This year, Congress passed a new overtime rule that would increase the salary limit of workers who would be eligible for and guaranteed to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week. The new rule, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is ready to go into effect Dec. 1 this year. However, the U.S. House of Representatives in late September passed a bill that aims to delay that start for six months. It doesn't seem the rule will actually be delayed, though, as President Barack Obama has released a statement saying he would veto the bill that aims to delay the start of the overtime rule.
A U.S. District Judge in Newark has ruled that the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law does support private causes of action in situations where employers improperly withhold overtime pay. The law has been used in previous cases to justify awards for unpaid overtime. It's a quirk of the way law works that those awards could come before the case deciding that the right to those awards actually exists. Timing issues aside, it is a win for workers who are routinely denied proper overtime pay by unscrupulous employers.
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.
For one New Jersey worker, tacos were his life…literally. The male worker was employed as a driver, cook and cashier in a Taco Truck mobile facility. The man was paid a salary that averaged out to approximately $615 per week. To earn that $615, the man said that he worked around 70 to 80 hours over six days per week. Sometimes, his schedule forced him to sleep in the truck.
The goal of most employers is to make a profit. This is probably not a big surprise to any of our Evesham Employment Law Blog readers. Employers will find the best deal on supplies, enter into contracts that provide the greatest benefit or structure employee schedules to ensure that labor costs are in balance with the work that needs to be done.
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.