Legal Alert: Mandatory Notices Reminder and New Jersey Minimum Wage to Increase in 2017



With the end of 2016 fast approaching, Pro Bono Partnership wants to remind nonprofits of the notices that they might need to hand out to their New Jersey-based employees, at the time of hire and/or annually.  Nonprofits also should note that the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDLWD) has announced that New Jersey’s minimum hourly wage will increase six cents on January 1, 2017, to $8.44.

Reminder Regarding Mandatory Notices to Employees
Some employers are obligated to give their New Jersey-based employees notices about the employees’ rights under certain New Jersey and federal laws.  These notices may need to be given at the time of hire and/or annually.

Gender Equity Notice 
Each year, by no later than December 31, New Jersey employers with 50 or more employeesregardless of the states in which the employees are located—must provide, in English and Spanish, a copy of a Gender Equity Notice to all their New Jersey employees.  These employers also must give the notice to all new employees in New Jersey at the time of hire.  The notice advises employees of their rights to be free of gender discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and two federal laws, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

The notice must be accompanied by an acknowledgment that the employee has received the notice and has read and understands its terms.  This acknowledgment must be signed by the employee, in writing or by means of electronic verification, and returned to the employer within 30 days of its receipt.  The NJDLWD has prepared a form notice and acknowledgment that an employer may use.

To read Pro Bono Partnership’s article about New Jersey’s Gender Equity Notice, click here.

CEPA Notice
New Jersey employers with 10 or more employeesregardless of the states in which the employees are located— must annually provide, in English and Spanish, a copy of the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA or “Whistleblower Act”) Notice to all their New Jersey employees.  Although not required, an employer might consider providing a copy of the CEPA Notice to new employees at the time of hire.  The NJDLWD has prepared a form notice that an employer may use.

Other Notices
All employers (regardless of size) must give all new employees in New Jersey, at the time of hire:

  • The Employer Obligation to Maintain and Report Records Notice (a/k/a the Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements Under State Wage, Benefit and Tax Laws Notice); and
  • The New Jersey Family Leave Insurance Notice.

The NJDLWD has prepared form notices that an employer may use for these purposes.

If an employer does not have a written policy or employee handbook covering leaves of absence relating to the following topics, then the employer:

  • If it has 50 or more employees (regardless of the states in which the employees are located), must give all new employees in New Jersey, at the time of hire, a notice of their rights and obligations under the New Jersey Family Leave Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act – an employer can distribute, as applicable, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights Fact Sheet and the U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet.
  • If it has 25 or more employees (regardless of the states in which the employees are located), should consider giving all new employees in New Jersey, at the time of hire, a notice of their rights and obligations under the New Jersey SAFE Act.  The NJDLWD has prepared a form notice that an employer may use. To read Pro Bono Partnership’s article about the New Jersey SAFE Act, click here.

Although not expressly mandated by law, employers are strongly encouraged to provide all employees, at the time of hire and annually, a copy of the employers’ antiharassment/antidiscrimination policy, which should include a complaint procedure.

Download the NJDLWD Notices
The NJDLWD’s form notices that are referenced above can be downloaded from the NJDLWD’sEmployer Poster Packet web page.

New Jersey Minimum Wage Will Increase in 2017
In November 2013, New Jersey voters approved an amendment to Article I of the New Jersey Constitution that authorizes annual increases in New Jersey’s minimum hourly wage based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.

On September 30, 2016, the NJDLWD announced that, effective January 1, 2017, the New Jersey minimum hourly wage will increases six cents, to $8.44.  The NJDLWD will be issuing a revised version of the required New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law Abstract, to reflect the $8.44 amount.  The revised Abstract eventually will be available here.

QUESTIONS
If you would like to receive a comprehensive listing of the various New Jersey and federal notices that most New Jersey employers are required to post and/or distribute to employees, or if you have questions about any of the topics discussed above, please contact Christine Michelle Duffy, Esq., in our Parsippany office, at cduffy@probonopartner.org or 973-240-6955 ext. 303.  During the past year, several federal agencies issued revised editions of their required posters, so this would be a good time to check that you have the latest versions posted.