New 2011 minimum wages for the states are:
Florida and Missouri, which usually update the minimum wage annually, will not have any increases. The Florida minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour, with tipped employees entitled to $4.23 per hour. In Missouri, the minimum wage is also $7.25 per hour, while a tipped employee can be paid just $3.64 per hour.
Washington’s minimum wage is the highest in 2011, while Oregon is in second place. The minimum wages in Connecticut, Illinois and Nevada are tied for third place at $8.25 per hour. However, Nevada employers who offer affordable group health insurance can pay just $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal minimum wage.
The Vermont minimum wage will be sixth highest in 2011 at $8.15 per hour. Massachusetts and California are tied for seventh place at $8.00 per hour. The minimum wage in Alaska is $7.75 while Maine and New Mexico require that employees be paid at least $7.50 per hour. The Rhode Island minimum wage rounds out the top dozen at $7.40 per hour.
In total, 14 states have minimum wages higher than the federal rate of $7.25 per hour, while 26 states have minimum wages the same as the federal minimum wage. Five states have lower minimum wages, while another five have no state minimum wage at all.
Since 2001, workers in Colorado who have a “debilitiating medical condition” can use marijuana when it is “medically necessary” to treat a condition. It is frequently prescribed to alleviate nausea during chemotherapy, as well as for other conditions.
The 2001 law also took the enormous leap of assuming that possession of less than two ounces of marijuana, or possession of up to three flowering plants, was presumed to be lawful. However, medical marijuana users must register with the state and obtain a medical marijuana card issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health to legally use the controlled substance.
Still, that law does not require the employer to accommodate the use of medical marijuana in the workplace. The new laws further clarifiy that requirement, and allow an employer to discipline an employee who is under the influence under certain circumstances.
Effective June 10, 2010, a registered marijuana user cannot:
Perform any task under the influence of medical marijuana that would constitute negligence or professional malpractice
Drive, pilot a plane, or be in actual physical control (including operating or navigating) a motorboat, plane or vehicle while under the influence of medical marijuana
Use medical marijuana in a vehicle, plane or motorboat. (Apparently use in rowboats, canoes and kayaks is acceptable)
Use or possess medical marijuana on school grounds or on a school bus
Currently 14 states have laws that permit limited use of medical marijuana by a patient with a valid prescription for it. Those states include California, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Several of the states have provided almost no guidance for employers on handling an employee whose off-duty consumption of cannabis creates performance or safety problems in the workplace.
The Wisconsin smoking ban, which prohibits smoking in virtually every workplace, goes into effect on July 5, 2010. The 2009 Wisconsin Act 12 is more restrictive than many other state smoking bans. It requires business owners to enforce the non-smoking law, and provides greater penalties for business owners who fail to do so.
The Wisconsin non-smoking law prohibits smoking indoors in public places, including workplaces with two or more walls. This prohibits smoking in warehouses, auto shops, taverns, restaurants, sports arenas, theaters, private clubs and stores. Smoking is banned in all state and local government offices, all schools, and prisons. The law also bans smoking on public transportation and even in bus shelters.
Restaurants and bars may permit smoking in a designated outdoor area such as a patio or porch, as long as the space has only one wall. The state law permits smoking outdoors, even inches away from an open door or window.
Many states permit residents of nursing homes to smoke in certain designated areas. Wisconsin will not. All hospitals, clinics and nursing homes are included in the smoking ban.
The new law repeals an earlier statute that allowed a business owner to designate certain areas where smoking was permitted, such as private offices or an employee break room. Smoking is banned throughout the employer’s building, including cafeterias, break rooms, restrooms, vehicles, elevators and even (more…)
Under the bill approving the military budget, the National Defense Authorization Act, the president expanded FMLA to military families when the soldier is deployed in a foreign country.
The FMLA leave that was granted to members of the Reserve and National Guard under the 2009 regulations is now extended to families of armed services members who are on active duty in a foreign country.
The new regulations are expected to be (more…)
Earlier this summer, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen signed a new Tennessee Workers’ Compensation law. The new law will limit employers’ liability for injuries suffered by employees during voluntary recreational, social or athletic activities.
The law highlights a dilemma for many employers – how to promote a healthy lifestyle without incurring additional liability for sports-related injuries and deaths.
The new law was sparked by the lawsuit Gooden V. Coors Technical Ceramic Co. In that case, Mr. Gooden collapsed with a fatal heart attack while playing basketball on the employer’s premises during an unpaid break. The court found that an employee’s death on the employer’s premises was a workers’ comp case – even though the basketball game was entirely voluntary.