Montana House Passes Bills That May Cause Criminal Penalties, Disastrous Results for Employers

March 03, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Jeanne M. Bender

Two bills that are progressing through the Montana Legislature would impose significant restrictions on employers’ staffing response to emergencies and their ability to manage unemployment compensation eligibility for recent hires.

Montana law currently limits the workday in certain occupations and for certain employers (e.g., mining, smelting, school districts, and state and municipal governments) to eight hours. However, employers may circumvent the restriction by obtaining prior agreement with the employee or, in cases of emergency, when life or property is in imminent danger. House Bill (HB) 300 would eliminate the emergency provision, thereby making it a crime for both the employee and employer to work more than eight hours in a day to deal with the emergency unless they had previously agreed to the extended schedule.

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Six States Increase Indexed Minimum Wages for 2011

December 27, 2010 0 COMMENTS

As the new year approaches, a number of states will see index-driven increases to their minimum wage rates. Specifically, Arizona, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington will each add around 10 cents per hour to their existing wage rates, based on an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of a little more than one percent from August 2009 to August 2010. Two other states, Florida and Missouri, have chosen not to adjust their indexed wages.

In Arizona, the state minimum wage will increase from $7.25 to $7.35 per hour and will remain at that rate throughout the next year. Tipped employees’ hourly wages also will increase 10 cents, from $4.25 to $4.35. The new minimum wage must be posted in an area where employees can read the poster, such as the break room.

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Montana: Few Surprises in Big Sky Elections

November 04, 2010 0 COMMENTS

by Jeanne M. Bender, Holland & Hart LLP

Lone congressman Republican Denny Rehberg was reelected by a large margin after a somewhat nasty campaign.

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