State Minimum Wages Set to Increase for 2017

New State Minimum Wages

The minimum wage will rise in a number of states next year. Unless otherwise noted, the following minimum wage rates (per hour) are scheduled to become effective on January 1, 2017:

  • Alaska: $9.80
  • Arizona: $10.00
  • Arkansas: $8.50
  • California: $10.50 for employers with 26 or more employees (for smaller employers, the rate remains $10.00)
  • Colorado: $9.30
  • Connecticut: $10.10
  • District of Columbia: $12.50, beginning July 1, 2017 ($3.33 for tipped employees)
  • Florida: $8.10 ($5.08 for tipped employees)
  • Hawaii: $9.25
  • Maine: $9.00
  • Maryland: $9.25, beginning July 1, 2017
  • Massachusetts: $11.00 ($3.75 for tipped employees)
  • Michigan: $8.90 ($3.38 for tipped employees)
  • Missouri: $7.70 ($3.85 for tipped employees)
  • Montana: $8.15
  • New Jersey: $8.44
  • New York: $9.70, beginning December 31, 2016 ($11.00 for employers in NYC with 11 or more employees; $10.50 for employers in NYC with 10 or fewer employees; $10.00 for Long Island & Westchester; $10.75 for fast food employees outside of NYC; $12.00 for fast food employees within NYC)
  • Ohio: $8.15 ($7.25 for employees at certain smaller companies, and for 14- and 15-year-olds; the wage rises to $4.08 for tipped employees)
  • Oregon: $10.25, beginning July 1, 2017 ($11.25 for employees working within the urban growth boundary of a metropolitan service district; $10.00 in nonurban counties)
  • Rhode Island: $3.89 for tipped employees (for non-tipped employees, the $9.60 minimum wage rate remains unchanged)
  • South Dakota: $8.65 ($4.325 for tipped employees)
  • Vermont: $10.00
  • Washington: $11.00

Be sure to comply with any city or other local wage requirements (which may be higher than the state or federal minimum wage) that may apply to your business.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360.COM

Reminder: New Federal Overtime Rule Effective December 1

Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay Exemption Salary Thresholds Raised for Many Employees

Effective December 1, a new rule updates the regulations governing which executive, administrative, professional, and highly compensated employees are entitled to the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Current Rules
The current federal rules provide an exemption from both the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements of the FLSA for bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees who meet certain tests regarding their job duties and who are paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week ($23,660 per year). “Highly compensated employees” (HCEs) who are paid total annual compensation of $100,000 or more and meet certain other conditions are also deemed exempt.

New Rule
The new rule updates the salary and compensation levels needed for executive, administrative, professional, and highly compensated employees to be exempt. In particular, the final rule:

  • Raises the salary threshold from $455 a week to $913 per week (or $47,476 annually) for a full-year worker;
  • Increases the HCE total annual compensation level to $134,004 annually;
  • Amends the regulations to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses, incentives, and commissions to satisfy up to 10% of the new standard salary level, so long as employers pay those amounts on a quarterly or more frequent basis; and
  • Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every 3 years, beginning on January 1, 2020.

Note: When both the FLSA and a state law apply, the employee is entitled to the most favorable provisions of each law.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360.COM

Washington Voters Approve Minimum Wage Increases and Paid Sick Leave

Minimum Wage Increases Begin January 1, 2017

Voters in Washington State have approved a ballot initiative that raises the state minimum wage and requires paid sick leave.

Minimum Wage
Under the initiative, the minimum wage will rise as follows:

  • Beginning January 1, 2017: $11.00 per hour.
  • Beginning January 1, 2018: $11.50 per hour.
  • Beginning January 1, 2019: $12.00 per hour.
  • Beginning January 1, 2020: $13.50 per hour.
  • Beginning January 1, 2021 (and each following January 1st), the minimum wage will be adjusted for inflation.

Note: An employer must pay to its employees all tips and gratuities and all service charges (except those that are itemized as not being payable to the employee(s) servicing the customer). Tips and service charges paid to an employee are in addition to (and may not count towards) the employee’s hourly minimum wage.

Paid Sick Leave
Beginning January 1, 2018, every employer must provide each of its employees paid sick leave (at the greater of the newly increased minimum wage or the employee’s normal wage). Highlights of the law are presented below:

  • An employee will accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
  • An employer may provide paid sick leave in advance of accrual, provided that such front-loading meets or exceeds the requirements of the law for accrual, use, and carryover of paid sick leave.
  • An employee is authorized to use paid sick leave for (among other things) an absence resulting from the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, or to allow the employee to provide care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition.
  • Unused paid sick leave carries over to the following year, except that an employer is not required to allow an employee to carry over paid sick leave in excess of 40 hours.
  • The initiative generally does not require an employer to provide financial or other reimbursement for accrued and unused paid sick leave to any employee upon his or her termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.

