New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Attorney Deborah L. Mains, Esq. Discusses Victory for Federal Express Drivers
Wal-Mart is back in the headlines again. This time, the discount retail giant is making news over its new dress code policy, or "uniforms" as many are insisting is a more appropriate descriptor, that goes into effect on Monday, September 29.
Employers have a large bag of tricks they can use to avoid paying prevailing wages, the minimum wage, proper overtime, payroll taxes and other legally mandated costs. One of the most common tricks is to classify a person as an independent contractor when the reality of their circumstances shows that they are an employee. While employers do not actually have the right to define workers as they see fit, regulators face an uphill battle in catching and punishing them for misclassification.
Minimum wage is one of the current events topics across the nation. Some states have proposed or already enacted measures that would increase the minimum wage in certain industries or jurisdictions. This debate recently came to the state of New Jersey. Earlier this month, national advocacy groups spoke out on behalf of seasonal restaurant workers at the Jersey Shore.
In the November elections, NJ voters voted, with 61% in support, to amend the NJ State Constitution to increase the minimum wage, effective January 1, 2014, from $7.25 per hour to $8.25 per hour. The amendment will also require annual increases to the minimum wage in the event of a cost of living increase. NJ has become just the fifth state in the union to make the minimum wage a matter of constitutional mandate.
New Jersey is one of the 13 states that are set to increase the minimum wage with the ringing in of 2014, as reported by the National Employment Law Project. Washington D.C. lawmakers and those in another 11 states said that raising the minimum wage would at least be a topic of consideration in the upcoming 12 months.
Nov. 5 is just over one month away, and for many New Jersey workers, it will be an important election day. One question on the ballot this year is whether or not the minimum wage in New Jersey should be raised to $8.25 and include annual cost-of-living adjustments.
In a lot of households, it is the mother who is called when a child gets sick at school or takes time off to help care for a relative with an illness. Many of these women are also the primary wage earners in their family. Yet, New Jersey law does not protect this societal health interest with paid sick days for around 1.2 million workers in the state -- many of them women.