How to Defuse New Jersey’s 10 Most Explosive Employment Laws

How to Defuse
New Jersey’s
10 Most Explosive
Employment Laws
Anniken Davenport, Esq.
Kathy Shipp
Patrick DiDomenico
Linda Smith
Phillip A. Ash
© 2006, National Institute of Business Management, 1750 Old Meadow Road, Suite 302, McLean, VA
22102-4315. Phone: (800) 543-2055. All rights reserved. No part of this special report may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. Printed in U.S.A.
The information presented in this special report is not legal advice. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on New Jersey employment law, but it is sold with the understanding that the publisher and authors are not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Legal cases turn on the facts of each case, and an attorney well versed in the unique
facts of your case and the law is best qualified to assist you.
Table of Contents
Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1. The New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
2. The New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
3. The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
4. The New Jersey Family Leave Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
5. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
6. The New Jersey Wage and Hour Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
7. The New Jersey Wage Payment Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
8. The New Jersey Child Labor Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
9. Local Ordinances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
10. Common-Law Protections for Employees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Online Resources: New Jersey Employment Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
How to Defuse New Jersey’s 10 Most Explosive Employment Laws
Executive Summary
s a New Jersey employer, you don’t have to comply with just federal employment laws,
such as the Civil Rights Act, OSHA and the Fair Labor Standards Act. You must also follow state laws on everything from workers’ compensation to jury duty.
Several cities and towns also get in on the act. Each wants to control some aspect of
how you run your business and treat your employees. For example, some cities regulate how
much you must pay employees above the federal and state minimum wage.
Running afoul of any of these government units can cost you time and money. Several
laws even impose personal liability on supervisors and managers who violate their mandates.
A few scenarios show how your organization could easily trip over state and local laws:
Hiring for a store you’re opening in Hudson County? Be sure to comply with the county’s living-wage ordinance.
Making a deduction from an employee’s paycheck for damages or shortages? Better
brush up on how to get your money back before you withhold the value of the cell
phone he lost.
Require employees to wear uniforms? Don’t even think about charging them for their
clothing unless they can wear it on the street as casual wear.
Want to pay employees by check? Make sure the bank on which the check is drawn
will cash it for the full amount even if an employee doesn’t have an account there.
An employee quit without notice? Make sure you figure out her commissions and other
incentive pay before the pay period ends, even if those payments wouldn’t be due until
These and other New Jersey laws give employees rights far beyond anything mandated
by the federal government, the EEOC and the Department of Labor. But rest assured, you
can comply with New Jersey’s employment laws without driving yourself insane or your
company out of business. Knowledge is power.
This special report will quickly bring you up to speed on the top New Jersey employment laws and provide the basic framework for handling employees in the Garden State.
Meanwhile, your subscription to New Jersey Employment Law will keep you updated on the
latest developments, court cases and new laws that affect your role as HR professional,
supervisor or business owner. We’ll provide the specialized information you need, including
the latest on immigration reform, which will disproportionately affect New Jersey employers.
If this special report enables you to spot a problem before it’s too late, you will have
done yourself and your organization a huge favor. Too often, New Jersey employers land in
trouble because they’re unaware of a state law or local ordinance regulating some aspect of
their business.
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
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1. The New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law
ew Jersey’s unemployment compensation law, like that of many other states,
provides temporary payments to employees
who lose their jobs through no fault of their
own. The program draws from a public policy that assumes “unemployment is a serious menace to the health, morals and welfare” of the citizens of New Jersey and is
aimed at lightening the job-loss burden for
workers and their families.
The New Jersey Department of Labor
and Workforce Development administers
the law through its Division of Unemployment Insurance (
/uiindex.html). The law is complex and in
some cases holds employers liable for
unemployment insurance (UI) payments
even when former employees weren’t fired
but quit their jobs.
The law requires employers to inform
employees about the state’s unemployment
compensation program anytime they’re
“separated from work for any reason,”
including a plant/office vacation or holiday
shutdown lasting at least seven days. If you
plan a mass layoff (defined by New Jersey
as affecting 25 or more employees), you
must notify the nearest unemployment
office at least 48 hours in advance. You
must also contact that office in the event of
a strike or other work stoppage.
