Category Archives: Wage & Hour

Payday Laws: What To Do If Your Paycheck Is Late

Payday Laws What To Do If Your Paycheck Is Late

The laws of Pennsylvania and New Jersey determine how often employees in both states must be paid. In both states, employers are required to pay their workers at least twice each month, but they are allowed to pay them more frequently if they wish. These laws do not cover independent contractors. Instead, their payments should be spelled out in their written contracts. People who are incorrectly classified as independent contractors are covered under the laws. If you are not receiving your pay on a timely basis, the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler might be able to help.

Payday laws

The laws that govern the regularity and frequency of paychecks vary between the states, but a majority operate in similar fashions. For instance, most states mandate that employees are paid weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly or monthly. Pennsylvania and New Jersey both mandate that employees are paid twice each month although they may pay them differently if they stipulate to doing so in an employment contract.

In New Jersey, highly paid executives and non-exempt employees may be paid once monthly by their employers. Pennsylvania’s law mandating at least twice-monthly payments applies to non-salaried workers.

What you can do if your paycheck is late

There are several things that you can do if your paycheck is late. It is important to start by contacting your employer in writing. You should ask that your employer pays the wages that you are owed. If your employer does not do so, then you can file a claim with either the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry or the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

You can also file a lawsuit against your employer in court. If the amount in question is small, you can file a small claims lawsuit. If not, you can file it in a higher-level court. If you have a large claim involving late payments or violations of payday laws, you might want to consider hiring an employment lawyer for help.

Contact an experienced lawyer

Employers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are not allowed to pay their employees whenever they want. They must adhere to the state and federal laws. If you have not been paid for your work, it can cause a domino effect for your finances. Contact Swartz Swidler to find out what you might do so that you can recover the money that you are owed.

Swartz Swidler Prevails in Appellate Court Matter Dealing With Applicability of Dispute Resolution Provision of Employment Contract

Swartz Swidler recently prevailed in an appellate court matter dealing with the applicability of a dispute resolution provision of an employment contract.

Swartz Swidler represents Dr. Forrest Anthony, the former vice president and chief medical officer for Eleison Pharmaceuticals, LLC. in Bordentown, New Jersey. In February 2012 the parties entered into an employment agreement. In February 2015, Dr. Anthony terminated the agreement in accordance with its terms. On April 10, 2015 Swartz Swidler, on Dr. Anthony’s behalf, filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County asserting that Eleison (1) had only paid Dr. Anthony about 64 percent of the compensation that he was owed pursuant to the employment agreement and (2) had paid Dr. Anthony no compensation at all between September 1, 2014 and February 10, 2015, the date that Dr. Anthony terminated the employment agreement. The lawsuit asserted claims of (1) failure to timely pay all wages due and owing at least once each calendar month, in violation of the New Jersey Wage Payment Law (“NJWPA”); (2) failure to pay minimum wage, in violation of the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (“NJWHL”); (3) failure to pay overtime, in violation of the NJWHL, (4) failure to pay all wages due and owing at the end of employment, in violation of the NJWPA, and (5) breach of contract.

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Instead of an Answer, Eleison and other Defendants named in the lawsuit filed on Dr. Anthony’s behalf filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit and to compel the parties to instead utilize the dispute resolution provision of the employment agreement. Defendants argued that Dr. Anthony’s claims arose from the employment agreement and that Dr. Anthony had agreed to arbitrate all claims, including claims arising from statute, which arose from the employment agreement. At oral argument on the motion, Defendants also argued, for the first time, that a plaintiff’s private right of action under the NJWPA is limited to allegations of the existence of an employment agreement that violates the law. Swartz Swidler opposed Defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss and compelled the parties to utilize the dispute resolution provision of the employment agreement. Swartz Swidler timely appealed the trial court’s decision.

On July 18, 2016, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division – New Jersey’s intermediate appellate court – vacated the trial court’s decision and remanded the case to the trial court. The Appellate Division first held that a plaintiff’s private right of action under the NJWPA is not limited to allegations of the existence of an employment agreement that violates the law. It proceeded to hold that “the arbitration clause included no reference to a waiver of plaintiff’s statutory rights or a jury trial. Consequently, it did not constitute a valid waiver of plaintiff’s right to have his claims decided in a judicial forum.”

A copy of the Appellate Division’s opinion in Forrest Anthony v. Eleison Pharmaceuticals, LLC et. al. may be found here.

