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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Election results halt minimum wage initiatives in two Maine cities

by Connor Beatty

On November 3, voters in Portland and Bangor rejected attempts to raise the minimum wage in those cities.

In Portland, voters rejected a proposal that would have increased the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. The ordinance would have required all businesses and franchises employing 500 or more employees to raise wages to $15 per hour by 2017, with all other businesses following suit by 2019.

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Judge strikes down St. Louis minimum wage increase

October 15, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

St. Louis employers aren’t facing a phased-in $11 minimum wage now that a state judge has struck down a local ordinance that would have given the city a higher minimum wage than the rest of Missouri. The current minimum wage in Missouri is $7.65 per hour, 40 cents higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Steven Ohmer struck down the ordinance on October 14, a day before the first increase was to go into effect. In August, St. Louis passed the ordinance, which would have raised the minimum wage for workers in the city to $8.25 an hour on October 15. Under the ordinance, the minimum wage would have climbed to $9 an hour on January 1, 2016, $10 an hour on January 1, 2017, and $11 an hour on January 1, 2018.

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Franchisee group calls ruling on Seattle wage law discriminatory

September 28, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Franchisers in Seattle are faced with phasing in the city’s $15-an-hour minimum wage more quickly than they had hoped now that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected their bid to be classified as small businesses, a decision the franchisers call discriminatory.

In 2014, Seattle passed a minimum wage law that requires employers to phase in the new $15 minimum wage over the next few years. Employers with 500 or fewer employees have more time to implement the change than employers with more than 500 workers.

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New Connecticut law makes wage infractions more dangerous

by John Herrington

A new Connecticut law taking effect October 1 requires courts to award double damages plus court costs and attorneys’ fees for most employee wage claims.

Under the new law—Public Act 15-86, the “Act Concerning an Employer’s Failure to Pay Wages”—a court must award, as a baseline default, double damages plus court costs and attorneys’ fees if it finds that an employer has (1) failed to pay an employee’s wages, accrued fringe benefits, or arbitration award or (2) failed to meet the law’s requirements for an employee’s minimum wage or overtime rates.

Before the new law, which applies to all Connecticut employers, courts consistently held that awards for double damages and attorneys’ fees required the employee to establish facts sufficient to support a finding of bad faith, arbitrariness, or unreasonableness by the employer. Under the new law, that burden shifts from employees to employers.

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