7 Steps for Hiring Employees in New Jersey: The Employer’s 2023 Guide

Barbara C. Neff

New Jersey may be a small state, but it’s big on business—with some of its largest industries including life sciences, technology, and clean energy. If you’re growing your business in New Jersey, chances are good that it’s time for you to also grow your team.

In this 2023 guide, we have outlined seven steps for hiring employees in New Jersey, complete with calculators, articles, and additional resources for your business.

Register as a New Jersey business and employer

If you haven’t hired employees before, you must first apply for a Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN). Businesses located within the United States can apply for a FEIN online through the IRS.

Once you have your FEIN, you can begin the process of registering your business in the state of New Jersey. First, two online filings must be completed: a Certificate of Formation/Authorization and a Tax/Employer Registration Form. Once these two filings are complete, you may apply for a Business Registration Certificate, which is necessary for public contracting and to secure tax credits and grants through the state.

Meet federal and state requirements for employers in New Jersey

As an employer, you are required to adhere to labor laws and create a safe place for your employees to work.

One of the first steps in labor law compliance is properly classifying workers. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development provides an “ABC test” and Worker Classification Questionnaire for accurately determining if workers are employees or independent contractors.

The state and U.S. Department of Labor require employers to display labor law posters in visible areas such as break rooms. These posters convey information pertinent to workers, such as earned sick leave, wage and hour laws, and child labor laws.

New Jersey employers must also acquire workers’ compensation insurance in case of work-related illness or injury. Failing to secure workers’ compensation insurance can be costly, so don’t put this off.

Understand the rights of New Jersey employees

New Jersey has several employment laws and protections in place to ensure the safety and well-being of its workers. It’s your responsibility as an employer to fully understand and abide by laws specifying employee rights.

Employers should familiarize themselves with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination, such as the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the New Jersey Equal Pay Act, and the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act.

Child Labor Laws and Regulations specify the types of jobs, number of work hours, and times minors are permitted to work in New Jersey. They also state that minors must be given a 30-minute meal break after six continuous hours of work. Workers under 18 cannot work more than six consecutive days, and those under 16 are not permitted to work more than 40 hours per week.

In regard to wage rights, the minimum wage in New Jersey is $14.13 per hour for most workers. See New Jersey’s Minimum Wage Chart for scheduled increases. Non-exempt New Jersey employees who work overtime (more than 40 hours in one week) have a right to collect one-and-a-half times their normal rate of pay.

New Jersey law provides all full-time, part-time, and temporary employees with up to 40 hours of earned sick leave per year. This leave can be used to care for sick or injured family members, attend school meetings or events, care for children when school is closed, address domestic or sexual violence situations, or quarantine on the advice of a health professional.

Workers welcoming a new child may receive financial benefits through temporary disability or family leave insurance. Learn more about benefits and protections for expecting working parents in New Jersey’s New Parent Handbook.

Prepare your business for recruitment, hiring, onboarding, and retention

Take time to define the roles and responsibilities you’re looking to fill, as well as the specific benefits and compensation your business can provide for new hires. Need help? Here are the 15 Best Employee Benefits to Offer in 2023.

Also consider whether the position requires an employee, or if an independent contractor might better fit your needs. If hiring contract workers is new for you, check out this article on How to Hire Your First Independent Contractor.

You can also prepare your business by making sure new hires are welcomed and acclimated. Follow these Pro Tips for Creating the Best Onboarding Experience for New Employees.

Successfully recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new employees is critical for the growth of any business. These processes also play a role in long-term employee retention, which can save your business time and money. Learn more about effective retention strategies for 2023.

Use company culture as a guide for hiring and maintain a commitment to diversity

Having a culture that workers want to be part of can have a huge impact on recruitment and retention, but how can company culture play a role in hiring? The first step is to understand which type of culture your business has—and then learn how to improve it.

Incorporate details about your culture into your job postings, website copy, and social media presence. As you’re screening candidates, ask questions that help you assess whether or not things like their work style and attitude fit in with your business culture. Do not, however, let this compromise your commitment to diversity—in regard to demographics, as well as diversity in ways of thinking and approaches to work. Effectively cultivating an inclusive business environment is not only a selling point for many workers, but it can also benefit your bottom line.

Complete all necessary legal (and internal) paperwork

You’ve created compelling job descriptions and competitive compensation packages— and you’ve screened your candidates for company culture fit. It’s now time for your new hires to become official employees.

United States employers must use Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to verify employee identity and employment authorization. This process applies to both citizens and non-citizens of the United States.

In New Jersey, all new employees must be reported to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, within 20 days of their first day of work, through the New Jersey Child Support Employer Services Portal. This process helps children receive critical support by holding non-custodial parents financially accountable for their child support obligations. New hire reporting also helps to reduce the number of fraudulent unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation claims.

While these steps are mandated by federal and state law, you may also require additional paperwork for the purposes of your business. Many employers choose to have workers review and sign an employee handbook, for example, or complete non-disclosure forms, non-compete agreements, and other forms and contracts to protect their business.

Set up New Jersey payroll taxes

It may feel like an intimidating topic, but payroll taxes are an important responsibility for anyone hiring workers. At Gusto, we’ve created hourly and salary paycheck calculators for employers in the state of New Jersey. These resources can help you calculate paychecks, as well as explain important topics such as unemployment insurance, what to include on payroll stubs, and when employees must receive final wage payments.

We’ve also included links to several forms, such as New Jersey’s Form W-4, which employees need to complete in order to determine income tax exemptions and tax withholdings.

Starting a business, hiring employees, and setting up payroll taxes in New Jersey can be a complex process. Recognizing this, the state created a Guide for Starting a Business in New Jersey, which is a helpful reference if you’re just starting out or for any questions that come up along the way.

Gusto is also here to help! In addition to the calculators, articles, and other resources we’ve provided in this guide, our comprehensive, streamlined products and services can support your business with modern benefits and healthcare, a full-service payroll platform, easy-to-use hiring and onboarding software, and much more.

Barbara C. Neff has been writing about a variety of legal and other topics since 2001. She has a law degree and a master's degree in journalism.
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