Employees who are eligible for UI payments are entitled to 60 percent of their
average weekly wage, up to a maximum of
$521 per week, and can ordinarily collect
payments for up to 26 weeks. Employees
who find part-time work while on unemployment may still be eligible; however,
their payment will be reduced dollar for
dollar once they earn at least 20 percent of
their weekly benefit from a part-time job.
For example, someone receiving $500
per week in unemployment can earn up to
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
$100 per week in a part-time job without
any reduction in UI benefits. Beyond that
amount, every dollar earned means a dollar
in reduced benefits.
As a general rule, former employees
are eligible for unemployment compensation when they’re not responsible for their
dismissal. In other words, unless you fired
someone for cause, he or she is probably
eligible for unemployment benefits.
When you terminate an employee, the
burden of proof is on you. That may sound
simple, but it isn’t. New Jersey has two definitions of misconduct: regular and gross.
Those guilty of regular misconduct may
collect payments after being off work for
five weeks; those fired for “gross” misconduct aren’t eligible for UI benefits.
You must state the reason for a discharge or termination if you intend to claim
that an employee was guilty of misconduct.
Be prepared to prove that you fired the former employee for a solid reason (for cause),
such as stealing, cheating, a safety infraction, harassment or discrimination. To obtain
the required form to fill out, contact the
Division of Unemployment Insurance (see
Resources at end of this special report).
Employees who quit may still be eligible for benefits, but the burden of proof is
on them to show that they quit “for good
cause” connected to their employment.
As the employer, you will receive
notice when the Division of Unemployment
Insurance determines a former employee
eligible for benefits. You then have the right
to appeal the decision. Your response must
be postmarked within seven days of the date
you received the notice or 10 days after the
agency mailed it. These are tight deadlines
so don’t delay.
Here are some common tricky situations in which employees who quit or are
How to Defuse New Jersey’s 10 Most Explosive Employment Laws
fired can sometimes collect unemployment
benefits and sometimes not.
Regular misconduct. An employee
who’s fired for regular misconduct (violating a company rule or policy) isn’t entitled
to receive benefits right away. However, he
can start collecting benefits about six weeks
later (five weeks after the week of his discharge).
Gross misconduct. Employees who are
fired for gross misconduct, such as a crime
under New Jersey law, can’t collect unemployment. Exception: Fired employees who
take another job will again become eligible
if their new employer discharges them
through no fault of their own. To qualify,
they must have worked at least four weeks
at the new job and earn at least six times the
weekly benefit they would have been entitled to had their former employer not fired
them for gross misconduct.
Trailing spouse. In this day and age of
dual-career families, a husband or wife may
quit a job when the spouse accepts a position in another city or state. While some
states do allow unemployment benefits for a
trailing spouse, New Jersey doesn’t consider
this a good cause connected with work.
Therefore, the trailing spouse wouldn’t be
eligible for benefits.
Retirement pay. Employees who are
eligible for social security retirement
payments can still collect unemployment
benefits. If they begin collecting on a
company-sponsored retirement plan, however, their weekly benefits may be reduced:
• If the company and the employee both
contributed to the retirement plan,
weekly unemployment benefits would
be reduced by 50 percent.
• If the employer contributed 100 percent
to the retirement plan (such as a
defined benefit plan), the employee
couldn’t collect unemployment.
• If the employee contributed 100 percent
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
to the plan (such as a companysponsored 401(k) with no employer
match), he would be eligible for the
entire weekly UI payment.
Visa holders. Foreigners working in
the United States on H1-B visas aren’t eligible for UI benefits if they’re permanently
terminated. That’s because H1-B visa holders are authorized to work for only one
employer and thus aren’t ready, willing and
able to seek other employment. But if the
same workers are only temporarily laid off
and have a specific return date, they can
collect unemployment.
Ready and able to work. To be eligible for UI benefits, claimants must be physically and mentally capable of working. So,
if a person on unemployment is hurt in a car
accident, she won’t be eligible for benefits
until she’s been cleared to return to work.
She may qualify, however, for temporary
disability payments (see Section 2).
