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New Jersey Policy Perspective president Brandon McKoy

Activists, business groups split on new wage-theft law

Recently-signed law increases wage theft penalties

By Nikita Biryukov, August 06 2019 11:37 am

Activists and business groups are split on a new anti-wage theft bill Acting-Gov. Sheila Oliver signed into law Tuesday.

“New Jersey workers lose out on millions that they are rightfully owed every year due to wage theft. Whether it’s unpaid overtime or stolen tips, wage theft often harms low-paid workers already struggling to get by,” New Jersey Policy Perspective President Brandon McKoy said. “The new law signed by Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver follows best practices from across the nation and will make New Jersey a national leader in protecting workers from abusive and illegal cost-cutting measures. Tighter enforcement not only benefits workers, but businesses as well, as it levels the playing field for employers who already do the right thing and follow the law.”

The new law requires that businesses pay back owed wages and damages equal to 200% of the same.

New Jersey Business & Industry Association Vice President of Government Affairs Michael Wallace said his organization supported wage theft penalties but was concerned that the law could punish businesses who inadvertently

“Navigating the complexities of wage and hour laws is often a challenge for employers, whether new or experienced,” Wallace said. “As a result of this law, employers acting in good faith will now be threatened with excessive civil and criminal penalties for unintended mistakes. In certain scenarios, these unsuspecting employers will be forced to choose between protecting their business and defending their rights in court.”

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