Written by Ravi Sattiraju on April 22, 2017
Minimum wage is the first wage most people earn. It is the lowest wage allowed by federal and state law. In some states, the minimum wage is the same as the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. This is not the case in New York, where the minimum wage is $8.75 per hour and New Jersey, where it is $8.38 per hour.
It is illegal to pay an individual less than these wages, unless that individual falls into one of a few select categories, such as restaurant servers and bartenders. Any time a worker is paid less than the minimum wage, including these special positions if their employers do not compensate them at least the minimum wage when their tips fall below this threshold, that worker has grounds for a wage dispute.
But how long can an employee work at the minimum wage without receiving a raise? Studies show that the minimum wage is not a sufficient amount for a worker to make and live independently. Individuals working at this rate often have to work multiple jobs simply to make ends meet.
Earning More than the Minimum Wage
It is completely legal for an employer to keep his or her workers earning the minimum wage indefinitely unless they remain at this rate as a form of discrimination. In other words, if all of a company’s entry-level white employees receive a raise after working with the employer for six months but its black employees do not, the black employees could have grounds for a discrimination claim.
How long is too long to earn the minimum wage depends on an individual’s personal circumstances. The minimum wage is often sufficient for a teenage employee who only has to work to earn pocket money, while the rate is wholly insufficient for an adult with a child to support. If you are currently earning the minimum wage and feel you should earn more, discuss this with your supervisor. Explain how you have contributed to the company and how such a raise would reflect your effort and dedication to your job.
New Jersey Wage Dispute Attorneys
If you are unsure about whether you are entitled to a higher wage or have other questions about your rights as a working person in New Jersey, contact our team of experienced wage dispute attorneys in New Jersey at The Sattiraju Law Firm, P.C. We can explain New Jersey’s minimum wage law and other employment regulations to you in a language that you can easily understand, then help you determine if it is necessary for you to take legal action against your employer. If so, we are here to represent you and your interests.