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New Jersey 2015 Minimum Wage Increase

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced a 2015 minimum wage increase to $8.38 per hour effective January 1, 2015.

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The New Jersey Minimum Wage Advisory Commission reviews the rate annually to determine if the amount is adequate for employees to meet the changes in cost of living. The State stops short, however, of “indexing” the rate automatically to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as ten other U.S. state do, such as Arizona. Governor Chris Christie has not supported any automatic adjustments to the New Jersey minimum wage rate, vetoing efforts to index the New Jersey minimum wage.

Governor Christie explains that he is tired of talking about minimum wage, because he wants to focus on creating higher-wage jobs.

New Jersey Tipped Workers

The New Jersey minimum wage rate includes a “tipping allowance”, meaning that food servers and other occupations that typically earn tips as a normal part of their duties must earn at least the Federal minimum wage rate for tipped workers, which is $2.13 per hour. However, if a tipped employee earns less than the New Jersey State minimum wage, employers must make up any difference in the base wage and tips so that the tipped worker earns at least the New Jersey minimum wage rate.

The New Jersey legislature is considering a Bill (A857) that would raise the State’s base wage rate for tipped workers to $5.70 per hour by the end of 2015.

New Jersey 2015 Minimum Wage Poster

New Jersey employers must display the New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law Abstract in a conspicuous location. The posting and other postings are included in the GovDocs New Jersey Poster Compliance Package. Employers can save 20% on all labor law poster purchases using GovDocs coupon code 2015MIN.

The New Jersey Compliance Poster Package includes:

  • Unemployment and Disability Insurance
  • State Wage and Hour Abstract
  • Schedule of Hours for Minors
  • Child Labor Law Abstract
  • Discrimination in Employment
  • Payment of Wages
  • Notice (Workers’ Compensation)
  • Family Leave Act
  • Conscientious Employee Protection Act (Whistleblower)
  • Smoking Prohibited
  • Family Leave Insurance
  • Employer Obligation to Maintain and Report Records
  • SAFE Act
  • Gender Inequity
  • Gender Inequity (Spanish)

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New Jersey Bans the Box: Criminal Background Checks

The New Jersey legislature passed The Opportunity to Compete Act (S-2500) to prohibit employers from performing criminal background checks and asking applicants about criminal records until after an initial interview.

The Bill now awaits signature by Governor Chris Christie.

What Ban the Box Means for New Jersey Employers

  • Job Advertisements: Employers cannot set requirements for job applicants in job ads that would screen out applicants with criminal records.
  • Job Applications: Employers won’t be able to include questions about applicants’ criminal record on job applications.
  • Initial Interviews: Employers are not allowed to “make any oral or written inquiry regarding an applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process,” but if job applicants voluntarily reveal information about criminal records, employers may then ask further questions about the applicants’ criminal records.

New Jersey’s Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development will enforce the law, fining any employer who violates the Act up to $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second violation, and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

The Act does not reference a required posting for New Jersey employers, but the GovDocs Research Department will continue to monitor New Jersey for updates.

Ban the Box Gains Momentum in U.S.

New Jersey joins 12 other states who have passed similar Ban the Box laws. Additionally, nearly 70 cities and counties (such as New Jersey’s own Atlantic City and Newark) have passed ordinances designed to allow job applicants with a criminal record a second chance.