Elder care, child care and transportation. Claimants who must care for
family members or don’t have transportation to and from work may not be eligible
for benefits. Because their time commitments and transportation problems prevent
them from accepting a job immediately,
they’re not ready and able to work.
Active job search. To receive UI payments, claimants must be actively seeking
work: i.e., contacting at least three employers per week about job openings. Some
claimants may be asked to keep records of
their attempts to find a job.
Refusing a job offer. Claimants who
refuse to accept a job offer may lose their
benefits for four weeks. In addition, they
may have to accept less money or a different type of job if they’ve been unemployed
for a long time.
Job transfer. If an employer asks an
employee to transfer to another location as a
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condition of staying employed, he may quit
and still be able to collect unemployment.
Such situations are considered on an individual basis and depend on whether the
move will create an undue hardship on the
Representing your organization
Employers should carefully consider
whether they want to contest an unemployment claim and, ideally, consult an
employment-law expert about the best
course of action. This is true especially if
you suspect the employee might file a discrimination lawsuit against your company.
What you say about your organization’s
actions can come back to haunt you, especially if the former employee’s attorney
uses the relatively low-stakes unemployment setting to fish for information for a
lawsuit against you. What you say about
why you fired an employee may bind you in
a later, high-stakes lawsuit.
For example, if you testify that you
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
fired an employee because of her frequent
absences, the records you produce could be
used later to show you violated the Family
and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by counting her sick-child call-off as an unexcused
That’s why it’s best to run your expected testimony and documentary evidence by
an attorney before you represent your
employer in a hearing. You don’t want to
say anything that could turn into ammunition against you later, or be silent about
something that will prevent you from putting on evidence later. Sometimes, it may be
best to have an attorney handle the entire UI
case. Other times, if you and your attorney
think there’s a good chance that the former
employee will file a state or federal discrimination lawsuit, it may be better to forgo a
hearing to avoid showing your cards too
early. Not contesting an unemployment
claim won’t prevent you later from showing
you fired the employee for a legitimate
How to Defuse New Jersey’s 10 Most Explosive Employment Laws
2. The New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law
ew Jersey employees are also entitled to
temporary disability payments for nonwork-related injuries. The program is compulsory for all employers covered by the
state’s unemployment compensation law.
The New Jersey Temporary Disability
Benefits Law provides cash benefits to
employees who, because of a serious illness
or injury, can’t perform their regular jobs
and are under professional medical care.
The New Jersey Department of Labor
and Workforce Development administers
the program through its Division of
Temporary Disability Insurance (www.nj
.gov/labor/tdi/tdiindex.html). It’s funded by
contributions from both employers and
employees. In 2006, employees pay 0.5
percent on the first $25,800 of earnings, or
no more than $129 per year; employers pay
between 0.10 percent and 0.75 percent on
the first $25,800 of earnings, or $25.80 and
$193.50 per employee. (Injured workers
receive a minimum of $184 per week and a
maximum of $691 per week. Those weekly
payments will increase to $190 and $711 in
Employers can opt out of the statesponsored plan and enroll in a private plan.
If employers choose that option, the private
plan must provide benefits at least comparable to those in the state plan. Employers in
private plans aren’t required to contribute to
the state plan, but they can’t ask employees
to contribute more toward the premium than
they would under the state plan (in 2006, no
more than $129 yearly).
To qualify for benefits, employees must
have worked at least 20 weeks, earning a
minimum $123 each week or more than
$6,200 during the 52 weeks immediately
before becoming temporarily disabled (provided they meet the definition of temporary
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
disability and can’t perform their regular
jobs). Benefits start after the first seven
days of disability, so illnesses or injuries
that resolve within one week aren’t covered.
Benefits are paid for up to 26 weeks
provided the employee is under the care of
a licensed physician, dentist, optometrist,
podiatrist, practicing psychologist, advanced
practice nurse or chiropractor.
Here are some common temporary disabilities that may or may not make employees eligible for temporary disability benefits.
