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Check here from time to time for pertinent legal updates.

By hegeduslaw, Jan 19 2018 03:48PM

On January 8, 2018, Governor Chris Christie signed an amendment to the NJ Law Against Discrimination that immediately bans discrimination against breastfeeding employees. This law is effective immediately, and it requires employers to provide breastfeeding employees with reasonable accommodation.

Under this new amendment, employers cannot refuse breastfeeding applicants, and employers may not fire them or discriminate against them in terms of wages and other conditions of employment based on the fact that they are breastfeeding. Employers may not treat breastfeeding employees less favorably in respect to workplace accommodation and leave policies in comparison to their non-breastfeeding coworkers.

Unless employers can show that providing such accommodation would cause an “undue hardship” to their business, they must provide breastfeeding employees with reasonable accommodation. Breastfeeding employees must be given a break time each day at a private location near the work area (a toilet stall is not acceptable), at which they can express milk. To be considered an undue hardship, employers must consider a variety of factors, including the overall size of their business with respect to number of employees, size of budget, and number and type of facilities; type of operations; the nature and cost of the accommodation, taking into consideration the availability of tax credits, deductions, and outside funding; and the extent to which the accommodation would involve waiver of an essential requirement of a job.

While the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has provided similar protection from discrimination since 2010, it contains some significant differences from New Jersey’s new law. For instance, the FLSA provision only applies to FLSA-covered employees and non-exempt employees. The NJ law covers all New Jersey employers and employees. Moreover, the FLSA provision requires breastfeeding breaks only through the child’s first year, but the new NJ law does not contain this time limitation. Finally, the FLSA provision’s undue hardship exception applies only to employers with 50 employees, while the NJ law excuses any employer who can demonstrate undue hardship.

Even if employers have already incorporated the federal requirements into their workplace policies, all should be reviewed and updated to conform to this new NJ law. As it is effective immediately, NJ employers should take the time to familiarize themselves with this new amendment to ensure compliance.

By hegeduslaw, Dec 20 2017 02:20PM

While New Jersey is known as one of the highest taxed states, New Jerseyans will receive a small tax break in the form of a 2018 sales tax reduction. In connection with the 2016 deal that raised New Jersey’s gas tax by twenty-three cents, NJ sales tax was reduced by one-third of a penny, or by .375%. This reduction was incorporated over the course of two years. On January 1, 2017, the sales tax was reduced from 7% to 6.875%. The final reduction will arrive on January 1, 2018, when the sales tax will be reduced even further to 6.625%.

In addition to this sales tax reduction, New Jersey’s estate tax will be eliminated altogether on January 1, 2018.

New Jersey’s minimum wage is also set to increase by 16 cents in 2018. Starting January 1, minimum wage workers can expect to see an increase in pay from $8.44/hour to $8.60/hour.

Governor-elect Murphy has advocated for raising the minimum wage to $15.00/hour, mirroring the recent moves of states such as New York and California. Given this, it is possible that New Jersey’s state legislature could make additional minimum wage changes in the new year.

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