Compliance Watch:
What are my rights as a salaried employee in New Jersey?

April 11th 2024

Understanding your rights as a salaried employee in New Jersey goes beyond mere awareness of applicable laws. It empowers you to take control of your professional life and navigate your career path confidently.

As you commit yourself to your daily work, the consistent salary you receive and the benefits offered by your employer play a significant role in shaping your position and stability in the workplace. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that the specifics of these arrangements can significantly differ from one U.S. state to another.

This article aims to provide clarity on any questions that may have piqued your interest. We will unpack your employment rights, guiding you toward a more informed and empowered work experience. The article will focus on the unique labor regulations in the state of New Jersey.

This Article Covers

Defining a Salaried Employee in New Jersey
Common Questions About Salaried Employee Rights in New Jersey
Understanding Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status in New Jersey
Wage and Hour Regulations in New Jersey
Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in New Jersey
Taking Action Against Violations in New Jersey
Case Studies and Real-Life Scenarios of Salaried Employee Rights Violations in New Jersey

Defining a Salaried Employee in New Jersey

What is Salaried Employment in New Jersey?

Following the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and labor regulations in New Jersey, salaried employees are working individuals who are entitled to receive a fixed amount of pay at regular intervals, such as every two weeks or once a month. Furthermore, certain salaried employees may also be eligible for sick leave pay, and many of them meet the requirements to receive benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Some employees fall under the exempt category, and this includes specific salaried workers, particularly those in roles like executives, administrators, professionals with specialized skills or expertise, computer professionals, outside sales representatives, and highly compensated employees. However, if you are a salaried employee but do not hold one of these designated positions, you may be categorized as non-exempt, which means you are eligible for overtime compensation.

What are the Key Differences Between Salaried and Hourly Employees in New Jersey?

Aspect Salaried Employees Hourly Employees
Minimum Wage Laws Paid a fixed amount regardless of hours worked. Subject to the minimum wage in New Jersey of $15.13/hour. 
Overtime Laws Overtime eligibility varies. Workers are classified as exempt under FLSA for certain positions. Eligible for overtime for work hours exceeding 40 hours in a work week. Entitled to 1.5 times the regular wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
Paid Sick Leave & FMLA Salaried pay may include sick leave; specifics vary by employer. May earn paid sick leave and use it with unpaid FMLA leave.
Paid Vacation Salaried pay may include vacation; specifics vary by employer. May earn paid vacation based on hours worked and employer policies.
Maternity/Paternity Leave May have unpaid provisions; duration and specifics vary by agreement with the employer. No guaranteed paid leave; terms depend on the employer’s policies.
Job Security Salaried employees typically enjoy more job security. Less job security as the work schedule can change.

Read more about New Jersey labor law with our guides on your rights as an hourly employee and salaried employee laws.

Common Questions About Salaried Employee Rights in New Jersey

What are the Basic Rights of Salaried Employees in New Jersey?

  • Minimum Wage: In New Jersey, non-exempt salaried employees are entitled to receive the state’s minimum wage, which is currently set at $15.13 per hour. However, exempt salaried employees should receive a minimum annual compensation of $35,568 or a minimum of $684 each week.
  • Overtime Pay: Non-exempt salaried employees are entitled to receive overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for any hours worked beyond 40 hours in a single workweek. 
  • Meal and Rest Breaks: Labor laws in New Jersey do not require employers to provide meal or rest breaks for adult employees. 
  • Family and Medical Leave: Qualified employees have the right to take unpaid leave for specific medical and family-related reasons under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Equal Pay: The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) ensures that individuals are not compensated unfairly because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, and other protected qualities. LAD makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees based on characteristics like race, religion, color, ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, disability, military service, or refusal to undergo genetic testing. Compensation differences should solely be based on factors like merit, seniority, work quality, and quantity.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws: The Conscientious Employee Protection Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who engage in activities to protect themselves against the employer.
  • Anti-Discrimination Laws: All employees are safeguarded against workplace discrimination based on the following protected characteristics: disability, national origin, ancestry, race, color, religion, gender, and military veteran status.

Is Overtime Pay Applicable to Salaried Employees in New Jersey?

The New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law mandates a minimum wage and overtime rate for employees. This law states that covered workers receive compensation at a rate of one and a half times their regular pay for any hours worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek, subject to specific exceptions.

Some salaried employees may not be eligible for overtime pay, but not all job positions fall into this category. The state adheres to federal guidelines that define four specific groups of exempt employees. These employees include certain professionals, executives, computer employees, and administrative employees.

Can Employers Deduct Wages from Salaried Employees in New Jersey?

Employers are not permitted to deduct wages from an employee’s wages other than for items required and specifically permitted by federal law and state law.

Are Salaried Employees Eligible for Breaks and Leaves in New Jersey?

According to both federal and state law in New Jersey, employees are not entitled to receive meal or rest breaks from their workers.

