The Fair Labor Standards Act was first voted into law in 1938, requiring a 40-cent minimum wage, a 40-hour maximum work week, and abolished child labor for individuals under the age of 16. While many amendments have been made at the federal level to increase the minimum wage or exempt certain groups from its standards, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act still prevails over the American work force and her employers.
In addition to the federal act, all states have additional labor standards laws that protect workers from abuse, poor working conditions, and too many hours.
How Much is Minimum Wage?
The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. Each state can enact laws to increase or reduce that rate as they see fit. New Jersey just approved a ballot vote last year to increase the state minimum wage to $8.25 per hour. With this New Jersey vote came a new policy that will automatically adjust the minimum wage each September and add increases each January based on the Consumer Price Index inflation model.
Overtime and the 40-Hour Work Week
The 40-hour work week still stands as the standard for all hourly employees. In New Jersey, you cannot be forced to work overtime. It must be a choice made by the employee when they accept the job. However, for every hour beyond the standard 40 hours, workers in New Jersey must be paid time-and-a-half. That means the hourly rate in New Jersey increases from $8.25 per hour to $12.38 per hour. If you make more than $8.25 per hour as your base hourly rate, then you are entitled to one and a half times that rate for any overtime pay.
Because certain positions require less-intensive work, there are limits to the overtime laws in both New Jersey and federal law. Currently, if you earn more than $455 per week, you are not entitled to overtime pay for more than 40 hours. Additionally, in New Jersey, all outside sales people, independent contractors, live-in employees like housekeepers and nannies, and others who make their own hours are exempt from overtime requirements.
New Jersey’s labor laws also protect employees from having to work in substandard conditions. The working environment must be conducive to the health and safety standards in both the public and private sectors.
These laws mandate inspections and requirements for working with asbestos, heavy machine operations, explosives, mining and other jobs that work with hazardous materials. Additionally, the law also protects employees in regular jobs from working where the conditions may be dangerous to their health.
Under the working conditions laws are also protections for emotional well-being, which ban discrimination, harassment, and other forms of abuse by an employer.
Have My Rights Been Violated?
If you feel that the rights granted to you by the federal Fair Labors Standards Act or any of New Jersey’s labor laws may have been violated, you should contact an employment attorney immediately to discuss your complaints. The skilled firm of Castronovo & McKinney are available to hear your concerns and help determine if you have a case. Contact New Jersey Employment Attorneys, Castronovo & McKinney today for a free consultation 973-920-7888.