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The Superior Court of New Jersey Addressed Employers' Obligation to Reimburse Employees for Business Expenses?

In Sands v. Board of Review, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, a maintenance employee alleged that he was forced to use his personal car to perform his job responsibilities. The employee argued that his employer’s failure to reimburse his automobile-related expenses both constituted good cause for resigning and violated the New Jersey Wage Payment Law (NJWPL), which prohibits withholding or diverting wages unless expressly authorized by the statute.

In this case, the court held that:

  • “The plain language of the [NJ]WPL prohibits an employer from diverting any portion of an employee’s wages except in certain situations that do not apply here. In this case, petitioner set forth a viable claim that [the employer] diverted a portion of his wages in violation of the [NJ]WPL by requiring he use his personal vehicle and not reimbursing him for costs associated with that use. If petitioner was, in fact, required to use his personal vehicle without reimbursement, [the employer] effectively transferred its own operating expenses to petitioner and diverted his wages to pay those costs.”

This is an unpublished decision, but employers may still want to carefully consider this information and reconsider any expenses that they may be asking employees to incur.

Maryland Passed Several New Laws That Will Impact Employers?

Delayed Implementation Dates for the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program: The start dates are delayed from October 1, 2024 to July 1, 2025 for required contributions and from January 1, 2026 to July 1, 2026 for benefit payments.

Effective October 1, 2024: Wage Disclosure in Job Postings: Employers must disclose the specific wage range or salary, benefits, and any other compensation information for a posted position. Positions covered by this legislation include those whose work will be physically performed at least in part in the state of Maryland. The requirements apply to public postings and internal postings. Maryland’s commissioner of labor and industry will develop and publish a form employers can use to comply with the law. Employers must retain records of compliance for at least three years after the position is filled or initially posted.

New Pay Stub Requirements: Pay stubs or online pay statements must include detailed earnings information, including the following:

  • The employer’s name registered with the state, address, and telephone number;
  • The date of payment and the beginning and ending dates of the pay period;
  • The number of hours worked during the pay period (unless the employee is exempt from overtime requirements under federal and state law);
  • The pay rate;
  • The gross and net pay earning during the pay period;
  • The amount and name of all deductions;
  • A list of additional bases of pay, including bonuses, sales commissions, or other bases; and
  • For piece-rate employees, the applicable piece rates of pay and number of pieces completed at each piece rate.

Effective June 1, 2024 and June 1, 2025: Non-Compete Agreements Banned for Veterinary and Healthcare Professionals: The new law, entitled Noncompete and Conflict of Interest Clauses for Veterinary and Health Care Professionals and Study of the Health Care Market, expands Maryland Code Section 3-716 to prohibit non-compete provisions for individuals who are:

  • required to be licensed under Maryland’s Health Occupations Article (e.g., physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists, optometrists, etc.), employed in a position that provides direct patient care, and earn equal to or less than $350,000 in total annual compensation; or
  • licensed as a veterinary practitioner, veterinary technician pursuant to Title 2, Subtitle 3 of Maryland’s Agriculture Article.

The law is in effect for covered veterinary practitioners and technicians as of June 1, 2024 and will be in effect for covered health care providers starting on June 1, 2025.