Work From Home Laws in New Jersey
With businesses struggling with the decision to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, or return to the office, it’s important to understand the work from home laws currently in place in New Jersey. The employment laws of the state where employees are working still come into effect regardless if the company is working from home.
At McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C., we have years of experience providing thorough and knowledgeable representation to both employees and employers in a wide range of employment law matters. We understand the complex and dynamic nature of employment law issues and help our clients understand their rights and options in the disputes they face.
Work From Home Issues Companies Are Facing During Covid-19
Hourly Wage Issues
Companies with employees working from home could potentially be facing wage and hour issues. Employers with remote workers in different states must make sure that they are paying their employees in compliance with both federal and state laws.
If the company is located in one state, and the employee is working from home in another, different minimum wage rates could apply. Typically, if the employee is covered by both the state and local minimum wage they would normally take the higher wage. It all depends on how the law defines employees and employers that are covered.
New Jersey’s overtime pay laws state that employees must be paid 1.5 times their normal payment after they have worked 40 hours in a work week. New Jersey does not require overtime pay when employees work more than 8 hours in one day. It’s essential to pay employees the correct amount of overtime, even when they are working from home, to avoid any costly wage and hour claims.
It’s crucial for employers to keep records for remote workers and try to prevent them from working overtime that was not authorized. Employees should get permission from supervisors to work overtime, and also track the amount of hours they have worked to prevent unnecessary problems.
Issues With Employee Leave
Employers must ensure that remote employees who are eligible are allowed to take any necessary leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It’s important for employers to be aware of the fact that even employees who are working from home are eligible for FMLA leave, if they meet the necessary requirements.
According to the FMLA regulations, an employee’s home is not considered a “worksite”. A worksite for employees is considered where they report to, and where assignments are made. With that being said, employees have to be eligible for FMLA leave. To be eligible, employees must:
- Be employed with the company for 12 months or more
- Worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 month period prior to the start of FMLA leave
The employer must be covered as well, and also must employ 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius of the employees workplace.
Employees who meet all three requirements are eligible to receive FMLA leave. As mentioned above, a work from home office does not qualify as the work location, so as long as employees are 75 miles from the office they normally report to, they can be eligible for FMLA leave.
FMLA Eligibility for NJ Employees
If an employee has met all of the requirements for FMLA leave, they must also have at least one of the following medical conditions that are protected under the FMLA. These include:
- The birth of a child as well as time spent to care for the newborn
- Placement and bonding time with an adopted child or foster care child
- Taking care of a spouse, child, biological or adoptive parent with a serious mental or health condition
- FMLA protection covers leave for an employee’s own serious health condition
- Caring for a seriously wounded or ill spouse, child, or parent active in the military
Job Security Under FMLA
Upon return to work, whether that be remote or in the office, the employee is entitled to their previous position without demotion or salary reduction. If the position is no longer available, the employer must offer the employee a position similar in salary, benefits, and status. If a layoff or reduction in force took place while the employee was out on leave, the worker would still be eligible for the same rights and protections as those employees that were not on leave.
Our Experienced New Jersey Employment Law Attorneys Can Help You
If you are a work from home employee that is facing issues because of your remote work status, or an employer is experiencing problems with the law involving telework employees, call or contact us today for a free consultation. We have offices in Red Bank, NJ, Marlton, NJ, and Newark, NJ and can serve clients throughout the state. We can discuss your situation with you and help you determine the best course of action.