However, not every state has a minimum wage. In fact, in Alabama and four other states (Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee), if an employee isn’t covered under the federal minimum wage, employers can legally pay that worker as little as $1.00 per hour. That’s assuming, of course, that a company could find an employer willing to work for so little. This is because those states have no minimum wage law.
Because of this recent increase, Georgia employers and employers across the country must update their labor law posters. The law requires that whenever a change is made in any labor law, state of federal, companies must display the updates posters in a place where all employees have easy access. Failure to display these posters can result in fines and penalties.
However, even in those states, employees who are eligible for the federal minimum wage must be paid $7.25 per hour. The federal minimum recently increased by 70 cents from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour as part of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. That Act provided 3 increases in the federal minimum wage over three years. These 70 cent increases took place on July 24 in 2007, in 2008 and in 2009.
Federal minimum wages are set by the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938). The FLSA applies to all businesses with at least $500,000 in annual revenue and to employers engaged in interstate commerce. FLSA can also apply to individual (more…)
The accused 43-year-old man is a Forsyth County Sheriff’s Deputy. His 42-year-old wife and 72-year old father have all been charged by a federal grand jury. The charges include human trafficking, witness tampering, making false statements and harboring an alien, according to US Attorney David Nahmias.
Prosecutors contend that the Georgia couple hired a nanny from India in early 2003. Once the woman was in this country, they stopped paying her and threatened to lock her up if she quit working for them. They held her for 18 months. The woman, alone and unable to contact friends and family in India, apparently believed the couple because of the man’s position as a Deputy and his father’s status as a former judge.
OSHA has issued a warning about the dangers of Cold Stress for workers, even in moderate climates, just in time for the spring thunderstorm season in Georgia.
On Tuesday, a line of severe thunderstorms hit the Atlanta metro area, causing damage and widespread power outages. CNN reports that several homes were demolished on Smithfield Road near Georgia Highway 100, in Carroll County. The residents were away, so there was no loss of life, according to law enforcement officials.
Two lanes of I-75 south, near Delk Road, were blocked by a downed tree during rush hour, causing extensive delays. The lanes were cleared just after 8 am but the traffic problems continued into mid-day.
According to a Georgia Power spokesperson, nearly 100,000 customers were without power by 8 am. An additional 3,500 in the western part of the state lost power.
Gusts of wind up to 60 mph were reported at Dobbins Air Base.
The weather system moved through the area quickly and by daybreak the worst was over.
OSHA warns that utility workers and emergency responders are particularly vulnerable to Cold Stress during the aftermath of a major storm. They are often working in less than ideal conditions during the clean-up operations.
Many employers do not realize that Cold Stress and even life-threatening hypothermia can occur at temperatures as high as 50 degrees. The dangers of Cold Stress are greatly magnified when working outdoors in wet, windy conditions. Every employer should be aware of this hazard to those who work outdoors, in any occupation.
Workers in a number of industries are prone to Cold Stress, including those who work in agriculture, construction and who resurface roads.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges employers to be aware of the hazards of working in cold weather and take appropriate precautions. Employees who work outside or in freezers for extended periods are susceptible to Trench Foot, frostbite, cold stress and hypothermia. Every employer is responsible for establishing cold weather protocols for safety in the workplace.
To aid companies in ensuring safety of their workers, OSHA recommends several common-sense measures.
Proper clothing is of the utmost importance. OSHA standards suggest workers wear at least three layers of clothing. The fabric used in these layers is particularly important. Different fabrics contain different insulating properties and react differently to moisture.
For instance, when cotton gets wet, it loses its ability to insulate. Wool, on the other hand is a good insulator even when completely soaked. Therefore, cotton should be worn as the innermost layer to provide ventilation. Wool, or down, as the next layer will absorb sweat and keep the body warm. The third or outer layer needs to be a material like nylon or Gortex that will keep out the wind.
