States Implementing an Increase in the Minimum Wage
Although the federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per hour in 2013, several states and cities have announced that their minimum wage will increase next year. If a state or municipality’s minimum wage rate is higher than the federal minimum wage rate, then the higher rate must be paid. Below are the new minimum hourly wage rates effective January 1, 2013 unless otherwise noted:
Arizona – Regular minimum wage will increase from $7.65 to $7.80 per hour. Minimum wage for tipped employees will increase from $4.65 to $4.80 per hour.
- San Francisco – The city’s minimum wage will increase from $10.24 to $10.55 per hour.
- San Jose – The city voted in November to institute a $10.00 per hour minimum wage (which will take effect 90 days after election results are certified, likely in February or March of 2013).
Florida – Regular minimum wage will increase from $7.67 to $7.79 per hour. Minimum wage for tipped employees will increase from $4.65 to $4.77 per hour.
Missouri – Regular minimum wage will increase from $7.25 to $7.35 per hour. Minimum wage for tipped employees will increase from $3.625 to $3.675 per hour.
Montana – Minimum wage will increase from $7.65 to $7.80 per hour. Montana law does not allow employers to take a tip credit against minimum wage for tipped employees.
Ohio – Regular minimum wage will increase from $7.70 to $7.85 per hour. Minimum wage for tipped employees will increase from $3.85 to $3.93 per hour.
Oregon – Minimum wage will increase from $8.80 to $8.95 per hour.
- Albuquerque – The city’s minimum wage will increase from $7.50 to $8.50 per hour.
Rhode Island – Regular minimum wage will increase from $7.40 to $7.75 per hour.
Vermont – Regular minimum wage will increase from $8.46 to $8.60 per hour. Minimum wage for tipped employees will increase from $4.10 to $4.17 per hour.
Washington – Minimum wage will increase from $9.04 to $9.19 per hour.
States Proposing an Increase in the Minimum Wage
Colorado – The state’s Department of Labor and Employment has proposed a minimum wage increase from $7.64 to $7.78 per hour. It also proposed an increase for tipped employees from $4.62 to $4.76 per hour. If approved, the minimum wage increases will be effective January 1, 2013.
Other Changes in State Employment Laws for 2013
All of the following changes are effective January 1, 2013 unless otherwise noted.
(AB = Assembly Bill; HB = House Bill; SB = Senate Bill)
Slavery and Human Trafficking Notice – SB 1193
- Certain types of businesses are required to conspicuously post an 8.5″ x 11″ notice regarding human trafficking and slavery that includes hotline help numbers and other specific wording.
- The notice must be printed in English, Spanish, and one other language that is the most widely spoken language in the county where the establishment is located.
- On or before April 1, 2013, the California Department of Justice will develop a model notice in compliance with the requirements and make the model available for downloading on the Department’s website.
Employee E-mail and Social Media Account User Names and Passwords – AB 1844
- Employers are barred from requiring or requesting that an employee or applicant for employment: (1) disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media, (2) access personal social media in the presence of the employer, or (3) divulge any personal social media, except personal social media reasonably believed to be relevant to an investigation of alleged employee misconduct or employee violation of applicable laws and regulations.
- Employers may not discharge, discipline, threaten to discharge or discipline, or otherwise retaliate against employees or applicants that refuse to comply with a prohibited request.
- Employers may require or request employees to share passwords and usernames in order to access employer-issued electronic devices.
Employment Contracts Involving Commissions
- A contract of employment that includes commissions for services to be rendered in California must be in writing and must set forth the method by which the commissions will be computed and paid.
- “Commissions” does not include short-term productivity bonuses, such as those paid to retail clerks, nor does it include bonus and profit-sharing plans unless the employer has offered to pay a fixed-percentage of sales or profits as compensation for work to be performed.
- The employer must give the employee a signed copy of the contract and must obtain a signed receipt for the contract from the employee.
Religious Dress and Grooming Practices – AB 1964
- An employee’s religious dress practices or religious grooming practices is considered a religious belief or observance covered by the Act’s protections against religious discrimination.
- An accommodation of an employee’s religious dress practices or religious grooming practices that would require the employee to be segregated from the public or other employees is not a reasonable accommodation.
