$15 minimum wage clears Baltimore City Council

by Kevin C. McCormick

On March 20, the Baltimore City Council voted 11-3 to approve a bill that would raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. If ultimately enacted, the minimum wage would be the highest in Maryland.

Under the proposed legislation, the minimum wage for employees working in the city would rise to $15 an hour by 2022. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees would have until 2026 to reach that threshold. There are exceptions for employees younger than 21 and workers who participate in training programs through the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Employment Development.

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Arizona Supreme Court upholds minimum wage, paid leave law

by Dinita L. James
Gonzalez Law, LLC

In a three-sentence order entered just before the close of business March 14, the Arizona Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act, commonly known as Proposition 206. The unanimous ruling dashed the last remaining hope of business groups trying to block the voter initiative, which raised the state’s minimum wage to $10 per hour on January 1 and mandates paid sick leave for most employees beginning July 1, 2017.

More than 58 percent of Arizona voters approved the law on the November 2016 ballot. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry led the legal challenge to the law, arguing it violated the Revenue Source Rule in the Arizona Constitution, which makes any citizen initiative that requires the expenditure of state funds specify from where the funds will come.

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New Ohio law allows guns to be locked in vehicles on employer premises

by Jourdan Day

Ohio’s new law prohibiting employers from creating or enforcing policies that prevent employees with a concealed carry license from storing a firearm in their locked vehicle while on employer premises takes effect March 19.

The law means that as long as an employee keeps her firearm and ammunition in a locked compartment of her vehicle while she is away from it, her employer may not take any action against her for bringing the firearm or ammunition onto its property.

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California employers have until March 1 to comply with new restroom law

by Michelle Lee Flores and Brett Nicole Taylor

California employers need to be in compliance with the state’s new “all-gender” requirements for single-use restrooms by March 1.

Assembly Bill 1732 requires all single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or local government agency in California to be identified as an all-gender restroom. Thus, if a California business has a toilet facility with no more than one water closet and one urinal with a lock controlled by the user, signage on the restroom must indicate that it’s an all-gender facility. California’s all-gender restroom law is one of many recent state laws addressing restroom rights for members of the transgender community.

In addition, federal agencies have released guidance on the issue. Under the Obama administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission declared that transgender employees are protected against sex-based discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Also, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published guidance on transgender employees’ restroom access that states that all employees, including transgender employees, should have access to restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.

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Arizona Supreme Court keeps challenge to Proposition 206 alive

by Dinita L. James

The uncertainty surrounding Proposition 206’s mandate of a $10 minimum wage for 2017 will continue for a few more weeks, as the Arizona Supreme Court has decided to consider business groups’ challenge to the voter-approved law. After a Valentine’s Day conference, Chief Justice Scott Bales announced in a five-sentence order that the court will hear argument on one of the two issues raised by the challengers.

The court set a hearing for March 9, 2017, on whether the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act adopted by Arizona voters in November 2016 violates the Revenue Source Rule of the Arizona Constitution and, if it does, what the appropriate remedy would be. The rule requires that any citizen initiatives that require the expenditure of state funds specify from where those funds will come.

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Missouri governor signs new right-to-work law

by Bob Kaiser, Daniel O’Toole, and Jeremy Brenner

As anticipated, the Missouri Legislature has once again passed a right-to-work law. However, unlike the two prior right-to-work measures passed by the legislature but vetoed by former Governor Jay Nixon, the version passed on February 2 was signed into law by newly elected Governor Eric Greitens on February 6. Missouri has now become the 28th right-to-work state.

Law’s key provisions

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Another New Jersey city requires paid sick time

by Michael H. Dell

Morristown has joined the list of New Jersey cities that require employers to provide paid sick time to employees. Employers in Morristown have until January 11 to come into compliance with the city’s paid sick time ordinance, which was passed in September.

Under the ordinance, employers with 10 or more employees in Morristown must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick time, while employers with nine or fewer employees in the city must provide up to 25 hours of paid sick time. In determining the number of employees it has, an employer must count full-time, part-time, and temporary employees.

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New Arizona minimum wage goes into effect January 1

by Dinita L. James
Gonzalez Law, LLC

The minimum wage in Arizona will jump from $8.05 to $10 on January 1 as a result of the passage of Proposition 206 in November.

A last-minute barrage of litigation by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry failed to block the increase from taking effect. On December 29, the Arizona Supreme Court entered a one-sentence order refusing to put the increase on hold.

Under the new law, the minimum wage will increase each year until it reaches $12 per hour in 2020. Employers can take a tip credit of up to $3 per hour for tips earned by workers who regularly and customarily receive tips.

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New York adopts higher salary thresholds for exempt employees

by Charles H. Kaplan
Sills Cummis & Gross P.C.

Employers in New York must increase the salaries of exempt executive and administrative employees by December 31 to meet the requirements of recently adopted regulations. Employers also must decide whether to increase exempt employees’ salaries each year to match annual increases required by the new regulations.

On December 28, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) adopted regulations that will increase the minimum salary thresholds for executive and administrative employees under the wage and hour provisions of New York state’s Labor Law. The Labor Law does not require a minimum salary for exempt professional employees.

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Florida minimum wage increasing to $8.10 on January 1

by Lisa Berg
Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A.

The minimum wage in Florida is set to go up five cents to $8.10 an hour on January 1. The current hourly minimum wage is $8.05. The increase is based on the percentage increase in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the South Region for the 12-month period prior to September 1, 2016.

Restaurant and hotel employers that take a tip credit may still take a credit of up to $3.02 per hour against the new minimum wage, meaning tipped employees must receive direct wages of at least $5.08 per hour starting January 1.

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