New Massachusetts law requires paid sick leave

Voters in Massachusetts approved a law in the November 4 election that requires certain employers to provide paid sick leave. The law takes effect July 1, 2015.

Under the law, Massachusetts employers with at least 11 employees must provide paid sick leave. Employees will accrue paid sick leave beginning July 1, 2015, at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year. Employees won’t be eligible to take paid leave unless and until they have worked for the employer for 90 days.

In addition to paid leave, the new law means employers with fewer than 11 employees must allow employees to accrue and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year.

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Oregon employers shouldn’t freak out over new marijuana law

by Calvin L. Keith

On November 4, Oregon voters passed Initiative 91, which legalizes recreational marijuana in Oregon. With Oregon joining other states that have approved recreational marijuana use, Oregon employers may be wondering what the new law means for their drug policies. The short answer is not much.

Initiative 91, which will take effect on July 1, 2015, allows the purchase, distribution, and use of marijuana for recreational purposes in Oregon. Those acts remain illegal under federal law. Federal contractors and employers that receive federal funding still must prohibit the consumption of marijuana on their premises. Employers with employees who are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) must follow regulations on drug testing and drug use.

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Election means at least four more states will see higher minimum wages in 2015

November 05, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota said yes to increasing their states’ minimum wages as they cast their ballots November 4. Illinois voters said the same thing in a nonbinding vote.

Here’s a look at the new state minimum wages, according to Ballotpedia: read more…

New Jersey vote puts minimum wage hikes in state constitution

November 07, 2013 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

The ballot question making changes to New Jersey’s minimum wage was presented to voters in the November 5 election and passed easily, but many business leaders are uneasy about the change.

By a 60-40 percent vote, voters passed Public Question 2, which will raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour on January 1, 2014. In addition to the $1 increase, the ballot question will amend the New Jersey constitution to ensure that the state minimum wage will automatically rise with inflation.

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Maine passes gay marriage initiative

by Peter D. Lowe

On Tuesday, 53 percent of Mainers voted to allow same-sex marriage. Question 1, which asked “Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” was an indirect initiative. That means that because supporters collected the required number of signatures by January 2012 and the Maine Legislature failed to pass the bill in the first half of the year, the question was put up for a popular vote. Significantly, the referendum reverses the position that Mainers took in 2009 in a similar referendum and marks the first time in U.S. history that same-sex marriage has been enacted by popular vote.

Maine should see the effects of the vote very early next year. The secretary of state has 20 days to approve election results before sending them along to the governor, who must certify them within 10 days. The law goes into effect 30 days after being certified—likely sometime in January 2013. Be on the lookout for an article discussing how this could affect your workplace in the next issue of Maine Employment Law Letter.

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Florida: Health Care Reform Foes Fortified

November 04, 2010 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

by Thomas Harper, Harper Gerlach PL

In a very close election, Republican Rick Scott, a virtual unknown who received heavy Tea Party support, has been elected as the new governor. Scott, a multimillionaire with a background in health care administration, has lived in Florida for seven years. He was heavily criticized during his campaign by Democratic opponent Alex Sink due to his health care company’s participation in numerous Medicare regulatory violations, for which the company was forced to repay the government hefty amounts.

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New Hampshire: Governor Lynch Last Democrat Standing

November 04, 2010 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

by Jay Surdukowski, Sulloway & Hollis, P.L.L.C.

In New Hampshire, Republicans claimed a 19-5 edge in the state senate, a huge house majority, and likely unanimous control of the Governor’s Council, though incumbent Democratic Governor John Lynch managed to keep his post.

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Arkansas: Largest Shift in State Political History

November 04, 2010 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

by Don Eilbott, Jack, Nelson, Jones, Jiles & Gregory, P.A.

I fully realize that the story of election evening was the Republican victories in the House and Senate nationwide and locally. In fact, looking at color-coded maps of the congressional districts, I see the country is now solid red, with the exception of the small blue areas of the large cities. We have gone back to urban vs. rural — or perhaps worse, poor vs. all others, or even worse, a racial divide.

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Montana: Few Surprises in Big Sky Elections

November 04, 2010 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

by Jeanne M. Bender, Holland & Hart LLP

Lone congressman Republican Denny Rehberg was reelected by a large margin after a somewhat nasty campaign.

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West Virginia: Don’t Expect Support for EFCA

November 04, 2010 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

by Robert Steptoe, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

Senator-elect Joe Manchin, who will fill the remaining two years of Senator Robert Byrd’s term, can be expected to oppose most of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) based on an interview with the Wheeling newspaper.

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