Legal Alert: Stay Compliant and Avoid Revocation or Suspension of Your Business Licenses



In May 2019, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDLWD) proposed rules that would implement a 2010 law that granted the agency the power to order the suspension or revocation of an employer’s licenses to do business in New Jersey under certain circumstances.  This Legal Alert provides a brief overview of the 2010 law and the proposed rules, along with recommended next steps for employers. Pro Bono Partnership encourages nonprofits with employees in New Jersey to conduct an internal audit to ensure that they are in compliance with the requirements of the 2010 law.

The 2010 Law

In January 2010, during Governor Corzine’s last full week in office, a law was enacted that had two major components.  One component requires New Jersey employers to conspicuously post in their workplaces a notice of employers’ obligation to maintain and report records regarding wages, benefits, taxes, and other contributions and assessments pursuant to eight New Jersey wage, benefit, and tax laws.  The notice must also include information on how to file a complaint with the NJDLWD.

Nearly two years later, the NJDLWD issued two versions of the required form of notice.  One version is six pages long, on 8.5” x 11” paper, and the other version is one page long, on 11” x 17” paper.  A copy of the notice must be given to each new employee at the time of hire.

The other component of the 2010 law authorizes the NJDLWD to take three levels of action against an employer that fails to maintain and report the required records and has, in connection with that failure to maintain or report the records, failed to pay wages, benefits, taxes, or other contributions or assessments as required by the eight laws:

  1. First, the NJDLWD must notify the employer that it violated the 2010 law and the NJDLWD must conduct an audit of the employer within 12 months.
  1. Second, if the audit reveals that the employer is still in violation of the 2010 law,the NJDLWD may, after affording the employer an opportunity for a hearing,direct appropriate New Jersey state, county, and/or local governmental agencies, departments, boards, and commissions (collectively “agencies”) that issue licenses for purposes of operating a business in this State tosuspend any one or more licenses that are held by the employer for a period of time determined by the NJDLWD.  The NJDLWD must conduct another audit of the employer within 12 months.
  1. Third, if the second audit reveals that the employer is still in violation of the 2010 law, the NJDLWD shall, after affording the employer an opportunity for a hearing,direct appropriate governmental agencies to permanently revoke any one or more licenses that are held by the employer.

For purposes of the 2010 law, a “license” means “any agency permit, certificate, approval, registration, charter or similar form of authorization that is required by law and that is issued by any agency for the purposes of operating a business in” New Jersey.  This would include, for example, a certificate of incorporation and any agency permit, certificate, approval, registration, charter, or similar form of permission to engage in a profession, trade, or occupation in New Jersey.

The NJDLWD’s Proposed Rules

On May 6, 2019, the NJDLWD published proposed rules to implement its authority to enforce the 2010 law.  This is a clear signal that the NJDLWD under the administration of Governor Murphy plans to enforce the requirements of the law.

What Employers Should Do Now

While the proposed rules might be revised before being adopted in final form later this year, employers should not wait until the final rules are issued to audit their recordkeeping and reporting practices.  Employers should:

  • Print a copy of the 8.5” x 11” notice and carefully go through it to confirm that their organizations are maintaining all the records and filing all the reports regarding wages, benefits, taxes, and other contributions and assessments that are required by the eight New Jersey wage, benefit, and tax laws.
  • Periodically check to see if the NJDLWD has updated the 8.5” x 11” notice to reflect changes in the rules governing recordkeeping and reporting practices under those eight laws.

Note that other laws and regulations require employers to maintain and retain certain records.  One such law is New Jersey’s 2018 Paid Sick Leave Act, which is discussed in an article on the Pro Bono Partnership website.

Questions

If you have any questions about this Legal Alert and you are associated with a charitable nonprofit with employees in New Jersey, feel free to contact Christine Michelle Duffy, Pro Bono Partnership New Jersey Program Director, at 973-240-6955 ext. 303.

This document is provided as a general informational service to volunteers, clients, and friends of Pro Bono Partnership, Inc.  It should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal advice on any specific matter, nor does distribution of this document create an attorney-client relationship.