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The New Jersey Minimum Wage Act

April 9, 2021 Wage Theft & Unpaid Wages

One of the Country’s Strongest Minimum Wage Laws

The New Jersey Minimum Wage Act is one of several laws and statutes aimed at ensuring that employees in New Jersey are paid an adequate living wage.

New Jersey is one of the most progressive states in the country when it comes to the minimum wage. Recently, Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey signed into law a plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024.

The wage is expected to rise by $1 per year until it reaches $15 per hour, with some possible fluctuations for inflation.

What Are the Exemptions To New Jersey’s Minimum Wage Requirements?

Currently, as of January 1, 2021, the minimum wage in New Jersey is $12 per hour for most employees. There are some exceptions, however:

  • The minimum wage for tipped employees is $4.13 per hour (raised from $3.13 per hour in 2020)—as long as the total of wages and tips equals at least $12 per hour.
  • Full-time students working at their universities or colleges part-time must receive at least 85% of the minimum wage.
  • Other types of employees, including outside salespeople, agricultural workers, trainees, seasonal employees, in-home childcare providers, and minors under the age of 18 may also be exempted.
  • The timeline for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will be slower for small businesses with six or fewer employees.

What Happens if Your Employer Violates New Jersey Minimum Wage Laws?

If your employer pays you less than the New Jersey minimum wage—or deducts things improperly from your paycheck that bring your take-home pay to below the minimum wage—it may be categorized as wage theft.

New Jersey has one of the strongest laws in the country to prevent wage theft. Penalties may include:

  • Possible suspension or revoking of the employer’s business license.
  • Fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 for first-time violations, and up to $2,000 for subsequent violations.
  • Criminal penalties for those violating New Jersey wage requirements, including jail time of up to 100 days.

In addition, the statute of limitations for claims related to minimum wage and overtime pay violations is now six years—so employees have time to bring a suit and can claim more years of back pay.

Talk To a Knowledgeable Employment Lawyer 

If you believe your employer has been engaging in wage theft, you should talk to an employment attorney.

Your attorney can review your situation, determine whether your employer has violated the law, and help you recover the compensation you are owed.

We have helped many people in this situation recover thousands of dollars in wages and compensation, and we can help you too. Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.