If you work for an hourly wage and your employer offers overtime, you should be aware of your rights under New Jersey law regarding overtime pay. That way, if your employer pays you less than you are entitled to, you can take action to seek full compensation for your work.
In general, after working 40 hours in a week, an employee is entitled to 1.5 times their regular wages for any time spent working. This is commonly known as “time and a half.” Working more than eight hours in a day, on the weekend, or during a holiday does not entitle you to overtime pay unless doing so puts you over 40 hours for the week.
Calculating your overtime pay
To calculate your overtime wage rate, the law requires employers to use your regular hourly wage. For the most part, this is based on what you get paid for your work up to 40 hours per week, but certain forms of compensation, such as gifts, profit-sharing plans and compensation for travel expenses, are excluded.
Exemptions and employers misusing the law
The law excepts overtime pay for those working in “a bona fide executive, administrative, professional or outside sales capacity” from being entitled to overtime pay. New Jersey employers sometimes try to get out of paying overtime by claiming that a worker who clocked in for more than 40 hours is one of these exempt workers. This is just one tactic that many companies use. They often target lower-wage employees and try to intimidate them out of standing up for their rights by threatening retaliation like firing or cutting of hours.
No worker in New Jersey is powerless to get the pay they have earned. Legal action against an employer who is shorting workers’ overtime wages can help set things right.