Wage and Hour
Can I be disciplined or terminated if I refuse to be available while on vacation?
You need to review your company’s policies and procedures for taking vacation days. If you believe you are being singled out or treated unfairly compared to other employees who take vacation days, your employer may be in breach of contract or in violation of federal or state law.
Can my employer call me during vacation or ask me to do work while I’m on vacation?
If you are an hourly, non-exempt employee and your employer contacts you during vacation, your employer will likely be required to pay you for the time you spend working. An hourly, non-exempt employee is someone who is paid an hourly wage and is entitled to minimum wage and overtime for working over 40 hours per week.
What if my employer refuses to approve my vacation days or has rescinded them?
First, check your employee handbook, employment contract, or CBA to understand your employer’s procedures and policies for receiving vacation time. If your employer offers vacation days and is in violation of its policy, you may want to talk to your human relations department or a private attorney because they may be in breach of contract. Likewise, if your employer has rescinded your pre-approved vacation days, and you feel they are discriminating or retaliating against you, they may be in violation of state or federal law.
Am I entitled to vacation days?
No. If you work for a private employer, New Jersey does not require them to provide paid or unpaid vacation days. Most vacation days are provided for in employment agreements, collective bargaining agreements (CBA) or as a policy in employee handbooks. According to the New Jersey Department of Labor (NJDOL), if an employer chooses to offer vacation days, they must be administered “uniformly” in accordance with their established policy or employment agreement.
What Are the Federal Guidelines for Overtime Hours and Pay?
According to the FLSA, employers are not limited in the number of hours they may require employees to work. However, it does require employers to pay employees time and a half for any hours of overtime worked in a week. Another common misconception is that employees who work over eight hours in a day must receive overtime compensation. This is not so; the FLSA only requires that employees be paid overtime for any hours worked in excess of 40 in a week.
What Are the White Collar Overtime Exemptions from the Fair Labor Standards Act?
There are three types of white collar FLSA exemptions: executive, administrative, or professional.
A worker in one of these categories must satisfy both salary and duty requirements to be exempt from the FLSA overtime rules. Titles, such as manager, or salary do not make an employee automatically exempt. The employee must be paid on a salary basis at a minimum of $455 per week. Any employee paid on an hourly basis or commission only system does not satisfy the salary requirement for white collar exemptions.Read More
What Are the Federal Guidelines for Rest Breaks?
If New Jersey employers choose to give employees rest or meal periods, they must follow federal law. Federal law states that short breaks, usually between five and 20 minutes, are common and promote employee efficiency. Such short breaks are considered compensable work time that should be included in the total number of hours worked during the week. However, these breaks must actually be taken and may not be offset against other working time. They may also not be extended beyond the amount of time prescribed by the employer.
What Is a Tip?
A tip is any money a customer voluntarily pays beyond the amount charged for products or services plus tax. Some employers, such as restaurants, add a mandatory service charge to bills for large parties or catered events. This designated service charge allows employers to keep the extra amount paid even if the customer thinks that by paying it, he or she is leaving a tip for an employee.
Can My Employer Force Me To Volunteer?
No. An employer cannot require you to volunteer and work unpaid hours unless it falls under your job description. If the volunteering is presented with the threat of adverse employment action if you do not comply, then you may have a claim for unpaid wages.Read More
What Is the Criteria for an Unpaid Internship?
- The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
- The internship experience is intended to benefit the intern;
- The intern does not displace regular employees and works under close supervision of existing staff;
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
Can New Jersey Employers Take Tip Credits?
New Jersey allows employers to take tip credits, therefore employers may pay less than minimum wage as long as employees’ tips make up the difference. If the employer’s pay and the employee’s tips together do not equal minimum wage, the employer must pay the employee the amount necessary to equal at least minimum wage for each hour worked.
Is Tip Pooling Allowed in New Jersey?
New Jersey employers may participate in tip pooling, an arrangement in which employees split a portion of their tips with other employees. The federal Department of Labor only allows employees who regularly receive tips to take part in the pool. Employees must receive notice of the pool; cannot be required to contribute more than is customary and reasonable; must be able to keep at least minimum wage; and are not required to share tips with their employers or with employees who do not typically receive their own tips.
