Category Archives: New Jersey

NEW LAW: New Jersey To Incrementally Increase Minimum Wage to $15.00 Per Hour

On February 4, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed A15 into law –making New Jersey the latest state to jump on the $15 per hour minimum wage bandwagon.

Under this new law, New Jersey’s minimum wage will increase as follows:

  • July 1, 2019 — increases to $10.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2020 — increases to $11.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2021 — increases to $12.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2022 — increases to $13.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2023 — increases to $14.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2024 — increases to $15.00 per hour

The minimum wage rate for tipped employees  will also increase as follows:

  • July 1, 2019 — increases to $2.63 per hour
  • January 1, 2020 — increases to $3.13 per hour
  • January 1, 2021 — increases to $4.13 per hour
  • January 1, 2022 — increases to $5.13 per hour
  • January 1, 2023 — increases to $5.13 per hour
  • January 1, 2024 — increases to $5.13 per hour

It is recommended that all New Jersey employers prepare for these increases.

NEW GUIDANCE — New Jersey Publishes FAQs Regarding Paid Sick Leave Law

On October 29, 2018, the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law goes into effect.  In anticipation of this new law, on October 24, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) issued a list of frequently asked questions  relating to the new paid sick leave law.  This new guidance follows the NJDOL’s release of proposed paid sick leave regulations and the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave poster.

While much of the guidance provided restates information set forth in the proposed regulations or in the statute,  the newly issued FAQs clarify some open questions including (Note, the below are taken verbatim from the FAQs):

II. EMPLOYEES COVERED/NOT COVERED BY THE LAW

5. Is an employee who works both within New Jersey and outside of New Jersey entitled to receive earned sick leave? Continue reading NEW GUIDANCE — New Jersey Publishes FAQs Regarding Paid Sick Leave Law

NEW LAW: New Jersey’s Minimum Wage to Increase January 1, 2019

New Jersey employers, mark your calendars: The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development recently announced that on January 1, 2019, New Jersey’s minimum wage will increase from $8.60 to $8.85 per hour. The minimum wage rate for tipped employees will remain at 2.13 per hour.

It is recommended that all New Jersey employers prepare for these increases and download the new New Jersey minimum wage poster.

NEW POSTER: New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Issues New Paid Sick Leave Mandatory Poster

On October 3, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development published the required New Jersey paid sick leave law poster in English (other languages will be available soon).

This new poster includes information regarding the state’s new paid sick leave law.

This poster must be posted “in a conspicuous place” at the employer’s premises “where notices to employees and applicants for employment are customarily posted.”

In addition to the posting requirements, employers are required to provide employees with a copy of this poster at the following times:

  • Within 30 days of October 3, 2018 (the date it was issued by the NJDOL),
  • At the time of hiring (if the employee is hired after the notice is issued), and
  • The first time an employee requests a copy of the notice.

Employees can be provided with a hard copy of the notice or it may be distributed via email.

It is recommended that all New Jersey employers do the following as soon as possible:

  • Post this new poster in their workplace
  • Distribute the notice to all employees.

PROPOSED REGULATIONS: New Jersey Department of Labor Publishes Proposed Paid Sick Leave Regulations

The New Jersey paid sick leave law goes into effect on October 29, 2018.  In anticipation of the new law, the New Jersey Department of Labor recently released proposed regulations relating to the new paid sick leave law.

These regulations are subject to revision, but they do attempt to answer the following questions relating to the new law.

