Every employer in Rhode Island should take a few minutes during this busy season to update his or her 2008 Rhode Island labor law posters.
The past year has brought myriad changes in labor law throughout the nation. And, more changes are on the way. California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and ten other states will be raising their state minimum wage as of January 1, 2008.
Many of these changes affect labor law posters, which is why it’s important to update the posters at least once per year.
For 2008, the state has introduced a new poster. Rhode Island employers are now required to display a No Smoking Notice in every workplace in the state.
The official list of required 2008 Rhode Island labor law posters include:
- No Smoking Notice
- Family/Medical Leave Act
- Minimum Wage
- Discrimination Notice
- Unemployment Insurance
- Sexual Harassment
- Workers’ Compensation
In addition to the state posters, federal law requires that every Rhode Island employer display a number of posters. These include:
- USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
- Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law
- Federal Minimum Wage
- Employee Polygraph Protection Act
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- OSHA-Job Safety & Health Protection
A number of these posters have been updated for 2008.
Many labor law poster changes throughout the nation related to minimum wage increases this year, or next year. West Virginia and Illinois will increase their minimum wages on July 1, 2008. Illinois’s current minimum will jump from $7.50 to $7.75, and West Virginia’s will go up from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour.
On July 24, 2008, the new federal minimum wage of $6.55 will be introduced. States like Texas, Nebraska and others that tie their state minimum wage to the federal minimum wage will bump up their state minimum wage.
Several states including Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and others established laws that provide an annual cost-of-living increase for the state minimum wage. States often tie this increase to the Consumer Price Index for urban and clerical workers. Florida just recently passed such a law and will apply their first “cost of living” raise on January 1, 2008, bumping their current wage from $6.65 to $6.79 per hour.
The rank of highest state minimum wage goes to Washington at $8.07 as of January 1, 2008. California and Massachusetts aren’t far behind each with $8.00 per hour. Oregon’s wage ranks in the top five with $7.95 per hour.
There’s not much difference among the state minimum wages in the top five, but the difference across the country is amazing. The state minimum wage in Kansas hasn’t budged since the 1980s, and ranks as the lowest at $2.65.
But Kansas isn’t the real bottom of the range. That honor belongs to Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and South Carolina, which don’t have a state minimum wage at all. That means an employer not covered by the federal minimum wage can pay–by law–its workers whatever it wants, even as low as 25 cents an hour. Of course, it’s doubtful anyone would take a job at that wage, but the legal capability exists.
In other changes to labor law in 2007, Illinois also enacted a tough law regarding smoking. Almost every work environment, even restaurants bars and casinos are now non-smoking. Labor law posters will need to be updated as a result of these changes.
Until October, teens in Alaska could be employed by a gas station or convenience store that sold cigarettes. And though it was already illegal in Alaska for anyone under the age of 19 to buy cigarettes, people were concerned that these teens could be selling cigarettes to friends who might be underage. The Child Labor Laws, therefore, were amended to prohibit anyone under the age of 19 from selling cigarettes.
In addition to the changes in 2007, more changes are scheduled to occur in 2008.On January 1 and July 1, 2008, over 20 states will increase their state minimum wage.
According to the new Rhode Island Labor Law posters, as of March 1, 2006, the minimum wage is $7.10 per hour. It will increase to $7.40 as of January 1, 2007. Exemptions include Minors, 14-15 years of age working 24 hours or less. They may be paid 75% of the minimum wage, which is $5.325 per hour. If a minor works more than 24 hours, all hours must be paid at the minimum wage.
Other exemptions stated in the Rhode Island Labor Law posters include: Individuals working in or about a private home, traveling salespersons or outside salespersons, individuals employment by his/her son, daughter, spouse and services performed by a child under the age of 21 in the employ of his/her mother or father, persons employed between May 1 and October 1 in a resort establishment which regularly serves meals to the general public and which is open for business not more than six months a year, persons employed by an organized camp which does not operate for more than seven months in any calendar year.
Wait staff must be paid at least $2.89 per hour and the amount of tips received must bring this amount to $7.10 as of March 1, 2006, and $7.40 as of January 1, 2007, for all hours worked.
Hours worked in excess of 40 per week are to be paid at time and one half the worker’s regular rate of pay.
The Labor Standards Division is charged with administering and enforcing the Labor Laws that affect the workforce within the State of Rhode Island. This division investigates wage complaints throughout the State of Rhode Island with regard to compliance with issues such as Child Labor, Minimum Wage, Overtime, Sunday/Holiday Premium Pay, Parental and Family Medical Leave and Industrial Homework, as well as the process used with regard to hiring of Minors, investigating suspected violations and ensuring compliance of the law.
