In Illinois, the state minimum wage increased 25 cents from $7.50 to $7.75 per hour. This is the second step in a 3-tiered increase. The state minimum wage will increase again in 2009. The law applies to any employer with 4 or more workers who are not family members. More details here.
Michigan’s minimum wage also increased 25 cents per hour from $7.15 to $7.40. The state minimum wage has risen nearly $2.00 since 2005, despite sluggish job growth, problems for the automotive industry and the loss of a number of major employers. The law applies to employers with 2 or more workers. More details here.
The current state minimum wage in Kentucky mirrors the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour. Slightly more than 3 weeks after the increase, the federal minimum wage will also rise by 70 cents per hour to $6.55 per hour.
The Kentucky minimum wage for tipped employees remains unchanged at $2.13 per hour under KRS 337.275 (2)
In Kentucky, the Division of Employment Standards, Apprenticeship and Training is responsible for the administration and enforcement of Kentucky’s minimum wage, overtime, wage payment, child labor, wage discrimination laws and the equal opportunities provisions including the rights of the physically disabled. This division is charged with investigating allegations of statute and regulation violations and rendering findings “in a timely and efficient manner.”
The last increase to the Kentucky minimum wage occurred on June 26, 2007 when the state minimum wage went from $5.15 per hour to $5.85 per hour. This increase occurred almost a month before the similar increase in the federal minimum wage.
Under the Kentucky state wage and hour laws, employers are required to pay workers overtime at 1.5 times the worker’s usual hourly rate, when the employee puts in more than 40 hours in a single week. State law also requires that employers pay
Giving “comp time” instead of paying overtime is illegal under state law. Employees who are not legally entitled to overtime can be given “comp time.”
Under state law, employees are entitled to a meal period between the 3rd and 5th hour of the shift. Kentucky law does not define the meal period, other than to say that it must be “reasonable.” The meal period may be eliminated in cases where the employee and employer have mutually agreed to another arrangement. If the employee is completely relieved of all work duties, the meal period may be unpaid.
There is no state law that Kentucky employers must pay workers for unused, earned vacation time upon termination. That is determined by the employer’s written policy or past practice. Employees who are terminated for any reason, or who resign, are entitled to a final paycheck on the next regular payday, or within 14 days – whichever is sooner.
Most Kentucky employees are entitled to overtime pay for the entire day when they work 7 days in a workweek. However, an employee who works less than 40 hours in the week is exempt. In addition, workers in a number of occupations are exempt from this “seventh day overtime” law including:
- Lawyers and other licensed professionals
- Technical Assistants of licensed professionals
- Railway employees
- Truck Drivers subject to Department of Transportation regulations
- Supervisors, foremen, or superintendents.
Under the Kentucky minimum wage laws, deductions to a worker’s paycheck for cash shortages or damaged items cannot cause wages to fall below the minimum wage.
Employers must advise workers of any change in work hours or rate of pay in advance. They can also put any worker on salary – but that may not eliminate the need to pay overtime under federal or state law.
Kentucky employers can require that employees be paid by direct deposit as long as the employee has the ability to withdraw his or her entire net pay without paying any fees to the financial institution.
Employers should be prepared for even more minimum wage changes in 2008. Illinois, Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky each have minimum wage changes on the books that will take effect on July 1, 2008.
The Illinois minimum wage increases from $7.50 to $7.75 on July 1, 2008. This 25 cent increase is the most recent in a series of minimum wage increases under Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Another increase is scheduled for July 1, 2009, which will bring the Illinois minimum wage to $8.00 per hour.
The Michigan minimum wage will increase by 25 cents, from $7.15 to $7.40 per hour on July 1, 2008. Michigan has also seen a series of minimum wage increases in recent years. The Michigan increase is controversial, because the state has struggled with higher unemployment for the past two years. Michigan has lost a number of high-profile employers in recent years to neighboring Indiana, where the state minimum wage is lower, currently at $5.85 per hour.
In West Virginia, the minimum wage will increase a whopping 70 cents per hour on July 1, 2008, from $6.55 per hour to $7.25 per hour.
The Kentucky minimum wage will also increase by 70 cents, from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour on July 1, 2008.
The federal minimum wage will increase on July 24, 2008, from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour. The federal minimum wage covers the employees of businesses engaged in interstate commerce or companies with annual earnings over $500,000. Most employers in the U.S. are covered under the federal law.
The federal minimum wage may apply to individual employees as well as businesses. For example, a worker whose job entails answering out-of-state calls qualifies for the federal minimum wage. A worker who ships packages across state lines would also qualify.
If the federal and state minimum wage laws differ, the employee is entitled to whichever provides the greater benefit.
In addition, a number of states will increase the state minimum wage on July 24, 2008 when the federal minimum wage increases. In most of these states, the minimum wage statute doesn’t mention a dollar amount. Instead, it simply extends the federal minimum wage coverage to smaller employers, and ties the state rate to the federal rate.
The minimum wage in Indiana, Idaho, Maryland, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Montana and Nebraska will increase to $6.55 per hour when the federal minimum wage increases on July 24, 2008.
In Ohio, the state rate will increase from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour on July 24, 2008. However, the change will affect only companies with an annual revenue less than $255,000. For other companies, the state minimum wage remains $7.00 per hour, as it has been since January 1, 2008.
