Let’s face it: most of us do not work for free. As much as we might not like it, we work to live and we work for a great portion of our lives. The wages paid to employees are vital. They allow employees to support themselves and their families. This is true for employees of all kinds, whether earning a minimum wage or a high-end salary. We all rely on the wages we earn.

The New Jersey Wage Payment Law, N.J.S.A. §34:11-4.1, et seq. (NJWPL) makes it a requirement that every employer pay their employees the full amount of wages earned, at least twice per calendar month, on regular pay days designated by the employer in advance. Typically, employees are paid on an every other week basis, on the 1st and 15th of the month, or some other variation of twice per month payment.

It is important to note that the law protects those deemed “employees” only. The NJWPL defines “employee” as “any person suffered or permitted to work by an employer, except that independent contractors and subcontractors shall not be considered employees.” You can learn more about the distinction between employees and independent contractors here.

What happens if my employer refuses to pay me?
Only under limited circumstances under State and federal law can an employer withhold or divert an employees wage payment. Typically, the employee previously authorized the diversion or withholding through a collective bargaining agreement or through employee approved investments into savings accounts.

Only under limited circumstances under State and federal law can an employer withhold or divert an employees wage payment. Typically, the employee previously authorized the diversion or withholding through a collective bargaining agreement or through employee approved investments into savings accounts.

In nearly all other circumstances, an employer’s failure to pay wages earned in a violation of the NJWPL. An unpaid or underpaid employee can assert a claim against their employer pursuant to the NJWPL or the employee can file a complaint with the Commissioner of Labor at the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance. To prove their claim, an employee must show that the time or mode of payment was improper or that the employer had wrongfully withheld or diverted funds rightfully the employees.

Even if you were terminated, you have a right to receive your wages.
Under the NJWPL, employees who quit or are terminated must be paid all of their wages due no later than the normal pay period requires. An employer cannot make payment of earned wages conditioned by signing a separation or severance agreement. Separation or severance agreements are agreements for benefits, not already earned by the employee, in exchange for certain promises and covenants.

If you’ve experienced a situation where your employer has not paid you your wages, you should contact an experienced attorney who can assist you in the recovery of those wages. Do not let yourself be taken advantage of.


Matthew R. Tavares focuses his practice in Litigation, Employment Law, Workers Compensation and Municipal Court matters. He is a trained mediator and has successfully mediated small claims and special civil part matters.

Mr. Tavares received his Juris Doctor from Western New England University School of Law in 2013, and obtained licensure in New Jersey in the same year. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History and Criminal Justice in 2010 from the University of Delaware. Matt is a member of the Hunterdon County Bar Association, is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Matthew was sworn in as a member of the New York State Bar in February 2016. You may contact Matt at (908) 751-1551, or matthew@legalcounselnj.com.


THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS MERELY AN EDUCATIONAL SERVICE TO PROVIDE BASIC, GENERAL INFORMATION AND IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE OF ANY SORT. FURTHER, BY EXPLORING THIS INFORM

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