Singleton Calls on Murphy Administration to Act Swiftly to Protect NJ Workers’ Overtime Pay

Says New Jersey should ‘modernize’ its salary threshold by increasing it to $55,000 by 2022

Trenton – In response to the Trump Administration’s decision last month to set the federal overtime salary threshold to $35,000, Senator Troy Singleton today called on Governor Phil Murphy to take immediate action to protect New Jersey’s middle class workers. The Senator asks that the Murphy Administration increase the State’s salary threshold to $55,000 by 2022. The text of the letter the Senator sent previously to the Governor is below:

 

Dear Governor Murphy,

I am writing this letter to respectfully request your attention to a matter that would greatly improve the economic outlook for many individuals and families in New Jersey. 

During your first year in office, you have made it a priority to uplift working families by improving access to healthcare, applying innovation to our education system, and implementing equal pay. While I was extremely proud to work with you on achieving these significant accomplishments, more work is needed to provide the economic policies necessary to bring New Jersey’s salaries and wages into the 21st century.

Clearly, there is more that can be done to truly place New Jersey’s working families first – the State needs to expand overtime pay by enacting a new salary threshold. This is a necessary and important action that would directly benefit 400,000 hard-working salaried employees in New Jersey who are not fairly compensated for their overtime due to outdated, obsolete federal rules.

According to information from the Economic Policy Institute, the share of salaried workers who are guaranteed overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours a week has plummeted from almost 63% nationally in 1975 to less than 7% today. This dramatic decrease is due to the fact that the salary threshold under which salaried workers are guaranteed overtime when they put in long hours has not been updated in over 40 years, nor has it been adjusted for inflation – it remains at less than $24,000. Certainly, this is unfathomable and unrealistic, especially with the high cost of living in New Jersey.

This means that millions of U.S. workers – and hundreds of thousands here in New Jersey – are working 50 or 60 hours a week, losing time with their families, and not getting any overtime pay for their hard work and dedication. It also means that employers are not hiring workers to do the extra work. 

Therefore, I am asking that you give strong consideration to directing the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to set New Jersey’s salary threshold at $55,000 by 2022. This action requires no legislative action, as New Jersey is one of the few states that can make this change by administrative action. This change would be roughly equivalent to the overtime salary threshold that President Barack Obama attempted to implement in 2016 to reflect the changes in wage growth, but was contested by Republican Attorney Generals. 

If the federal government has been unable to enact this salary threshold, New Jersey should provide the necessary leadership and take it upon itself to adopt our own modernized salary threshold, one that can truly support our working families.

As always, I truly appreciate your consideration of this request. I am available should you have any questions or if you would like to discuss this matter further.

 

Most sincerely,

 

Hon. Troy Singleton

Senator, 7th Legislative District

 

 cc: Robert Asaro-Angelo, Commissioner, NJ Department of Workforce and Labor Development