New minimum wages, employment laws for 2018

Updated Jan 5, 2018
Photo by: cafecredit/FlickrPhoto by: cafecredit/Flickr

The new year rings in some new laws for 2018, including labor and wage laws.

The entirety of the federal, state and local laws taking effect in 2018 isn’t listed here, but it’s still important to know which ones will be affecting you and your business. Employers should seek knowledgeable counsel on how certain laws will apply this year.

Wage increases  

One of the most noteworthy changes is the adjustment of the minimum wage in various states and cities. While Congress hasn’t voted to raise the minimum wage in more than a decade, it isn’t stopping states from taking matters into their own hands. Some raises are minimal with laws that will require the wage to be adjusted on a yearly basis according to an inflation index.

Other states have bumped up the minimum wage by a more significant amount and the increases will reach $12 to $15 an hour once they are phased in over the next few years.

Below are the states, cities and counties’ new minimum wages. To see what they are being increased from, check out these charts.

Alaska: $9.84 an hour

Albuquerque, New Mexico: $8.95 an hour

Arizona: $10.50 an hour

Bernalillo County, New Mexico: $8.85 an hour

California: $11 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees; $10.50 an hour for companies with 25 or fewer employees

Colorado: $10.20 an hour

Cupertino, California: $13.50 an hour

El Cerrito, California: $13.60 an hour

Flagstaff, Arizona: $11 an hour

Florida: $8.25 an hour

Hawaii: $10.10 an hour

Los Altos, California: $13.50 an hour

Maine: $10 an hour

Michigan: $9.25 an hour

Milpitas, California: $12 an hour 

Minneapolis, Minnesota: $10 an hour for companies with more than 100 employees

Minnesota: $9.65 an hour for businesses with an annual gross revenue of $500,000; $7.87 an hour for those with an annual gross revenue of less than $500,000

Missouri: $7.85 an hour

Montana: $8.30 an hour

Mountain View, California: $15 an hour

New Jersey: $8.60 an hour

New York: $13 an hour for standard New York City businesses with 11 for more employees; $12 an hour for standard New York City businesses with 10 or fewer employees; $11 an hour for standard workers in Long Island and Westchester; $10.40 for standard workers in the rest of New York state

Oakland, California: $13.23 an hour 

Ohio: $8.30 an hour

Palo Alto, California: $13.50 an hour

Rhode Island: $10.10 an hour

Richmond, California: $13.41 an hour

San Jose, California: $13.50 an hour

San Mateo, California: $13.50 an hour for standard businesses; $12 an hour for nonprofits

Santa Clara, California: $13 an hour

SeaTac, Washington: $15.64 an hour for hospitality and transportation employees

Seattle, Washington: $15.45 an hour or businesses with 501 or more employees that don’t offer medical benefits; $15 an hour for businesses with 501 or more employees that do offer medical benefits; $14 an hour for businesses with 500 or fewer employees that don’t offer medical benefits; $11.50 an hour for businesses with 500 or fewer employees that do offer medical benefits

South Dakota: $8.85 an hour

Sunnyvale, California: $15 an hour

Tacoma, Washington: $12 an hour

Vermont: $10.50 an hour

Washington state: $11.50 an hour

Oregon, Maryland and Nevada will increase their minimum wages later in the year on July 1.

Drug testing

As marijuana becomes legalized in more states for medical and/or recreational use, several states have introduced bills that they are working on passing related to drug testing and usage of marijuana and employment practices.

In Maine, the bill LD 1719, HP1199 was created to help regulate the recreational usage of marijuana, which was legalized in November 2016. Section 112 of the bill states that employers are not obligated to allow or accommodate the use, possession, transportation, sale or cultivation of marijuana in the workplace. Employers will be allowed to restrict drug use and discipline those who attempt to work under the influence of marijuana. A public hearing is set for Jan. 5.

On the other side of the coin, a bill pending before committee in the Ohio House would protect the rights of employees who failed a drug test. HB 424 would protect individuals who failed a drug test if he or she was using the substance in “pursuant to a prescription issued by a licensed health profession.”

Federal overtime rule

The controversial federal overtime rule that would have made over 4 million employees eligible for overtime pay was blocked last year by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant, and eventually struck down by the same judge on Aug. 31, 2017.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) would have more than doubled the minimum annual salary required for exemption from overtime from $23,660 to $47,476.

The Labor Department appealed Mazzant’s decision, but ended up changing course and asked for a federal appeals court to uphold his ruling. It also asked for the court to clarify that it can use a salary threshold in overtime pay regulations.

Massant confirmed that this is within the department’s rights to use a salary test, but eligibility for overtime pay must be a combination of workers’ duties and wages. The court suggested increases that kept track with inflation would be acceptable but the $913 a week requirement for exemption went too far.

Yet there are already two bills in Congress, S. 2177 and H.R. 4505, known as the Restoring Overtime Pay Act of 2017, which seeks to amend the FLSA to codify parts of the salary rule that caused it to be shot down by the judge in the first place. The amendments would require the Secretary of Labor to create regulations that set the minimum salary amount at a weekly rate equal to the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region and update the minimum salary amount every three years.

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