Swartz Swidler is a law firm that represents employees nationwide on employment issues arising from both federal and state law, including issues such as the inclusion and construction of dispute resolution provisions within employment contracts. If you are an employee that thinks you may need legal assistance as to your employment, please contact the law firm of Swartz Swidler, LLC today.

UPDATE IN WERNER!! – Court Holds Werner Violated the Law.

Court sides with drivers, holds that Werner violated the law.

As many of you know, we have been, and continue to, fight very hard for all drivers of Werner. Since 2011, we have been litigating ​Petrone v. Werner Enterprises. For years, we have worked to convince the courts (and Werner) that Werner fails to pay its trainees in accordance with federal and state law. Many class members signed up for the lawsuit in 2012.

We are pleased to in announce that we have obtained a major victory earlier this week, when the federal judge overseeing the case held that, as a matter of law​, sleeper berth time (beyond 8 hours per day) and short rest breaks are compensable working time for truck drivers. Werner failed to pay its drivers for such time.  Consequently, Werner’s conduct violated the law.

As a result, the federal judge overseeing the case, the Honorable Lyle E. Strom, held that Werner violated state and federal law.

This is the decision we been waiting for. You can read the decision here.

What’s next?

Even though the Court has held that such time is compensable as a matter of law, there are still a few unresolved issues which must be determined next month at trial. First, there is a question as to whether Werner’s decision not to pay for such time was reasonable and in good faith. If, at trial, it is determined that Werner did not act in good faith, double damages may be awarded, and under Nebraska law, Werner could be compelled to pay an additional damage award into a fund for the benefit of Nebraska schools.

Additionally, the Court has determined that the amount of damages (money) to award to the class will be determined at trial.

You are invited to come to the trial, and we would love for drivers to come to show their support.

If you live in the Omaha area, or can come to the Omaha area, please come to the trial. It will start on September 9, 2015 and will probably last about a week. The address of the Court is:

111 South 18th Plaza
Suite 1152
Omaha, NE 68102

We hope to see you there. We’d love to meet you in person.

We are a law firm based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey focusing on many types of employment matters, with an emphasis on nation-wide wage and hour disputes in the trucking industry and elsewhere. We are also teamed up with some of the best personal injury and work-injury attorneys in the country.

Justin L. Swidler, Esq.
Richard S. Swartz, Esq.
Swartz Swidler, LLC

The Seventh Circuit holds that FedEx Delivery Drivers are employees, and not independent contractors, of FedEx.

The ruling from the Seventh Circuit has strong implications for drivers working across the United States who have been classified as “independent contractors” and forced to pay for fuel, lease payments, insurance, and other business expenses relating to their work.

On July 8th, 2015 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit adopted the decision of the Kansas Supreme Court in Carlene.M. Craig, et al v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc. This decision holds that FedEx Ground drivers are employees and not independent contractors under the Kansas Wage Payment Act (KWPA). The Seventh Circuit now joins the Ninth Circuit in ruling against FedEx Ground on this issue,. In August 2014, the Ninth Circuit made the same finding in two cases against FedEx under California and Oregon law.

The FedEx Ground division, a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation, was created in 2000, to provide small package pick-up and delivery services through a nationwide network of pick-up and delivery drivers. FedEx Ground currently employs 32,500 uniformed drivers, managers and affiliated workers who are classified as independent contractors, a controversial policy that allows FedEx to save on health benefits, unemployment insurance, retirement accounts and overtime pay, among other things.

However, plaintiffs, current and former drivers for FedEx, claimed they were employees rather than independent contractors under the laws of the states in which they worked and under federal law. Therefore, they were entitled to repayment of all costs and expenses they paid during their time as FedEx employees. They also sought payment of overtime wages.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) consolidated all these actions and transferred them to the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. That court used the Carlene m. Craig, et al. caption, which was based on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) and Kansas law, as its “lead” case. The court certified a nationwide class seeking relief under ERISA and certified statewide classes under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 23(b)(3).

Cross summary judgment motions in Craig presented the question of whether the FedEx drivers were employees or independent contractors under the Kansas Wage Payment Act (KWPA). The evidence presented through the competing motions essentially revolved around a form Operating Agreement which FedEx drafted and used with all its Ground Division drivers.

