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

New Hampshire Law Prohibits Retaliation Based on Flexible Work Schedule Requests

Law Effective September 1, 2016

Under a new law in New Hampshire, an employer may not retaliate against an employee solely because he or she requests a flexible work schedule.

The law does not require an employer to accommodate a flexible work schedule, nor does it create a cause of action for failure to provide a flexible work schedule at an employee’s request.

Note: Employers may have related obligations under other federal, state, and/or local laws, such as the reasonable accommodation requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act or the leave requirements of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

The new law is effective September 1, 2016. Click here to read the text of the law.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

Rhode Island Law Prohibits Certain Wage Deductions Without Employee Approval

Approval May Be Written or Electronic

Under a new law in Rhode Island, an employer may not deduct or withhold any monies not authorized by federal or state law or by court order from an employee’s wages, without first getting written or electronic approval from the employee.

Permissible Deductions
State law permits employers to make certain deductions from employee wages, including (among other things):

  • Trade union or craft dues or other obligations imposed by a collective bargaining contract;
  • Contributions to a pension plan in which the employee is a participant not required by a collective bargaining agreement entered into between the authorized collective bargaining representative of an employee and his or her employer;
  • Contributions to or for insurance or under an insurance plan for accident, health, or life coverage not required by a collective bargaining agreement entered into between the authorized collective bargaining representative of an employee and his or her employer; or
  • Amounts to be credited to a share, deposit, or loan account in any credit union.

The deductions listed above must be made in accordance with awritten request by the individual employee (see § 28-14-10).

Note: Guidance regarding certain deductions from wages under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is also available, along with specific guidance on exempt employees. Remember that when state laws differ from the federal FLSA, an employer must comply with the standard most protective to employees (that is, the one that provides the greater benefit to employees).

New Law
Under the new law, an employer may not deduct or withhold any monies not authorized by federal or state law or by court order from an employee’s wages, without first getting written or electronic approval from the employee.

The law is effective as of July 20, 2016. Click here to read the text of the law.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

Louisiana: Hotels Required to Display Human Trafficking Poster

Louisiana: Hotels Required to Display Human Trafficking Poster

Law Effective as of August 1, 2016

Under a new law in Louisiana, effective August 1, 2016, each hotel must post information regarding the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline in the same location where other employee notices required by state or federal law are posted.

Background 
All of the following establishments are also required to post information regarding the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline:

New Law 

  • Each hotel mustpost the information in the same location where other employee notices required by state or federal law are posted.
    • “Hotel” means and includes any establishment (both public and private) engaged in the business of furnishing or providing rooms and overnight camping facilities intended or designed for dwelling, lodging, or sleeping purposes to transient guests.
      • Note: The new law doesnot encompass any hospital, convalescent or nursing home or sanitarium, or any hotel-like facility operated by or in connection with a hospital or medical clinic providing rooms exclusively for patients and their families, nor does it include bed and breakfasts (lodging facility having no more than ten guest rooms where transient guests are fed and lodged for pay) or certain other facilities.
    • Such posting must be no smaller than 8 and 1/2 inches X 11 inches and must contain the following wording in bold typed print of not less than 14-point font: “If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave, whether it is commercial sex, housework, farm work, or any other activity, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888 to access help and services.”

Click here to download the poster. Additional requirements are listed in the text of the law.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

Rhode Island: Mandated Short Term Disability Rates Increase

Weekly Maximum and Minimum Benefit Rates Increase

Rhode Island has announced that its weekly maximum and minimum short term disability rates have increased.

Background
Rhode Island’s temporary disability insurance program provides income support to individuals who are out of work because of a non-work related illness or injury. To be eligible, an individual must meet certain earnings requirements and be medically certified by a qualified health care provider as unable to work.

An individual’s weekly benefit rate will be equal to 4.62% of the wages paid in the highest quarter of his or her base period.

Updated Rates
For claims with a “Benefit Year Begin Date” of July 3, 2016 or later,$89.00 is the minimum benefit rate and $817.00 is the maximum benefit rate. This does not include dependency allowance. The weekly benefit rate remains the same throughout the entire benefit year.

Click here for more information on Rhode Island’s temporary disability program.

Originally Published by HR 360, Inc.

