Proposed Legislation in New Jersey Targets Minimum Wage and Wage Withholding

by Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Contact

On Monday, December 17, 2012, the New Jersey Assembly approved separate legislation addressing (1) increases in the state’s minimum wage and (2) stricter enforcement against employers who withhold employee wages or benefits. 

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage bill proposes a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage to $8.25, which would make New Jersey among the higher minimum wage-paying states in the country.  The proposed amendment also ties future increases to the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”), thereby averting the need to pass additional legislation in order to increase the minimum wage.  The bill has been touted by proponents as a measure that is necessary to revitalize the New Jersey economy in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  Opponents, on the other hand, argue that indexing the minimum wage to the CPI could result in a continuous escalation of labor costs, undoing any gains the State makes in improving business. 

The current bill is not the first New Jersey bill relating to minimum wage.  An earlier bill that proposed raising the minimum wage to $8.50 and tying future increases to the CPI was passed by the Legislature on November 29, 2012, but has not been signed into law by Governor Christie.  Anticipating that Governor Christie will veto the bill, the Assembly then passed the current bill in order to bypass the need for Governor Christie’s approval by seeking a constitutional amendment by the voters.  If the proposal for a constitutional amendment is approved by a majority vote by the Legislature again next year, the issue will go on the November 2013 ballot for voter consideration. 

Wage Withholdings

The second bill approved by the New Jersey Assembly is aimed at strengthening enforcement against employers who withhold wages or other benefits from workers.  The proposed legislation significantly increases fines and penalties against employers who improperly withhold such benefits.  The bill also imposes criminal sanctions upon employers who retaliate against employees who file complaints regarding improper withholdings under the statute.  Finally, the bill mandates that the State Attorney General notify the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development of an employer’s conviction for a violation and empowers the Commissioner, in turn, to temporarily or permanently close the employer’s business by revoking its business licenses.

The wage withholding bill was approved by the Assembly by a vote of 47-29.  Before becoming law, the bill must also be passed by the State Senate and approved by Governor Christie.  

Although neither bill has been passed, both have significant financial implications for employers in New Jersey in the event they are eventually voted or signed into law.  In addition, the wage withholding legislation also has the potential for even broader consequences in light of the fact that it empowers the Commissioner of the Labor and Workforce Development to revoke a business’s license in the event of a wage withholding conviction.   Accordingly, we will continue to monitor the progress of each bill and keep you apprised of any developments.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Contact
more
less

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.