New Jersey Can Make Overtime Pay

On January 1, 2020, the Trump administration set a new threshold under which salaried workers are automatically entitled to overtime pay at $35,568 a year. This rule leaves behind thousands of New Jersey workers who would have received overtime protections under the much stronger rule, published in 2016, that was abandoned by the Trump administration.

But all is not lost. New Jersey can step up to protect its workers by creating its own, stronger overtime rule, similar to the policies implemented in New York, Washington, and California.[1] Specifically, the Murphy administration can implement its own rule to restore and strengthen the state’s overtime protections.

If New Jersey adopts its own overtime threshold at 2.5 times the minimum wage—$78,000 by 2024—it would restore the standard that existed from the 1940s through the late 1970s. Under this threshold, 287,000 more workers would gain new overtime protections than under the Trump administration’s new overtime threshold. In total, by 2024, when the minimum wage will reach $15 an hour, 842,000 salaried white-collar workers — or 38 percent of all salaried workers — would gain coverage. Of those workers, 315,000 would gain overtime protections for the first time and 528,000 would have strengthened protections, as they would be less likely to be misclassified as exempt, white-collar workers. 

Workers deserve the right to overtime pay and New Jersey should take the necessary steps to make that happen. By raising the overtime threshold, the Murphy administration has the chance to right the wrongs of the Trump administration and protect New Jersey’s working families with the pay and protections they are due.

For more, read NJPP’s report, “Valuing Our Time: Strengthening New Jersey’s Overtime Law.


End Note

[1] National Employment Law Project and Economic Policy State. Federal Overtime Thresholds and State Responses. https://www.nelp.org/wp-content/uploads/Federal-State-Overtime-Proposals-Dec-2019.pdf