The MDL then drew on its decision in Craig and ruled in FedEx’s favor on summary judgment on the questions of the plaintiff’s employment status in the other cases.

After MDL’ ruling in favor of Defendant, twenty-one cases were submitted for appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2012. They present substantially the same issue: whether the district court erred by deciding as a matter of law that the certified classes of plaintiffs were independent contractors and thus could not prevail on their claims. Each case, however, arises under a different state’s substantive law. Therefore, the parties proposed to begin with the Craig appeal and put a hold on the remaining appeals pending on further order on Craig’s appeal.

Then the Seventh Circuit “certified” two questions to the Kansas Supreme Court to make a determination of independent contractor status:

1)            Are the FedEx drivers employees as a matter of law under the KWPA?

2)            Is the answer to the preceding question different for plaintiff drivers who have more than one service area?

Kansas Supreme Court answer the first question “yes” – the drivers are employees and not independent contractors – and the second question “no” – the answer is the same for drivers that have more than one service area (even though they have to employ other drivers to handle their second or third route).

In responding to the questions, the court applied a twenty-factor test which “includes economic reality considerations, while maintaining the primary focus on an employer’s right to control”. The right of control test determines “whether the employer has the right of control and supervision over the work of the alleged employees, and the right to direct the manner in which the work is to be performed, as well as the result which is to be accomplished.[…] It is not the actual interference or exercise of the control by the employer, but the existence of the right or authority to interfere or control, which renders one a servant rather than an independent contractor.”

Among the factors that the Court regarded as favoring employee status were the following:

  • FedEx issued instructions and required compliance therewith.
  • The services of the drivers were an integral part of FedEx’s business.
  • There was a continuing relationship between the drivers and FedEx.
  • FedEx requires written reports about deliveries.
  • The drivers’ ability to earn a profit is constrained by FedEx’s controls.
  • As a matter of reality and practicality, drivers cannot work for more than one company at a time.
  • The drivers’ services are not regularly made available to the public.
  • The drivers may unilaterally terminate their relationship with FedEx at any time without financial repercussion.

Contrary to FedEx’s view, the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision did not rest on whether FedEx exercises “actual control” over the plaintiff drivers but how FedEx controls all drivers based on the Operating Agreement and generally applicable policies and procedures. As the Supreme Court said “The District Court in this case primarily focused on the OA’s [Operating Agreement] statements of FedEx’s right to control the drivers, opining that the actual control that FedEx exercised over the drivers was not the question. But we consider the manner in which FedEx implemented the OA to be a compelling factor in determining the substantive question of the company’s right to control its drivers.”

FedEx Ground argued to the Seventh Circuit that the federal appellate court should not follow the Kansas Supreme Court’s answers to the certified questions. The Seventh Circuit rejected FedEx’s arguments, noting that “Certification would be a pointless exercise unless the state court’s answers are regarded as an authoritative and binding statement of state law.” Certification is appropriate when the case concerns a matter of vital public concern, where the issue will likely recur in other cases, where resolution of the question to be certified is outcome determinative of the case, and where the state supreme court has yet to have an opportunity to illuminate a clear path on the issue. Therefore, the Seventh Circuit concluded that “the state answers are binding.”

 

Consequences of the Seventh Circuit’s decision holding delivery drivers to be employees and not “independent contractors”

The Kansas Supreme Court noted in its opinion that the twenty-factor test under Kansas law as to whether an individual is an employee or independent differs somewhat from the “economic realities” test under the federal wage and hour law. Under the federal test, the determination of an individual’s status focuses more on whether, as a matter of economic reality, a worker is dependent on a given employer. Because the “right to control” test is generally regarded as more favorable to a finding of independent contractor status, the decision by the Kansas Supreme Court as adopted by the Seventh Circuit suggests that the company is even less likely to prevail in those states that borrow or use a variation of the federal “economic realities” test.

However, the most damaging part of the decision by the Kansas Supreme Court came with its response to the second question.  At the end of 2010, FedEx shifted into a new business model under the pressure of the independent contractor laws.  That business model gave its single-route drivers three options for continuing to work with FedEx on a going-forward basis:

  • Become a multi-route Independent Service Provider (ISP) by incorporating as a business,
  • Become an employee driver of an approved FedEx Ground ISP (that is, become a driver for another driver that has set up a business as an ISP)
  • Terminate his or her relationship with FedEx Ground at the expiration of its current independent contractor agreement, which would not be renewed.

