Similar bills are being considered by state legislatures in California, Georgia, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, Nebraska, New York, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Check back frequently for the latest updates on those bills.
By contrast, New Jersey is currently considering a law that would allow employers to share an employee’s or former employee’s credit history, work evaluations and other information in the personnel file with prospective employers or government agencies.
In most of these states, the limits to an employer’s use of credit checks apply to all employment decisions. However, the Florida and Michigan bills would only restrict use of credit history in hiring. An employer could still use a credit report for employment decisions regarding current employees.
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.
Effective January 1, 2011 the Washington minimum wage increases by 12 cents from $8.55 to $8.67 per hour. The state’s minimum wage will remain the highest in the year 2011, followed by Oregon at $8.50 per hour.
Every Washington employer must prominently post an updated 2011 minimum wage poster.
Tipped employees in Washington are entitled to the full minimum wage of $8.67 per hour because the state does not allow a tip credit.
The 1.4% increase is based on the nationwide Consumer Price Index for Urban and Clerical Workers in the year ending August 31, 2010. The increase was announced by Washington Bureau of Labor and Industry Judy Schurke after some legal debate, including an alternate opinion by the state Attorney General’s office.
Across the nation, nine states make annual adjustments to the minimum wage in January. Those states include Oregon, Vermont, Ohio, Arizona, Montana, Colorado, Nevada, Florida and Missouri, in addition to Washington.
Many states exempt agricultural workers from the minimum wage, but Washington does not. However, in many cases agricultural workers are exempt from (more…)
The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that an employer can require an employee to undergo a fitness-for-duty exam based on the employee’s volatile behavior, as a pre-emptive measure to prevent workplace violence or harmful conduct, particularly in a hazardous job.
In practical terms, this ruling means that when an employee threatens other workers, has explosive temper tantrums or otherwise acts in an aggressive or hostile manner, the employer does not have to wait to request (more…)
A number of states have implemented laws that require employers to recognize domestic partnerships for benefit purposes, including partnerships between gay or lesbian couples.
From a practical standpoint, these laws mean that in selected states, employers who offer benefits to spouses of employees must offer similar benefits to registered domestic partners in many cases, including same-sex couples. In many cases, it also entitles the couples to family leave under a state law.
Most employers will find that the biggest difference is in (more…)