New Jersey Employment Law Update – February 2019

New Jersey

Family Leave Law

On February 19, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (A.B. 3975) revising the state’s family leave law. Under the revised law, the state’s paid family leave program is modified as follows:

  • The number of weeks for Family Leave Insurance (FLI) and Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) are doubled. Employees can take up to 12 consecutive weeks of paid family leave or temporary disability insurance during any 12-month period, beginning in July 2020. Currently, employees are only able to take up to 6 weeks of FLI or TDI in a 12-month period.
  • The weekly benefit increases and individuals may now receive 85 percent of their weekly wage, with the maximum possible benefit going up to 70 percent of the statewide average weekly wage.
  • Beginning in July 2020, workers may take up to 56 days of intermittent leave within a 12-month period.
  • Anti-retaliation provisions prohibit covered employers from retaliating or discriminating against an employee because he or she took family leave.
  • Employees may take paid family leave to care for siblings, in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, other blood relatives, and any other individual who can be shown to have the equivalent of a family relationship to the employee.
  • An individual who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence may take family leave for themselves or to care for a family member who was a victim. This includes leave for medical attention, counseling, or legal assistance or proceedings arising out of domestic violence or sexual violence.

The law became effective February 19, 2019.

Read NJ A.B. 3975

Minimum Wage Increases

On February 4, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (A.B. 15) that incrementally raises the state’s hourly minimum wage. Per the Governor’s press release, the current minimum wage in New Jersey is $8.85 per hour. Under the new law, the base minimum wage for New Jersey workers will increase to $10 per hour on July 1, 2019. By January 1, 2020, the statewide minimum wage will increase to $11 per hour, and then will increase by $1 per hour every January 1st until it reaches $15 per hour on January 1, 2024.

For seasonal workers and employees at small businesses with five or fewer workers, the base minimum wage will reach $15 per hour by January 1, 2026. By January 1, 2028, workers in these groups will receive the minimum wage inclusive of inflation adjustments that take place from 2024 to 2028, equalizing the minimum wage with the main cohort of New Jersey workers.

For agricultural workers, the base minimum wage will increase to $12.50 per hour by January 1, 2024. No later than March 31, 2024, the New Jersey Labor Commissioner and Secretary of Agriculture will jointly decide whether to recommend that the minimum wage for agricultural workers increase to $15 per hour by January 1, 2027, as specified in the bill. If they cannot come to an agreement, a third member, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, will break the tie. If there is a recommendation to disapprove of the scheduled increases or suggest an alternative pathway, the Legislature will have the ability to implement that recommendation by passage of a concurrent resolution.

The following chart offers additional guidance:

Effective Date Regular Hourly Employees Small Employers & Seasonal Workers Agricultural Workers Tipped Employees Training Wage
7/1/19 $10.00 $8.85 $8.85 $2.13 N/A
1/1/20 $11.00 $10.30 $10.30 $2.63 N/A
1/1/21 $11.00 $11.10 $10.30 $3.13 $9.90
1/1/22 $13.00 $11.90 $10.90 $4.14 $10.80
1/1/23 $14.00 $12.70 $11.70 $5.13 $11.70
1/1/24 $15.00 $13.50 $12.50 $5.13 $12.60
1/1/25 $15.00 +
CPI-W
$14.30 $13.40 $5.13 +
CPI-W
$13.50
1/1/26 $15.00 +
CPI-W
$15.00 $14.20 $5.13 +
CPI-W
$13.50 + CPI-W

The law also:

  • Requires employers to abide by an applicable wage order issued by the New Jersey Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development.
  • Adds an overtime exemption for any individual employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity.

Read NJ A.B. 15 and the press release

Out of State Businesses Tax and Fee Exemptions

On January 31, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (S.B. 2518) excluding out-of-state businesses and employees from certain taxes, fees, and business registration requirements when temporarily restoring critical infrastructure during a declared disaster or emergency.

The law took effect on January 31, 2019.

Read NJ S.B. 2518