Employers often have questions relating to basic wage and hour issues.  This blog post is designed to refresh your memory as to the current status of some of your more basic wage and hour issues in New Jersey as we wrap up 2014.

Q1. What is New Jersey’s minimum wage?

A. Effective January 1, 2014, the hourly minimum wage in New Jersey is $8.25 per hour. BUT effective January 1, 2015, the minimum wage rate in New Jersey will be raised to $8.38 per hour.

Q2. If I have tipped employees, do I have to pay the minimum wage ?

A. The employee’s total earnings (hourly wage plus tips) must equal at least the minimum wage per hour. The hourly rate is up to the employer; however, the suggested rate according to the NJ DOL is a minimum of $2.13 per hour.  If the hourly rate plus tips does not equal at least the minimum wage per hour, the employer is required to make up the difference.

Q3. When do I pay out overtime?

A. You must pay overtime, at the rate of time and one half, after 40 hours of actual work in a 7-day workweek, with the exception of certain salaried employees.

Q4. Am I required to give employees a lunch break?

A. In NJ, the mandatory break law only applies to minors under the age of 18 and they must be given a 30 minute meal period after 5  consecutive hours of work. Company policy dictates break and lunch periods for anyone over the age of 18.

This is just an overview of some FAQs.  And don’t worry, it’s not uncommon to have questions as simple as those outlined above.  It’s important to know the basic rules well, because failing to know the state’s basic wage and hour rules tends to lead to more complicated problems.