Law Offices of Mitchell Schley, LLC

New York and New Jersey Labor and Employment Lawyer

197 Route 18 South
South Tower – Suite 3000
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Phone: (732) 325-0318
Fax: (732) 325-0317

245 Park Avenue, 39th Floor,
New York, NY 10167
Phone: (212) 672-1848
Fax: (212) 372-8798

Contact us for a free telephone consultation at

(732) 325-0318

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About Mitchell Schley, ESQ

Workplace Rights in the Construction and Landscaping Industry

Many workers in the United States work in the construction and landscaping industry and are improperly paid. In addition to the most-commonly known construction tasks, such as repair or renovation of commercial or residential structures and roadways, there are various other work activities that are considered part of the construction industry. For example, painting, landscaping, roofing, concrete work and installing floors are all considered construction work.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law are laws that protect workers from being taking advantage of by requiring employers to pay its employees minimum wage and overtime pay for their work. These laws apply to workers in the construction and landscaping industry. In New Jersey, the minimum wage is $8.38 per hour. Therefore, you must be paid at least $8.38 per hour for 40 hours per week. For every hour worked over 40 in a week, you must be paid overtime pay of time-and-a-half, that is, at least $12.57 per hour. It is also illegal for your employer to pay you overtime only after 80 hours over a two week period because each workweek must be calculated individually.

It is common for employers in the construction and landscaping industry to try and pay you less than minimum wage or avoid overtime pay by paying you a daily or weekly rate regardless of how many hours you work. For instance, suppose you are to work 40 hours per week and you are paid only $300 for the week. If you divide $300 by 40 hours, you were only paid $7.50 per hour, which is below the New Jersey minimum wage rate of $8.38.

Sometimes an employer will ask an employee to agree not to receive overtime pay at time-and-a-half. This is illegal. The employer still must pay overtime pay. Also, employers are required to keep track of how many hours each employee works each day. If the employer does not keep track, then you should write down what time you started and ended work each day.

Landscape workers often load up work trucks and then drive to the first stop. Employers are required to pay for this time. Some employers don’t pay employees for a lunch break but then have the employee work through all or part of lunch. The employee must be paid for this time. Eating lunch while travelling to the next job site does not count as a lunch break and that travel time must be paid.

It is also important to know that you are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay even if you are paid in cash and even if you are an undocumented immigrant. It is a good idea to contact a labor lawyer if you are unsure if you are being paid correctly or if you have questions about your pay.

Mitchell Schley is an attorney who practices labor law at the Law Offices of Mitchell Schley, LLC, in East Brunswick and New York City. He can be reached at (732) 325-0318 or at

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Law Offices of Mitchell Schley, LLC
197 Route 18 South, South Tower – Suite 3000, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 • Phone: (732) 325-0318 • Fax: (732) 325-0317
245 Park Avenue, 39th Floor, New York, NY 10167 • Phone: (212) 672-1848 • Fax: (212) 372-8798
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