In my research, I noticed that the state of Rhode Island has a new No Smoking Notice. The new law states that smoking in the workplace is now prohibited throughout the state. This takes effect immediately, and there must be a poster to state this law displayed in the workplace. The poster has to be put in a location that is visible to employees, to serve as a reminder about the law and the penalties for not adhering to it.
Additionally, the state of Rhode Island is requiring that employers use the new, revised Sexual Harassment and Discrimination is Illegal posters. The Rhode Island (RI) Employment Labor Posters that are required to be placed in the work environment are all of these, as well as the Family/Medical Leave Act, Right-to-Know law, Unemployment Insurance Law, and Workers’ Compensation Notice. Also the required Rhode Island Minimum Wage poster has changed, because effective in March 2006 the minimum wage increased to $7.10 per hour. It will be increased again to $7.40 an hour in March 2007. So if you are using old posters, you will need to update them right away.
You probably know that the state has different poster requirements than the Federal government. Federal Employment Labor Laws that must be posted include: USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law, Federal Minimum Wage, Employee Polygraph Protection Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, and OSHA-Job Safety & Health Protection.
I mention these because, if you are an employer, it’s vital that you keep track of the changes and replace your posters. Otherwise, you are not in compliance with Rhode Island Employment Labor Laws. Our blog and website are both tools that busy employers can use to help them keep track of the many changes in labor laws and poster requirements.
I’d like to take a little bit of your time to briefly let you know about the labor law posters for Rhode Island. The labor law posters for Rhode Island are required to be displayed in workplaces across Rhode Island. These posters inform workers about their rights and protections that are granted under both state and federal law. The labor law posters for Rhode Island must be kept in an area where all employees have a very good chance of seeing them.
It’s the employer’s job to make sure the labor law posters for Rhode Island are displayed in an area where all employees will be able to easily see them. This area must be a place where employees are known to gather. The posters should be well-lit and free of any and all obstructions.
I think now is a particularly good time to discuss the labor law posters for Rhode Island because Rhode Island recently began requiring that businesses post the No Smoking Notice. Other state posting requirements include: Family/Medical Leave Act, Minimum Wage, Right-to-Know, Discrimination Notice, Sexual Harassment, Unemployment Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation. The federal posting requirements for the labor law posters for Rhode Island are the same as the required postings in all the other states in the United States.
Not all labor law posters for Rhode Island are required to be displayed in every workplace throughout Rhode Island. For example, Family/Medical Leave Act only applies to any business that employs fifty or more employees.
Employers must make sure that they update or add to the labor law posters for Rhode Island whenever it’s necessary to do so. It’s the employer’s job to know when an update is needed. Failure to place the labor law posters for Rhode Island in the appropriate place and/or failure to keep the posters updated is against the law.
As the Rhode Island labor market becomes more competitive, employers need to update their RI Labor Law Posters.
Adelita S. Orefice, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, announced recently that the number of Rhode Island residents working last month reached an all-time high of 548,100. Rhode Island’s unemployment rate for July, the most recent reporting period available, rose slightly to 5.6 percent as more people entered the labor market looking for work.
Employers should realize that they could be fined up to $7,500 depending upon the state, for not displaying the RI Labor Law Posters. The number of unemployed Rhode Island residents edged up by 600 over the month to 32,500 in July.
A year ago, the jobless level was 28,800 and the State’s unemployment rate stood at 5.0 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate for July rose by 0.2 of a percentage point to 4.8 percent. Compared to last year, the national jobless rate is down 0.2 of a percentage point. Rhode Island’s unemployment rate for July remained above the national average.
“The overall trend remains positive,” said Director Orefice. “Rhode Island employers have added 4,000 jobs since January and the number of working Rhode Islanders, which has been rising for the past several months, reached a record-high level in July.”
Over the year, jobs were up 1,600 (+0.3%) from the 493,200 jobs reported in July 2005. Annual employment growth occurred in the Financial Activities (+1,700); Construction (+1,100); Leisure & Hospitality (+1,100); and Professional & Business Services (+1,000) sectors, offsetting losses in Manufacturing (-800); Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-700); Other Services (-700); and Government (-100).
In July 2006, the $13.40 average hourly wage earned by the Manufacturing sector’s production workers represented a monthly loss of nine cents per hour and an over-the-year gain of twenty-nine cents per hour. Manufacturing employees worked an average of 38.3 hours per week in July, down 0.4 of an hour over the month and 0.3 of an hour since July 2005.