The Kansas Supreme Court concluded that “the employer / employee relationship between FedEx and a full-time delivery driver . . . is not terminated or altered when the driver acquires an additional route for which he or she is not the driver.”

Drawing the line between being an employee or and independent contractor is an issue of great importance not just to this case but to the structure of the American workplace. The number of individuals classified as independent contractors in this country is growing. There are several economic incentives as to why employers wish to use independent contractors and there is a potential for (and evidence of) abuse in misclassifying employees as independent contractors. For instance, employees misclassified as independent contractors are denied access to certain benefits and protections. Not only that, misclassification results in significant costs to government (between 1996 and 2004, $34.7 billion of Federal tax revenues went uncollected due to the misclassification of workers  and puts employers who properly classify their workers at a disadvantage in the marketplace).

The interpretation of the difference between employee and independent contractor follows the same line in the state of New Jersey. In January 14, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a similar ruling holding delivery drivers to be employees based on a similar question asked by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in reference with the case Sam Hargrove, et. al. v. Sleepy s, LLC. Specifically, the Court had to decide which test should be applied under New Jersey law to determine whether a plaintiff is an employee or an independent contractor for purposes of resolving a wage-payment or wage-and-hour claim.

In its decision, the Supreme Court stated that the ABC test derived from the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Act, N.J.S.A.43:21-19(i)(6), provides more predictability and may cast a wider net than the FLSA economic realities test.

  • The ABC test presumes that an individual is an employee unless an employer can show that:
  • The employer neither exercised control over the worker, nor had the ability to exercise control in terms of the completion of the work;
  • The services provided were either outside the usual course of business or performed outside of all the places of business of the enterprise; and
  • The individual has a profession that will plainly persist despite termination of the challenged relationship.

Failure to satisfy any one of these three criteria results in an employment classification.

If you are a current independent contractor but you feel you should be considered as an employee, please contact us at (856) 685-7420 for a free consultation with our team of experts.

You can read the entire decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the following link: http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2015/D07-08/C:10-3115:J:PerCuriam:aut:T:fnOp:N:1583690:S:0

You can read the entire decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the following link:

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/08/27/12-17458.pdf

Supreme Court Upholds Determination that Loan Officers Were Entitled to Overtime

Mortgage loan officers might be now entitled to a 40-hour work week and overtime pay, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Labor acted within its authority when it reclassified loan officers as non-exempt employees who are eligible for overtime.

The ruling stems from a 2010 decision by the Department of Labor to reclassify loan officers. According to its “Administrator’s Interpretation”, loan officers in the mortgage banking industry generally do not qualify as exempt from overtime under the administrative exemption of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

In 1999 and in 2001, the DOL Wage and Hour (W&H) Division issued Opinion Letters concluding that mortgage loan officers do not qualify for the administrative exemption, and therefore must be paid minimum wage and overtime.  Then, following the DOL’s update of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) regulations in 2004, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) requested a new opinion interpreting the revised regulations. Therefore, in 2006, the DOL changed course and issued a new Opinion Letter, stating that loan officers could generally qualify as exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements under the FLSA.

In order to comply with this administrative exemption under the FLSA, an employee’s job duties and compensation must meet all of the following tests:

  1. The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis as defined in the regulations at a rate not less than $455 per week;
  2. The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers; and
  3. The employee’s primary duty must include the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

However, in 2010 the DOL issued an “Administrator Interpretation” concluding that mortgage loan officers generally do not perform the type of duties necessary to qualify for the administrative exemption of the FLSA.  In fact, the 2010 interpretation focuses on the application of the second test to employees who perform the typical jobs duties of a mortgage loan officer, that is, whether the primary duty of employees who perform the typical job duties of a mortgage loan officer is office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of their employer or their employer’s customers.

According to the facts found during the DOL Wage and Hour Division investigations and the facts set out in the case law establish, the typical mortgage loan officer job duties are: speaking with potential customers, collecting their financial information, running credit reports, and giving those potential customers information about the loan products that suit them more based on the matches than a computer program does based on the financial information provided.

The DOL based its 2010 interpretation in the difference between work related to the goods and services which constitute the business’ marketplace offerings (in this case, loans) and work which contributes to ‘running the business itself’. Thus, the DOL’s interpretation of law states that mortgage loan officers’ primary duty is making sales.

