Assemblyman Moriarty Bill Protecting Minimum Wage Workers Clears Labor Committee

Bill sponsored by Assembly Democrat Paul Moriarty revising part of the Prevailing Wage Act was approved by the Assembly Labor Committee on Monday.

The bill (A-1852) provides that an employer who violates any provisions of the Prevailing Wage Act is, upon conviction of a first or second violation, guilty of a disorderly persons offense. In addition, upon conviction of a third or subsequent offense, an employer would be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

This measure would increase the fine amounts as well as imprisonment time if wage theft occurs. A first violation would be no less than $500 but would maintain the maximum fine of no more than $1,000. For a second violation, the fine would be increased to no less than $1,000 and no more than $2,000. Finally, upon constituting a crime of the fourth degree, the employer would be fined no less than $2,000 and no more than $10,000; subject to imprisonment for up to 18 months, or both.

“This piece of legislation goes hand in hand with the discussion of increasing the minimum wage for our workers,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Simply put, New Jersey employees have the fundamental right to their hard-earned money, and this bill would ease the worry of whether they will be short-changed or taken advantage of in terms of what they are owed.”

Common forms of wage theft include non-payment of overtime, not giving workers their last paycheck after leaving a job, not paying for all the hours worked, and not paying minimum wage.