Click here to read the initiative.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360.COM

Colorado Voters Approve Minimum Wage Increases

Increases Begin January 1, 2017

Voters in Colorado have approved an initiative that raises the state minimum wage. Under the initiative, Colorado’s minimum wage is increased to $9.30 per hour (from $8.31 per hour), effective January 1, 2017.

Additionally, the minimum wage is increased annually by $0.90 each January 1 until it reaches $12.00 per hour (effective January 2020). After that, the minimum wage is adjusted annually for cost of living increases.

Note: No more than $3.02 per hour in tip income may be used to offset the minimum wage of employees who regularly receive tips.

Click here to read the initiative.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360.COM

E-Verify Requirement(Updated May 2016)

What is E-Verify?

The E-Verify program was created as a voluntary Internet-based pilot program to help employers verify the work authorization of new hires. It applies to U.S. citizens and noncitizens. Originally known as the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program, the program was renamed E-Verify in 2007. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration.

What is required of federal contractors?

As of Sept. 8, 2009, federal contractors or subcontractors are required to use E-verify to determine employment eligibility of employees performing direct work on the contract and new hires. It applies to federal contracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation E-Verify Clause. It exempts contracts of less than 120 days and valued at less than $100,000 and subcontracts valued at less than $3,000.

Table: States Requiring E-Verify

 

  State Citation Year Applies to:
1 Alabama H56 2011 All employers, public and private
2 Arizona HB 2779
HB 2745
2007
2008
All employers, public and private
3 Colorado HB 1343
SB139, SB193
2006
2008
All contractors with state contracts
4 Florida Executive Order 11-02

Executive Order 11-116

2011

2011

State agencies, public employers and contractors
5 Georgia SB 529
HB 2

SB 447

HB 87

2006
2009

2010

2011

Public employers, contractors, and subcontractors

Private employers more than 10 employees (phase in)

6 Idaho Executive Order 2009 State agencies and public employers
7 Indiana SB 590 2011 State agencies, public employers and contractors
8 Louisiana HB 342

HB 646

2011

2011

All state and local contractors

Private employers requires to either use E-verify or check multiple forms of identification from the new hire.

9 Michigan     Only Oakland, Macomb, and Ingham counties require public employers to use E-Verify for all new employees. Additionally, country service contractors within Oakland county must use E-Verify.
10 Minnesota   2011 All contractors with state contract worth in excess of $50,000
11 Mississippi SB 2988 2008 All employers, public and private
12 Missouri HB 1549
HB 390
2008
2009
State agencies, public employers and contractors
13 Nebraska L403 2009 State agencies, public employers and contractors
14 New York   2008 The village of Suffern, New York requires any new contractors with the village to use E-Verify for all new employees.
15 North Carolina SB 1523

HB 36

HB 318

2006

2011

2015

All contractors.

Public and private employers with more than 25 employees.

16 Oklahoma HB 1804 2007 State agencies, public employers and contractors
17 Oregon     All county employers within Columbia County
18 Pennsylvania SB 637 2011 State agencies, public employers and contractors with contracts of $25,000 or greater
19 South Carolina HB 4400

SB 20

2008

2011

All employers, public and private
20 Tennessee HB1378
SB 196
2011
2016
All private employers with more than 6 employees must use E-Verify for all new hires or use alternative methods to verify work authorization
Under the new law, employers with 50 or more employees must enroll in and use the federal E-Verify program to verify the work authorization status of employees hired on or after January 1, 2017.
21 Texas RP 80 2014 State agencies, public employers and contractors
22 Utah SB 81
SB 39

HB 251

HB 116

2008
2009

2010

2011

Public employers, contractors, subcontractors

Private employers with more than 15 employees

23 Virginia H 737

HB 1859/SB 1049

2010

2011

State agencies, public employers and contractors with at least 50 employees and a contract worth at least $50,000
24 Washington     Washington does not have a statewide E-Verify requirement. However, there are several cities and counties that have enacted their own legislation to address E-Verify; these include the cities Hoqiuam, Kennewick, Yakima, and Lakewood, as well as Clark, Cowitz, Lewis, Pierce, and Whatcom counties

taken from http://www.verifiedperson.com/products_faqs_20.html

Illinois: Hotels and Motels Must Display Human Trafficking Poster

Posters Available

Under a new law in Illinois, effective July 1, 2017, the owner of a hotel or motel must post a notice informing the public and victims of human trafficking of telephone hotline numbers to seek help or report unlawful activity.

