Regulatory Wrap-up: Weekly review of legislative developments -- Dec. 3
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Federal - With the newly-elected U.S. Congress set to take office in January, a House committee plans to hold a hearing entitled, “Mandating a $15 Minimum Wage: Consequences for Workers and Small Businesses.” The committee is currently controlled by Republicans and the Democrats who are set to take over in 2019 have stated they will hold hearings and advance a $15/hr minimum wage mandate early in the next Congress.
Michigan - The Republican-controlled senate passed new legislation to delay the state’s scheduled minimum wage increase and reestablish the tipped wage. The bill extends the phase-in period to 2030, increasing at a rate of 23 cents annually until it hits $12. The phase-in could be stretched out even later if the unemployment rate is 8.5 percent or higher. The tipped wage would be capped at $4.00/hr under the new language. The new bill now moves to the house for consideration where it is likely to pass. Should that happen prior to the newly-elected Democratic governor taking office, advocates for the increase may initiate litigation or could refile the issue for the 2020 ballot.
New Jersey - In an opinion piece, Assembly Speaker Coughlin announced that a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15/hr will be introduced in the coming weeks. Legislative leaders and the governor have called for the legislature to advance an increase but negotiations around the tip credit and other issues have hampered movement to date.
Wilmette Village, IL - The suburban Chicago village board reversed their decision to opt out of Cook County’s $13/hr minimum wage ordinance. A nonbinding resolution appeared on the Nov. ballot and passed by wide margins, indicating public support for the increase. Several other local jurisdictions in Cook County could follow suit. The state is also likely to pick up the issue in 2019.
Kansas - The outgoing Republican governor signed an executive order providing paid parental leave to all government employees under the authority of the executive office. The move comes as a Democratic governor-elect is set to take over in 2019 and could serve to enable a broader conversation on paid leave mandates for private employers.
Michigan - The Republican-controlled senate passed new legislation that adjusts the paid sick leave provisions passed prior to Election Day. It lowers the required number of annual accrued hours that employers must provide from 72 to 36 and creates an exemption for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The new bill now moves to the house for consideration. Advocates for the initiative have already pledged to put the issue back on the 2020 ballot if the law is substantially changed.
Washington - The state paid family leave law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019. Companies must participate in the state-run program or create their own program, provided it meets certain criterion.
Albany County, NY - The county legislature postponed action on the much-debated paid sick leave ordinance until 2019.
Wilmette Village, IL - The suburban Chicago village board reversed their decision to opt out of Cook County’s paid sick leave ordinance. A nonbinding resolution appeared on the Nov. ballot and passed by wide margins, indicating public support for the proposal. Several other local jurisdictions in Cook County could follow suit. The state is also likely to pick up the issue in 2019.
Rick Santorum - Former U.S. Senator, presidential contender and current conservative political pundit, Rick Santorum, authored an opinion editorial calling on Republicans to work with Democrats to establish a national paid leave program for working families.
Boston, MA - The city council heard testimony from business groups and some advocates regarding the proposed “fair workweek” legislation that would apply to city contractors. However, the language defines city contractors broadly and much of it mirrors other laws passed in localities across the country.
Philadelphia, PA - The city council continued debate on the proposed “fair workweek” legislation and made some amendments to the language. It remains to be seen whether there is enough support on the council to pass the bill on to the mayor. The council’s next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 6.
H&M - The fashion retailer announced an update to their benefits package for part-time workers to include paid leave and a guaranteed minimum number of hours per week.
California - A business group has initiated a legal challenge over the state’s decade-old Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) which allows individuals to bring suit against employers for labor code violations.
U.S. House - U.S. House Republicans introduced a tax package that addresses some technical changes to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that passed earlier this year. Most notable for many operators is correction of the drafting error related to the Qualified Improvement Property (QIP) provision. While the package may see some action in the House, it is unlikely to move in its entirety in the Senate prior to adjournment for the year.
China - President Trump announced a tentative truce with China in the ongoing trade war between the two countries. The two leaders met during the G20 in Argentina and reached an agreement that lacks specific details beyond the United States not implementing the scheduled increase of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The tariffs on those goods will remain at 10 percent and in return China has agreed to increase imports from the United States. The agreement reportedly is set to expire on March 1, 2019 and discussions between the two countries will con