As New Jersey employers ring in the new year, they should be mindful of the New Jersey Department of Labor’s notice distribution requirements. The DOL publishes several important notices which, in addition to posting, must be individually distributed to employees as follows:
New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act (“NJ SAFE” Act)
Employer Obligation to Maintain and Report Records
- In addition to a posting requirement, the NJ SAFE Act regulations require employers to “use other appropriate means to keep its employees so informed.”
- Employers should include a written policy on the NJ SAFE Act in the employee handbook and/or distribute a copy of the notice to all current employees and to new employees upon hire.
New Jersey Family Leave Act (“NJ FLA”)
- Any new employee hired after November 7, 2011, must be provided a written copy of the notice at the time of hiring. The notice may be distributed to employees by hard copy or via electronic mail.
New Jersey Family Leave Insurance
- In addition to a posting requirement, the NJ FLA regulations require that if an employer has an employee handbook, “information concerning leave under the Act and employee obligations under the Act must be included in the handbook.”
- If an employer does not have an employee handbook, it must “provide written guidance to each of its employees concerning all the employee's rights and obligations under the Act.”
- The DOL states that employers may duplicate and provide employees with a copy of the NJFLA Fact Sheet to provide such guidance.
New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act
- Employers must provide employees with a written copy of the notification: (i) at the time of the employee’s hiring; (ii) whenever an employee provides notice of a potential claim; and (iii) upon the first request of the employee. Written notification may be electronically transmitted to employees.
NJ Gender Equity
- The notice must be distributed annually to all employees.
- Employers must provide a written copy of the notice to each employee who is hired after January 6, 2014 at the time of his or her hire.
- Annually, on or before December 31 of each year, employers must provide each employee a written copy of the notice.
- Employers also must provide each employee a written copy of the notice upon request.
- The required written notice can be distributed electronically or in hard copy form.
- In every instance in which a written notice is required to be provided to an employee, the written notice must be accompanied by an acknowledgment that the employee has received it and has read and understands its terms. This acknowledgment must be signed by the employee (in writing or by means of electronic verification) and returned to the employer within 30 days of the employee’s receipt of the notice.
It is important to note that, for some of these notices, merely posting will not fulfill the DOL’s distribution requirements. Nor will merely including notices in your workplace Employee Handbook. Each law sets forth unique notice requirements. Moreover, the inclusion of required notices in an Employee Handbook is not recommended – only critical employment law and HR policies should be set forth in Employee Handbooks.
MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE REMINDER!
Effective January 1, 2015, the hourly minimum wage in New Jersey is $8.38 per hour.
For more information on employer obligations in 2015 and beyond, please contact Dina Mastellone, Esq., Director of the Human Resources Practice Group and Counsel in the Employment Law & Litigation Group, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Eileen Fitzgerald Addison, Esq., Associate in the Human Resources Practice Group, at email@example.com.