Regulatory Wrap-Up: Insider’s guide to retail legislative developments - March 26


Connecticut: Legislation that increases the minimum wage to $15/hr. by 2021 passed its first committee along with a slate of bills supported by Democrats and the governor, including salary history, pay equity and an expansion of the state’s paid leave program. The package of bills faces an uphill battle due to the senate’s even partisan split between Republicans and Democrats.

Delaware: A bill to increase the minimum wage to $9.25/hr. by 2020 failed in the senate by one vote. The sponsor of the bill indicated that the issue could be revisited before the session is scheduled to adjourn in late June.

Maine: Legislation to scale back the scheduled increases in the state’s minimum wage law passed by ballot initiative in 2016 did not pass its first full body vote in the house. It will still move to the Senate and could be amended to attract more Democrat votes. The proposal would reduce the 2018 wage from $10/hr. to $9.50/hr and allow for increases to $11/hr. by 2021 instead of the previously approved $12/hr. It would also eliminate the cost-of-living adjustment and establish a training wage.

Rhode Island: Legislation to increase the tipped wage from the current $3.89/hr. to two-thirds of the statewide minimum was heard in committee along with other minimum wage bills. The sponsor of the legislation focused her testimony on the linkage of tipping and sexual harassment, noting that increasing “the tipped minimum…will help give waitresses the confidence that they need to be able to stand up for themselves.” Since a law was passed just last year to raise the wage to $10.50/hr. by 2019, it is unclear at this stage if the legislature will pass another increase this cycle.

Wisconsin: A bill to prevent localities from enacting laws relating to employee wages, benefits and scheduling, among other issues, passed both the house and the senate. The governor is expected to sign the bill into law.

Anaheim, CA: In a move aimed at gaining leverage in ongoing negotiations, a labor union representing Anaheim hospitality workers, including Disneyland and area hotels, announced plans to pursue a local ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage for hotels that receive city tax subsidies. The wage increase would start at $15/hr. and rise to $18/hr. by 2022 with future increases tied to cost of living. The language has yet to qualify for the November ballot.

Paid Leave

Connecticut: Family leave legislation that would provide up to 12 weeks of leave at 100% salary with a $1,000/wk. cap passed its first committee along with a slate of bills supported by Democrats and the governor that includes a wage increase, a ban on salary history questions, and pay equity. The package of bills faces an uphill battle due to the senate’s even partisan split between Republicans and Democrats.

Hawaii: Two paid leave bills continue to make their way through the process. One senate-passed bill requires the state labor department to establish a paid leave program for all workers by 2023. The other house-passed bill requires employers with fewer than fifty workers to provide paid sick leave but exempts those who offer leave policies at or above the proposed mandate. Both bills have passed one chamber and a first committee hearing in the other chamber. It remains unclear at this stage which, if any, bill will advance.

Maryland: Legislation passed the senate establishing an income tax credit of up to $1,000 per employee for businesses with fewer than twenty-five employees that offer paid leave. It is intended to provide relief for small businesses from the cost of the newly-enacted paid leave law.

New Hampshire: The house passed legislation to create a state-run paid family and medical leave insurance program. The program would offer up to six weeks of leave insurance for all employees and would be funded by employee contributions. Employees would have the option to individually opt-out of the program, and employers would be obligated to remit the withholdings to the state. The governor has been generally supportive of the concept of a paid leave program but has expressed substantial concerns with this legislation as passed. His office advocated for a failed amendment during the house process that would have gutted the current language and replaced it with a mandate that employers offer access to private plans. The bill now moves to the senate where that debate will likely be renewed.

New Jersey: Favorable amendments to the paid leave bill moving in the house have reportedly been agreed to by senate leaders as well signaling that the bill will likely move forward with little opposition. The house legislation now preempts local leave ordinances, allows for black-out dates as set by employers, has an exemption for seasonal workers, reduces the maximum hours of leave from 72 to 40 hours and contains a 180-day implementation delay once the bill is signed into law. The bill passed its first house committee and still needs to move through both the full house and the senate.


Connecticut: The Committee on Children voted down a bill prohibiting the use of “on call” scheduling which would have mandated that all employers provide no less than 24 hrs. notice of shift schedules.

Labor Policy

Hawaii: A house-passed bill that would direct state agencies to publish an annual report of the fifty employers in the state with the highest number of employees receiving public assistance passed through two committees in the senate. All votes so far have been unanimous indicating likely passage.

Idaho: The governor signed into law a bill codifying that neither a franchisee nor a franchisee’s employees shall be considered employees of the franchisor.