Pregnancy. Pregnancy is treated as any
other temporary disability. For a normal
pregnancy, benefits are usually payable for
up to four weeks before the expected delivery date and up to six weeks afterward. A
doctor must complete a disability certification form and may certify a longer disability period for:
• Pregnancy-related complications
• A Caesarean birth
• A nonpregnancy disability that also
arises (for example, an underlying medical condition that worsens following
pregnancy or disability)
Self-inflicted injury. Employees who
attempt to harm themselves by, say,
attempting suicide aren’t eligible for benefits. The same holds true for employees
injured while committing a serious crime.
For example, an individual involved in a car
accident while driving under the influence
of alcohol may be ineligible for benefits.
Alcoholism. Employees with alcohol
problems severe enough to interfere with
their ability to perform their regular jobs are
eligible for disability benefits if they’re
under a doctor’s care. They may also be
covered under the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA).
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Drug addiction. Employees addicted
to illegal drugs are eligible for benefits provided they’re no longer using them and are
undergoing substance-abuse treatment.
Caution: Make sure you don’t discriminate against employees who may fall under
the ADA and/or FMLA. For example, the
New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits
Law doesn’t require employers to re-hire
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
employees who were temporarily disabled
and received state or private benefits. But if
they’re covered by the FMLA, they have the
right to return to the same or equivalent
jobs. Others may be disabled under the
ADA and thus entitled to temporary benefits and reinstatement, perhaps even with a
reasonable accommodation.
How to Defuse New Jersey’s 10 Most Explosive Employment Laws
3. The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Law
he New Jersey workers’ compensation
system is designed to protect employees
who are injured on the job by replacing lost
wages while they recover. The system works
as a no-fault guarantee. The law entitles
employees who can show they were hurt
while working to a portion of their earnings
and paid medical care for their injuries.
They needn’t prove that their employer was
negligent. In exchange for the no-fault guarantee, the law doesn’t allow workers to sue
for negligence and collect far more than just
lost wages and medical payments.
The New Jersey Department of Labor
and Workforce Development administers
the law through its Division of Workers’
Compensation (
In some situations, employees aren’t
eligible for workers’ comp. For example,
they can’t collect benefits if they’re injured:
• While intoxicated
• As a result of willful failure to use any
reasonable and proper personal protective device furnished by the employer
• While attempting to injure themselves
or unlawfully injuring another person
• By someone other than a co-worker for
personal reasons
• While participating in a voluntary, offduty recreational, social or athletic
activity unrelated to their job duties
• By an act of God
• By horseplay or skylarking
Under the New Jersey Workers’
Compensation Law, employers are held
accountable for a variety of workplace
injuries, including those that occur in common areas of the workplace, such as parking lots. The law also covers contractors
and subcontractors working at the employer’s site for injuries caused “by any defect
in the ways, works, machinery, or plant” if
the employer or one of its agents had a
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
“duty of seeing they were in proper working
New Jersey’s workers’ comp law works
in concert with other laws, such as the child
labor laws and the ADA. Employers who
illegally employ minors must pay double
the normal workers’ compensation payout,
with the excess coming out of the employer’s pocket, not from the insurance company. In addition, employers may be liable
through their workers’ comp coverage to
remodel a disabled worker’s home to
accommodate his limited mobility.
Virtually all New Jersey businesses
must carry workers’ comp. Even sole proprietors who employ someone else must
provide coverage or be approved for selfinsurance.
Tips for reducing workers’ comp costs
One way you can reduce workers’ compensation costs is to encourage employees to
return to work as soon as they can. You can,
for example, make available light-duty positions for injured employees who may not be
ready to return to more demanding jobs.
Work with your insurance carrier to develop
a light-duty program.
ADA, FMLA and workers’ compensation
Employees injured at work may also be disabled under the ADA or the New Jersey
Law Against Discrimination and have a
serious medical condition under the FMLA.
So HR professionals should make sure to
coordinate any unpaid leave and reasonable
accommodations, such as light-duty work or
intermittent leave, with the insurance carrier. It’s important to coordinate those claims:
Nothing will sink a case faster than evidence that an employer acquiesced to a
workers’ comp claim but refused to allow
an FMLA claim for the same condition.