Proper clothing includes the entire body. Employees should always wear a hat. An exposed head can lose up to 40 degrees of body heat. Feet need to be kept warm, too. Workers should wear boots or insulated footwear, and if they work in wet conditions, the footwear should be waterproof.
While working outside, or inside a freezer, workers should avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine. These substances impede the body’s ability to keep warm. Prescription drugs and smoking cigarettes can also affect the body’s heating system. Workers need to be aware of these effects and dress and behave accordingly.
When employees are working in the cold, they should work in pairs and watch each other for signs of cold stress. Symptoms include confusion, disorientation and irrational behavior. To help avoid cold stress, workers should take frequent breaks in a warm area, such as a heated shelter or warm vehicle. Managers, supervisors and coworkers should all receive training to recognize these signs.
In Atlanta, Governor Sonny Perdue recently announced that two major corporations have chosen Georgia as their new sites.
Invesco PLC, a leading independent global investment manager, will move its headquarters from London to Atlanta. And, Sumika Polymer Compounds America, Inc. has announced a joint venture in Griffin, Georgia.
“We are proud that our business advantages help Georgia-grown companies thrive all over the world,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “Our dynamic economy and talented workforce attract many companies like Invesco, who realize that there is no better place for their headquarters than right here in our state.”
The relocation signifies Invesco’s return to its Atlanta roots and reflects its majority U.S. stock ownership. The company will consolidate nearly 300 positions from its two existing Atlanta offices into the new Two Peachtree Pointe building in Midtown, where it will have room for future expansion. Invesco will be the first tenant in Two Peachtree Point, 1555 Peachtree Street, a Dewberry Capital Corporation development.
Invesco was created in Atlanta in 1978 through a divestiture by C&S Bank, and later moved its operations to London after it was purchased by a British company in 1988. The company has always maintained a significant Atlanta and U.S. presence, and has offices in 21 U.S. and Canadian cities besides Atlanta, where it currently employs a staff of 298 people, including its senior management.
Invesco recently proposed to its stockholders that it move its primary stock listing from the London Stock Exchange to the New York Stock Exchange, a change that would qualify it for consideration as a member of the S&P Index.
“We are very pleased to once again establish our global corporate headquarters in Georgia,” said Invesco President and CEO Martin L. Flanagan. “Invesco began in Atlanta, and we look forward to building on our long and successful history here.”
Invesco currently has $504.7 billion in assets under management for its retail, institution and private wealth management clients around the world. The company has more than 5,300 employees in 19 countries.
“We are delighted with Invesco’s decision to re-locate their global headquarters from London to the City of Atlanta after a thorough analysis of multiple locations,” said Peggy McCormick, president of the Atlanta Development Authority. “This decision bolsters Atlanta’s significant and growing financial services sector and speaks to the many competitive advantages we offer such as our workforce, our affordability and our connectivity with major cities in the world. As the city’s economic development agency, we were pleased to be a part of the team to support Invesco’s decision.”
“Invesco bringing their headquarters back to Atlanta is truly a win for the metro area,” said Sam A. Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. “There are currently more than 2,000 international businesses in metro Atlanta, and that number continues to grow.”
In a second announcement, the Governor said that two major Japanese chemical companies are forming a joint venture to be located in Griffin. The new venture, called Sumika Polymer Compounds America, Inc. (SPCA), will create 50 jobs in a plastic manufacturing facility supplying automotive parts. Governor Perdue announced the project from Tokyo, where he is attending the joint meeting of SEUS-Japan and Japan-U.S. Southeast Associations.
“The strength of Georgia’s automotive industry and our valuable economic partnership with Japan made this project possible,” said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. “This economic development mission and the SEUS-Japan conference allows us to forge the very partnerships that continue to bring great jobs and important investments to Georgia.”
