NJ Healthy Terminals Act at Newark Airport unenforced

What happened ?

The Law was signed into effect on April 29,2021. Employers had until September 1, 2021 to comply with the law. The Commissioner of the DOL had 6 months to place rules and regulations to enforce the law, and ensure that covered airport workers were being paid accordingly to NJ building Service Act act that was amended to reflect Federal Service Contract Act. The act would ensure that covered airport workers would be paid a prevailing wage, a Health and Welfare wage , and a standard amount of vacation and paid holidays. Sounds great! Not so fast….

Let’s fast forward 18 months later and take into account of what is really happening . The commissioner of the DOL has yet to set any rules or regulations to enforce the proper application of the law, so employers are allowed to do whatever they wish without any repercussions. The Department of Labor of Workforce Development of New Jersey would normally penalize employers who violate labor laws, but because the commissioner has yet to to do anything , employees who work at the airport are being paid less than the minimum wage allocated to airport workers and they are now paying more for health insurance if they chose their employer health plan.

Let’s take a closer look at what is going on. An employee who is covered by the act should be making at least the prevailing wage designated by the state building contract act, and because of the HTA requirement signed into law to reflect the SCA, they should be making at least $18 an hour . Some employees are still making $15 an hour from 18 months ago.

Next is the Health and Welfare wage supplement that is currently at $4.60 an hour up to 40 hours a week, added to your pay with no deductions allowed by law at a fixed rate. Currently some employers are taking advantage of not abiding by the law, by paying less to employees who already pay a premium for company sponsored health insurance, on an hourly bases past 40 hours. For instance, employee who has not elected to have company sponsored health insurance plans will be paid $4.60 an hour for all hours worked up to 40 hours, while another employee who has elected to have employer sponsored health insurance only gets $2.60 an hour at an adjustable rate above the 40 hours worked. So the employee who would normally pay the premium for health insurance at $97 a month like all other employees at the company is now paying $400 more a month because of the HTA, and the employer gets a tax deduction on the amount that should have been taxed. Because the law is not being enforced, the only benefit is to the company and not the employee. Can you imagine your employer working you more for less? It’s happening!

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