  • Accounting for exempt employees paid sick leave accrual. The regulations clarify that employers may count exempt paid sick leave accrual in one of the following ways:
    • Record the hours actually worked by an exempt employee; or
    • Presume that the exempt employee works 40 hours in a workweek for purposes of paid sick leave accrual.
  • New employee waiting period for “up front” paid sick leave. While the paid sick leave law did not address whether there was a waiting period for newly hired employees to use “up front” or “advanced” paid sick leave, the new regulations clarify that the 120-calendar day waiting period applies to both accrued and “up front” or “advanced” paid sick leave.
  • Calculating the paid sick leave rate of pay for non-exempt employees. The law simply states that “the employer shall pay the employee for earned sick leave at the same rate of pay with the same benefits as the employee normally earns” but provides no explanation regarding how that rate of pay is calculated.  The regulations explain that wages are calculated as follows:
    • The employer is not required to compensate an employee at an overtime rate if the paid sick leave is used for hours which would have otherwise qualified for compensation at an overtime premium rate.
    • If an employee works at 2 or more different rates, receives compensation on a piece-rate basis, the pay fluctuates or the compensation includes the value of gratuities, food or lodging, the employer must analyze the total earnings over the last 7 workdays for which leave was not taken — exclusive of overtime earnings — and divide by the total hours worked over those 7 workdays to determine the proper rate of pay for the sick leave benefit.
    • If, however, it is not feasible for the employer to determine the exact hourly wage for an employee whose pay includes the value of gratuities, food or lodging, the paid sick leave may be based upon an agreed hourly wage that must be at least the minimum wage (currently, $8.60).
    • If an employee is compensated on a commission basis, whether base wage plus commission or commission only, the employer must pay either the hourly base wage rate or the State minimum wage, whichever is higher.
  • Effect of paid sick leave use on employee benefit eligibility. The regulations clarify that an employee’s use of paid sick leave, for purposes of employee benefits, “shall be as if the employee worked those hours.”
  • Explanation of employer’s record keeping requirements. The regulations explain the employer’s record keeping obligations as follows:
    • Employers must keep all records documenting hours worked by employees and earned sick leave accrued/advanced, used, paid, and paid out and carried over by/to employees.
    • Employers are not required to keep records for exempt employees to whom the employer advances the full complement of paid sick leave or for whom the employer assumes forty (40) hour workweeks for the purposes of accrual of paid sick leave hours.
    • The records must be kept at the place of employment or in a central office in New Jersey
  • Providing notice of paid sick leave to employees. The law requires employers provide employees notice of their rights under the paid sick leave.  The regulations clarify that the notice requirement can be met by making the notice available to employees on a company internet or intranet site that all employees are able to access or by emailing the notice to the employees.
  • Revising the benefit year. The regulations set forth the following process, which employers must follow to obtain the New Jersey Department of Labor’s approval to change the benefit year:
    • The employer must provide 30 calendar days’ notice to the Commissioner of the proposed change to the benefit year.
    • The notice must:
      • be in writing;
      • identify the existing benefit year;
      • specify the proposed new benefit year;
      • advise of the proposed effective date of the new benefit year;
      • explain the reason for the change in the benefit year; and
      • provide a list of employees (with contact information and paid sick leave history over the past 2 benefit years).

Continue reading PROPOSED REGULATIONS: New Jersey Department of Labor Publishes Proposed Paid Sick Leave Regulations

NEW FORMS: New Jersey Publishes Equal Pay Data Reporting Forms

Last month, New Jersey’s Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act went into effect. This law amended the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination by making it a prohibited employment practice for an employer to compensate an employee who is a member of a “protected class” less than the amount paid to employees who are not members of that protected class for “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility.”

Among other things, the law also imposes pay reporting requirements on employers that contract with a public body to provide “public work” or other “qualifying services.”  To help affected employers comply with these reporting requirements, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development recently published the mandatory reporting forms (the Payroll Certification for Public Works Projects form and the Annual Equal Pay Report for Qualifying Services Other than Public Works Projects form) employers must use to comply with these new reporting requirements. Instructions for completing both forms were also published.

New Laws Effective July 1, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aside from the minimum wage increases, there are a number of new laws coming into effect on or after July 1, 2018.

State New Law
California SB 3 – Amends California’s paid sick leave law and extends California paid sick leave benefits to qualifying in-home supportive services (IHSS) workers.

Effective July 1, 2018

AB 1978 (California Property Service Workers Protection Act) – Requires all janitorial employers register with the DLSE on an annual basis.  Further requires all janitorial employers will also be required to maintain records with basic employee data (e.g. names and addresses, daily hours worked, wage information, and other conditions of employment) for three years and to educate their employees about the unlawfulness of sexual harassment and how to combat it.

Effective July 1, 2018

FEHA Regulations 2 CA ADC § 11027.1 & 2 CA ADC § 11028 – Expands California’s national origin protection regulations to include provisions regarding:

• a broad definition of national origin;
• language-restriction policies and English-only policies;
• accents;
• height and weight requirements
• immigration status

Effective July 1, 2018

Cal-OSHA Regulations – Amended to include a standard on “Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention” and requires affected employers to establish, implement, and maintain an effective musculoskeletal injury prevention program (MIPP) that addresses hazards specific to housekeeping.

Effective July 1, 2018

Colorado HB 1229 — Expands state workers’ compensation law to clarify the definitions of “psychologically traumatic event” and “serious bodily injury.” This allows allow first responders to apply for mental impairment claim under Colorado workers’ compensation law after a “psychologically traumatic event.”

Effective July 1, 2018

Georgia HB 673 (Hands-Free Georgia Act) — Requires drivers (including employees driving for work purposes) to use hands-free technology when using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving.

Effective July 1, 2018

Idaho HB 527 — Provides that for purposes of the state’s labor and employment laws, a franchisor is not an employer or co-employer of either a franchisee or an employee of the franchisee, unless the franchise agreement of the courts state otherwise.

Effective July 1, 2018

SB 1287 — Amends the state noncompete law so that a company seeking injunctive relief against a “key” employee or independent contractor must establish a likelihood of irreparable harm before an injunction can be issued.