What Wage and Hour Restrictions Are Outlined in the NJ State Wage and Hour Law?
New Jersey employers are required to pay at least minimum wage for hours worked up to 40 and then must pay at least time and a half for any hours worked over 40 in a week. Generally, the NJSWHL does not limit the number of hours an employee may be required to work and New Jersey employers may fire employees who do not comply with forced overtime.
What Is the New Jersey Mandatory Overtime Restrictions for Health Care Facilities (MORHCF)?
The MORHCF dictates that health care facilities may not terminate hourly workers who are involved in patient care and clinical services if they refuse to work overtime unless there is an unforeseeable emergent circumstance or a national, state or, municipal emergency.
It states that the emergent circumstance exception should be used as a last resort and not simply because of chronic short staffing. Therefore, employers must exhaust reasonable efforts to fill vacancies before resorting to requiring employees to work hours in excess of a predetermined and regularly scheduled 40-hour workweek.
Can My Employer Force Me to Work Overtime?
New Jersey employees often incorrectly assume that their employers may not force them to work overtime hours. The New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law (NJSWHL) states that employers may force employees to work overtime as a condition of their employment. This state law is in line with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which allows employers to fire employees who refuse to work overtime.
What Are the NJ Guidelines for Minors Receiving Breaks?
In New Jersey a mandatory break law applies to minors under the age of 18. After five consecutive hours of work, employees under the age of 18 must be given a 30-minute meal period. All other employees over the age of 18 are not subject to the mandatory break law, but rather only to company policy.
Should I Be Getting Paid for My Meal Break?
You should be getting paid for your breaks depending on whether or not they are considered bona fide meal periods according to federal law. Federal law defines bona fide meal periods as rest periods, which are usually at least 30 minutes in duration. Employees are considered working if they are required to perform any duties, active or inactive, while eating. For example, if a receptionist is required to eat lunch at their desk, they are still considered to be working and not completely relieved of their duties. Therefore, in order to constitute as a bona fide meal period which does not have to be compensated, an employee may be on the premises but must not be performing any duties while eating.
Does New Jersey Require Rest or Meal Breaks?
New Jersey employers are not required to provide employees with rest or meal periods, although they must still comply with federal law should they choose to do so. Federal law defines bona fide meal periods as rest periods, which are usually at least 30 minutes in duration.
The one exception is a mandatory break law that applies to minors under the age of 18.
Does New Jersey Have a Law for Paid Sick Leave?
Yes. Bill A1827 allows workers in the private sector to earn an hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work. Businesses of all sizes would have to allow up to 40 paid sick leave hours. The time could be used to stay home for reasons of illness, to care for a sick family member, to attend school conferences or meetings, or to recover from domestic violence. The few exemptions included in the bill are for certain construction employees, public employees who already have generous sick leave benefits, and per-diem health care workers.
Are Employers Allowed to Request My Salary History?
No. New Jersey law prohibits any employer from screening a job applicant based on his or her salary or wage history, which includes asking the applicant to disclose prior wages and/or salaries as well as benefits. However, the law does allow the applicant to voluntarily provide salary history (only without prompting from the employer), and, if he or she does so, it allows the employer to verify that salary history. In addition, the law does not apply to promotions, nor does it override circumstances in which federal law mandates the disclosure of an applicant’s salary history.
Can My Employer Pay Me Less Than Minimum Wage?
Generally, your employer cannot pay you less than minimum wage. However, there are some exceptions that you should be aware of to ensure your employer is paying you properly. Additionally, employers have an additional consideration if their business employs tipped employees. If the total earnings of the employee calculated by adding the hourly wage and tips earned is less than the minimum hourly wage, then the employer has to provide the necessary additional funds to equalize the employee’s pay so he or she makes the minimum wage per hour.Read More
Is My Job Too Cushy for Overtime?
The gist of the law is that manual work is eligible for overtime pay, but work that is mostly intellectual is not, since the latter category of jobs usually have higher pay. For example, managers and administrators do not get overtime.Read More
When Must Your Employer Pay Overtime?
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, your employer must pay you 1.5 times your hourly wage for every hour you work beyond 40 hours in a week (defined as seven consecutive days). Most employees who get paid an hourly rate, as opposed to a monthly or annual salary, are eligible for overtime pay.Read More