Background
Currently, specified businesses and other establishments must post such notice in English, Spanish, and in one other language that is the most widely spoken language in the county where the establishment is located and for which translation is mandated by the federal Voting Rights Act, as applicable. These include the following:

  • On the premise consumption retailer licensees under the Liquor Control Act of 1934 where the sale of alcoholic liquor is the principal business carried on by the licensee at the premises and primary to the sale of food.
  • Adult entertainment facilities
  • Primary airports
  • Intercity passenger rail or light rail stations
  • Bus stations
  • Truck Stops. For the purposes of this Act, “truck stop” means a privately-owned and operated facility that provides food, fuel, shower or other sanitary facilities, and lawful overnight truck parking.
  • Emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals
  • Urgent Care Centers
  • Farm labor contractors
  • Privately-operated job recruitment centers

The specified business or other establishment must post the notice in a conspicuous place near the public entrance of the establishment or in another conspicuous location in clear view of the public and employees where similar notices are customarily posted. Business or establishments that are required to display this poster that fail to comply with the requirements of this act is liable for a civil penalty of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

 

Note: This does not require a business or other establishment in a county where a language other than English or Spanish is the most widely spoken language to print the notice in more than one language in addition to English and Spanish.

New Law 
Beginning July 1, 2017, the owner of a hotel or motel must post a notice that complies with the law in a conspicuous and accessible place in or about the premises in clear view of the employees where similar notices are customarily posted.

For the convenience of our customers, All In One Poster Company is offering a laminated 11”x17” English and Spanish Bilingual Poster to help satisfy the posting requirement. You may view the poster by clicking HERE.

The Illinois Department of Human Services offers additional languages.

Click here to read the text of the new law. For more information on the Illinois Human Trafficking Resources Center Notice Act, please click here.

Public Act 099-0099

Massachusetts: Large Employers Must Provide Paid Leave for Veterans on Veterans Day

Employees Must Give Reasonable Notice for Paid Leave

Effective as of July 14, 2016, a new law in Massachusetts requires private employers with 50 or more employees to provide paid leave to any veteran desiring to participate in a Veterans Day exercise, parade, or service in his or her community of residence.

Eligibility and Pay Requirements
Under existing law, Massachusetts employers must grant a leave of absence of sufficient time to allow an employee to participate in such services in his or her community of residence on Veterans Day or Memorial Day to an employee who is:

  • A veteran (as that term is defined under Massachusetts law) or a member of a department of war veteran (as listed in Massachusetts law); and
  • Participates in a Veterans Day or Memorial Day exercise, parade, or service.

Such leave may be with or without pay at the discretion of the employer.However, under the new law, employers with 50 or more employees must grant the leave of absence on Veterans Day with pay if the employee provides reasonable notice for such leave.

Exception
Under the law, an employer is not required to grant a leave of absence to an employee to participate in such services, on either a paid or unpaid basis, if the services of the employee are essential and critical to the public health or safety and determined to be essential to the safety and security of each such employer or its property.

Click here to read the text of the law.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

Massachusetts Prohibits Gender Identity Discrimination in Places of Public Accommodation

Law Effective October 1, 2016

A new law in Massachusetts, effective October 1, 2016, extendsprotections against gender identity discrimination to any place of public accommodation.

The new law provides that an owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement that lawfully segregates or separates access to such place of public accommodation (or a portion of such place) based on a person’s sex, must grant all persons admission to—and the full enjoyment of—such place of public accommodation (or portion of such place) consistent with the person’s gender identity.

Note: The new law specifically gives transgender people the right to userestrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identities.

Click here to read the text of the law. For more information on Massachusetts Law about gender identity or expression, please click here.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

Reminder: Guidance Available on Avoiding Employee Misclassification Under the FLSA

DOL Guidance Outlines ‘Economic Realities’ Test

As a reminder to employers, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division previously issued guidance on how to avoid misclassifying employees as independent contractors for purposes of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Economic Realities Test
In order to make the determination of whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the FLSA, courts and the DOL use the multi-factorial “economic realities” test, which focuses on whether the worker is economically dependent on the employer or in business for him or herself. Each factor of the “economic realities” test is outlined below.

