Nonprofits should note that New Jersey’s minimum hourly wage will increase on January 1, 2021, to $12.00 for employees of large employers and $11.10 for employees of small and seasonal employers. Moreover, as of November 1, 2020, “direct care staff members” in long-term health facilities are to receive a minimum wage that is $3.00 higher than New Jersey’s then-current minimum wage for large employers.
Also, with the end of 2020 fast approaching, Pro Bono Partnership wants to remind nonprofits of the notices that they might need to hand out to their New Jersey-based employees, at the time of hire and/or annually. We also want to alert nonprofits about new notice obligations.
New Jersey Minimum Wage Will Increase in November 2020 and January 2021
As is explained in Pro Bono Partnership’s article New Jersey’s Minimum Wage Going Up to at Least $15.00, the minimum wage is gradually increasing for New Jersey employees. The next incremental increase goes into effect on January 1, 2021, at which time employees of large employers will be entitled to $12.00 an hour and employees of small and seasonal employers will be entitled to $11.10 an hour. Subject to some exceptions, a small employer is one that has fewer than six employees.
In addition, as of November 1, 2020, “direct care staff members” in long-term health facilities are to receive a minimum wage that is $3.00 higher than New Jersey’s then-current minimum wage for large employers. This increase is the result of a new law enacted in September 2020. Thus, these staff members must receive at least $14.00 an hour in November and December of this year, and at least $15.00 an hour as of January 1, 2021.
Employers need to make sure they have the latest version of the required New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDLWD) New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law Abstract posted.
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Reminder Regarding Mandatory Notices to Employees
New Jersey employers are obligated to give their New Jersey-based employees notices about the employees’ rights under certain New Jersey and federal laws. These notices need to be posted and also may need to be given to employees at the time of hire and/or annually.
Earned Sick Leave Notice
In October 2018, the NJDLWD released the notice required by the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act. The notice is available in English, Arabic, Chinese-simplified, Chinese-traditional, Guajarati, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Tagalog.
Employers must fill in the “benefit year” they have selected and then (1) conspicuously post the notice in each of their workplaces in New Jersey, (2) provide a copy of the notice to each of their current employees in New Jersey (which should have been done by November 2018), (3) provide a copy of the notice to new employees at the time of hire, and (4) provide a copy of the notice upon the first request of an employee.
The Paid Sick Leave Act expressly states that an “employer shall use the notification in English, Spanish or any other language for which the [NJDLWD] has provided notifications and which is the first language of a majority of the employer’s workforce.” (Emphasis added.) Although the foregoing sentence uses the word “or,” if a majority of an employer’s workforce does not speak English or Spanish, the employer should still consider posting and distributing the English and Spanish versions of the NJDLWD’s notice.
See Pro Bono Partnership’s article New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act for more details.
Gender Equity Notice
Each year, by no later than December 31, New Jersey employers with 50 or more employees—regardless of the states in which the employees are located—must provide, in English and Spanish, a copy of a Gender Equity Notice to all of their New Jersey employees. These employers also must give the notice to all new employees in New Jersey at the time of hire. The notice advises employees of their rights to be free of gender discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and two federal laws, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
The notice must be accompanied by an acknowledgment that the employee has received the notice and has read and understands its terms. This acknowledgment must be signed by the employee, in writing or by means of electronic verification, and returned to the employer within 30 days of its receipt. The NJDLWD has prepared a form notice and acknowledgment that an employer may use.
See Pro Bono Partnership’s article New Jersey Gender Equity Notice for more details.
New Jersey employers with 10 or more employees—regardless of the states in which the employees are located— must annually provide, in English and Spanish, a copy of the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA or “Whistleblower Act”) Notice to all of their New Jersey employees. Although not required, an employer might consider providing a copy of the CEPA Notice to new employees at the time of hire.
The NJDLWD has prepared a form notice that an employer may use. Employers must fill in the name, address, and telephone number for the person to whom CEPA complaints need to be directed. It might make sense to list two people, such as the executive director and the chair of the board of trustees’ personnel or executive committee, in which case the address and phone number for both people will need to be listed.
All employers (regardless of size) must give all new employees in New Jersey, at the time of hire:
- The Employer Obligation to Maintain and Report Records Notice (a/k/a the Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements Under State Wage, Benefit and Tax Laws Notice); and
- The New Jersey Family Leave Insurance Notice.
The NJDLWD has prepared form notices that an employer may use for these purposes.
If an employer does not have a written policy or employee handbook covering leaves of absence relating to the following topics, then the employer:
- If it has 50 or more employees (regardless of the states in which the employees are located), must give all new employees in New Jersey, at the time of hire, a notice of their rights and obligations under the New Jersey Family Leave Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. If an employer does not have this information in its employee handbook, it can distribute the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights Fact Sheet and the U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet.
- If it has 25 or more employees (regardless of the states in which the employees are located), should consider giving all new employees in New Jersey, at the time of hire, a notice of their rights and obligations under the New Jersey SAFE Act. The NJDLWD has prepared a form notice that an employer may use. For more information, see Pro Bono Partnership’s article New Jersey SAFE Act.
Although not expressly mandated by law, employers are strongly encouraged to provide all employees, at the time of hire and annually, a copy of the employers’ antiharassment/antidiscrimination policy, which should include a complaint procedure.
New Worker Misclassification Notice Must Be Posted in NJ Workplaces
In May 2020, the NJDLWD released a new notice, which all employers in New Jersey must conspicuously post in the workplace, that sets forth an explanation of the prohibition against employers misclassifying their employees; the benefits and protections to which employees are entitled under New Jersey wage, benefit, and tax laws; and the remedies under New Jersey law that employees affected by misclassification might be entitled to.
The notice is available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Guajarati, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Tagalog. There does not appear to be an obligation to post this notice in other than English.
To learn about the details of this new this requirement, please see our June 2020 legal alert.
New Wage Theft Act Notice is Forthcoming
In August 2019, the New Jersey Wage Theft Act became law. The NJDLWD is required to issue a new notice of employees’ rights under New Jersey wage-hours and criminal laws, with an explanation of how to file a claim or take action under those laws. Once that notice is released, employers will need to give a copy of the notice to all of their current employees and to new employees at the time of hire. It is unclear whether the NJDLWD will also require that the Notice be posted in each workplace.
Download the NJDLWD Notices
The NJDLWD’s form notices that are referenced above can be downloaded from the NJDLWD’s Employer Poster Packet web page.
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If you would like to receive a revised comprehensive listing of the various New Jersey and federal notices that most New Jersey employers are required to post and/or distribute to employees, or if you have questions about any of the topics discussed above, please contact Christine Michelle Duffy, Esq., in our Parsippany office, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-240-6955 ext. 303. During the past year, several federal agencies issued revised editions of their required posters, so this would be a good time to check that you have the latest versions posted.
This document is provided as a general informational service to volunteers, clients, and friends of Pro Bono Partnership. It should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal advice on any specific matter, nor does distribution of this document create an attorney-client relationship.