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Senator Fred Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester, listens to testimony before the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee regarding services for people with developmental disabilities.

TRENTON Legislation sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden, Jr. that would exempt employees of for-profit and non-religious summer camps from minimum wage and overtime requirements was approved yesterday by the Senate Labor Committee.

The bill, S-2946, would  expand the current exemption from minimum wage and overtime requirements to employees of all summer camps during the months of June, July, August and September.  Currently, the exemption applies only to camps operated by nonprofit and religious associations.  Under the bill, the exemption would be expanded to include camps operated by for-profit and non-religious businesses.

“As one of only a handful of states that do not provide these exemptions to all summer camps, New Jersey is seriously lagging behind. This could lead the state to miss out on good economic opportunities that could benefit our tourism industry,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Extending overtime and minimum wage requirement exemptions to privately-owned and non-religious camps would help to encourage the presence of more camps for parents interested in summer activities for their children. This bill would ensure that private camps have the financial support to set up in the state, creating educational and recreational job opportunities for our youths and residents.”

New Jersey is the only state in the Northeast and only one of five in the country that do not extend the minimum wage/overtime exemption to all summer camps, according to the New Jersey Camps Government Affairs Project. The other four states that do not allow the exemption are Ohio, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Nevada. New Jersey’s current law makes it financially difficult for a private overnight camp to locate in the state because they would be required to pay counselors overtime. This bill would allow private sleep-away camps to locate in New Jersey, which could create jobs for young adults between the ages of 18 and 24, school teachers and school nurses during the summer months.

“Camps can attract state visitors who may stay, vacation, and spend money in the immediate area, providing families with a fun-filled summer experience while making a positive impact on the state’s economy,” added Senator Madden. We should not be at a competitive disadvantage that would impact opportunities for young people to gain experience and make money during their summers. Extending the exemption to other types of camps makes good economic sense.”

S-2946 was approved with a vote of 5-0. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.