Payment of Wages: New Jersey
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Author: Vicki M. Lambert, The Payroll Advisor
- The term wages is specifically defined in the New Jersey wage payment law and wage collection law. See Definition of Wages.
- Employers in New Jersey may pay employees in cash, by check, by direct deposit, or with electronic paycards provided certain conditions are met. Penalties apply for noncompliance. See Wage Payment Methods.
- Different pay frequencies are required for exempt and nonexempt employees. Employees must be paid within a certain number of days after the end of each pay period. Penalties may be imposed for violating these requirements. See Pay Frequency.
- The law specifies the types of deductions that may and may not be made from employees' pay. Penalties are imposed for noncompliance. See Permitted and Prohibited Wage Deductions.
- All employees must be provided with a pay statement for each pay period. Electronic pay statements are also permitted. Penalties apply for failure to provide pay statements. See Pay Statement Requirements.
- Employees must be notified when they are hired of their pay rate and the employer's regular predesignated payday. Employees must also be notified of any changes in pay rate or paydays before the changes are made. See Employee Notification Requirements.
- Terminated employees must be paid within a certain amount of time, whether employment ends voluntarily or involuntarily. An exception applies to certain employees who are suspended due to a labor dispute. If an employer provides vacation benefits to employees, accrued benefits must be administered uniformly on termination of employment as to all employees and according to established policy, employment agreement or union contract. An employer is not required to pay out any unused, accrued sick leave upon an employee's separation from employment, unless an employer policy or collective bargaining agreement requires it. Employers may face penalties for violating these requirements. See Termination Pay.
- Under the New Jersey Wage Theft Act (WTA), an employer (or its successor) commits wage theft if it knowingly fails to timely pay all wages, minimum wage payments, overtime pay or benefits due to an employee. Retaliation against an employee who complains of an employer's wage theft is punishable. An employer is required to provide all current employees and new hires with a notice that discusses employees' rights in regard to wage theft. Severe penalties apply to employers that fail to comply with the law. See Wage Theft.
- Wages due to deceased employees may only be paid to certain people in a certain order, and only if the individuals satisfy specific prerequisites. See Deceased Employee Wages.
- Wages that remain unclaimed by an employee for one year are considered abandoned. Employers are required to file a report on specific forms and remit the wages if they are above a certain amount to a state agency by a particular due date. Employers are also required to send notice of the unclaimed wages to the employee's last known address within a certain time frame. Stiff civil penalties, plus interest, may be imposed for noncompliance. See Unclaimed Wages.