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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Expanded data security breach laws taking effect in Washington

by Joelle Hong and Amelia Morrow Gerlicher

Washington’s expanded data security breach notification laws are set to take effect July 24, meaning employers must make sure they have safe and effective privacy practices in place and are ready to respond in the event of a security breach.

Under the old law, businesses that own or license computerized data containing personal information about Washington residents must disclose any breach involving unencrypted personal information. But beginning July 24, the requirement will expand to include both computerized and hard copy data containing personal information that is not “secured” as well as encrypted information if the person who gains unauthorized access to the data has access to the encryption key or an alternative means of deciphering the data.

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Seattle’s new minimum wage ordinance takes effect April 1

by Valerie Hughes and Aurora Janke

Seattle’s new minimum wage ordinance goes into effect April 1, meaning employers—regardless of size—must pay employees working in the city at least $11 per hour.

Employers with 501 or more employees must pay a “minimum wage” of $11 per hour, while employers with 500 or fewer employees must pay a “minimum compensation” rate of $11 per hour. The definition of “minimum wage” includes wages, commissions, piece-rate pay, and bonuses received by employees. “Minimum compensation” includes wages, tips, and money paid by an employer toward employees’ medical benefits. Thus, small employers are able to count tips and medical benefit payments to help them reach the $11 minimum compensation rate.

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Speak up now: Seattle $15 minimum wage proposal comment period is open

by Amy Kunkel-Patterson

The Seattle employment community is abuzz about the prospect of a $15 minimum wage for all Seattle employees, which would make it the highest minimum wage in the nation.

The idea isn’t new. In the fall of 2013, voters in the city of SeaTac passed a $15 minimum wage initiative, and Kshama Sawant was elected to the Seattle City Council on a $15 minimum wage platform. Upon taking office, Mayor Ed Murray formed the Income Inequality Advisory Committee (IIAC), which represents a diverse range of business, labor, and nonprofit interests, and asked it to propose a set of recommendations for increasing the minimum wage for Seattle’s workers. Murray appointed two cochairs who represent opposite sides of the minimum wage debate—David Rolf, president of a local SEIU healthcare union, and Howard Wright, founder of Seattle Hospitality Group.

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Seattle employers should be ready for new background check law

by Amy Kunkel-Patterson

Seattle’s new law restricting the use of criminal background checks takes effect November 1. The Job Assistance Ordinance prohibits employers from requiring applicants to disclose arrest or conviction records as part of initial job applications. It also restricts how employers may use arrest and conviction records that eventually are disclosed.

A number of steps will help employers comply with the new law. Here are a few: read more…

Federal government eases stance on state marijuana laws

August 30, 2013 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announcement updating the federal marijuana enforcement policy means the federal government won’t sue to keep states from allowing controlled recreational use of marijuana, but the effect on employers isn’t yet clear.

The DOJ announced on August 29 that it was revising its policy because of state legislation in Colorado and Washington legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The announcement emphasized, however, that marijuana use remains unlawful under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and federal prosecutors will continue to enforce that law.

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Washington state latest to pass social media privacy law

Employers in Washington state should take note of a new law prohibiting them from requiring current or prospective employees to provide access to their social media accounts.

Washington is the eighth state to pass such a law, and the National Conference of State Legislatures says 33 states are considering similar bills this year. The federal government may soon follow suit. A bipartisan group of representatives recently introduced a similar bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Under the Washington state law, which goes into effect July 28, employers are prohibited from: read more…

Minimum wage going up in 10 states

December 10, 2012 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

The 2013 minimum hourly wage is set to go up in 10 states.

  • Arizona. The rate goes from $7.65 to $7.80. The state’s minimum wage is adjusted annually based on a cost-of-living formula.
  • Colorado. The rate is going from $7.64 an hour to $7.78 based on an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
  • Florida. The rate goes from $7.67 to $7.79 because of an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
  • Missouri. The rate goes from $7.25 to $7.35 because of an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
  • Montana. The rate rises from $7.65 to $7.80 based on a cost-of-living adjustment.
  • Ohio. The rate goes from $7.70 to $7.85.
  • Oregon. The minimum hourly rate goes from $8.80 to $8.95 because of an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
  • Rhode Island. Governor Lincoln Chafee signed into law the state’s first minimum wage hike since 2007, raising the rate from $7.40 to $7.75 per hour.
  • Vermont. The rate goes from $8.46 to $8.60 based on an increase in the Consumer Price Index.
  • Washington. The rate goes from $9.04 to $9.19 because of an annual cost-of-living adjustment.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Federal law requires employers in states that set their own minimum wage to pay whichever rate is higher.

New Washington marijuana law doesn’t require employers to change policies

by Javier F. Garcia

Washington’s new law concerning recreational marijuana use takes effect December 6, but it doesn’t require changes in employer policies.

Initiative 502 (I-502), approved in the November 6 election, is intended to make the production and sale of marijuana a regulated, state-licensed system similar to that for controlling hard alcohol. It means that adults over 21 no longer will be prosecuted under state law for possessing limited amounts of marijuana and using it in private.

Marijuana use remains illegal under federal law. Therefore, federal contractors and employers receiving federal funding will want to avoid policies that allow consumption of marijuana on the premises to prevent loss of funding and federal prosecution. Also, many employers have drug-free workplace policies and/or collective bargaining agreements that prohibit the use of alcohol and drugs, including marijuana in the workplace.

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Seattle’s paid sick and safe time leave law takes effect September 1

August 29, 2012 - by: HR Hero Alerts 5 COMMENTS

Seattle’s new law requiring paid sick and safe time leave is set to take effect September 1, and the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) has published final rules defining some of the responsibilities of employers that have employees working in Seattle.

Read Seattle’s new sick and safe time rules

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Categories: Washington

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