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Betty Boros

Betty Boros, Chief Member Strategy Officer

Happy New Year, ChamberLink friends. Allow me to kick off my first column of 2020 with a shout-out to our latest partners: The Salem County Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Millville Chamber of Commerce and the newly established Franklin Lakes Chamber of Commerce. Welcome to the family.

A new year means new laws take effect, and in New Jersey, a lot of those new laws are going to impact employers, especially small businesses. Most readers have probably heard about New Jersey’s minimum wage going up, but did you know you can no longer ask job candidates about their salary history, or that you may (if you have 20 or more employees) be required to have a commuter benefit plan in place?

Keeping track of the ever-growing list of rules and regulations is a lot to ask of small business owners. That’s why NJBIA and groups like your local chambers of commerce spend a lot of time and resources helping their members keep track of what’s required of them.

Below are some of the compliance resources NJBIA has shared with readers. I also suggest businesses use their local chambers of commerce as well to keep track of any local ordinances going into effect.

Payroll Tax Changes for 2020

How much businesses have to withhold for programs like Social Security or New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Insurance changes at the beginning of every year. As an annual service to our members, NJBIA explains the changes in tax withholding rates and taxable wage bases.

Overtime Exemption

A lot is in this updated federal rule, but the big change is the increase in weekly earnings an employee must receive to be considered a salaried employee instead of hourly. Anyone paid less than $684 a week must now receive one-and-a-half times the pay rate for any work beyond 40 hours for the week. The previous threshold was $455 a week.

Salary History of Job Candidates

New Jersey already had the toughest pay equity law in the country, but it somehow left out a ban on considering a job candidate’s salary history. A new law that took effect Jan. 1 changed that and will prevent biases in past pay practices from being carried on to new jobs in the future.

Shortly after the bill was signed, attorneys at the law firm Connell Foley, NJBIA’s Legal Resource program provider, shared tips on what employers should do to make sure they’re in compliance with the new law.

Commuter Benefit Plans

This one doesn’t take effect until March 1, but Connell Foley advises employers with 20 or more employees to start establishing a pre-tax commuter benefit plan now. The good news is it can be set up as an employee-funded, tax-free payroll deduction.

OK, enough of the legal stuff. Let’s get to the networking opportunities. For those who may not know, our ChamberLink partnership allows for NJBIA members to also receive member prices for events held by participating chambers, and allows their members to attend our events at NJBIA member prices.