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Wage and hour laws: Learn about your rights in New Jersey

On behalf of Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP | Feb 19, 2019 |

As an employee, it’s important to know everything you can about your rights in the workplace. There are many myths and misconceptions. Never assume that what other workers or your boss tell you about your rights is true. This is something you must look into for yourself, especially if you think your employer may be violating your rights.

To get you started, here are a few questions and answers to keep in mind:

What is the lowest wage an employee can earn per hour?

As of January 1, 2019, the minimum wage in New Jersey is $8.85 per hour. If your employer pays you less than this, they’re breaking the law (different limits apply to tipped employees, as explained below). Keep a close eye on your pay stubs and make sure everything adds up.

How often does your employer need to pay you?

Hourly employees generally must be paid at least twice during each calendar month, on regular paydays designated in advance by the employer. 

How should you get paid?

Your employer may pay your wages to you directly or, with your consent, arrange to have your wages directly deposited into a bank account. 

Do you deserve overtime pay?

Yes.  If you work more than 40 hours per week, you deserve to be paid overtime. The overtime rate is 1.5 times your normal hourly rate. For example, if you normally earn $10 per hour, your overtime rate would be $15 per hour for every hour worked over 40 hours.

How much must an employer pay tipped employees?

Tipped employees are entitled to earn at least the same minimum wage as everyone else, but the source of the payment can be different. An employer must pay a tipped employee a wage of at least $2.13 per hour (the “cash wage”), as long the employee makes at least $6.72 per hour in tips (the “tip credit”). The cash wage ($2.13), plus the tip credit ($6.72), equals the regular minimum wage ($8.85).

For example, if you are a tipped employee and average $10 per hour in tips, the employer must pay you $2.13 per hour, for a total of $12.13 per hour. However, if you only average $4 per hour in tips, then your employer would owe you $4.85 per hour, for a total of $8.85, which is the regular minimum wage.

Fighting for your rights

If you think that your employer has violated your rights, make sure you know all of your legal options.