  • Is the Work an Integral Part of the Employer’s Business? If the work performed by a worker is integral to the employer’s business, it is more likely that the worker is economically dependent on the employer. A true independent contractor’s work, on the other hand, is unlikely to be integral to the employer’s business.
  • Does the Worker’s Managerial Skill Affect the Worker’s Opportunity for Profit or Loss? This factor should not focus on the worker’s ability to work more hours, but rather on whether the worker exercises managerial skills and whether those skills affect the worker’s opportunity for both profit and loss.
  • How Does the Worker’s Relative Investment Compare to the Employer’s Investment? The worker should make some investment (and therefore undertake at least some risk for a loss) in order for there to be an indication that he or she is involved in an independent business. The worker’s investment should not be relatively minor compared with that of the employer. If the worker’s investment is relatively minor, that suggests that the worker and the employer are not on similar footings and that the worker may be economically dependent on the employer.
  • Does the Work Performed Require Special Skill and Initiative? A worker’s business skills, judgment, and initiative, not his or her technical skills, will aid in determining whether the worker is economically independent.
  • Is the Relationship Between the Worker and the Employer Permanent or Indefinite? Permanency or indefiniteness in the worker’s relationship with the employer suggests that the worker is an employee. However, a lack of permanence or indefiniteness does not automatically suggest an independent contractor relationship. The key is whether the lack of permanence or indefiniteness is due to operational characteristics intrinsic to the industry or the worker’s own business initiative.
  • What is the Nature and Degree of the Employer’s Control? The employer’s control should be analyzed in light of the ultimate determination of whether the worker is economically dependent on the employer or truly an independent businessperson. The worker must control meaningful aspects of the work performed such that it is possible to view the worker as a person conducting his or her own business.

Most workers are employees under the FLSA, according to the guidance. The text of the guidance is available by clicking here. Additional information and resources on employee misclassification, including fact sheets and press releases, are available from the DOL’sWage and Hour Division.

Note: Additional guidance on distinguishing employees from independent contractors for federal tax withholding purposes is available from the Internal Revenue Service.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

$600 Million in Workers’ Compensation Liens Filed by Convicted or Indicted Physicians, Providers

Oakland—The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and its Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) today announced that $600 million in liens filed against injured employees’ claims for workers’ compensation benefits have been filed by convicted or criminally indicted parties from 2011 through 2015.

“While California has made great strides in increasing benefits to injured workers, improving appropriate care and reducing employers’ costs, we are pursuing legislation to prohibit criminal and indicted providers from lining their pockets through liens and to address the assignment of liens,” said Christine Baker, DIR Director.

California’s workers’ compensation law allows certain claims for payment of services or benefits provided to or on behalf of injured workers to be filed as a lien against an employer in an employee’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits.  The filing of a lien generates collateral litigation between the lien filer and defendant (insurer or employer) over the validity of the claim and the necessity, extent and value of any services provided.  The parties may then settle on an amount due or adjudicate the dispute in a lien trial before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.

SB 863 (De León), which took effect on January 1, 2013, included a number of provisions to reduce costs by reducing the volume of lien claims and lien claim litigation in the workers’ compensation system, including the reestablishment of lien filing fees to preclude frivolous lien filings, creation of an Independent Bill Review system to remove most billing disputes from litigation, and restrictions on the ability of third parties to collect on assigned lien claims.

Despite these efforts, the 68 businesses comprising the top one percent of lien filers filed more than 273,000 liens totaling $2.5 billion in accounts receivable on adjudicated cases between 2013 and 2015.  Two of the business owners are indicted and three others have pled guilty.  Legislation is underway to stay liens of physicians or providers who are criminally charged with workers’ compensation fraud, medical billing fraud, insurance fraud, and Medicare or Medi-Cal fraud.

Assignments of Accounts Receivables are proving fertile ground for fraud

The assignment of liens by service providers to those who file and collect on liens are, in essence, the buying and selling of injured workers’ treatments and fertile ground for presenting fraudulent claims.  DIR’s review of filing dates indicates that lien claimants tend to wait until after the primary case is settled rather than seeking early resolution of medical necessity.  Even if lien claimants – especially those who bundle and buy or sell accounts receivables – only make pennies on the dollar, returns can still be high.

DIR is leading an effort to identify and address strategies for improved anti-fraud efforts in the workers’ compensation system. DIR and the Department of Insurance convened working groups in June to gather stakeholder input and evidence of fraudulent activity in the system.  At the direction of the Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, DIR will be preparing a report on further recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature by no later than Fall of 2016.

DIR protects and improves the health, safety and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners, and helps their employers comply with state labor laws. Its Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) monitors the administration of workers’ compensation claims, and provides administrative and judicial services to assist in resolving disputes that arise in connection with claims for workers’ compensation benefits.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY DIR