What Are the Laws on Paycheck Deductions in New Jersey?
Posted December 29th, 2023.
Less than reputable employers in every state end up doing dishonest things, like taking unauthorized payroll deductions from their employees. However, New Jersey has notable paycheck deduction protections for its residents. Keep reading to learn what those are, so that you can identify when your employer has been violating your rights. And if after finishing this blog you believe you are in that situation, make an appointment with a Camden County employment law attorney today.
When Is My Employer Not Allowed to Deduct Money from My Paycheck?
According to New Jersey law, employers cannot deduct from your paycheck without clearly stating what has been deducted in print or electronic statements. The statements should indicate your gross wages, your net wages, and individually itemized deductions, like taxes.
New Jersey is also much stricter than other states on what kinds of deductions are legally permitted. Your employer cannot, for instance, take a paycheck deduction if you damaged a piece of equipment that belonged to the company or forgot to return company property. Employers must not cover the costs of professional certification and licensing for their employees by deducting these from employee paychecks, though it is legal to require the employee to acquire certification and licensing at their own expense before hiring them. Your employer is not allowed to deduct money from your paycheck to cover costs involved in business shortages or breakages.
If the employer mandates the use of uniforms, New Jersey employers are usually not allowed to deduct from their employees’ paychecks the cost of renting or maintaining the uniforms. However, there are situations when through collective bargaining, employees agree to pay these costs, and then the deductions may be permissible. We can see New Jersey’s labor protections here, as in other states like Pennsylvania, employers can deduct the cost of uniforms when so doing wouldn’t bring an employee’s paycheck under minimum wage.
Unless you choose to apply for a job as a security guard, employers are not allowed to charge your paycheck for testing which is a pre-condition of employment. The exception only exists for security guards under the Security Officer Registration Act of 2004, which says that those who apply for a security guard position must pay registration costs to the State Police. These registration costs would include, fingerprinting, criminal background checks, and drug testing.
What Paycheck Deductions Are Legally Permissible?
Are there cases when employers can take deductions? Yes, there are certain paycheck deductions employers are allowed to take, but these only include those costs required or permitted under federal and state law.
To be legal, a deduction must either be specifically authorized by New Jersey law or voluntarily authorized by the employee themselves, and only when authorizing this would benefit the employee (not the employer).