New Illinois law bans noncompetition agreements for low-wage workers

by Steven L. Brenneman

The Illinois Freedom to Work Act, which will ban noncompetition agreements for low-wage private-sector employees, goes into effect on January 1.

The law defines a “low-wage employee” as an employee who earns the greater of the applicable federal, state, or local minimum wage or $13 per hour. Therefore, the law initially will apply to noncompetition agreements with employees earning $13 per hour or less.

The law defines “covenant not to compete” broadly to mean an agreement between an employer and a low-wage employee that restricts the employee from performing: read more…

D.C. Council approves bill providing paid family leave

December 21, 2016 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

The District of Columbia Council approved a bill on December 20 requiring employers to give workers eight weeks’ paid leave for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. Employers will pay for the leave through a payroll tax.

In addition to the eight weeks of parental leave, the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 also provides six weeks of leave to care for a family member and two weeks of leave for an employee’s own serious health condition.

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Texas AFL-CIO seeks to join fight to save overtime rules

December 21, 2016 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

A group of labor organizations is attempting to save the new overtime rules from almost certain death under the Trump administration.

The Texas AFL-CIO on December 9 moved to join a lawsuit challenging the rules, saying that if the president-elect drops the government’s defense of the regulation as predicted, the union group will see it through.

Background

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California Equal Pay Act expansion takes effect January 1

by Cathleen S. Yonahara
Freeland Cooper & Foreman LLP

California’s equal pay law will provide protections for race and ethnicity as well as gender as of January 1, 2017.

Since 1949, California law has prohibited gender-based wage discrimination, and in 2015, that protection was expanded to require equal pay for men and women who perform “substantially similar” work for an employer regardless of their location and to place the burden of proof on the employer to demonstrate that any pay gap is due to nondiscriminatory factors.

Effective January 1, the law also will protect employees from disparities in pay based on ethnicity. The new prohibitions on wage differentials based on ethnicity track the prohibitions on wage differentials based on gender. The employer bears the burden of proving that a wage differential is based on: read more…

New law gives employees in Colorado access to personnel files

by Brad Williams

A new state law going into effect January 1 requires most private-sector employers in Colorado to allow employees to inspect and copy their personnel files at least annually upon request. The new law also grants former employees the right to inspect their personnel files once after the termination of their employment.

The law doesn’t require employers to create or keep personnel files for current or former employees. Also, employers aren’t required to retain any particular documents that are or were in an employee’s personnel file for any particular period of time. However, if a personnel file exists when an employee asks to inspect it, the employer must allow access.

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New York minimum wage going up on December 31

December 14, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The first of a series of increases intended to bring New York’s state minimum wage to $15 an hour is set to go into effect on December 31.

As a result of a measure signed into law in April, the state will see minimum wage increases implemented on a regional basis. The state’s current basic minimum wage is $9 an hour.

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Categories: HR Hero Alerts / Minimum Wage / New York

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Time for federal contractors to meet new paid leave requirements

by H. Juanita M. Beecher

Contractors entering into federal contracts on or after January 1, 2017, must comply with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new regulations requiring them to provide workers 56 hours of paid sick leave a year.

The regulations implement President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13706, which was issued on September 7, 2015. The coverage provisions are the same as those for the $10.10 hourly minimum wage requirements for federal contractors. Employees whose wages are governed by the Davis-Bacon Act, the Service Contract Act, or the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are also covered.

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Puzder nomination could be the end of overtime rules

December 13, 2016 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

The president-elect’s nomination of Andy Puzder for secretary of labor may very well be the final nail in the coffin for the new overtime rules.

Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, has been an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama’s employment initiatives for years. Several of those efforts, especially the overtime rules, are dead given Puzder’s appointment, says John Husband, a partner at Holland & Hart LLP and an editor of Colorado Employment Law Letter.

The overtime regulations, which would have required employers to pay overtime to all employees earning less than $913 per week ($47,476 annually), were scheduled to take effect December 1. With just days to spare, a federal district court judge issued a temporary injunction halting the rules’ implementation. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) appealed the injunction order to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed to fast-track its review. Still, the expedited schedule puts final briefings after the inauguration.

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California’s minimum wage going up on January 1

December 12, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The minimum wage in California will rise to $10.50 an hour on January 1 for most employers thanks to a measure signed into law in April. Future incremental increases will put the state’s minimum wage at $15 an hour by January 2022 for employers with 26 or more employees. Smaller employers will have more time to reach the eventual $15 level.

The current minimum wage in California is $10 an hour. Under the new law, employers with 26 or more employees will see the minimum wage go to $10.50 on January 1, 2017.

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Court expedites appeal of overtime rule injunction

December 09, 2016 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

A federal appeals court will review the temporary injunction blocking new overtime regulations on an expedited schedule that wraps things up even faster than the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) had requested. But it still won’t reach a decision until after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, and that could mean the end of the overtime rule, according to some experts.

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the DOL’s motion for expedited review December 8. The court scheduled most briefing deadlines as the DOL had requested, but it slated final briefs for January 31 rather than the proposed February 7.

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