TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly Labor Committee on Thursday advanced a bill that would allow authorized Department of Labor employees to give guidance to employers about possible overtime violations. The bill is sponsored by Assemblymen Michael Torrissi and Brandon Umba.
The bill (A281) is in response to Elmer Branch v. Cream-O-Land Dairy. The court ruled the employer broke overtime wage laws, even after Cream-O-Land obtained guidance from Department of Labor supervisors to the contrary. The law requires guidance be memorialized only by the Department of Labor commissioner or director of the Division of Wage and Hour, not a DOL employee.
“Our bill will clearly allow the Department of Labor commissioner to appoint authorized representatives to provide guidance about overtime pay to employers,” Umba (R-Burlington) said. “It will protect both employees and employers, who want to make these decisions in good faith.”
The bill would allow an authorized Department of Labor employee to interpret labor law and employer compliance on the commissioner’s behalf.
“There are always bad apples, but I believe most employers want to do right by their employees and themselves,” Torrissi (R-Atlantic) added. “When they seek guidance from the Department of Labor on these issues, employers need the confidence that they can defend their overtime obligations should it reach a courtroom.”
The bill now goes to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.