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The basic rights you need to know as a worker in New Jersey

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It’s always important to understand your rights in every situation. When it comes to employment in New Jersey, there are a number of laws that protect both employers and employees. Many of them are fairly standard, like minimum wage and child labor protection, but every state has its own quirks, and New Jersey is no exception. Here is a general breakdown of wage and hour labor laws for the state, including a few abnormal practices and benefits laws that are helpful to understand.

Wages

Most of New Jersey’s wage laws are consistent with the rest of the country. The standard rule is that employees are entitled to time and a half after 40 hours of work in a single week. Salary-based positions can override this rule, especially for individuals in executive capacities. The state’s minimum wage is currently $8.38, and jobs should typically not pay less. Charitable organizations can obtain a permit to pay disabled persons less, and a few other standard exceptions apply. Additionally, companies cannot withhold pay with deductions that relate to breakage, spillage or cash register shortages.

It’s potentially more important to understand the non-standard exceptions that exist in New Jersey. Most notably, the state’s regulations in regards to farm labor. Labor camps are legal, but they are subject to regular inspections to verify that working and living conditions are up to standard. Farm labor also is not subject to minimum wage or overtime rules. Whether on a farm or not, New Jersey requires all minors to have a worker’s permit, and varying permits can allow for unique minimum wage conditions.

Hours

In most cases, mandatory overtime is not legal in New Jersey. The most common exceptions are in healthcare, where overtime can be required under specific, life-saving conditions. Beyond that, New Jersey is an at-will state, so employers and employees both have the right to change or terminate their relationship without providing notice or reasoning. However, it is illegal to terminate employment for discriminatory reasons or in retaliation.

Benefits

The state itself does not require employers to supply any fringe benefits. The Affordable Care Act may federally require an employer to provide health insurance, but New Jersey does not have state-level laws in this regard. There is a law, however, that requires a minimum of 30 days’ notice if any changes to health benefits are being made.

Benefits that are covered by state law relate to workers’ compensation and unemployment. Employees are mandatorily covered by liability insurance for injuries incurred at work. Unemployment benefits are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but typically if termination is not due to misconduct or voluntarily quitting, compensation is available.