Minimum Wage

Your Right to Be Paid Minimum Wage

Most employees are entitled to be paid at least minimum wage in New Jersey and New York. Unless you fall within a legal exemption from this requirement, your employer must pay you at least the minimum wage for every hour you work. For example, if you are paid by the hour this means your company probably cannot ask, require or allow you to work “off the clock” or to work during an unpaid lunch hour or other break.

What is the Current Minimum Wage?

In 2017, the minimum wage in New Jersey is $8.44 per hour.  By law, it will continue to increase annually to adjust for inflation.

In New York State, in 2017 the minimum wage ranges between $9.70 and $12.00 per hour, depending on whether you work for a "fast food establishment," and whether you live in New York City, downstate (Westchester, Nassau or Suffolk Counties) or upstate state (any other county).

For additional information, please see our article: New York and New Jersey Raise Minimum Wage.

Am I Entitled to Minimum Wage?

Although minimum wage laws apply to many employees, they do not apply to everyone. The three main categories of employees who are exempt from minimum wage law are Executive, Administrative and Professional employees. To fall into any of three categories, you have to be paid at least $913 per week and meet the following criteria:

Executive Employees: To fit into this category, an employee must (1) have primary responsibility for managing either the business or one of the company’s departments or subdivisions; (2) supervise at least two full-time employees (or the equivalent); and (3) either have authority to hire or fire other employees or have significant input into decisions about hiring, firing, promoting or similar personnel decisions.

Administrative Employees: For this exemption to apply an employee’s primary job duty has to involve (1) office work or other non-manual work directly related to managing or operating the company’s business; and (2) involve discretion and independent judgment about business matters.

Professional Employees: There are two subcategories of professional employees, learned professionals and creative professional.

Learned professionals: These are employees (1) whose primary job duties require advanced knowledge in a field involving scientific or learning that typically requires an advanced education and (2) who frequently use discretion and judgment to perform their jobs.

Creative professionals: These are employees whose primary job duties require imagination, creativity, originality, invention or artistic or creative talent.

In addition, many other employees are exempt from the minimum wage requirement including certain outside sales employees, information technology professionals, farm workers who work on relatively small farms and casual babysitters, among others.

Protection Against Retaliation

State and federal wage and hour laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), provide whistleblower protection. As a result, you may have a retaliation claim if you were fired, harassed, or experienced another adverse employment action because you objected to or complained about a wage and hour violation.

Related Claim: Overtime Pay

Companies that fail to pay their employees minimum wage also often violate overtime laws. Please see our overtime pay page to learn more about this important legal right.

Contact Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, P.C.

If you have been denied minimum wage or overtime pay, or if you have experienced another violation of your wage and hour rights in New Jersey or New York, we can help. Please call Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, P.C. at (973) 744-4000, or contact us online to schedule a meeting with an experienced employment lawyer.