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Knowledge is Power: Workers’ Rights

Brought to You by PRAB, Unity Square, New Labor, & Esperanza Neighborhood Project
Elisabeth Graham

Minimum Wage

  • The minimum wage in New Jersey is currently $8.38 an hour. It is reassessed every January 1 to account for inflation. As of January 1, 2017, the New Jersey Minimum Wage will be $8.44/hour.
  • If you are a tipped employee (like a waiter) or a farm worker, your minimum wage does not have to be $8.38, but you must reach that amount hourly. If you do not make it in tips, your employer must cover the difference.
  • If you are a temporary worker, your employer cannot pay you a flat weekly or monthly wage. Your pay is determined by how many hours you work within the pay period.
  • Also, your agency should inform you of your hourly wage before you start an assignment.

Overtime

  • For many employees, if you work more than 40 hours in a week, your employer must pay an overtime rate of 1.5 times your normal hourly wage for every hour over 40.
  • If you work for an agency and they send you to more than 40 hours within different companies, the agency must pay the overtime.

Paid Sick Leave

  • According to a New Brunswick ordinance that was passed early this year, if you work at least twenty hours a week at a business that employs at least five people, you are entitled to paid sick days. If you work at a New Brunswick-based temp agency and work within New Brunswick, you can accumulate up to five paid sick days. If you work at New Brunswick-based temp agency and your agency transports you outside of New Brunswick, you can accumulate up to three paid sick days.
  • Sick leave can be used when you or someone you take care of is sick. You can also use days as safe leave, which allows you to take off work when you or someone you take care of is dealing with sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking.

Health

  • You are entitled to a place to work that is free of major health hazards.
  • If you become ill or injured as a result of doing your job, your employer must provide you with worker’s compensation. Your employer must have insurance to cover worker’s compensation by law.

Agency Transportation

  • Your workplace cannot require you to pay for a shuttle service if you have other means of transportation available. You must be a given a copy of a waiver in your own language verifying that the shuttle is your only way to get to work.
  • If you do use a shuttle service to get to work, your agency cannot fill the shuttle over its intended capacity.

Right to Organize

  • You have the right to organize: to form or join labor organizations and bargain collectively.

Discrimination

  • You can't be discriminated against as a job applicant or employee based on your race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or for being pregnant.

What To Do If You Think Your Rights Are Being Violated

  • You can reach out to New Labor, a New Jersey-based worker’s rights organization. Its website is www.newlabor.org.
  • An important step to take is documenting as much as possible! Some information that could be important includes the agency you work for, the client to which you are being sent, and supervisor information. This can help determine if there is a violation, and if there are others experiencing the same violation.