Sex Discrimination and Breastfeeding – AB 2386
- The Fair Employment and Housing Act is amended to extend the term “sex” to include breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding.
Nonexempt Employees and Overtime – AB 2103
- Payment of a fixed salary to a nonexempt employee will be deemed to provide compensation only for the employee’s regular, non-overtime hours despite any private agreement to the contrary.
Wage Statement Violations – SB 1255
- An employee is deemed to suffer injury when: (1) an employer fails to provide a wage statement or fails to provide accurate and complete information required in an employee’s wage statement or (2) the employee cannot easily determine from the wage statement certain information, including, for example, information such as the amount of the gross wages or net wages paid to the employee during the pay period, the name and address of the employer, or the name of the employee.
Inspection and Copying of Employer Personnel Records – AB 2674
- Employers are required to maintain either a duplicate copy of an employee’s itemized wage statement or a computer-generated record accurately showing all of the information required to be on the wage statement.
- The employer must (1) maintain personnel records for a specified period of time and (2) provide current or former employees, or their representatives, an opportunity to inspect and copy those records within a specified period of time.
- The law includes exceptions for employees covered by certain collective bargaining agreements and during the pendency of a lawsuit related to a personnel matter filed by an employee or former employee.
Wage Statement and Notice Requirements for Temporary Services Employers – AB 1744
- Effective July 1, 2013, temporary services employers are required to include the rate of pay and the total hours worked for each assignment on employee wage statements, with specified exceptions. Temporary services employers are also required to include specified information in the notice provided to new employees.
Wage Garnishment Limit Increase – AB 1755
- Effective July 1, 2013, “disposable earnings” will be defined as the portion of an individual’s earnings remaining after deducting all amounts required to be withheld by law.
- The law also limits the amount of an individual judgment debtor’s weekly disposable earnings that may be garnished. For any pay period other than weekly, the law requires the use of certain multipliers to determine a maximum amount subject to levy.
Per Diem Wages Paid to Workers Employed on Public Works Projects – AB 2677
- An increased employer payment contribution that results in a lower hourly straight time wage, lower overtime wage, or lower taxable wage, shall not be considered a violation of the applicable prevailing wage determination, so long as specified conditions are met.
Overpayment of Unemployment Insurance – AB 1845
- The Employment Development Department (“EDD”) may deny reimbursement of overpayments to an employer’s unemployment insurance reserve accounts if the overpayment was due to the employer’s failure to respond adequately or in a timely manner to an EDD request for information. This law applies to overpayments established on or after October 22, 2013.
Farm Labor Contractors – AB 1675
- California Labor Code § 1683 is amended to include the following additional penalties for the failure to license farm labor contractors with the Labor Commissioner: (1) citations issued by the Labor Commissioner and (2) civil penalties that increase with the number of citations issued to the violator.
E-Verify-Georgia Code § 36-60-6
- As of July 1, 2013, private employers with 11 to 99 employees (that work 35 hours or more for the employer) must now register with and utilize the federal work authorization program (E-Verify) to verify work authorization for employees.
- Before obtaining or renewing a business license or any other document needed to operate a business in Georgia, the employer must provide evidence that he or she is authorized to use the E-Verify program or present an affidavit attesting that the employer utilizes the E-Verify program or that the employer employs fewer than 11 employees or otherwise does not fall within the law’s requirements.
Employer Access to Social Networking Passwords or Accounts – HB 3782
- Employers are prohibited from requiring employees or applicants for employment to provide passwords or account information to access social networking accounts. Employers are also prohibited from demanding access to such accounts.
Individual Liability for Equal Pay Violations – SB 2847
- In addition to any individual deemed an employer under the Equal Pay Act, any officers of a corporation or agents of an employer who willfully and knowingly permit such an employer to evade a final judgment or award provided under the Equal Pay Act shall be deemed to be the employers of the employees.
Temporary Workers Right to Know Act – HB 4304
- Temporary staffing agencies are required to provide notice to new employees and current employees beginning new assignments identifying the general business and contact information of the staffing agency and the worksite employer, including, among other things, general payment information, a job description, and any special requirements necessary for the assignment.
