Pair of New Laws Impacts NJ Workers and Employers
March 04, 2019
This episode of the “The Bottom Line” examines two high-profile NJ legislative initiatives: the Family Leave Act and an increase in the minimum wage. Tim Schuster from EisnerAmper breaks down the fine points of each and what your business needs to do to get ready.
DP: A lot happening on the state's legislative front.
TS: Wow. Yes. It's been a very interesting 2019 so far.
DP: Okay, well let's start with a biggie: the New Jersey Family Leave Act.
TS: No doubt, this is a major piece of legislation. Effective July, 2020, workers will be entitled to more time off and additional funds. The old law allowed for a limit of six weeks and weekly benefits of around $650. The new law allows up to 12 weeks of family leave and if a worker doesn't want to take all 12 weeks concurrently, they will be eligible for 56 days of paid leave in a 12-month period, as opposed to 42 days. Maximum payouts will also increase to about $860 and up to that limit workers will be entitled to receive 85% of their weekly wage, which was only about two-thirds under the old law.
DP: Okay, now doesn't the legislation expand the definition of family?
TS: Yes, it does. So, effective immediately, the definition of who is covered under the Act has expanded to include—but not limited to—siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws or anyone else related by blood or equivalent family.
DP: Perhaps most importantly for our listeners out there, what types of companies does this impact?
TS: The old threshold was for companies with 50 or more employees, those employees are guaranteed to have a job waiting for them when they returned from family leave. The threshold will be lowered to companies with 30 or more employees. That’s a very big difference from the old law. So it would be prudent for those companies to talk with their business advisers on to how this might impact their bottom line.
DP: Switching gears a little, a lot of people in the state are about to get a pay raise, aren’t they?
TS: Yes, about a million people, the governor signed legislation raising the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour. However, this will be implemented gradually over a six-year phase-in period.
DP: I understand there are some exceptions here.
TS: Yes, there are. Restaurants and other workers that received gratuities will see their minimum wages increased to $5.13/hour by 2024. Small business workers and seasonal employees will realize a $15 per-hour wage by 2026. And farm workers, because we are the Garden State after all, will make $12.50/hour by 2024, which will be one of the highest hourly farm wages in the nation.
TS: Very much so. Again, it pays to talk to your business advisor how this might impact your business.
DP:That is what's happening in Trenton today as of February 27, 2019. Why don't we take a look back in time and give us one of your New Jersey Historical Society fun facts.
TS: Absolutely. I want to keep this Trenton theme. Let's go back to the Revolutionary War. One of the major turning points of the Revolution War was the battle of Trenton, the infamous crossing of the Delaware River. Everyone has seen the famous picture of Washington crossing the river and you can thank this small battle for turning the tide of the war.
DP:Hmm. I know that they do a reenactment every Christmas morning in Trenton. I've always wanted to do that.
TS: I honestly, I highly recommend it. It is awesome. If you get a chance, go check it out.
DP:Thanks Tim for this valuable information.
TS: My pleasure.
DP:And thank you for listening to The Bottom Line part of the EisnerAmper podcast series. If you have any questions or there's a topic you'd like us to cover, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Eisneramper.com for more information on this and a host of other topics. And join us for our next EisnerAmper podcast when we get down to business.