The new interpretation of the FLSA administrative exemption, prompted the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) to sue, arguing that because the DOL had previously issued an Opinion Letter in 2006 determining that loan officers could generally qualify as exempt from minimum wage and overtime under the administrative exemption, the DOL could not change its prior position without first issuing a written notice and allowing a comment period pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The federal District Court disagreed with the MBA, and ruled in favor of DOL. The MBA appealed, and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the MBA and vacated the Administrator’s Interpretation. In late 2013, following the decision by the Court of Appeals, the federal District Court issued an order on remand vacating and setting aside the 2010 DOL Interpretation, rendering it of no effect. However, the DOL appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On March 9, 2015, the Supreme Court reinstates the 2010 Interpretation which represents the current position of the agency. As noted by the Supreme Court, the 2010 Interpretation is merely an “interpretative rule” that is issued to advise the public of the DOL’s construction of the statutes and rules which it administers and is not a “legislative rule” that has the “force and effect of law.”  Furthermore, the Department of Labor is not subjected to the APA’s public notice-and-comment requirement because it doesn’t apply to interpretive rules; ”because  an agency is not required to use notice-and-comment procedures to issue an initial interpretive rule, it is also not required to use those procedures to amend or repeal that rule,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in the consensus opinion.

The Supreme Court case is Perez et al. v. Mortgage Bankers Association, case number 13-1041, and Nickols et al. v. Mortgage Bankers Association, case number 13-1052, decided March 9, 2015.

Finally, as the DOL clearly remarks, a job title (in this case, “mortgage loan officer”) does not determine whether an employee is exempt. The employee’s actual job duties and compensation determine whether the employee is exempt or nonexempt. Therefore, if you currently hold a mortgage loan officer position and you want to find out about your particular situation, please feel free to contact our staff for a free and confidential consultation.

If you have worked as a loan officer or in a similar capacity and were denied overtime pay, please contact Swartz Swidler today to speak to one of our New Jersey employment attorneys.  There is no cost for the consultation, and we typically accept cases on a contingent basis, meaning there is no upfront cost to you, and we only get paid if we obtain a recovery in your favor.

Truck Drivers Reach Settlement For Violations of Minimum Wage and Overtime

The United States District Court District of New Jersey preliminarily approved a settlement to pay for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”), the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law, and the New Jersey Wage Payment Law.

TRENTON, NJ: The settlement resolves a lawsuit that was filed back in 2013 over whether the employer had a policy or practice of failing to pay trainees wages equal to at least the federal minimum wage as established by the FLSA, whether the employer failed to pay overtime and minimum wages under New Jersey law, and whether the employer improperly deducted pay from the wages of trainees. The truck drivers are being represented by Swartz Swidler, LLC, an employment law firm based in Cherry Hill, NJ which is litigating nearly a dozen wage and hour matters against trucking companies nationwide.

The Plaintiffs contended that the employer violated the New Jersey wage and hour law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by failing to pay newly hired drivers for time worked during the mandatory training and orientation periods and for requiring newly hired individuals to pay an application fee to be considered for employment.

The Plaintiffs alleged that they were designated “Students” by the company and were required to complete initial hire classroom orientation and drug testing.  Plaintiffs further contended that they were required to pay a nonrefundable training fee for that purpose. After successful completion of orientation, the Students were then required to engage in over-the-road training with an instructor. Plaintiffs contended that the employer provided Students with a travel expense reimbursement per day (“per diem”) during the required completion of the training period.  The employer contended that the per diem reimbursement should qualify as a wage, and further argued that Student Drivers were not employed during their training.

The truck drivers alleged that they were denied overtime and minimum wages because the employer failed to pay for all compensable work time, including “on duty” time and compensable rest periods.

Plaintiffs alleged that the training constituted employment because during the training, they were required to perform actual work for the employer.  Additionally, they alleged that the nonrefundable training fee was unlawful pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New Jersey Wage Payment Law (NJWPL). Per the FLSA, an employee must be provided wages equal to at least the minimum wage and must be provided same “free and clear”. Wages are not provided “free and clear” where the “the employee ‘kicks-back’ directly or indirectly to the employer. . . the whole or part of the wage delivered to the employee.” Additionally “if an employer requires a prospective employee to purchase [an item] before starting work, the employer must reimburse the employee no later than the next regular payday to the extent that the [item] costs cut into statutory minimum wage or overtime premium pay.” Likewise, the New Jersey Wage Payment Law (NJWPL) explicitly prohibits employers from deducting from wages any amounts paid to the employer for training and further compel reimbursement for any costs associated with any medical examination (the non-refundable fee was in part to pay for a drug test). Plaintiffs therefore contended that the non-refundable fee was unlawful under the FLSA and the NJWPL.