Effective July 1, 2018

HB 466 — Exempts minors working for immediate family members from Idaho’s minimum wage laws.

Effective July 1, 2018

Indiana HB 1286 — Provides that marketplace contractors are considered independent contractors under all Indiana state and local laws if certain conditions are met.

Effective July 1, 2018

SB 290 — Imposes new time frames for completing certain tasks and changes the way penalties are assessed for failing to maintain worker’s compensation insurance coverage on an employer’s workers.  It also extends the renewal period for Second Injury Fund wage replacement benefits from 150 weeks to three years.

Effective July 1, 2018

Iowa HF 2383 — Lowers the minimum alcohol concentration that can be considered a violation of an employer’s written policy providing for alcohol testing from 0.04 to 0.02

Effective July 1, 2018

HF 2240 — Allows employers to provide employees with wage statements by electronic means.  Employers may still provide wage statements via mail or make them available at the employees’ normal place of employment during normal business hours.

Effective July 1, 2018

Maryland SB 134 (Small Business Relief Tax Credit Bill) — Authorizes a tax credit against the State income tax for certain small businesses that provide to qualified employees paid earned sick and safe leave.

Applicable to tax years beginning after December 31, 2017

Massachusetts S.2119 (Massachusetts Act to Establish Pay Equity) — Amends the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act to clarify what constitutes unlawful wage discrimination and further strengthens the existing law by adding protections to ensure greater fairness and equity in the workplace.

Effective July 1, 2018

Mississippi SB 2459 – Extends military leave rights to members of the armed forces of any state (previously protected military leave rights were only provided to members of the US or Mississippi Armed Forces).

Effective July 1, 2018

New Hampshire HB 1319 (An Act Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Gender Identity) — Amends the New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination and prohibits employer discrimination because of an individual’s “gender identity.”
Effective July 8, 2018
New Jersey SB 104 (Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act) — Amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination to expand its equal pay protections to all “protected classes.  Specifically, it prohibits, among other things, payment to any employee who is a member of a “protected class” at a rate of compensation, including benefits, which is less than the rate paid to employees who are not members of the protected class for substantially similar work.

Effective July 1, 2018

Oklahoma State Question 788 — Legalizes marijuana use for medical purposes in Oklahoma. Forbids employers from penalizing persons for holding a medical marijuana license unless failing to do so causes a loss of benefits under federal law. Allows employers to penalize license-holders who possess or use marijuana while at work.

Effective July 26, 2018

Oregon SB 828 (Predictable Scheduling Law) — Requires large employers (500+ employees worldwide) in food service, hospitality, and retail industries provide new employee with estimated work schedule and to provide current employee with seven days’ notice of employee work schedule.

Effective July 1, 2018

HB 2017 – Requires employers to withhold and remit 0.1% (one-tenth of one percent) of an employee’s wages to fund public transit projects throughout the state.  Applies to (1) all wages paid to any employee who is an Oregon resident, regardless of where he or she works and (2) all wages paid to any employee who is an Oregon resident, regardless of where he or she works.

Effective July 1, 2018

Rhode Island H.5413 (Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act) – Requires Rhode Island employers to provide sick leave benefits to eligible employees.  For employers with 17 or fewer employees, the sick leave benefits are unpaid; while for employers with 18+ employees the sick leave benefits are paid.

Effective July 1, 2018

South Dakota SB 62 — Requires an employer to disclose a data breach within 60 days of discovering it to any South Dakota resident whose personal or protected information was or is reasonably believed to have been acquired by an unauthorized person.

Effective July 1, 2018

Tennessee SB 1967 — Provides that marketplace contractors are considered independent contractors under all Tennessee state and local laws if certain conditions are met.

Effective July 1, 2018

Vermont H.294 – Amends the Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act and prohibits employers from making salary history inquiries during the hiring process.

Effective July 1, 2018

H.333 — Requires all single-user bathrooms in public buildings or places of public accommodation to be marked as gender-neutral.

Effective July 1, 2018

H.511 — Legalizes the use (and possession) of marijuana for recreational purposes.  However, the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes does not create any employment-related protections.