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4. The New Jersey Family Leave Act
he New Jersey Family Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave
every 24 months for employees of any New
Jersey company that has 50 or more
employees anywhere worldwide. The law
covers employees if they’ve worked for
their organization for at least one year and
clocked at least 1,000 hours during the preceding 12 months.
Whenever an employee qualifies under
both the New Jersey Family Leave Act and
the federal FMLA, the leave periods run
concurrently. That means an employee who
takes 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave can’t
stack on another 12 weeks’ unpaid leave
under the New Jersey law.
The main difference between the
FMLA and the New Jersey law is in the eligibility rules. The New Jersey law covers
employees who work an average of just over
19 hours per week, while the FMLA
requires an average of 24 hours per week for
eligibility. Also, the New Jersey law covers
more employers since the 50-employee
threshold can be met by tallying employees
working for the company anywhere in the
world. The FMLA covers only companies
with 50 or more employees within 75 miles
of the workplace in question.
The New Jersey Division on Civil
Rights (
enforces the family leave act.
5. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
he New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) makes it unlawful to subject
people to differential treatment based on race,
creed, color, national origin, nationality,
ancestry, age, sex (including pregnancy), marital status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for military service, mental or
physical disability, perceived disability, AIDS
and HIV status. The LAD prohibits unlawful
discrimination in employment and access to
places of public accommodation.
The LAD prohibits employers from
discriminating against any member of the
protected classes listed above in any jobrelated action, including recruitment, interviewing, hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, and the terms, conditions and
privileges of employment.
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
The law is New Jersey’s version of the
federal Civil Rights Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Equal Pay Act and
the ADA all rolled into one. While these
federal laws cover employers with 15 or
more employees, the LAD covers all
employers regardless of size. The New
Jersey Division on Civil Rights (www.state enforces the law.
As under the federal ADA, the LAD
requires every place of public accommodation to make reasonable modifications to its
policies, practices or procedures to ensure
that people with disabilities have access to
public places. Reasonable accommodations
may include providing auxiliary aides and
making physical changes to ensure paths
of travel.
(For details on the main federal jobdiscrimination laws, go to
How to Defuse New Jersey’s 10 Most Explosive Employment Laws
6. The New Jersey Wage and Hour Law
ffective Oct. 1, 2006, the minimum wage
in New Jersey is $7.15 per hour ($2 higher than the federal minimum wage). For
full-time college students, employers may
pay as little as 85 percent of the minimum
wage. The state’s Division of Wage and
Hour Compliance (
/lsse/lswhinfo.html) administers the law.
Employees who work more than 40
hours a week are entitled to overtime
pay at one and one-half times their regular hourly rate. Workers who are
exempt from earning overtime include:
Executive, administrative and professional employees
Employees engaged in farm labor or
relative to raising or care of livestock
Employees of a common carrier of passengers by motorbus
Employees working under a wage
order, such as these occupations: first
processing of farm products, food service (restaurants), hotel and motel, as
well as seasonal amusement
Outside salespeople
Motor vehicle salespeople
Part-time employees engaged in child
care in the homes of their employers
Minors under age 18, except in these
occupations: first processing of farm
products, hotels, motels, restaurants,
mercantile, laundry, cleaning, dyeing,
light manufacturing, apparel and beauty
Employees at summer camps, conferences and retreats operated by any
nonprofit or religious corporation or
association during the months of June
through September
In addition, employers must pay farm
laborers who work on a piece-rate basis not
less than the minimum wage multiplied by
the number of hours worked.
(To read about the minimum wage
laws in other states, visit the U.S. Labor
Department’s Web site at
These occupations are exempt from the
minimum-wage law:
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
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7. The New Jersey Wage Payment Law
he New Jersey Wage Payment Law
seems like it should be rather simple, but
it’s perhaps the most complicated employment law in the state. Full of traps for the
unwary, the law can spell big trouble for
even innocent mistakes, with fines of up to
$1,000 per violation.
The state’s Division of Wage and Hour
Compliance enforces the law, which covers
all New Jersey private employers, even
those with only one employee. It requires at
least two paydays per calendar month
unless the employer specifically sets another pay period. If a payday falls on a nonbusiness day, you must dispense payroll on
the last business day prior to the regularly
scheduled payday.