The employees further alleged that “per diem” travel reimbursements did not constitute wages and did not offset the amount of minimum wages and overtime due.

Additionally, According to the FLSA and the NJWPL, reimbursements for travel expenses are not part of an employee’s “regular rate”. The Department of Labor further explains that reimbursements for meal and incidental costs incurred when an employee is traveling over the road on an employer’s business is excluded from the regular rate and does not constitute compensation, meaning that per diem should not be included to calculate the employee’s regular rate of pay.  Accordingly, the Plaintiffs contended that the per diem payments were not creditable towards the wages due to them.

Consequently, the Plaintiffs asserted that the employer  did not pay them for all hours worked, including approximately 50 hours that every Student worked per week while in over-the-road training as “on duty” time as defined by the Department of Transportation (DOT), and including time logged in a truck’s sleeper berth beyond 8 hours per day during their training and other compensable rest periods.

The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing in June.  The Magistrate Judge will decide whether the Settlement is sufficiently fair and reasonable to warrant final court approval.

New Jersey Raises Minimum Wage

What is the New Jersey Minimum Wage?

On January 1, 2015, New Jersey’s minimum wage rose from $8.25 to $8.38 which represents an increase of 1.59. This annual adjustment of 13 cents was approved to counteract the rate of inflation, which was increasing the cost of living in the state as the wage stayed the same.

Why was the New Jersey Minimum Wage increased in 2015?

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 12:56-3.1 the Department of Labor and Workforce Developments shall raise the New Jeresey minimum hourly wage rate, “based on any percentage increase during the one-year period of August of the prior year through August of the current year of the consumer price index (CPI) for all urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W, U.S. City Average), as released by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

The 2015 New Jersey Minimum Wage increase will directly boost pay for about 5 Percent of New Jersey’s Workers.  This wage increase will affect around 176,000 workers who are currently making the minimum wage or slightly more. The brief also states that $55.1 million in new wages will go to families with low-wage workers in 2015, meanwhile $39.9 million of that will go to families earning between $20,000 and $40,000 a year.

The New Jersey minimum wage is still too low to have a significant impact for the 30% of New Jersey households that earned too little to provide basic necessities.  In fact, studies have shown that due to the cost of living in New Jersey, New Jersey’s living wage (an amount where an employee would earn enough to provide for all the basic necessities, including housing, transportation, health care, child care, and food) is closer to $15 per hour, at least.  While New Jersey’s minimum wage increase is a small step

Is the New Jersey Minimum Wage Higher than the Federal Minimum Wage?

At the federal level, the minimum wage set by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 ((29 U.S.C. §206(a)(1)), has not been changed since 2009.  The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

Federal Court Holds Sleeper Berth Time is Compensable Work Time

NEWARK, NJ: On September 30, 2014, the United States District Court District of New Jersey ordered judgment against the New Jersey based trucking company, Jasmin International Corporation and its owner for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law, and the New Jersey Wage Payment Law. The plaintiff truck drivers were represented by Swartz Swidler, LLC, an employment law firm based in Cherry Hill, NJ which is litigating nearly a dozen wage and hour matters against trucking companies nationwide.

New Jersey Voters Stand Behind Workers and Raise Minimum Wage

On November 4th New Jersey residents voted in favor of raising the state minimum wage to $8.25 an hour. Voters overwhelmingly supported the raise, which additionally amends the state Constitution to adjust the minimum wage in tandem with the rise of inflation.

The results of the public ballot will amend Article I of the New Jersey State Constitution. The amendment begins by stating its intentions rather triumphantly:

More than 5,000 Drivers Have Joined the CR England Class Action Lawsuit

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH: The class and collective action lawsuit filed against C.R. England earlier this year is becoming a major legal battle between the company’s current and former truck drivers and the company.  As of the writing of this article, more than 5,000 C.R. England drivers have filed Consent Forms to join the C.R. England Class Action Lawsuit (as of 11/9/2013).  The collective and class action lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Utah earlier this year, was certified as a collective action in September of 2013.