In November 2021, Governor Tom Wolf’s administration proposed a new regulation that will require tipped employees to earn at least $135 a month in tips before an employer is permitted to pay the $2.83 per hour tipped rate, rather than state’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Currently, in Pennsylvania, employers can pay tipped employees
Despite resolving to close an exploited loophole on ferry worker pay, the government has stopped short of an amendment to UK national minimum wage legislation.
In October 2020, legislative changes extended the minimum wage to most seafarers working on ships in UK waters, regardless of where a ship was registered, but those working on ferries (other than between UK ports) were not included, leaving scope for operators to hire crew on international routes on hourly rates below the UK minimums. In the absence of reasonable minimum wages, ferry operators can gain a competitive advantage by driving down wage levels.
Recent events have drawn attention to this practice, and in an announcement this week, the Transport Secretary set out the government’s plan to address some of the pay issues in response to this.
While recognising that a minimum floor is needed to prevent the competitive driving down of wages, and to ensure appropriate and fair levels of pay for ferry workers, the reality of pay arrangements across international borders is not straightforward.
Continue Reading Ferry workers’ pay is still at sea
Following last year’s wave of new employment laws (previously covered as follows: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), Virginia has adopted a variety of new laws that will take effect July 1 and continue to transform the Commonwealth’s employment law landscape. Virginia employers should carefully review these new laws to ensure compliance in this changing environment and in light of newly expanded enforcement mechanisms.
Minimum wage increase
While Virginia adopted incremental increases to the minimum wage set to reach $15 per hour by 2026, the first step-increase was delayed due to the pandemic. Effective May 1, 2021, the minimum wage increased to $9.50 per hour and is set to increase again effective January 1, 2022. The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) has issued a minimum wage guide for employers that includes an optional workplace posting announcing this increase.
The Virginia Overtime Wage Act
Governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Overtime Wage Act, which will take effect on July 1, 2021 and now provides overtime protections for employees under state law (previously overtime protections were only under federal law). While the new law incorporates the exemptions from overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and purports to graft the FLSA’s overtime protections into state law, there are several notable differences between the FLSA and Virginia’s new law.
Unlike the FLSA, Virginia’s new law (i) establishes a three-year statute of limitations thereby allowing recovery of up to three years of back wages, unlike the FLSA’s typical 2-year lookback; (ii) does not provide for any good faith defense for employers; and (iii) forecloses an employer from using the fluctuating workweek method or from paying a fixed amount to cover straight time wages for all hours worked. Accordingly, non-exempt employees paid a salary or on some other non-hourly basis are entitled to overtime for any hours worked over 40 at “one and one-half times” a regular rate of 1/40th of all wages paid for that workweek. Also unlike the FLSA, the new law’s definition of “employer” includes derivative carriers within the meaning of the federal Railway Labor Act. Unlike prior Virginia law, the new law provides for a private right of action under Virginia’s wage payment statute (with enhanced remedies enacted last year).
Continue Reading Virginia adopts new laws effective July 1 that continue to transform the employment landscape
California employers need to be aware of impending local minimum wage increases in 13 California cities and counties on July 1, 2020, under local ordinances. The minimum wage will increase in the following localities on July 1 as described below. Clients must make sure their minimum wage postings reflect these changes.
|Locality||Employers with 25|
New York state rang in 2020 with a sweeping change to its minimum wage and tip credit rules that is expected to impact roughly 70,000 workers. On December 31, 2019, the New York State Department of Labor (the NYSDOL) recommended to Governor Andrew Cuomo that the state eliminate the tip credit for all miscellaneous industry workers (don’t worry, we will explain what that means). Governor Cuomo has announced that he will implement the recommendation, which will go into effect later this year.
