This is good news for employers across Ohio, who had been bracing for another annual increase on January 1, 2010. Under an amendment to the constitution passed by voters in November 2006, the Ohio minimum wage will increases each year on January 1.
However, the Ohio minimum wage increase is based on inflation for the previous year – specifically, it is based on the Consumer Price Index or CPI for urban wage earners and clerical workers for the 12-month period ending August 31. So the 2010 Ohio minimum wage is based on the CPI for September 2008 through August 2009.
During that period, the CPI declined by 0.2%. By law the Ohio minimum wage cannot be reduced, but it will not be increased in 2010, either.
The Ohio minimum wage applies to employers with annual revenue of more than $267,000. Employers grossing less than $267,000 per year can pay just $7.25 per hour – an amount equal to the federal minimum wage. The minimum wage for employees who are 14 or 15 (more…)
Expanded Leave Rights
Every Illinois employer needs to be aware of an amendment to the Illinois Victims Economic Security and Safety Act. The new law requires employers to extend unpaid, job-protected leave to victims of domestic violence or sexual violence.
Under the new law, effective August 24, 2009, employers with 50 or more workers must provide up to 12 weeks of FMLA-type leave to employees who are victims of rape, sexual assault or another type of sexual violence. The law requires employers with 15 to 49 employees to provide 8 weeks of unpaid leave.
Employers must also extend the same benefits to victims of domestic violence of any kind.
This new law is notable because Illinois has no family leave law at the state level – so this is the state’s first intrusion into expanding FMLA to smaller employers. Currently, there is no Illinois law that requires an employer with 15 to 49 workers to provide leave for any reasons other than sexual violence or domestic violence.
New Illinois Discrimination Law
Under a new Illinois discrimination law, victims of stalkers, domestic violence and other crimes are protected from employment discrimination. The amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits the employer from discriminating against an employee who is protected by an order of protection or a similar order issued in anther state.
Under the law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2010, the employer cannot make employment decisions based entirely or in part on whether a worker is shielded by an order of protection. For example, the employer could not refuse to hire Jane, a teacher, simply because she has an order of protection against her ex-husband Ted. (more…)
On September 23, 2009, the EEOC published proposed rules regarding disabilities in the Federal Register.
These new rules change the definition of a disability under the ADAAA, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which went into effect on January 1, 2009. That law requires the EEOC to interpret the term “disability” broadly.
The law returns the meaning to disability to that enforced by the EEOC in 1990 soon after the ADA was passed. Over time, the courts have continually eroded the definition of disability under the law, requiring more proof of more severe impairments.
Some of the notable changes that employers need to be aware of:
An impairment that substantially limits a major bodily function is sufficient to constitute a disability. Under the old regulations, a condition like cancer or AIDS did not in and of itself, constitute an impairment. The employee had to show that he or she was limited in major life functions by the condition. Under the new regulations, such a condition in and of itself is a disability.
Mitigating measures must be disregarded. (more…)
Under IRS regulations, an independent contractor is a self-employed small business person. The employer does not have to pay FICA or unemployment taxes on independent contractors, under federal law. State laws requiring workers’ comp insurance do not apply to independent contractors. Employers are also not required to withhold federal income taxes for independent contractors.
All of these factors make hiring independent contractors very attractive to employers. However, both the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor have stepped up enforcement actions against employers who misrepresent workers as independent contractors, when in fact they are employees.
To further complicate the issue, there is no one standard or group of standards to determine if a worker is an independent contractor, rather than an employee. The IRS has traditionally used the 20-factor test, particularly to determine if workers’ compensation coverage is required.
The IRS 20-factor test basically determines how much control the employer exercises over the worker. In general, a high level of control results in employee status, rather than independent contractor status. When an employer controls when, where or how the work is performed, that usually constitutes employee status.
Other agencies use (more…)