hour
Minimum Wage Exemption
Several types of employees are exempt from the New Jersey minimum wage regulations, including:
- Full-time students employed by a college or university if they earn at least 85% of the minimum wage rate
- Outside salespeople
- Motor Vehicle salespeople
- Part-time employees caring for children in the employer’s home
- Employees of summer camps, conferences, retreats operated by non-profit or religious organizations during the months of June, July, August, or September
- Tipped employees
Under New Jersey state overtime laws, overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times the employee’s hourly wage must be paid after 40 hours in a 7-day workweek.
Overtime Pay Exemptions
Several types of employees are exempt from the New Jersey overtime pay regulations, including:
- Bona fide Executive, Administrative, Professional, and Outside Sales employees are exempt from the overtime requirements under New Jersey state labor laws.
- The Administrative exemption also includes employees whose primary duty is selling and who receive at least 50% of their total compensation in commissions.
- Employees of a common carrier of passengers by motor bus are exempt from New Jersey state overtime regulations.
- Outside Salespeople
- Employees subject to applicable wage orders
- Employees working on a farm
- Employees working in a hotel
- Limousine drivers employed by a limousine business
- Employees working in seasonal amusement occupations
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the minimum weekly salary required for the Executive, Administrative, and Professional exemptions is $684 per week as of 1/1/2020 (previously $455 per week).
Since these positions are not exempt from New Jersey’s minimum wage requirements, an otherwise exempt employee’s salary must be high enough to equal minimum wage for all hours worked.
For example, if an Executive, Administrative, or Professional employee works 55 hours per week, their salary must be at least $473 (minimum wage $8.60 x 55 hours) or their employer will not be complying with the NJ minimum wage requirements.
Independent Contractors under New Jersey Overtime Law. New Jersey state labor law presumes that a worker is an employee (entitled to overtime and other benefits), and not an independent contractor, unless and until an employer shows that a worker satisfies the following ABC test:
- (A) Such individual has been and will continue to be free from control or direction over the performance of such service, both under his contract of service and in fact; and
- (B) Such service is either outside the usual course of the business for which such service is performed, or that such service is performed outside of all the places of business of the enterprise for which such service is performed; and
- (C) Such individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business.
The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development Division of Employer Accounts provides a detailed worker classification questionnaire to assist in avoiding the misclassification of employees as independent contractors.
Holidays & Vacation in New Jersey
No additional pay is required for working on a holiday in New Jersey.
As of October 29, 2018, the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law requires employers provide earned sick leave. Employees are to accrue at least 1 hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours each year.
New Jersey Meal Breaks & Rest Periods
New Jersey state law does not require breaks or meal periods for employees over the age of 18.
Pay Periods & Pay Statements
The New Jersey Wage Payment Law requires employees be paid at least twice per month on regularly designated paydays. However, bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees can be paid once a month. Employees must receive a statement for each pay period listing gross wages, net wages, and itemized deductions.
Employers are prohibited from making deductions from an employee’s pay other than those authorized by law (such as taxes).
Statute of Limitations / Penalties
The statute of limitations for bringing wage and hour claims under New Jersey state law is six (6) years, so back wages can be recovered for the 6 years prior to the date of filing.
Employees can potentially recover 3 times their unpaid wage amount under the New Jersey Wage Theft Act, in addition to attorneys’ fees and costs.
Wage and Hour Claims
The New Jersey Wage and Hour law prohibits an employer from firing or retaliating against an employee for pursuing a wage and hour claim. Under the New Jersey Wage Theft Act which was signed on August 6, 2019, retaliation is presumed if an employer fires or takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of any conduct protected by the law.
New Jersey employees are also protected against retaliation for being a whistleblower by the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA” a/k/a the New Jersey Whistleblower Protection Law) and may also be protected against wrongful termination in violation of public policy via a common law “Pierce” claim.
CEPA prevents employers from retaliating against an employee for various types of whistleblowing conduct, including instances where an employee:
(1) Discloses, or threatens to disclose, to a supervisor or to a public body an activity, policy or practice of the employer or another employer, with whom there is a business relationship, that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law, or a rule or regulation issued under the law, or, in the case of an employee who is a licensed or certified health care professional, reasonably believes constitutes improper quality of patient care;
(2) Provides information to, or testifies before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry into any violation of law, or a rule or regulation issued under the law by the employer or another employer, with whom there is a business relationship, or, in the case of an employee who is a licensed or certified health care professional, provides information to, or testifies before, any public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry into quality of patient care; or
(3) Objects to, or refuses to participate in, any activity, policy or practice which the employee reasonably believes:
(a) is in violation of a law, or a rule or regulation issued under the law or, if the employee is a licensed or certified health care professional, constitutes improper quality of patient care;
(b) is fraudulent or criminal; or
(c) is incompatible with a clear mandate of public policy concerning the public health, safety or welfare or protection of the environment.
Claims under CEPA must be brought within a 1 year statute of limitations. “Pierce” claims for violation of public policy have a 2 year statute of limitations.