There are three states where the increase in the federal rate will not affect the state minimum wage. In Georgia and Wyoming, the state minimum wage remains at $5.15 per hour. In Kansas, the state minimum wage remains at $2.65 per hour.
In addition, five states have no state minimum wage. Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and South Carolina have never implemented a state minimum wage. Most employers in those states are covered by the federal minimum wage.
On January 1, 2008, fourteen states increased the state minimum wage.
The federal minimum wage increased by 70 cents on July 24, 2007 under the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007. The rate went from $5.15 to $5.85 per hour. This was the first increase in more than a decade. Two more increases are on the horizon. On July 24, 2008 the federal rate will increase by 70 cents to $6.55 per hour. Finally, on July 24, 2009, the federal rate will increase to $$.25 per hour. The increase amounts to an additional $1,456 per year for a full-time minimum wage worker.
According to a new Wage and Hour laws notice issued by the Kentucky Department of Labor, the state minimum wage has increased. Effective June 26 2007, the Kentucky minimum wage increased by 70 cents from $5.15 per hour to $5.85 per hour. It’s the first increase since the federal minimum wage was raised to $5.15 per hour in 1997. This is just the first in a series of 3 scheduled increases for the state.
The minimum wage bill passed by the state legislature was signed into law by Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher in March 2007. Under current state law, the Kentucky minimum wage will increase an additional 70 cents to $6.55 per hour on July 1, 2008. Finally, on July 1, 2009 the rate will jump 70 cents again to $7.25 per hour.
The state increases are consistent with the recently updated federal minimum wage law, however, the timing of the state increases is slightly different. The Kentucky minimum wage increased to $5.85 on June 26, while the federal minimum wage doesn’t increase until July 24, 2007. So, virtually every worker in Kentucky has already seen the benefit of that increase.
Future increases to the Kentucky minimum wage will occur on July 1 in 2008 and 2009. The corresponding changes to the federal law will not occur until July 24 of those years.
An employee who is covered by both a state and federal law is entitled to the greater benefit. The vast majority of employees in Kentucky covered under the federal minimum wage law are also covered by the state minimum wage law. In effect, this means that almost every employee in the state will receive the increase 23 days earlier under the state law.
This change temporarily puts the Kentucky minimum wage higher than 21 states in the union. The new Kentucky rate is on a par with the minimum wage in West Virginia.
Employers should be alert to the posting requirement posed by all these changes. Each time the state or federal minimum wage changes, every employer in the state is required to update their labor law poster. This will result in 6 new posters in 2 years, for the minimum wage alone.
Under a special provision of the state law, the Kentucky minimum wage will automatically be increased if the federal minimum wage is set at a higher level.
“Both employers and employees throughout the commonwealth need to be aware that, as of Tuesday, June 26, the new minimum wage is a requirement of both Kentucky and federal law,” said Jim Zimmerman, executive director of the Office of Workplace Standards for the Kentucky Department of Labor. “Employers should make the necessary adjustments to the wages of affected employees, and those employees should check their upcoming pay stubs to make sure they are properly compensated for their labor.”No other changes have been made relative to wage payment requirements. Tip credit allowances for the restaurant industry and other tipped professions remain unchanged, according to Zimmerman.
Frustration with federal delays was obvious in the passage of the Kentucky law. Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Kemper, Executive Director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, said, “We have been waiting for Washington to act and again it has stalled. The minimum wage is not just a matter of economics, but it is a values issue. There is a floor below which it is unjust and immoral to pay someone for their labor.” Rev. Kemper is on the Steering Committee of Let Justice Roll, a group in favor of higher minimum wages.
While Kentucky’s new minimum wage is a victory for the state’s poorest workers, it’s far from the highest rate in the nation. That honor belongs to the state of Washington which offers residents a minimum wage of $7.93, with annual increases tied to the Consumer Price Index.
Wal-Mart, Inc., has learned this the expensive way. The retailer has agreed to pay $33 million in unpaid wages to 87,000 workers in Kentucky and the U.S. The agreement settled a lawsuit with the U.S. Labor Department. Wal-Mart was accused of requiring long working hours from salaried interns, programmer trainees and manager trainees for low wages.
Wal-Mart’s action was in violation of the U.S. and Kentucky minimum wage laws. And its problems are not necessarily over as a result of the settlement. Nothing in the agreement says Wal-Mart is exempt from private litigation or any employee’s right to file complaints with the Department of Labor. The settlement applies only to the specific violations named.
The particular settlement said that the workers were what is described as “non-exempt salaried” employees. In short, they did not fall into the category of those salaried employees who are exempt from the regulation.
Both under Kentucky minimum wage laws and federal laws, the criteria for exemption from the overtime regulation are very specific. In recent years, the guidelines have established that workers are protected by the regulation unless they make more than $455 a week or $23,660 a year. What’s more, even if they are paid more than that amount, they must meet certain clear definitions of management. They must have what is called significant decision-making authority in their store, division or department to lose their protection.
The employees in the Wal-Mart case were in some cases getting less than the ceiling wage, so they were covered by the regulation.
Other businesses have tried to skirt the law by calling workers managers. Howard Johnson’s was found guilty of hiring “assistant managers” for restaurants. These “assistant managers” sometimes worked 80 hours plus, doing labor like dishwashing, waiting on tables, and busing.