There is frequent discussion and policy-making on the subject of the minimum wage, most notably the push in Washington for a $15/hour minimum wage. And while President Obama called for the minimum wage to be raised to $10.10/hour–a move which would finally raise the true value of the minimum wage (counting inflation) back up to what it was decades ago, New Jersey workers still live in one of the most expensive states in the nation.
The facts speak for themselves. According to a report entitled “The Job Gap,” New Jersey workers would have to work 94 hours per weeks to make a ‘living wage.’ In other words, if workers would like to pay their rent, provide for their family, and eat more than macaroni and cheese for their Christmas meal, they cannot work a 40-hour work week. New Jersey is the fifth-highest state in term of hours needed to work to reach the ‘living wage.’ On top of these factors is the fact that many workers are not being paid the minimum wage NJ has established. That might be surprising, but a 2011 study conducted by the United States Department of Labor showed that 3.5%-6.5% of all workers (both salaried and hourly wage employees) were paid less than the minimum wage.
Not only is the minimum wage NJ set insufficient, but it’s being violated left and right! How can you know if you’re being paid less than the NJ minimum wage?
Warning Signs That You Are Being Paid Less Than The NJ Minimum Wage
- You work as a waiter/waitress, and your hourly pay plus tips does not equal $8.38. Many waiters and waitresses are actually unaware that their wages are protected under the Fair Labor Standard Act, and that tips are supposed to be a means to reward workers who go above and beyond the call of duty, but that the employer is still responsible to compensate any salary that is lower than it should be.
- As an individual (not supporting a family or spouse) working a 40-hour work week, you still fall below the poverty line.
- Equipment rental or uniform rental is being taken out of your paycheck. Employers don’t have the right to make your wage go below the minimum wage limit, for any reason! In no scenario should you have to pay to ‘rent’ the equipment necessary to complete the job you were hired for.
The 2016 NJ minimum wage may be an improvement on what it was ten years ago, but it’s just a start. Until NJ minimum wage violations are reported and punished, real change can’t happen.
If your or a loved one are being under-paid, contact TMH Law. We believe that where experience counts, results matter.
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