By way of background, both federal and New York state laws generally require that employers pay non-exempt – i.e., hourly – employees at least the applicable minimum wage rate. Both laws, however, contain an exception that permits employers to pay tipped employees less than the minimum wage, provided that the employees’ direct wages plus tips equal or exceed the minimum wage rate or overtime rate, as applicable. The difference between the minimum wage rate – which presently varies between $12.50 and $15 per hour in New York (depending on location within the state) – and the reduced wage for tipped employees is known as a “tip credit.” In practical terms, the tip credit means that certain employers are permitted to pay employees at a rate lower than the minimum wage so long as the employees receive sufficient tips in the course of their work.
On February 19, 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a proposed bill to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. The bill, known as “Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act,” sets incremental increases to the state’s hourly minimum wage for employees 18 years or older as follows: (i) $9.25 on January 1, 2020; (ii) $10 on July 1, 2020; and (iii) $11 on January 1, 2021. Starting on January 1, 2022, and on each January 1st thereafter, the hourly minimum wage will continue to increase by $1 until it reaches $15 in 2025.
Continue Reading Governor Pritzker signs law to increase Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025
In New York, a large number of wage and hour requirements are statutorily codified in the Labor Law. Many others requirements, however, are set forth in regulations known as wage orders, which are issued and updated from time-to-time by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL). The NYSDOL publishes wage orders covering the hospitality, building service, nonprofit, agricultural, and miscellaneous (i.e., all other) industries. Adherence to the statutory Labor Law, but not to the wage orders, can have disastrous consequences.
To that end, on the morning of December 28, 2016, the NYSDOL finalized amendments to each of the wage orders that will have a tremendous impact on how New York employers pay their workers. The finalized wage orders, which are unchanged from the proposed orders published by the NYSDOL in mid-October, take effect in just three days, on December 31.
Continue Reading NY Dept of Labor Finalizes Major Changes to Wage Regulations
In New York, a large number of wage and hour requirements are statutorily codified in the Labor Law. Many others requirements, however, are set forth in regulations known as wage orders, which are issued and updated from time-to-time by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL). The NYSDOL publishes wage orders covering the hospitality,…
Los Angeles’ Minimum Wage Ordinance, passed last summer, begins its steady increase to the city’s minimum wage on July 1. The minimum wage will eventually increase to $15.00 by the year 2020 for large employers. Smaller employers will enjoy a one-year reprieve. With an estimated 800,000 people currently earning the minimum wage in Los Angeles, this legislation will have very real and practical ramifications on employers throughout the city.
Continue Reading Los Angeles City Minimum Wage Increase Set to Take Effect July 1, 2016
For any New York employer who thought that the state’s workplace rules and regulations were too easy to comply with, I have good news for you. Empire State lawmakers recently announced an agreement on the 2016-2017 state budget that includes both a complicated, location-specific minimum wage increase, and a comprehensive paid family leave scheme that will take effect in 2018.
Minimum Wage Increase
The new minimum wage increase announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo presents perhaps the most complex wage scheme the state has ever seen. It accounts for regional differences and staggers implementation over as many as five years in parts of the state. Specifically:
- For workers in New York City employed by large businesses (those with at least 11 employees), the minimum wage would rise to $11/hour at the end of 2016, then another $2 each year after that, eventually reaching $15 on December 31, 2018.
- For workers in New York City employed by small businesses (those with 10 employees or fewer), the minimum wage would rise to $10.50/hour by the end of 2016, then another $1.50 each year after that, eventually reaching $15 on December 31, 2019.
- For workers in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, the minimum wage would increase to $10/hour at the end of 2016, then $1 each year after that, reaching $15 on December 31, 2021.
- For workers in the rest of the state, the minimum wage would increase to $9.70/hour at the end of 2016, then another $0.70 each year after until reaching $12.50 on December 31, 2020, after which it would continue to increase to $15 on an indexed schedule to be set by the director of the Division of Budget (DOB) in consultation with the state Department of Labor.
- The minimum cash wage for food service workers receiving tips would be two-thirds of the minimum wage rates listed above, depending on the location where the employee works.
- Finally, beginning in 2019, the DOB would review the economy in each region to determine whether a temporary suspension of the scheduled minimum wage increases is appropriate under the circumstances.