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.
Nevada Labor Commissioner Michael Tanchek has announced a change to the state overtime laws. Under the current law, lower-paid employees are entitled to overtime when they work more than 8 hours per day. An employee who worked 13 hours on one day would be entitled to 8 hours at the regular rate, plus 5 hours of overtime at 1.5 times the employee’s usual rate. This is true, even if the employee only works 13 hours in the pay period. Changes to the law on July 1, 2008 mean it will apply to more workers than ever.
Nevada’s minimum wage statute is unique in the 50 states because it allows employers who offer a qualified health benefit plan, such as group health insurance, to pay workers less. Currently, Nevada employers offering a qualified health insurance plan can pay workers $5.30 per hour. On July 1, 2008, qualified employers can pay workers $5.85 per hour. (more…)
Judges normally make rulings on discrimination suits, rather than cause them. But a Nevada judge is turning that truism on its ear. The judge has been charged with creating a hostile work environment and treating courtroom staff like personal servants. In turn, she alleges that the real problem is discrimination based on her physical condition.
According to testimony in a judiciary hearing, Judge Elizabeth Halverson requires employees – specifically her bailiff and court reporters — to perform personal services for her ranging from foot rubs and back massages to covering her with her “blankie” for naps. Halverson’s former bailiff says the judge’s treatment left him feeling like a houseboy. When he complained, the bailiff was asked, “Do you want to worship me from near or afar?”
The 2008 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) was signed by President George W. Bush, and went into effect immediately. A provision of this law expands unpaid, job-protected FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) leave to 26 weeks for military families.
Under the new law, every employer in Nevada and nationwide is responsible for posting the Military Family Leave notice.
Previously, FMLA leave was granted for up to 12 weeks, and family was defined as a child, a parent or a spouse. The 2008 NDAA extends the leave, plus adds “next of kin”, which includes cousins, aunt, uncles and in-laws to the “family” member definition.
Under the new NDAA, family members of active military and of National Guard and Reserve personnel on active duty can take FMLA leave to care for these military personnel when under medical care. Eligible conditions include mental and physical therapy, outpatient treatments and temporary disability from illness or injury.
The NDAA is in effect, but the final regulations have not been published yet.
The U. S. Department of Labor is asking all businesses to grant leave to eligible families as an “act of good faith” until the Secretary of Labor issues the finalized regulations. These regulations, as well as updated regulations for the FMLA, should be published about April 11, 2008.
Though the final regulations are still awaiting publication, employers are required to immediately display the new Military Family Leave poster. This poster is an addition to state and federal labor law posters already required to be displayed. Like those posters, the new Military Family Leave notice must be placed in a permanent position that is a visible to all workers. Any company that does not comply will be penalized.
In 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law. FMLA broke new ground by providing employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for a serious illness.
In early 2008, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was signed into law and will expand the FMLA for the first time since its enactment. The details of the expansion are still being finalized and the U. S. Department of Labor will publish the expanded FMLA rules in the near future.
FMLA broke new ground in requiring employers to protect the worker’s job. Prior to FMLA, if a worker took a lot of time off from work for illness or surgery, that worker often got fired. Companies had no standard guidelines to follow, and usually handled each case individually.
To be eligible for FMLA an employer must have 50 or more workers within a 75 mile radius, and workers need to be employed for the previous 12 months, for at least 1, 250 hours.
Eligible employees can take FMLA leave for their own serious illness, or to care for a parent, child, or spouse who is ill. Caring for a newborn, a newly fostered child (under the age of 18), or a newly adopted child can also be charged to FMLA leave.
Though the NDAA changes haven’t been published, some FMLA changes have been issued. On February 11, 2008, revisions were enacted to update the medical certification process, and to redefine the time frame for employers to inform workers of their rights under FMLA.
The reporting process for FMLA leave received a major revision. Previously, a worker could take FMLA leave at any time without advising the employer prior to taking time off. The updated regulations will now require employees to follow the employer’s standard procedure for reporting absences. The standard usually requires the worker to notify the company prior to the beginning of his or her shift.