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New Jersey has several new and old laws that govern how employees should be paid for their services. The first thing you need to know is that the minimum wage in New Jersey is $8.60 per hour, subject to change in response to changes in costs of living.
Employees who are tipped can receive hourly wages below the minimum wage as long as the hourly rate and tips add up to the minimum wage at least.
The story is a little different when it comes to overtime pay. Several factors of your employment come into play to determine if you should receive remuneration specifically for the hours you worked in addition to your regular workday.
Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees
New Jersey divides employees into exempt and non-exempt employees on the basis of overtime. Exempt employees, as the name suggests, are those that do not fall under the state’s pay laws.
Non-exempt employees, on the other hand, must be paid for work done outside of their normal work hours. All non-exempt workers are entitled to an overtime pay 1.5 times the normal wage rate.
Exempt employees may fall into a range of other worker categories. As a general rule, they must receive a yearly salary that is higher than the minimum wage. Exempt employees include administrators, executives, outside salespersons, IT employees, etc.
If you do not receive overtime pay
If you are a non-exempt employee in New Jersey who has been working overtime but has not received payment for your work, consider hiring an employment attorney to help you follow up on the pay.
Employers are used to getting away with unpaid overtime and it is wise that you show your intent to fight for your pay as early as possible.
A lawyer will assess your situation and find an avenue that they reckon is best for you. Note that your employer may not necessarily be ignoring you; sometimes they are just unaware that you haven’t been receiving your pay.
A good employment attorney will approach the employer first before taking legal action. You can file a claim either with a government agency or in court.
The bottom line is to be aware of the laws that have been put in place to protect you against workplace exploitation.
The Fair Labor Standards Acts, as stated above, requires that all employees be paid 1.5 times their regular pay for all the hours worked above 40 in a week. So if you work for, say, 10 hours in one day, you’re not entitled to overtime pay until you surpass the 40-hour mark.
If you meet these requirements and believe you are not receiving pay you have earned, you can submit a complaint to either the state or federal Division of Wage and Hour Compliance.
Possible retaliation from the employer should not be a cause for concern. The FLSA provides protection to workers who file employment discrimination claims or testify against their employers. Be sure to file your complaint before two years when the statute of limitations expires.