Jan 28, 2014 General Employment Issues

Roundup of Recent New Notice Requirements for New Jersey Employers

As we move forward into 2014, we highlight several relatively new notice requirements for New Jersey employers.

1. Gender Equity Notice

In 2012, Governor Chris Christie signed a new law (A2647), which requires New Jersey employers with 50 or more employees to post and distribute a notice to employees regarding their right to be free of gender inequity or bias in pay, compensation, benefits or other terms or conditions of employment under federal and state law.  (See /articles-447.html).  While this new law was effective on November 19, 2012, the law’s posting and distribution requirements were not triggered until the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (“NJ DOL”) published the form notices by regulation (a process that takes a significant period of time). 

The NJ DOL recently published this gender equity notice, which is available on its website at http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/forms_pdfs/EmployerPosterPacket/AD-290GenderEquity1-14.pdf.  The NJ DOL also published a bulletin that clarifies the time frame for providing this notice.  (See http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/forms_pdfs/EmployerPosterPacket/genderequityposterwebsiteupdate_12_9_13.pdf.)  This bulletin explains that covered New Jersey employers (i.e., employers in New Jersey that have a total of 50 or more employees, whether they work inside or outside of New Jersey) must:  

(a) Conspicuously post, as of January 6, 2014, the gender equity notice in a place or places accessible to all employees in the workplace.  In the event that a covered employer has an internet site or intranet site for exclusive use by its employees and to which all employees have access, posting of the gender equity notice on the covered employer’s internet site or intranet site will satisfy the conspicuous posting requirement.

(b) Provide each employee with a written copy of the notice and obtain a signed acknowledgement that the employee has received the notice and has read and understands its terms. 

This written notice must be provided:

(i) to new employees at the time of hiring (i.e., to those hired after January 6, 2014);

(ii) to current employees by February 5, 2014 (i.e., those who did not receive the notice in connection with their recent hiring);

(iii) annually, on or before December 31 of each year; and

(iv) upon the first request of the employee.

Written notice may be accomplished using any one of the following methods:  (a) e-mail; (b) hard copy; or (c) through an internet or intranet website if the site is for the exclusive use of all employees, can be accessed by all employees, and the employer provides notice to the employees of its posting.  

The written notice must be accompanied by an acknowledgment that the employee has received the gender equity notice 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 covered employer within 30 days of its receipt.

Employers must post and distribute the gender equity notice in English, Spanish, and any other language that “the employer reasonably believes is the first language of a significant number of the employer’s workforce,” provided the NJ DOL has released a form notice in that language.  Presently, the notice has been released in English and Spanish.

2. NJ SAFE Act Notice:

Under the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act (“NJ SAFE Act”), P.L. 2013, c.82 (effective October 1, 2013), certain employees are eligible to receive an unpaid leave of absence, for a period not to exceed 20 days in a 12-month period, to address certain circumstances resulting from domestic violence or a sexually violent offense.  Employers are required to notify employees of their rights under this law by conspicuously displaying a notice of employees’ rights and obligations under the law, in a form published by the NJ DOL.  A copy of this form notice may be obtained from the NJ DOL’s website, at: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/forms_pdfs/lwdhome/AD-289_9-13.pdf. 

Employers are also required to use “other appropriate means” to keep their employees informed of the law.  While the NJ DOL has not yet clarified what “other appropriate means” should be used, it is likely that this will include publishing a written policy regarding the NJ SAFE Act in an employer’s handbook and/or distributing a copy of the NJ DOL’s NJ SAFE Act notice to all current employees and to employees upon hire.  

3. Wage Rate Posters:

The NJ DOL recently updated two of its required wage posters, which are available on its website.  (See /articles-458.html).  Employers must ensure that they have posted the updated version of these posters in their workplaces.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of our attorneys if you have any questions regarding these requirements.