The New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law allows workers to accumulate 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work, with a maximum of 40 hours per year. However, employers are also allowed to establish additional regulations that offer extra time off.

An employer should allow employees to use their earned sick leave for the following reasons:

  • Time off for an employee’s own physical or mental health needs or preventive medical care.
  • Time off to care for a family member who is ill or undergoing medical treatment.
  • Time off for reasons related to domestic or sexual violence, including seeking medical attention, counseling, relocation, or legal assistance.
  • Time off when the employee’s workplace or a child’s school or care facility is closed due to a public health emergency or when a public health authority deems an employee’s presence would endanger others’ health.
  • Time off to attend school-related events for a child or to participate in discussions about a child’s health condition or disability.

Can Salaried Employees Request Flexible Work Arrangements in New Jersey?

New Jersey’s state regulations do not impose an 8-hour daily limit for all employees across fields but instead place the maximum hours an employee can work in a week at 40 hours. Consequently, employers within the state have the option to provide adaptable work options for their employees.

Typical flexible work arrangements refer to alternate work schedules, enabling employees to exceed 40 hours one week and reduce hours the next, as well as remote work setups that permit employees to work outside the office, provided they fulfill all their job responsibilities.

Understanding Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status in New Jersey

Understanding the distinction between exempt and non-exempt status is crucial for salaried employees to navigate their rights and responsibilities effectively.

What is the Definition and Implications of Exempt Status in New Jersey?

To classify exempt and non-exempt status, the state of New Jersey complies with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA regulates that certain salaried employees don’t get extra pay for working overtime, even if they work over 40 hours a week, they won’t receive extra money. On the other hand, non-exempt employees have the right to be paid extra for hours they work beyond 40 hours a week.

What are the Differences Between Exempt and Non-Exempt Salaried Employees in New Jersey?

Aspect Exempt Employees Non-exempt Employees
Overtime Generally not eligible for overtime pay. Eligible for overtime pay for working over 40 hours per week. Entitled rate of one-and-a-half times the standard hourly wage.
Pay Structure Paid on a salary basis. Paid hourly.
Monitoring Hours Not expected to track hours worked. Expected to track and report hours worked
Employee Type Employees who typically hold managerial or professional roles. Job roles vary but may include blue-collar workers, clerical staff, or retail employees.
Compensation Exempt employees typically earn more due to the skill and discretion expected. These workers receive an hourly rate with flexibility in scheduling.
Stability Stable paycheck and benefit eligibility. Varied hours, potential for instability.
Paid Time Off May qualify for paid vacation or sick time. Typically, they are not eligible for paid time off.

How to Determine if You're Exempt or Non-Exempt in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, your employee status as exempt or non-exempt is determined based on criteria from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):

  • Salary Level: If your yearly salary is over $35,568 or $684 per week, you may qualify as exempt.
  • Salary Basis: Being guaranteed a minimum compensation regardless of your actual hours worked could make you exempt.
  • Work Role and Responsibilities: To be classified as exempt, you must meet the salary level and salary basis criteria and perform job duties falling under exempt categories. These duties can involve executive responsibilities, supervising two or more employees, specialized education tasks, and exercising discretion and judgment.

Wage and Hour Regulations in New Jersey

What are the Minimum Wage Requirements for Salaried Employees in New Jersey?

New Jersey’s minimum wage is $15.13 per hour, whilst the federal minimum wage is $7,25. The minimum salary requirements for salaried exempt employees are set by the FLSA. Currently, an exempt employee in New Jersey must receive a weekly compensation of $684.

How is Overtime Compensated for Salaried Employees in New Jersey?

When a salaried employee that qualifies for overtime works more than 40 hours in a single workweek, they’ll receive overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their usual wage.

Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in New Jersey

What are the Permissible Deductions from Salaried Employee Pay in New Jersey?

Here are some valid of the permissible reasons to deduct from an exempt employee’s salary in New Jersey  without breaking the “salary basis” rule:

  • If the employee takes a full day off for personal reasons (not due to sickness or disability).
  • If the employee is absent for a full day due to sickness, disability, or work-related accidents, and you have a legitimate plan in place to compensate for salary loss during such absences. You can make deductions before or after the employee uses up their allotted leave.
  • If you impose unpaid suspensions of one or more full days as a fair disciplinary measure for breaking workplace rules or safety rules.
  • You don’t have to pay the full salary during the first or last week of employment.
  • You don’t have to pay the full salary for weeks when an exempt employee takes unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

What are the Provided Employee Benefits and Protections Under New Jersey State Law?

New Jersey laws provide the following important protections and benefits:

  • Employers cannot discriminate or retaliate against workers in protected categories. They must also ensure equal pay and protect whistleblowers.
  • Equal pay and protection from retaliation are guaranteed when reporting discrimination or labor law violations.
  • Employees have rights to different types of leave, such as domestic violence, jury duty, witness, and military leave.
  • Qualifying employees are entitled to earned sick leave under the Earned Sick Leave Law.
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act requires minimum wage payment for all hours worked and overtime pay at one and a half times the regular rate for extra hours.

