Workers are protected by federal and state laws that dictate that employers must adhere to certain rules when dealing with their employees. For example, employees are afforded certain rights pertaining to fair compensation for hours worked. The idea of forced overtime is a related subject of concern. At the heart of the issue is the question: Is it legal for employers to require employees to work more than 40 hours per week?
The answer in most cases is yes.
Although the law makes it clear that overtime pay is due for any work by a non-exempt employee for time that exceeds 40 hours in a single week, there are only a few exceptions to the rule. One notable exception has to do with health care workers such as hourly nurses.
However, for the majority of employees working in the state of New Jersey, there are no protections from being fired for refusing to work overtime. In other words, mandatory overtime is at the discretion of the employer, and refusing to comply might cost you your job.
What Laws Govern Overtime in New Jersey?
New Jersey conforms to the federal statutes set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), which lays out rules regarding overtime as well as minimum wage requirements, child labor laws, and recordkeeping obligations.
The provisions in FLSA that relate to overtime state that an employer must pay an employee an overtime rate of one-and-one-half times their regular pay rate for any time worked over 40 hours in one week.
The law specifies that there is no limit to the number of hours that can be worked in a single week, as long as the employee is over the age of 16. Further, the FLSA does not require overtime pay for work that takes place on weekends or holidays, as long as the total number of hours is under 40 for the week, or that any weekly overage is paid at the overtime rate.
Likewise, there are no rules regarding the number of hours an employee may work in a single day. Therefore, workdays that last more than eight hours are not subject to overtime pay, unless the weekly 40-hour threshold is crossed.
How Is Overtime Calculated in New Jersey?
Hourly employees should receive an overtime rate of one-and-one-half times their regular hourly rate for every hour they work over and above 40 hours in a week. For hourly employees who earn commissions or bonuses, the additional income figures into the calculation.
How Is Overtime Handled for Salaried Workers in New Jersey?
Employees who are paid a salary may be eligible for overtime as well. To calculate their equivalent hourly pay rate, the salary is divided by the number of hours in a regular workweek. Employees who work 40 hours in a normal week should be paid one-and-a-half times this rate for any time worked over 40 hours.
Employees whose regular workweek is less than 40 hours should be paid their regular rate for the first 40 hours; any time after that should be paid at one-and-one-half times the calculated rate.
What Are Exemptions to Overtime Pay Rules in New Jersey?
There are several types of workers that are exempt from the overtime pay rules. These include railroad workers, truck drivers, outside salespeople, managers, and workers making more than $455 per week.
For an employer to prove that a particular employee can be considered exempt, they must prove a salary threshold mentioned above is crossed and that the job qualifies, based not on job title, but on the actual duties of the employee.
Camden County Employment Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Help Workers Fight for Their Rights under the Law
Employees have a right to certain legal protections, which include the right to fair compensation for the hours worked. If your employer is unlawfully withholding overtime pay that you have earned, you may have a case against them. The Camden County employment lawyers at Burnham Douglass can help you understand your rights as an employee and support your case against your employer. Contact us online or call us at 856-751-5505 for a free consultation. We are located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Marlton, Evesham Township, Cherry Hill, Camden County, Burlington County, Northfield, and Atlantic City.