Arizona voters will decide minimum wage, recreational marijuana proposals

by Dinita L. James
Gonzalez Law, LLC

On August 18 and 19, two Maricopa County Superior Court judges cleared the way for two voter initiatives with significant implications for Arizona employers to appear on the November ballot. One would raise the statewide minimum hourly wage to $10 on January 1, 2017, and the other would make recreational marijuana legal for people 21 and older and establish a regulatory system like Colorado’s.

Opponents of both measures challenged the petition procedure through which hundreds of thousands of Arizona citizens had endorsed putting the proposed laws to a vote. The dismissal of both lawsuits on August 19 likely means voters will get their say on whether the two provisions will become law.

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Washington, D.C., employers to face $15 minimum wage

June 09, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The “Fight for $15” movement got a boost on June 7 when the Washington, D.C., City Council approved a minimum wage increase that will have the city’s lowest-wage workers earning $15 an hour by 2020.

The council unanimously approved the measure after council committee discussions worked out differences related to raising the city’s tipped minimum wage. Another council vote is required before the measure can be enacted, but that vote is seen as a formality. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has said she will sign the measure.

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New York, California gearing up for $15 minimum wage

April 05, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

On April 4, the governors of New York and California signed measures that will culminate in a $15 minimum wage phased in over the next few years.

Champions of the minimum wage increases say they are important to providing workers a living wage, but foes in both states predict job losses and business failures.

New York and California became the first states to pass a $15 minimum wage, but several cities around the country already have laws putting them on the road to a $15 minimum. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

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Effort to push California minimum wage to $15 reported

March 28, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Most California employers will see the state’s minimum wage reach $15 an hour by 2022 if reports of a deal in the state legislature materialize as expected.

Reports in the Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento Bee on March 27 tell of a tentative deal between state lawmakers and union leaders that would phase in the wage hike. Currently, the state’s minimum wage stands at $10 an hour. (The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.) The outlets reported that businesses with fewer than 25 employees would have an extra year to reach the $15 level.

Mark I. Schickman, an attorney with Freeland Cooper & Foreman LLP in San Francisco, said the deal is extremely likely to pass the legislature and gain Governor Jerry Brown’s support. On March 28, the governor’s office issued a statement that Brown would join “a number of other leaders” to discuss the “landmark deal” to raise the state’s minimum wage. The Times reported that lawmakers could vote on the proposal within a couple of weeks.

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Oregon employers need to prepare for minimum wage increases

by Joanna Perini-Abbott

With the Oregon Legislature’s passage of a minimum wage increase and the governor’s expected signature, employers need to be ready for a three-tiered minimum wage system.

Under the terms of Senate Bill 1532, an employer’s location will affect the wages it must pay employees. Employers in the Portland metropolitan area urban growth boundary face the greatest increases, stepping up to $14.75 by 2022. The law holds the annual cost-of-living increases in abeyance until 2023 and instead puts in place the following Portland metro area scale: read more…

Alabama Legislature puts a stop to Birmingham’s higher minimum wage

by Albert L. Vreeland

************************ UPDATE 2/26/16 ************************

As expected, on Thursday, February 25, the Alabama Legislature passed a bill preempting any local legislation (city or county) imposing a higher minimum wage or mandating a minimum level of employee benefits.  The bill was signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley shortly thereafter, rendering the Birmingham minimum wage hike a dead letter.  Now, any changes to the minimum wage for Alabama employers will have to come from Washington or Montgomery—which seems very unlikely in the current political climate.

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New year brings new minimum wage, posting requirements in Portland

by Peter Lowe

A new year means different things for different people, but for Portland employers, the first of the year means a new hike in the minimum wage along with related posting requirements.

The new minimum wage, set at $10.10 per hour for all employees, comes as the result of a municipal ordinance passed in July that went into effect January 1. The ordinance also mandates a wage increase in 2017 (to $10.68) and annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index for all years 2018 and beyond.

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Time for California employers to be ready for $10 minimum wage

by Elizabeth J. Boca

The minimum wage in California will increase from $9 to $10 an hour as of January 1. Employers must understand that paying the higher minimum wage alone doesn’t satisfy their obligations because the upcoming increase will spark a domino effect in various compliance areas.  monimum wage increase ahead

Exempt “white-collar” employees. Each time the state minimum wage increases, so does the minimum salary required for exempt white-collar employees. Under Labor Code Section 515, to qualify as exempt from overtime as an executive, administrative, or professional employee, a worker must earn a monthly salary equivalent to at least two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment totaling 40 hours per week, or 2,080 hours per year.

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End of 2015 marks beginning of New York’s fast-food wage increases

by Angelo D. Catalano

The first of a series of minimum wage increases for fast-food workers in New York is set to begin on December 31.  Counter Girl Serving

The increases survived a challenge from the National Restaurant Association when the New York Industrial Board of Appeals decided on December 9 that the state’s action to raise wages for fast-food employees was lawful. The restaurant organization, however, isn’t giving up and has vowed to take the issue to court, according to news reports.

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New Orleans Living Wage Ordinance takes effect January 1

by P.J. Kee

Employers doing business with the city of New Orleans must pay employees at least $10.10 per hour and provide them at least seven days of paid leave per year after the city’s living wage law takes effect January 1.

The ordinance applies to city contractors, subcontractors, and grant recipients. A “contractor” is covered “if it enters into one or more city contracts where the annual value of payments under all such city contracts is (or is projected to be) $25,000 or more.” A “subcontractor” is covered during the time it is associated with a covered contractor or grant recipient. A “grant recipient,” also termed a “beneficiary,” is any person or entity that receives more than $100,000 in municipal funds “for the purpose of promoting economic development, community development, job retention, or job growth.”

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