Employers are reminded that they have until February 5, 2014 to distribute copies of New Jersey’s new Gender Equity Notice (“Notice”) which was recently published by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (“NJDOL”) and is available here, to all current New Jersey employees. The Notice implements a 2012 amendment to the New Jersey Equal Pay Act which requires employers to inform New Jersey employees of their right to be free of gender inequity or bias in pay, compensation, benefits or other terms and conditions of employment under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the New Jersey Equal Pay Act and federal antidiscrimination statutes including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act.
Employers may distribute the Notice to each individual employee by (1) email delivery; (2) printed material (e.g., through a paycheck insert, an attachment to an employee handbook or a flyer that is distributed at a workplace meeting); or (3) notifying employees that the Notice has been posted to the employer’s internet or intranet website, provided that this site is for the exclusive use of employees and all employees have access to it. The Notice must be in English, Spanish, and any other language the employer reasonably believes is the first language of a significant number of employees in the employer’s workforce, provided that the NJDOL has issued a form notice in that language. Employers also must obtain a signed acknowledgment of receipt of the Notice from all New Jersey employees, in writing or by electronic verification, within 30 days of each distribution.
As of January 6, 2014, all employers with 50 or more employees – which includes any individuals who perform their work outside of New Jersey – were required to conspicuously post the Notice in a place accessible to all New Jersey employees, distribute the Notice to current New Jersey employees, and thereafter, provide the Notice to New Jersey employees at the time of hire, annually, and upon request. Employers who have an internet or intranet website for exclusive use by employees and to which all employees have access, may satisfy the conspicuous posting requirement by posting the Notice on this website.
EMPLOYER ACTION ITEMS
To ensure compliance, employers must take immediate action and do the following:
- Ensure that the January 6th Notice remains conspicuously posted at all times. Confirm that the Notice is posted in a conspicuous place that is accessible to all New Jersey employees.
- Give the Notice to new employees upon hire. Provide each New Jersey employee hired on or after January 6, 2014 with a written copy of the Notice at the time of the employee’s hiring.
- Give the Notice to current employees. Provide each New Jersey employee hired on or before January 6, 2014 with a written copy of the Notice no later than February 5, 2014.
- Re-Issue the Notice to employees annually. Provide all New Jersey employees with a written copy of the Notice annually on or before December 31st of each calendar year.
- Provide the Notice to employees upon request. Provide each New Jersey employee with a written copy of the Notice upon their first request.
- Obtain signed acknowledgment from employees. Provide an accompanying acknowledgment form with all Notices distributed to employees, which confirms that the employee received the Notice, read the Notice and understands its terms. Signed acknowledgment forms and/or electronic verifications must be received by the employer within 30 days of each distribution of the Notice. The acknowledgment form prepared by the NJDOL is available here.
- Provide the Notice in alternative languages if required. Post and distribute the Notice in English, Spanish, and any other language spoken by 10% of an employer’s workforce, provided that a form notice has been made available by the NJDOL in that language. The Notice currently is available only in English and Spanish.
When updating new hire information packets, annual distribution notice lists and poster requirement lists, employers should take this opportunity to ensure that they are in compliance with other obligations under New Jersey Law, including the following:
- distribution of the Family Leave Insurance Program notice at hire, upon request and when leave is requested;
- distribution of the mandatory recordkeeping requirements notice at hire;
- annual distribution of the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (“CEPA”) notice; and
- posting of mandatory notices regarding wage and hour law, child labor laws, recordkeeping requirements, payment of wages, schedule of minors’ hours, Family Leave Insurance, Unemployment and Disability Insurance, the CEPA and the New Jersey SAFE Act. These notices are available on the NJDOL website at http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/lwdhome/content/employerpacketforms.html.
This latest change in the law demonstrates once again that New Jersey continues to be one of the leading states that require employers to both post workplace notices and distribute them -- and in comprehensive methods -- to employees.