Regulatory Wrap-Up: Weekly review of retail-related legislative developments-Feb. 18

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Regulatory Wrap-Up: Weekly review of retail-related legislative developments-Feb. 18

By CSA Staff - 02/19/2019
Wages

Arizona - A house committee passed a bill that establishes a lower minimum wage for workers under the age of twenty-two who are enrolled as a full-time student and working part-time. The bill sets the wage for those workers at the federal minimum wage level of $7.25/hr, as opposed to the current state minimum wage of $11/hr.

Connecticut - The governor pledged his support for a minimum wage increase announcing that he will include language to raise the $10.10 wage to $15/hr by 2023 in his budget proposal.

Illinois - The house passed the exact same $15/hr wage bill that recently passed the senate advancing the bill to the governor’s desk for his approval. That bill did not include many provisions that are important to employers, such as a regionally-based minimum wage.

Michigan - The state attorney general is questioning the legality of the new minimum wage and paid leave laws passed by Republicans in last year’s lame duck session and may challenge the laws in the courts. Those laws significantly altered voter-approved initiatives on wages and leave. At question is whether the legislature can change citizen ballot petitions in the same legislative cycle in which they were originally passed.

Missouri - A Republican senator is planning to introduce legislation to trim back parts of the new minimum wage law passed by the voters last November. The bill would create a new minimum wage for workers under the age of eighteen and freeze the cash wage for tipped employees at its current rate.

New Mexico - The house passed legislation increasing the state minimum wage to $12/hr by July 1, 2021. It would also phase out the tip credit by 2022. The senate version, which preserves the current tip credit, is expected to be considered in the coming weeks.

Pasadena, CA - The city council advanced legislation that would bring the city minimum wage to $15/hr by July 2020, 18 months earlier than the statewide mandate of 2022.

Paid Leave

Connecticut - The governor announced his support for 0.05% payroll tax to fund a paid family leave program administered by the state. He did not specify how much leave and at what percentage of pay the program would allow. The bills are under debate in the legislature where they have failed in previous cycles due largely to cost concerns.

Illinois - A paid parental leave bill is gaining momentum. It would require private employers with 50 or more employees to provide six weeks of paid leave for employees on the job at least a year that recently gave birth to a child, adopted a child under eighteen years old or for a family member with a serious health condition. It is unclear whether the governor supports the measure.

Maine - The bill mandating employers with more than five employees offer a paid sick leave program will be heard in its first public committee meeting. The bill allows full and part-time employees to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The city of Portland is considering a similar proposal and a council committee was set to vote to move it forward but the meeting was delayed by weather. They will reconvene next month and businesses have asked the city to delay further, allowing the state to take up the issue first.

Texas - Governor Abbott gave his full support to several bills that were recently introduced that would preempt local governments from regulating employer’s leave and benefit policies. The preemption effort is motivated by city action in Austin and San Antonio.

Scheduling

California - A state appeals court ruled that a retailer that utilized on-call scheduling practices must compensate workers due to the state’s reporting pay requirement, even though workers were not required to report to work. At issue, workers were required to call-in two hours before a shift, and if not called-in, the employer did not compensate the worker. The court ruled the employee was eligible for pay for at least a portion of the shift.

Washington - A bill to establish a statewide mandate for employee scheduling appears to have stalled in a house committee. A similar bill in the senate has failed to move as well, indicating senate leadership is waiting to see what the house may or may not do on the issue.

Labor Policy

Federal - Democrats introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act which would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for discussing salaries and limits an employer’s use of wage history in the hiring process.

Arizona - A federal judge ruled that Walmart unlawfully terminated an employee who tested positive for marijuana use. The employee argued that under Arizona law she was legally prescribed medical marijuana and there was no evidence that she was impaired at work.

New York City, NY - The city council is considering legislation that would prohibit arbitrary termination, a provision typically found in collective bargaining agreements. Not only does it create expansive protections for firings based only on just cause but it also prohibits employers from cutting a worker’s hours by fifteen percent or more.

Taxes

Federal - Senator Marco Rubio released a plan to raise the tax on stock buybacks in order to extend policies like full expensing, which was enacted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and expires at the end of 2022.

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