Taking Action Against Violations in New Jersey

How to Report Violations to Authorities or Labor Departments in New Jersey?

As an employee in New Jersey, if you come across any problems related to labor laws or workplace rules, you can inform the right government offices and federal agencies. These issues might include problems regarding your wage, how many hours you work, unsafe conditions at your job, or unfair treatment.

If you think you’ve been treated unfairly because of discrimination, you can make a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If your wages are not being paid correctly, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Case Studies and Real-Life Scenarios of Salaried Employee Rights Violations in New Jersey

Employment Discrimination: New Jersey Firm Reaches Settlement Over Discriminatory Job Advertisements.

The Justice Department has reached a settlement with Infosoft Solutions Inc., a New Jersey IT recruiting and contracting firm operating as KForce Tech LLC. The settlement addresses the department’s findings that Infosoft violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by publishing six discriminatory job advertisements. 

These ads specifically targeted non-U.S. citizens in need of visa sponsorship and, in one instance, exclusively sought applicants from India. The Justice Department’s investigation discovered that between July 2021 and August 2021, Infosoft posted these discriminatory job ads, which deterred eligible workers, including asylum seekers, refugees, lawful permanent residents, U.S. nationals, and U.S. citizens with the right to work in the United States without sponsorship, from applying for these positions. The INA prohibits employers from discriminating based on citizenship status or national origin.

The settlement requires Infosoft to pay a civil penalty of $25,500 to the United States. The agreement also requires Infosoft to provide training to its recruiters about the INA’s requirements, revise its employment policies, and be subject to monitoring and reporting by the Department of Justice.

Lessons Learned from the Case

  • Compliance with Anti-Discrimination Laws: Employers must be aware of and adhere to anti-discrimination laws such as the INA. Discriminatory job advertisements that target specific nationalities or visa requirements can lead to legal consequences.
  • Fair and Equal Opportunity: All eligible candidates, regardless of their national origin or visa status, should have a fair and equal opportunity to apply for job positions.
  • Training and Policy Revision: Companies should invest in training their personnel on relevant legal requirements and regularly review and update their employment policies to ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws. This proactive approach can help prevent legal issues and promote fair employment practices.

Employee Misclassification: Uber Technologies Pays $100 Million for Misclassification.

Uber Technologies Inc. and one of its subsidiaries have made a $100 million payment to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Unemployment Trust Fund. In the NJDOL vs. Uber case, an audit revealed that the ride-sharing companies had wrongly classified hundreds of thousands of drivers as independent contractors, depriving them of important safety-net benefits such as unemployment insurance, temporary disability coverage, and family leave insurance.

The NJDOL audits led to Uber and Rasier LLC being initially assessed a total of $523 million in past-due contributions, along with penalties and interest amounting to up to $119 million. However, these figures were rough estimates due to incomplete data provided by the companies during the audit. The companies contested these findings, leading to the case being transferred to New Jersey’s Office of Administrative Law. Eventually, Uber and Rasier paid a revised assessment of $100 million based on more complete and accurate information provided by them.

This payment is the largest ever received in New Jersey and covers 297,866 drivers. It underscores New Jersey’s commitment to enforcing employee classification laws to protect workers and fair employers. Misclassifying workers as independent contractors not only denies them essential benefits but also shifts the financial burden onto other employers and workers in the state. New Jersey’s rigorous enforcement aims to safeguard the rights and well-being of workers and hold companies accountable for misclassification.

Lessons Learned from the Case

  • Proper Worker Classification is Essential: The case highlights the importance of correctly classifying workers as employees or independent contractors. Misclassifying employees can lead to significant financial penalties and jeopardize workers’ rights to essential benefits and protections.
  • Cooperation with Audits is Crucial: Companies should cooperate with government audits and provide complete and accurate records. Failing to do so can result in more substantial penalties and legal challenges, as seen in this case.
  • Enforcement of Labor Laws is Vital: This case demonstrates the commitment of government authorities to enforce labor laws, protect workers’ rights, and ensure fair treatment of employees. Strong enforcement helps maintain a level playing field for businesses and protects the well-being of workers.

Final Thoughts

As an employed individual in New Jersey, it is vital to possess a thorough grasp of your legal entitlements and safeguards. This awareness not only shields you from potential infringements but also enables you to protect your own interests and professional trajectory.

Remaining informed about changes in labor laws is crucial for fostering a favorable workplace environment. Because employment regulations can be complex, seeking guidance from a professional, such as an employment attorney, reaching out to the U.S. Department of Labor, or contacting the Office of the Labor Commissioner, can help guide you in the correct direction.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.