In favor of strengthening prevailing wage in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy signed S2557 into law on Tuesday, July 9. Sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton, Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo, Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt and Assemblywoman Shavonda E. Sumter, the legislation will allow the issuing of stop-work orders for failure to meet prevailing wage standards.
“Before all else, we must protect the rights of the men and women who are working hard each and every day to earn a decent and fair living," said Senator Singleton. "New Jersey has set a high standard for how we treat our workers, and if you contract with the state on public works projects, you must be prepared to abide by that standard."
Under the new law, the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development can issue a stop-work order against an employer, should the department determine the employer has paid a worker less than the prevailing wage.
The stop-work order will apply to every site where the violation has occurred, according to the law. For the commissioner to lift the stop-work order, the employer must first agree to pay future wages at the required rate, return any back-wages owed to workers and pay any penalty assessed by the department.
As a condition of lifting the order, the commissioner may also require the employer to file periodic reports for two years, certifying its compliance with the prevailing wage law. Any employer who violates a stop-work order can face a civil penalty of $5,000 per day.
“The State Fed thanks the prime sponsors of this important bill—Senator Singleton, Assemblyman DeAngelo, Assemblywoman Lampitt and Assemblywoman Sumter—for taking action to strengthen New Jersey’s prevailing wage,” said New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. “Prevailing wage prevents unscrupulous contractors from low-balling bids and undercutting community wages with cheap, unskilled labor; and this new law will help ensure work is performed by trained workers and that those workers are rewarded fairly for their labor.”