New Jersey Pay Parity Bill

New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie recently signed the Gender Pay Parity Bill (the “Bill”) which impacts New Jersey-based companies that employ fifty or more individuals.  Under the Bill, employers must post as well as physically provide a new notice to their employees to inform them of their right to be free from gender-based discrimination in the workplace.  

The actual notice has not yet been drafted by the New Jersey Department of Labor (“NJDOL”). Therefore, while technically the Bill goes into effect on November 21, 2012, employers will have thirty days to comply with the notice requirements of the Bill from the date the NJDOL actually issues the required notice. 

Employers have to post the notice at their work location. It is prudent to post the notice in the same location as other required posters.  In addition to the notice having to be in English and Spanish, the notice must also be provided in any language that is spoken by at least 10% of an employer’s workforce (provided that the NJDOL has issued a notice in that language).

All new employees will need to receive a copy of the notice on hire.  Furthermore, each year all employees must receive a copy of the notification by December 31st.  Finally, employees at any time may request a notice from their employer. 

Employers may provide the notification to their employees through:

·         e-mail;

·         printed material, including pay check insert, flyer or as an attachment to an employee manual or policy book; or

·         via an internet or intranet site if the site is for the exclusive use of all employees, can be accessed by all employees and the employer provides notice of the posting to all employees. 

Within thirty days of receipt of their notice employees must provide their employer a signed acknowledgement (or electronic verification) that they received this notice.  

If you have any questions with respect to the Gender Pay Parity Bill, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

New Jersey Inadvertently Eliminates Long-Standing Exemption for Commissioned Sales People and Aligns Exemptions With Federal Law

In an effort to bring its definitions for white-collar employees exempt from the overtime pay regulations into line with the federal definitions, New Jersey inadvertently eliminated a long-standing exemption for commissioned sales people.

The New Jersey Department of Labor recently modified its wage and hour regulations to adopt certain provisions included in the federal overtime regulations. Specifically, New Jersey eliminated its state definitions of the executive, administrative, professional and outside sales positions and adopted the federal regulations defining these exemptions, which are found in 29 C.F.R. Part 541.

Prior to the modification, New Jersey employers had enjoyed an exemption for commissioned sales people (as distinct from “outside sales people”) which were defined as exempt as part of New Jersey’s administrative exemption. This exemption included employees whose “primary duty consists of sales activity and who receives at least 50 percent of his or her total compensation from commission and a total compensation of not less than . . . $400.00 per week.” This exemption was eliminated with the recent modifications—apparently inadvertently. Supposedly, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is working to reverse this unintended result. However, such a reversal could take months.

Given the broad sweep of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which contains only a narrow exemption for commissioned employees in certain retail sales capacities, it is unclear how many employees fell under only the New Jersey law and enjoyed the exemption in any event. New Jersey employers, however, now need not worry about stricter state overtime standards when determining how to properly classify executive, administrative, outside sales and professional (including computer) employees under the overtime regulations—although the federal regulations still provide employers with many challenges to ensure the business has sufficient arguments to support exemption classifications and other New Jersey overtime regulations (such as the stricter standard for the trucking industry) remain unchanged.