Can I pay a employee who is under training with a rate which is under the minimum wage?

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Can I pay a employee who is under training with a rate which is under the minimum wage?

Asked on April 17, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

New Jersey's new minimum wage law allows an employer to pay a "training wage" of at least 90% of the current minimum ($8.85 per hour now; $10/hour starting in July) for up to 120 hours of work if the employee has no prior experience with the company. You also must make a "good faith" effort to employ the employee after the training period.
It's not worth doing: at the current wage, that would save you at most $0.89 per hour, or $1.00 per hour starting in July, for up to 120 hours--so you'll presently save around $107, in July around $120, over three or so full weeks. But you'll have to remember to change the employee's pay and  after 120 hours; if you don't, you'll be in violation of the minimum wage law and subject to penalties. Or if you let the employee go shortly after the training period, they may file a complaint with the department of labor claiming that you did not make a good faith effort to employ them. You run more more risks than the small savings are worth.


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