Effective July 1, 2018

H.707 — Makes numerous changes to Vermont’s laws related to sexual harassment, including:

·         Requires that a working relationship with a person hired to perform work or services be free from sexual harassment;

·         Prohibits employment contracts from containing provisions that prevent an employee from disclosing sexual harassment or waive an employee’s rights or remedies with respect to a claim of sexual harassment;

·         Prohibits agreements to settle a sexual harassment claim from including provisions that prevent an employee from working for the employer or an affiliate of the employer in the future;

·         Requires an agreement to settle a claim of sexual harassment to state that it does not prevent the employee from reporting sexual harassment to an appropriate governmental agency, complying with a discovery request or testifying at a hearing or trial related to a claim of sexual harassment, or exercising his or her right under State or federal labor law to engage in concerted activity for mutual aid and protection; and

·         Permits the Attorney General or Human Rights Commission to inspect a place of business or employment for purposes of determining whether the employer is complying with the law related to sexual harassment

Effective July 1, 2018

Virginia HB 146  — Extends the rights regarding (i) leaves of absence from nongovernmental employment, (ii) reemployment, and (iii) employment nondiscrimination that are currently provided to members of the Virginia National Guard and the Virginia Defense Force and residents of Virginia who are members of the National Guard of another state to any person who is a member of the National Guard of another state who is employed or seeking employment in Virginia.

Effective July 1, 2018

HB 1527 — Requires state and private employers to allow officers or employees who are volunteer members of the Civil Air Patrol to provide “Civil Air Patrol Leave” on all days during which such officer or employee is (i) engaged in training for emergency missions with the Civil Air Patrol, not to exceed 10 workdays per federal fiscal year, or (ii) responding to an emergency mission as a Civil Air Patrol volunteer, not to exceed 30 workdays per federal fiscal year.

Effective July 1, 2018

SB 672 – Amends Virginia’s mini-COBRA law to exclude covered employees terminated for gross misconduct.

Effective July 1, 2018

HB 1293 — Increases the penalty for failing to file quarterly unemployment wage or tax reports from $75 to $100.

Effective July 1, 2018

Wyoming HB 0010 — Limits workers’ compensation coverage of nonresident (out-of-state) employers.

Effective July 1, 2018

 

 

NEW LAW: New Jersey Enacts Sick Leave Law

On May 2, 2018, New Jersey enacted a mandatory sick leave law which will apply to all private employers, regardless of employee count. The new law will take effect on October 29, 2018 and will require employers to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave per year to eligible employees. New Jersey employers should start preparations now to comply with this law as it will likely have a significant effect on their existing sick leave and PTO benefits plans.

Effective Date

October 29, 2018.

Employees Who Qualify for Sick Leave

All employees working in the state “for compensation” must be provided with paid sick leave.

The law specifically excludes employees in the construction industry subject to a collective bargaining agreement, per diem health care employees, and public employees who already receive sick leave benefits under another state law.

Employers Who Must Provide Sick Leave Continue reading NEW LAW: New Jersey Enacts Sick Leave Law

New Jersey Enacts Equal Pay Law

On April 24, 2018, New Jersey enacted one of the toughest equal pay laws in the nation.  Effective July 1, 2018, New Jersey’s equal pay law will prohibit payment to any employee who is a member of a “protected class” at a rate of compensation, including benefits, which is less than the rate paid to employees who are not members of the protected class for substantially similar work.   Given its broad application, New Jersey’s law will likely require additional oversight by employers of their hiring and pay practices.

Nearly Limitless Application

New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act differs from other state and federal equal pay laws in that it will apply to all protected classes as defined under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD).  Specifically, the law will make it unlawful for an employer to pay an employee of one protected class at a rate of compensation that is less than the rate paid to an employee who is not a member of the same protected class for substantially similar work.

Continue reading New Jersey Enacts Equal Pay Law

NEW LAW — New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Prohibits Discrimination Against Breastfeeding Employees

On January 8, 2018, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed A2294 into law.  This bill amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) to include breastfeeding to the list of protected classes under the NJLAD.

With this amendment, which went into effect on January 8, 2018, employers are expressly prohibited from engaging in the following conduct:

  • Refusing to hire breastfeeding applicants;
  • Firing an employee because she is breastfeeding or otherwise discriminating against a breastfeeding employee in compensation and other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; and
  • Treating female employees you know or should know are “affected by breastfeeding” less favorably (e.g. with respect to workplace accommodation and leave policies) than employees not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.

In addition to the foregoing, employers are required to provide breastfeeding employees with reasonable accommodation, including a reasonable break time each day and a private location near the work area (but not a toilet stall) for the employee to express breast milk for her child – unless the employer can demonstrate that providing the accommodation would impose an “undue hardship” on the business.

Under the NJLAD, whether an accommodation is considered an undue hardship is determined by the following factors:

  • The overall size of your business with respect to the number of employees, number and type of facilities, and size of the budget;
  • The type of your operations, including the composition and structure of your workforce;
  • The nature and cost of the accommodation, taking into consideration the availability of tax credits, tax deductions, and outside funding; and
  • The extent to which the accommodation would involve waiver of an essential requirement of a job as opposed to a tangential or non-business necessity requirement.

This is a high standard to meet.

Take home for employers

Since this law went into immediate effect, New Jersey employers should verify that their current employment policies and practices relating to breastfeeding employees are compliant with the new law.