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New Jersey Wage Theft

Our lawyers have represented more than a hundred New Jersey workers in overtime and minimum wage lawsuits. This page provides information about the New Jersey wage and hour laws. For information about New York law on the subject, see our minimum wage and overtime pages for that state.

New Jersey has some of the strongest wage and hour laws in the United States. In 2019, the state increased the minimum wage and enacted the Wage Theft Act (“WTA”). These laws strengthened workers’ rights by amending the Wage and Hour Law (“WHL”) and the Wage Payment Law (“WPL”).  

  • The WTA increased the statute of limitations for unpaid wages, unlawful discharge, and retaliation claims from two to six years. This applies to claims which occurred after August 5, 2019.   
  • The WTA provides that victims of wage theft can receive liquidated damages of up to 200% from their employers. A Court may award liquidated damages in addition to the actual wages owed.
  • The WTA added criminal penalties for employer wage theft and retaliation.
  • The WTA also provided for substantial increases to the state minimum wage.

New Jersey Overtime

Our New Jersey lawyers handle many overtime cases. Most hourly employees must be paid 1.5 times their regular rate when working longer than forty hours in a week.

The state recognizes certain exemptions from the overtime rules, including the professional, administrative, and executive exemptions. For more information about overtime exemptions, see our page on Exempt Employee Misclassification.

Many employers pay their workers a fixed salary and treat them as exempt. However, employees are not exempt from overtime for this reason alone. The worker’s job duties must also meet the strict statutory requirements for that exemption.

New Jersey overtime claims have a six-year statute of limitation for work performed after August 5, 2019. Employers who cheat their workers out of overtime may have to pay three times the amount of the wages stolen. A New Jersey overtime lawyer can help you understand your rights.

New Jersey Minimum Wage and Overtime

In 2019, the state set a schedule of minimum wage increases that will continue until 2024.

The lowest wage for most workers in the state was $13.00 per hour in 2022. It increased to $14.13 in 2023 and will increase to at least $15.13 in 2024. The wage may increase in future years based on the rate of inflation.   

YearMinimum WageMinimum Overtime Rate
2024At least $15.13At least $22.70

New Jersey Tipped Workers: Minimum Wage, Overtime and Tips

Employers in New Jersey can take a tip credit against the minimum wage for tipped workers. In order to satisfy the tip credit, the worker must be paid at least the minimum wage including tips. If the hourly pay and tips add up to less than minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference. Our New Jersey overtime lawyers can help tipped workers understand their rights.

The tip credit in New Jersey has been increasing each year since 2019 as the minimum wage increases. There may be further increases based on inflation.

YearCash WageTip CreditOvertime Cash Wage
2024At least $5.26$9.87$12.83

Tips are the sole property of the employee. An employer may not take any of the workers’ tips for any purpose. This rule applies even if the employer does not take a tip credit. Employees may pool their tips. However, only other tipped employees may participate in the tip pool.

More information about minimum wage rates for tipped and non-tipped workers is available from the NJ Department of Labor. In 2023, the New Jersey Department of Labor issued the following chart. The chart provides more detail about minimum wage rates in various industries. A New Jersey overtime lawyer can help you determine what wages you are entitled to.

Independent Contractor Misclassification

Employers often misclassify their workers as independent contractors when they are actually employees. Employers often cheat workers out of overtime, and other employee benefits by misclassifying them as independent contractors. In addition, misclassifying workers cheats the government out of payroll taxes and cheats other businesses by undercutting the competition. The New Jersey overtime lawyers at our firm have litigated numerous independent contractor cases.

New Jersey follows the stringent “ABC Test” to determine if an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor. Under the ABC Test, an employee must meet all of the following three requirements.

  1. The worker has been and will continue to be free from control or direction over the performance of work performed, both under a contract of service and in fact; and
  1. The work is either outside the usual course of the business for which such service is performed, or the work is performed outside of all the places of business of the enterprise for which such service is performed; and
  1. The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business.

Are You a victim of wage theft? Contact us here or call (212) 991-8960 for a free consultation. Our New Jersey overtime lawyers are here to help.

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