Voters in the District of Columbia, Nebraska, and Nevada overwhelmingly approved minimum wage-related ballot initiatives during this year’s midterm elections. The political movement to establish a $15.00 minimum wage started in 2012 when 200 New York City fast food workers walked off the job demanding better pay and union rights. Despite inaction by the federal government in the subsequent decade, there continues to be bipartisan support for minimum wage increases, particularly at the state level, as illustrated by the success of these three ballot measures.Continue Reading D.C., Nebraska, and Nevada Voters Approve Minimum Wage Increases
The competing interests of the business community and tipped workers continue to inform public policy decisions about the minimum wage. We have previously written about increases in the minimum wage on the state, county and municipal level. Most recently, the cities of Chicago and Denver tackled this issue and joined the many jurisdictions across the country to approve increases to their minimum wage.
As the new year gets off to a start, employers in the retail industry will be making wage adjustments to meet current and future minimum wage increases. Employees in 21 states around the country will see their state’s minimum wage increase.
Effective January 1, 2019, California’s minimum wage increased from $11.00 to $12.00 per hour. This increase applies to all employers who employ 26 or more employees (“large employers”). For employers with 25 or fewer employees (“small employers”), the minimum wage increased from $10.50 to $11.00 per hour. (In fact, all employers ultimately will pay a statewide minimum wage of $15.00 per hour, although the timing of the increase depends on the employer’s size: for large employers, California’s minimum wage will increase by $1.00 on a yearly basis through January 1, 2022, and for small employers, California’s minimum wage will increase by $1.00 on a yearly basis through January 1, 2023. Cal. Lab. Code § 1182.12).
Recently, Washington DC council members unanimously voted to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15.00 an hour by the year 2020 for non-tipped hourly workers, many of whom work in the retail industry. The news comes just before Washington DC is scheduled to increase its minimum wage rate from $10.50 an hour to $11.50 an hour on July 1, 2016. The move makes DC the third jurisdiction behind California and New York to increase minimum wages to $15.00 an hour.
New York’s fast food workers won a major victory last month when the state’s Wage Board voted to recommend a substantial increase in their minimum wage.
On Friday, August 21, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) 2013 rule extending FLSA overtime and minimum wage protections to employees of home health care agencies who provide “companionship services” or live-in domestic care. The rule modified an exemption that was part of a 1974 amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) that required domestic service workers to receive overtime and minimum wage, but excluded from those requirements employees who provide companionship services or live in the home where they work. Under the 2013 rule, the exemption for companionship services and live-in care only applies to workers employed by individuals or families who are receiving the care, not to employees of third-party home care providers. The 2013 rule also narrowed the definition of companionship services. Specifically, a worker only falls under the companionship exemption if the worker is employed directly by members of a household where the worker provides “fellowship and protection” (i.e. socializing with and monitoring the safety of elderly or infirm people) or if the worker provides daily living assistance, such as dressing and grooming, in conjunction with fellowship and protection, but does not spend more than twenty percent of their time providing such assistance.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (“DEO”) announced that the state’s minimum wage of $7.93/hour will be increased to $8.05/hour beginning January 1, 2015. The minimum wage for tipped employees will correspondingly increase from $4.91/hour to $5.03/hour, with the employer’s maximum tip credit remaining at $3.02/hour. The DEO has also issued an updated “Notice to Employees” poster which Florida employers are required to post in addition to the federal minimum wage poster as of January 1, 2015.
Minimum wage increases have experienced much activity in 2014. In addition to our previous posts covering wage hike proposals on the city and federal levels, more than 20 states have either increased or proposed to increase their respective minimum wage.
On October 1, 2014 the Los Angeles City Council voted again to require large hotels to pay workers a minimum wage of $15.37, exclusive of gratuities, bonuses, or service charge distributions after first passing the bill 12-3 on September 24, 2014. (A second vote was required under Los Angeles City Council rules because the first vote was not unanimous.) Assuming Mayor Garcetti signs the bill, which he has reportedly already promised to do, the bill will go into effect on July 1, 2015, applying first to hotel employees at hotels with 300 or more guest rooms and then, on July 1, 2016, expanding its reach to hotel employees employed by hotels with 150 or more guest rooms.
On February 12, 2014, President Obama announced Executive Order 13658, “Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors.” The order seeks to raise the hourly minimum wage paid to workers performing services on covered Federal contracts to: (i) $10.10 per hour, beginning January 1, 2015; and (ii) beginning January 1, 2016, and annually thereafter, an amount determined by the Secretary of Labor in accordance with the Order.