The company, which goes by the acronym SPCA, will manufacture polypropylene compounds for the automotive industry. The company plans to build a 90,000 square foot facility on a 30-acre site at the Hudson Industrial Park in Griffin. The joint venture facility between Sumitomo Chemical and Toyo Ink Group, both based in Tokyo, is expected to be online in early 2009.
The One Georgia Awards were announced on the campus of Central Georgia Technical College in Macon.
“The One Georgia Authority is a valuable resource for rural Georgia,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “The investments we are making today will pay dividends by retaining and creating jobs, stimulating private investment and enhancing regional competitiveness.”
The grants, along with Governor Purdue’s other efforts, must be successful. Georgia was recently voted the #2 business climate in the U.S. by the prestigious Small Business Magazine.
Governor Perdue and members of the One Georgia Authority Board approved grants from the agency’s portfolio of financing programs including EDGE, Equity, BRIDGE and ESB as well as Centers of Innovation Research Grants, Entrepreneur Friendly Implementation Grants and “Entrepreneurial Friendly” community recognition.
These projects, along with local leaders and company representatives, were recognized at the One Georgia board meeting.
The EDGE (Economic Development, Growth & Enterprise) Fund is designed to provide financial assistance to communities that are under consideration by companies expanding or relocating to new sites, in competition with another state or county.
A total of 7 EDGE awards for a whopping $9,707,000 were awarded. The monies will be leveraged against more than $358 million in total project costs to create 1,464 jobs within the next five years.
EDGE recipients include:
Development Authority of Washington County, awarded $500,000 to pursue the Trojan Battery Company.
Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, awarded $200,000 to pursue Roberts Irrigation Products, Inc.
Development Authority of Bainbridge & Decatur County, awarded $437,000 to pursue the Three Rivers Aluminum Company
Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, awarded $140,000 to pursue MBM Corporation
Okefenokee Area Development Authority, awarded $600,000 to pursue the Enhanced Recovery Corporation
Treutlen County Development Authority, awarded $6.25 million to pursue Range Fuels, Inc., a company that is expected to produce 69 new jobs within five years.
Development Authority of the City of Jeffersonville and Twiggs County, awarded $1.58 million to pursue Academy Sports + Outdoors
The Equity Fund is designed to assist communities and regions in building the necessary infrastructure to support economic development. The program’s flexibility also provides financial assistance to enhance publicly-owned tourism initiatives, workforce development opportunities and downtown revitalization projects. In addition, loan funds are available through the Equity Revolving Loan Fund to assist small business owners with business growth and expansion opportunities.
Twelve Equity awards totaling over $4.2 million were made. These awards include:
$153,190 to Putnam County Building Improvements for a Judicial Museum
$345,000 to Georgia Medical Center Authority, to equip the Augusta BioBusiness Center
$500,000 to the City of Greensboro for sewer infrastructure to accommodate NIBCO & NAPCO, two corporations expected to generate 15 new jobs
$500,000 to Brooks County Development Authority for utilities extension to an industrial park for Roastwood Materials
$433,000 to Jenkins County Development Authority to develop an industrial park
$235,807 to Joint Development Authority of Franklin, Hart and Stephens Counties to create a rail spur
$500,000 to the Middle Georgia Regional Development Authority to create the Ocmulgee River Community Market from an abandoned factory.
$500,000 to Glascock County Industrial Development Authority to establish an industrial park
$320,700 to the Clay County Board of Commissioners for Sutton’s Corner Museum
$268,973 to the Town of Tallulah Falls for water improvements
$353,954 to the Baldwin County Board of Commissioners for an airport terminal
$150,000 to Hart County Industrial Building Authority for sewer infrastructure
Governor Perdue and the board also recognized the most recent recipients of technology grants from the BRIDGE (Broadband Rural Initiative to Develop Georgia’s Economy) Fund. The four BRIDGE awards total $2,723,500.
The BRIDGE award recipients included the cities of Robert, Waycross, and Commerce, plus the South Georgia Regional Information Technology Authority.