DOL Issues Guidance for Private Employers on Final Overtime Rule

Guidance Provides Options for Compliance

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released guidance on its final overtime rule to help private sector employers evaluate current practices and transition to the rule’s requirements.

Background
The DOL’s final rule, effective December 1, 2016, updates the regulations governing which executive, administrative, and professional employees (“white collar” workers) are entitled to the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levelsneeded for such workers 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;
  • Sets the highly-compensated employee (HCE) total annual compensation level equal to $134,004 annually;
  • Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every 3 years, beginning on January 1, 2020; and
  • 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 asemployers pay those amounts on a quarterly or more frequent basis.

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

New Guidance
Among other things, the DOL’s guidance details some of the options employers may exercise in determining how to comply with the final rule. Employers have certain options for responding to the changes to the salary level, and the DOL does not dictate or recommend any method. Such options include:

  • Providing pay raises that increase workers’ salaries to the new threshold;
  • Spreading employment by reducing or eliminating work hours of individual employees working over 40 hours per week for which no overtime is being paid; or
  • Paying overtime.

Note: The rule does not require employers to convert a salaried worker making less than the new salary threshold to hourly status; employers can pay non-exempt employees on a salary basis and pay overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a week.

Click here to read the guidance. Additional information on the final rule, including fact sheets and Q&As, is available on the DOL’s final rule webpage.

Originally Published by HR 360, Inc.

Penalties Increase for Employers Violating Certain Federal Labor Laws

pay_or_play_penalty_and_ppacaEmployers that do not comply with certain requirements under a number of federal labor laws will face increased fines beginning with civil penalties assessed after August 1, 2016 (whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015).

Key Penalty Increases
Penalty increases announced by the U.S. Department of Labor that may be of particular interest include:

  • Repeated or willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage or overtime pay requirements will be subject to a penalty of up to $1,894 per violation (formerly $1,100);
  • Willful violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) posting requirement will be subject to a penalty not to exceed $163 for each separate offense (formerly $110) (note: covered employers must post this general notice even if no employees are eligible for FMLA leave);
  • Failure to provide employees with a Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) notice will be subject to a penalty of up to $110 per day per violation (formerly $100);
  • Failure to provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) will be subject to a penalty of up to $1,087 per failure (formerly $1,000);
  • Failure or refusal to file a Form 5500 will be subject to a penalty of up to $2,063 per day (formerly $1,100); and
  • Violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s posting requirement will be subject to a maximum penalty of $12,471 for each violation (formerly $7,000).

Originally Published by HR 360, Inc.

Minnesota Minimum Wage Rates Increase on August 1, 2016

New State and Federal Combination Poster Available for Purchase at minnesota-federal-combo-labor-law-poster-english
www.AllinOnePosters.com

The minimum wage rates in Minnesota will go up on August 1, 2016, according to the following schedule:

  • Large employersmust pay at least $9.50 an hour (annual gross volume of sales made or business done of $500,000 or more);
  • Small employersmust pay at least $7.75 an hour (annual gross volume of sales made or business done of less than $500,000);
  • Thetraining wage rate is $7.75 an hour (90-day training rate paid to employees who are younger than 20 years of age); andminwage
  • Theyouth wage rate is $7.75 an hour (may be paid to employees younger than 18 years of age).

Note: In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal m
inimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum
wages.

A new state and federal combination poster reflecting the updated rates is available for purchase. Additional information regarding Minnesota’s minimum wage rates is available by clicking here.

San Francisco: Minimum Wage Rises to $13.00 Per Hour on July 1, 2016

As a reminder, the San Francisco minimum wage will rise to $13.00 per hour san-francisco-ordinances-non-laminated-minimum-wage-paid-sick-hcso-fair-chance-family-friendly-imagebeginning July 1, 2016. A new poster reflecting the updated rate (in multiple languages) is now available by clicking here.

Future Minimum Wage Increases in San Francisco
Additional raises are expected according to the following schedule:

  • $14.00 per hour beginning on July 1, 2017;
  • $15.00 per hour beginning on July 1, 2018; and
  • Increased annually by an amount corresponding to the prior year’s increase (if any) in the Consumer Price Index beginning on July 1, 2019.

Click here for more information.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360