As online shopping continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the role of warehouse employees has received unprecedented attention. From reports of inadequate bathroom breaks to concerns over coronavirus outbreaks, Americans have a newfound appreciation for this sector of the labor market. Now, a bill introduced in the New Jersey Legislature is aiming to protect warehouse workers. Senate bill 4265, introduced on December 9, 2021, would expand the state Wage and Hour Law to require all employers to provide meal and rest periods for employees working certain shifts, and would regulate work quotas in warehouse distribution centers.
The proposed bill lays out what is required of businesses that operate in warehouses. It would amend N.J.S.A. 34:11-56a1(k) to ensure that any wage and rate of work imposed by a warehouse employer meets the statutory definition of “fair wage,” and would also amend subsection (l), so that any wage and rate of work imposed by a warehouse employer which violates the pending bill would be an “oppressive and unreasonable wage.” The bill also proposes definitions for the terms “employee work speed data,” “warehouse employer,” “quota,” and “warehouse distribution center.”
Among the proposed amendments:
The bill is currently before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. An identical bill, A6235, has been introduced in the Assembly and was referred to the Assembly Labor Committee.
New Jersey’s location in the heart of the Northeast, its highway systems, and its proximity to New York City make it a natural for warehouse operations, and the development of this field is particularly robust in New Jersey, In 2018, industries devoted to the movement and storage of goods accounted for almost one out of every eight jobs in New Jersey and were responsible for 15.7% of the state’s total payroll. Additionally, Port Newark-Elizabeth handles some of the country’s largest volumes of consumer imports. The port accounts for almost 40% of the country’s annual holiday purchases alone. These numbers are poised to grow, as the pandemic endures and online shopping continues unabated.
Warehouse workers are integral to New Jersey as well as the country’s fortunes, and they need and deserve the protections contained in the proposed legislation.En nuestra firma hablamos español. This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice, and may not reasonably be relied upon as such. If you face a legal issue, you should consult a qualified attorney for independent legal advice with regard to your particular set of facts. This blog may constitute attorney advertising. This blog is not intended to communicate with anyone in a state or other jurisdiction where such a blog may fail to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state of jurisdiction.