Familiar With The NJ Wage And Hour Law?
There are federal and state laws to protect the rights of hourly workers in New Jersey. These are the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) and the NJWHL (New Jersey Wage and Hour Law). These laws require businesses to pay overtime at 1 ½ times the normal hourly rate and a minimum wage rate for each hour worked. Currently, New Jersey’s minimum wage is $10.00 per hour but is lower for those who receive tips. “Overtime” is considered any work done in excess of the regular 40-hour workweek. Even if an employee willingly works “off the clock”, they must be paid.
If your employer has violated either of these wage and hour laws, you may want to contact an attorney.
Getting The Right Wages
If you have been hired to do a job, you have the right to be paid. It is that simple. If it takes a little longer to complete the job – 41 hours in the week, for example – you are entitled to overtime pay at 1 ½ times your hourly rate for the extra hour. You are entitled to it even if your employer has a policy against overtime!
In addition, you must be financially compensated for your time if you are expected to wait for your next assignment or if you are “on-call”; this is still considered work by law. If you work in IT, for example, and must be available on a weekend in case of a system crash, this is part of your job and should be calculated in your paycheck, even if there was no issue the entire weekend.
However, there are a few restrictions as to what comprises the on-call period. There is a four-factor test to determine whether an employer must pay overtime:
- Can the employee engage in personal activities at the same time as being on-call?
- Can the employee switch on-call shifts and maintain a flexible on-call schedule?
- What is the nature of the employer’s demands and the frequency of the employer’s calls?
- Can the employee leave the workplace or carry a beeper?
Exemptions For Overtime Pay
An employer can be excused in some limited situations from paying employees’ hours of work. They are:
- An employee lunch break of 30 minutes or more is not considered work time and does not have to be paid. However, a break of less than 20 minutes must be paid.
- Driving time back and forth to the job is not deemed work hours. However, the employee must be compensated for their time and mileage if they must travel to a place other than where they usually work.
- If the employee must travel overnight, only the normal work hours are counted for their hourly pay. However, if a job entails traveling between various locations, that travel time is part of the employee’s workday. A delivery driver, for example, is paid for physically making deliveries as well as the time they are driving.
- If an employee engages in a voluntary activity (attending a lecture, working for a charity, etc.) even if it benefits the employer, the company does not have to compensate the employee for that time. That is especially true if the activity is not job-related, the employee is not doing any other work for the employer at the same time or does not occur during working hours.
Carcich O’Shea Can Help
If you do not believe you are being paid properly for all the time you are working or not receiving your rightful overtime pay, contact Carcich O’Shea. We have the experience and skills in NJWHL and FLSA claims. We work to ensure you are compensated fairly. Contact us today!