The wage payment law stipulates the
conditions under which an employer may
withhold or divert any portion of an
employee’s wages. In addition to all payroll
taxes and other diversions required or
authorized by the federal or state government, employers may withhold or divert
(with employees’ written permission):
Employer-sponsored insurance or annuities
Other deductions approved by the
Commissioner of Labor
Involuntary partings, such as discharge,
termination, layoff or a mutual agreement to leave in lieu of being fired,
and death. In these situations, the
employer has six days from the effective date of discharge to issue a final
paycheck. (If the employer is closed
on that day, the check is due the next
business day.)
Health or retirement benefits
Company stock purchases
Personal savings or Christmas club
Payments for purchases of company
products, such as safety equipment, or
repayments of employer loans
Voluntary partings, such as employees
who quit, walk off the job or retire. For
them, the last paycheck is due on the
next regularly scheduled payday following their last day of work.
Charitable contributions
Payments for rental and cleaning of
Union dues
Union-sponsored contributions to political committees
Political contributions to specific candidates
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
The New Jersey Wage Payment Law
also covers procedures on payment of final
wages upon termination. A final check must
include all money due to the worker on the
next regularly scheduled payday. When a
commission or bonus whose value hasn’t
yet been calculated is due, you must pay a
reasonable estimate of it until the exact
amount can be computed.
The law covers involuntary and voluntary terminations:
In the case of a deceased employee,
you should send the final paycheck to the
designated beneficiary in the employee’s
will. If no clear beneficiary is listed,
employers must pay in the following order:
1. Surviving spouse
2. Children ages 18 years and over in
equal shares, or to the guardian of children
under age 18
3. Father and mother or survivor
4. Sisters and brothers, or to the person
who pays the funeral expenses
How to Defuse New Jersey’s 10 Most Explosive Employment Laws
Hiring: Medical exams and polygraphs
The wage payment law also governs certain
hiring procedures. For example, employers
who require applicants to undergo medical
exams must incur the cost. It’s illegal to
require an applicant or employee to pay for
an employer-required physical.
Further, employers may not require
employees to take polygraph tests unless:
1. The employer is authorized to manufacture, distribute or dispense controlled dangerous substances pursuant to the New
Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.
2. The employee or applicant will be
directly involved in manufacturing, distributing or dispensing legally distributed, controlled dangerous substances or have access
to them.
3. The polygraph test covers only
events that occurred in the past five years,
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
and it addresses only mishandling of controlled substances. Normal baseline establishing questions are permitted.
Additionally, the law prohibits discrimination in pay based on gender, race or any
of the same protected classes listed in the
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination
(see Section 5).
Employers are required to give employees
30 days’ notice if they terminate their health
coverage. If employers change health plans,
they must notify employees immediately.
Don’t miss these deadlines or you could
face fines of up to $200 per employee. Also,
health insurance carriers must notify
employers 60 days in advance of any premium increases. All notices covered by the
law must be in writing.
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8. The New Jersey Child Labor Law
nforced by the Division of Wage and
Hour Compliance, the New Jersey Child
Labor Law prohibits employers from hiring
minors under age 16 for factory jobs and
other specifically excluded occupations.
Generally, those ages 14 to 16 can work
outside school hours and during summer
vacation. Certain industry-specific restrictions apply.
Minors under age 16 may not work
prior to 7 a.m. or past 7 p.m. unless they’re
employed in supermarkets, restaurants or
retail establishments or during summer
vacation. They must also have signed permission from a parent or a guardian to work.
Generally, minors under age 18 may
not work more than six consecutive days in
one week, 40 hours per week or eight hours
per day. Employers may not schedule them
to work after 11 p.m. on nights before
school days. They may not work more than
five hours continuously without a 30-minute
lunch break. (Any breaks shorter than 30
minutes aren’t considered an interruption of
continuous work.)
Exception: Summer camps run by nonprofits that employ workers ages 16 to 18
during June through September are exempt
from the law.
