Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senate Labor Committee Chair Fred Madden and Senator Dawn Marie Addiego, which would revise certain penalties for violations of the “New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law,” passed the Senate Labor Committee yesterday.
“Fines for violating wage and hour laws have proven to be ineffective, so much so that repeat offenders find it more cost effective to violate the law than to operate honestly,” said Senator Fred Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Our workers deserve to be fairly compensated for their time and hard work and this bill would deter the bad actors from cheating our workers out of their hard earned wages.”
Under the bill, S-562, an employer who violates any provision of that law would be guilty of a disorderly persons offense upon conviction of a first or second violation, and guilty of a crime of the fourth degree upon conviction of a third or subsequent offense.
“It is unacceptable for workers to be cheated out of their wages by employers who blatantly disrespect the basic terms of their working agreement,” said Senator Addiego (D-Atlantic/Burlington/Camden). “Imposing stiffer penalties for these actions would help prevent the exploitation of our workers by dishonest employers strengthening workers’ rights in the state.”
The bill would increase the applicable fines as follows:
For a first violation, a minimum of $500 fine and would maintain the maximum fine of not more than $1,000;
For a second violation, a minimum fine of $1,000 and not more than $2,000; and
A third or subsequent violation would constitute a crime of the fourth degree, punishable by a minimum fine of $2,000 and not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for up to 18 months or by both the fine and imprisonment.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 4-1.