It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important New Jersey statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher. 

However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. 

It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns. 

Here are a few New Jersey labor laws every small business owner should know.

Resources

First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:

Leave

  • Sick Days: Most New Jersey employers are required to provide paid sick leave
  • Medical Leave: Employers in may be required to provide employees unpaid leave in accordance with New Jersey’s Family Leave Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Vacation Leave: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one. 
  • Jury Duty: An employer is not required to provide paid time off for an employee to serve on a jury or respond to a jury summons, but the employee cannot be penalized for doing so. 
  • Holiday Leave: Private employers are not required to provide holiday leave. 
  • Voting Leave:  No statute
  • Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave. 

Final Paycheck

  • Employees who separate from employment for any reason must be paid their final paycheck no later than the scheduled payday for the period during which the separation occurred. 
  • Employees who are compensated by an incentive system must be paid a reasonable approximation of wages due until the exact amount that is owed can be computed. 
  • If an employee is suspended as a result of a labor dispute and the dispute involves payroll-processing employees, the employer has an additional 10 days to pay the due wages. 

Minimum Wage

  • The current minimum wage in New Jersey is $10 for employers with 5 or more employees and $8.85 for employers with fewer than 5 employees, as well as seasonal and agricultural employees. 
  • New Jersey law requires that the minimum wage be reviewed annually, and that it be increased by the percentage the cost of living has changed from year to year. 
  • If the federal minimum wage is raised to be higher than that of New Jersey, the New Jersey minimum wage will automatically increase to the higher federal rate. 
  • The following minimum wage increases will occur unless an increase in the consumer price index requires a higher minimum wage:
    • Employers with 5 or more employees (except seasonal and agricultural employees)
      • January 1, 2020 – $11.00
      • January 1, 2021 – $12.00
      • January 1, 2022 – $13.00
      • January 1, 2023 – $14.00
      • January 1, 2024 – $15.00
    • Employers with less than 5 employees and seasonal employees
      • January 1, 2020 – $10.30
      • January 1, 2021 – $11.10
      • January 1, 2022 – $11.90
      • January 1, 2023 – $12.70
      • January 1, 2024 – $13.50
      • January 1, 2025 – $14.30
      • January 1, 2026 – $15.00
    • Agricultural employees
      • January 1, 2020 – $10.30
      • January 1, 2022 – $10.90
      • January 1, 2023 – $11.70
      • January 1, 2024 – $12.50
      • January 1, 2025 – $13.40
      • January 1, 2026 – $14.20
      • January 1, 2027 – $15.00

Tipped Wages

  • The minimum wage for tipped employees is $7.37.
  • The tipped minimum wage will increase as follows:
    • January 1, 2020 – $7.87
    • January 1, 2023 – $8.87
    • January 1, 2024 – $9.87
  • If the employee does not receive enough tips to ensure they are paid the standard minimum wage, the employer must pay the difference.
  • Employers are allowed to require employees to participate in a tip pooling arrangement. 

Child Labor

  • All minors are prohibited from working more than 6 days in a row. 
  • All minors must be given a meal break of 30 minutes after 5 continuous working hours. 
  • Minors 14 and 15 years of age are subject to the following time restrictions:
    • During school weeks, they may work:
      • No more than 18 hours a week 
      • No more than 3 hours per day on school days
      • No more than 8 hours per day on the weekends
      • In between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. 
    • During non-school weeks, they may work:
      • No more than 40 hours per week
      • No more than 8 hours per day
      • No more than 6 consecutive days in a pay week
      • Not before 7 am or after 7 pm during school year
      • In between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. from the last day of school to Labor Day with written permission from a parent
  • Minors 16 and 17 years of age are subject to the following time restrictions:
    • During both school weeks and non-school weeks, they may work: 
      • No more than 40 hours per week
      • No more than 8 hours per day
      • No more than 6 consecutive days in a pay week
      • In between the hours of  6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
      • In between the hours of 6 a.m. and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays or days not followed by a school days
        • In restaurants and seasonal amusements, they may work until 3 a.m. with written permission from a parent.

Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime

  • As mentioned before, employers are required to provide employees under the age of 18 with a 30-minute meal break for every 5 consecutive hours worked. 
  • Employers are not required to provide breaks to employees 18 years of age or older. 
    • If an employer chooses to provide a break longer than 20 minutes, it does not need to be paid as long as the employee is free to leave the premises and does not perform work. 
    • Under federal law, breaks less than 20 minutes long should be paid. 
  • Non-exempt employees must be paid an overtime rate of 1 ½ times the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in one workweek. 

Employment Discrimination

  • The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits employers from discriminating in any job-related action because of an employee’s or candidate’s: race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex (including pregnancy and sexual harassment), marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information liability for military service, or mental or physical disability, including AIDS and HIV related illnesses. 
  • Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.     

Termination

New Jersey is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action. 

Shift Scheduling

There are currently no laws regarding shift scheduling in New Jersey. 

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