Despite laws prohibiting pay discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, or ethnicity, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), significant wage gaps persist between white male employees and other demographics.
Winter weather in New Jersey can be unpredictable and frustrating. Not only can icy roads and heavy snow increase your risk of auto accidents and slip and fall occurrences, but extreme weather can also interfere with your ability to get to work. Occasionally, a storm is so severe that New Jersey declares a “state of emergency.” When conditions are this severe, are you entitled to take the day off work?
If you work in construction, maintenance, or other building trades and services for public works in New Jersey, you have likely heard of the New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act (PWA). This law establishes prevailing wage levels for NJ workers engaged in these trades, which vary depending on a workers’ experience, specialty, and location. Besides setting wage rates, however, the PWA also sets out rules for providing “fringe benefits” to New Jersey trades workers.
If you are a contractor, subcontractor, or tradesperson in New Jersey, some of your contracts may be subject to “prevailing wage” laws. Whether you’re paying workers or ensuring that your pay is correct, it’s vital that you understand when the NJ prevailing wage laws apply and what they mean to you.
The New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act combats unfair labor practices by establishing a prevailing wage for workers who support public works. These employees are entitled to receive a prevailing wage set by the state in agreement with labor unions. If they are paid less than the prevailing wage, employees may be entitled to sue their employer for unpaid wages, costs, and attorney fees.
Unfortunately, violations of these laws have been all too familiar in the news lately.
Certain workers in New Jersey and New York are protected by “prevailing wage” laws. These are government-mandated rules directing how much government contractors and subcontractors must pay workers on public works projects.
Significant violations of the prevailing wage laws continue to pepper the local news. In New York, a contractor is now facing charges of 139 counts of fraud related to a project at John F. Kennedy airport. These charges stemmed from allegations that the contractor failed to pay workers more than $250,000 in union benefits and filed false certified payroll records with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to cover up the deficiencies.
Moving Toward a $15 Minimum Wage
A bill aimed at increasing the New Jersey minimum wage has been approved by the state Senate Labor Committee and the Labor Committee of the NJ Assembly and now is headed to a vote by the full NJ Assembly. The bill would require employers to pay their workers at least $10.10 per hour by 2017, up from the current minimum wage of $8.38 an hour. Each year thereafter until 2021, the state’s minimum wage would go up by either $1.25 or $1 plus an amount adjusted for inflation, whichever is greater. After 2021, annual increases will be tied to changes in the Consumer Price Index (which, generally, measures “inflation,” or how much the purchasing power of a dollar decreases). Although it has been referred to as the “$15 minimum wage bill," that amount would not take effect for a number of years, depending on inflation.
Topics: Wage & Hour
If you’ve been hurt on the job, in order to file a claim for workers’ compensation, you must be considered an “employee.” While we often think of “employee” as anyone who does work for someone else, “employee” is actually a legal term that comes with many protections and benefits, including workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
Earlier this month, a Madison businessman agreed to pay a total of $3 million in a settlement to employees throughout New Jersey. The affected employees claimed that although they worked hours outside a normal work week, sometimes as much as 84 in a single week, they were not properly compensated for overtime pay. This complaint launched an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage & Hour Division which uncovered violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Topics: Wage & Hour
James Moore was told that he had developed chronic leukemia in late 2009. Despite having been a loyal employee for over twelve years, his life was further complicated when he was demoted from his position with the Camden County Communications Center. Moore has now sued in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, claiming that his demotion was not the result of poor job performance, but rather, that it was the result of retaliation taken by his employer after he had take time off from work to seek treatment for his illness.
Topics: Wage & Hour