- Staffing agencies must also confirm the required information concerning an employee’s assignment in writing and send such confirmation to the employee. Agencies must notify an employee of any change to the initial terms of employment, and the employee must acknowledge such changes.
- Staffing agencies must conspicuously post a notice of an employee’s rights under this new law in each of its business locations. A model notice will be available from the Department of Labor and Standards.
- A staffing agency or worksite employer may not charge or accept certain fees from an employee, enumerated in the law. In general, costs or fees may not be deducted from an employee’s wages without his express written authorization, and the employer must provide the employee a copy of the signed authorization in a language he understands.
New Work-Share Program – SB 1094
The Michigan Employment Security Act (“MESA”) is amended to allow employers to apply to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (“UIA”) for approval of a shared-work plan if the following conditions are met:
(i) The employer filed all reports required under MESA, and had paid all contributions and other amounts due;
(ii) If the employer is a contributing employer, the employer’s experience account reserve balance was positive; and,
(iii) The employer paid wages for the previous three years before applying for the shared-work plan.
Employers may apply for more than one shared-work plan, and the UIA shall approve plans that meet all of the requirements outlined in the law.
- The UIA must approve or disapprove a shared-work plan in writing, including reasons for disapproval of a plan, within 15 days after receiving an application that meets the criteria for a shared-work plan.
E-Verify Requirement for New Hires and Maintenance of Records-§64-25 et seq.
- By January 1, 2013, employers with 100 to 499 employees are required to verify the work authorization of new employees hired to work in the United States through E-Verify. By July 1, 2013, employers with 25 to 99 employees must do the same.
- Each employer shall retain the record of the work authorization verification while the verified employee is employed and for one year after the employee is no longer employed by the employer.
- Employers need not comply with the E-Verify requirement for seasonal temporary employees employed 90 days or fewer during a 12-consecutive-month period. Employers are only required to count employees working in North Carolina.
Public Works E-Verify Requirement – SB 637
- This bill establishes the Pennsylvania Public Works Employment Verification Act, requiring all public works contractors and sub-contractors to use the E-Verify program to verify the employment eligibility of new employees.
- The E-Verify requirement applies to contracts awarded prior to the law’s effective date, January 1, 2013, but that have not yet been executed.
- Public works contractors must provide the public body awarding the contract a signed verification form (available from the Secretary of General Services) certifying the contractor participates in the E-Verify program and has used the program to verify newly hired employees before the contractor secures a contract for a public work.
- Public works contractors must include information about the new law’s requirements in all contracts with sub-contractors.
Electronic Waste Disposal Ban – HB 708
- As of January 24, 2013, the Covered Device Recycling Act prohibits any person, including business concerns, corporations, and limited liability companies, from disposing of a “covered computer device” or a “covered television device,” marketed or intended for use by “consumers,” or such devices’ components in municipal solid waste. Instead, such devices must be disposed of at a recycling operation.
- Some exceptions under the law include telephones, mobile phones, GPS devices, and PDAs, as well as equipment designed and intended primarily for use by professional users.
E-Verify Requirement-§ 50-1-703
- Private employers with 6 to 199 employees must verify the employment eligibility of all new hires before any new hire provides labor or services to the employer. The employer may do so either by using the E-Verify program for all newly hired employees or by obtaining and maintaining a copy of an identification document for all newly hired employees.
- Employers must also verify employment eligibility of “non-employees,” defined as individuals, other than employees, paid directly by employers in exchange for their labor or services (such as an independent contractor).
- Employers must maintain a record of the E-Verify verification report or identification document for three years after the date of the employee’s hire or for one year after the employee is terminated, whichever is later.
- In determining the number of employees, the employer must count all of its employees, whether employed in Tennessee or outside of Tennessee.
E-Verify Requirement-§ 2.2-4308.2
- Beginning December 1, 2013, any employer, with an average of more than 50 employees for the previous 12 months, entering into a public contract to perform work or provide services worth more than $50,000 with any agency of the Commonwealth, must register and participate in the E-Verify program to verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees performing work pursuant to such contracts.
To learn more about how minimum compensation rates or other new employment laws may affect your company, or if you have any questions regarding these issues, please contact your employment counsel at Smith, Gambrell, & Russell, LLP.