Like many other states across America, such as Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Maryland, Idaho and Indiana, Utah increases the state minimum wage when the federal minimum wage increases. Therefore, on July 24, 2009, when the federal minimum increased by 70 cents from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour, the Utah minimum wage increased to match the federal rate.
Unlike these other states whose laws simply mandate that they adopt the federal minimum as their own, Utah’s only requires the state Labor Commission to review the rate when the federal minimum changes.
In 2007, the federal Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 set out to increase the federal minimum wage with three annual increases. Each increase was to be 70 cents beginning in 2007 and ending in 2009. The federal minimum began at $5.15 per hour, increasing to $5.85 in 2007, then to $6.55 in 2008 and finally to $7.25 per hour in 2009.
When the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 was signed into law, (more…)
On July 24, 2008, the federal minimum wage increased by 70 cents from $5.85 per hour to $6.55 per hour. Like the minimum wage in several other states, the Utah minimum wage also increased to $6.55 per hour.
The Utah minimum wage will increase by 70 cents from $5.85 per hour to $6.55 per hour on July 24, 2008. On that same day, the minimum wage in a dozen other states will increase, with the federal minimum wage.
How does your employer calculate overtime pay? You may not know, but maybe you should.
The national retail giant Wal-Mart learned a lesson in overtime pay the hard way recently. It learned that overtime must be calculated on “average hourly compensation,” not “base rate.” The lesson has cost it $33 million.
Wal-Mart has agreed to pay that $33 million in back wages to more than 86,680 of its employees nationwide.
“This settlement provides $33 million in back wages, plus interest, to Wal-Mart Workers,” said Victoria A. Lipnic, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Standards. She said the company has taken action “to prevent this from happening again.” The agreement covers the period between February 1, 2002, and January 19, 2007.
Under the consent decree Wal-Mart is paying all of the back wages for the violations, as well as interest on the total.
Under the FLSA, employees must be paid at what is popularly called “time-and-a-half,” or 1.5 time their usual rate, for any time over 40 hours a week. At issue was not whether Wal-Mart paid overtime. It did. The question revolved around what the retailer used to calculate that overtime. Employees’ pay, before incentives and premiums, is called the “base rate.” With premiums and incentives it is called the “average hourly compensation.”
For example, an employee’s “base rate” may be $6 an hour, while his or her “average hourly compensation,” with those incentives and premiums, may be $7 an hour. The law says overtime must be calculated by using the “average hourly compensation,” or, in this example, $7 an hour. Wal-Mart was using the “base rate,” which in this example would have been $6 an hour.
Like Texas before it, Utah also has one big question mark hanging over the heads of its employers. What will happen to the Utah state minimum wage if and when the federal minimum wage goes up as predicted (though the probability is again in question today, loyal readers, as latest word out of Washington DC is that President Bush said he would veto that proposed supplemental spending bill with the attached federal minimum wage bill, if it’s passed to him as is. But more on that later.)
Of course, the larger employers in the state of Utah do not have to think too hard to know what will happen to them. The Utah Minimum Wage Act specifically says that any employers that is liable to follow the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal hour and wage regulations, then those employers should follow them and no the Utah minimum wage law.
Again, some of the employers liable to follow the Fair Labor Standards Act are, and repeat after me: those employers who bring in more than $500,000 per year in revenues; or those employers who have employees that do work, sell product, travel, and otherwise operate in more than one state besides Utah (with the notion being that only those employees with interstate jobs need to get paid the federal minimum wage, not local Utah employees); as well as hospital and nursing home type facilities, government agencies and institutions, whether local, state, or federal, and schools and other educational type facilities.
But what about all of the employers in Utah who are left out by that list? What will become of them if the federal minimum wage goes up? Will the Utah minimum wage go up to follow suit? The answer is, as with Texas, it does not seem to be an automatic thing, so the Utah legislature would have to pass a new law to tie the Utah minimum wage with the federal minimum wage.