Tip: The federal Fair Labor Standards
Act also sets child-labor rules. To read those
regulations, go to
9. Local Ordinances
ew Jersey local governments can (and
sometimes do) legislate their own rules
for employers within their jurisdictions. For
example, several municipalities have livingwage laws stipulating higher pay than the
state minimum wage ($7.15 per hour):
additional $2.37 per hour if they’re not
offered health benefits. Training and
youth programs are exempt.
Cumberland County: Companies
entering into service contracts with the
county must pay employees $8.50 per
hour. If they don’t offer health insurance, they must pay an additional $2.37
per hour; if they lack a pension plan,
their employees are entitled to an additional $1.50 per hour.
Gloucester County: Everyone who
works on county contracts must be paid
the greater of $8.50 per hour or the
hourly equivalent to reach the federal
poverty level. Workers are entitled to an
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
Hudson County: County service contractors employing security, food service and janitorial staff who work at
least 20 hours per week must pay them
at least 150 percent of the federal minimum wage (currently $5.15 per hour).
They must also provide health benefits
and one week’s paid vacation. (A court
challenge to the program recently failed
to have it declared unconstitutional.)
Jersey City: City contractors employing clerical, food service, janitorial
workers or security guards must pay
them $7.50 per hour and provide health
benefits and vacation.
How to Defuse New Jersey’s 10 Most Explosive Employment Laws
10. Common-Law Protections for Employees
ew Jersey employers must abide by common-law protections afforded to employees: most notably, the right to be free from
libel, slander and intentional infliction of
emotional distress.
Most often, employers land in trouble
when a supervisor makes a stupid comment
or tries to make an example of an employee.
Take, for instance, an employee suspected by a manager of stealing from the
petty cash. If that manager calls a staff
meeting, announces the “theft” and points
out the “guilty” party, the manager better be
sure he or she has the facts straight. If not,
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
the employee may be able to win a suit for
defamation and intentional infliction of
emotional distress under New Jersey common law. What’s worse, the manager can be
held personally liable, too.
Another area in which to exercise
extreme caution: giving job references. Be
sure that any information you give can be
verified. Ask if the applicant signed a
release and consent form, allowing you to
discuss his or her work performance. Obtain
a copy. When in doubt, stick with the
basics. Name, rank and position held are
unlikely to get you into trouble.
National Institute of Business Management
Online Resources: New Jersey Employment Law
New Jersey Department of Labor
and Workforce Development
Web sites:
Unemployment compensation
Division of Unemployment Insurance
To download the New Jersey Employers’ Handbook on Unemployment Compensation, go
To download required notices and posters, go to:
Forms and posting requirements
(609) 292-2347
Fraud hotline
(609) 777-4304
Claims appeals
(609) 292-2669
Temporary disability benefits
Division of Temporary Disability Insurance
(609) 292-7060
Workers’ compensation
Division of Workers’ Compensation
(609) 292-2515
Wages and hours, payday, child labor rules
Division of Wage and Hour Compliance
(609) 292-2337
Civil rights, family leave
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and the New Jersey Family Leave Act are
enforced by:
Division on Civil Rights
New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety
(609) 292-4605
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management
How to Defuse New Jersey’s 10 Most Explosive Employment Laws
HR support, employer seminars
The state provides HR guidance and onsite seminars through its Employer Human Resource
Support Services (EHRSS) program. Through the program employers can:
Call its team of HR experts with questions related to their businesses; phone (609) 9843518.
Attend one of the 14 seminars the EHRSS staff conducts on college campuses throughout New Jersey.
Arrange an onsite HR seminar at their business location (for a minimum of 12 attendees).
Obtain assistance with employee handbooks, job descriptions and employee surveys.
For details about the seminars, go to or call (609)
Other useful numbers
These phone numbers at the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development
are especially helpful for business owners, bookkeepers, payroll services and accountants:
General Information
(609) 292-2280
(609) 292-2292
Delinquent Reports
(609) 292-1065
Employer Refunds
(609) 292-0083
Employer Status
(609) 292-2638
Experience Rating
(609) 292-6620
Federal Recertification
(609) 777-4911
Reporting Fraud
(609) 777-4304
WR-30s, Wage Reporting
(609) 633-6400
Alien Labor Certification
(609) 292-2900
© 2006 National Institute of Business Management