Friday, June 27, 2014

District of Columbia Minimum Wage

The Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2013 amends the Minimum Wage Act Revision Act of 1992 to increase the minimum wage in the District of Columbia to $11.50 an hour in three (3) steps, beginning July 1, 2014. Every employer subject to the provisions of the Act must post the DC Minimum Wage Poster in or about the premises at which any employee covered is employed. This revised posting is now available on our current Washington DC Labor Law Poster - Laminated (#LP9DC).

Monday, June 23, 2014

California Minimum Wage

Although there are some exceptions, almost all employees in California must be paid the minimum wage as required by state law. Effective July 1, 2014, the minimum wage in California is $9.00 per hour. Effective January 1, 2016, the minimum wage in California is $10.00 per hour. There are some employees who are exempt from the minimum wage law, such as outside salespersons, individuals who are the parent, spouse, or child of the employer, and apprentices regularly indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

Minimum Wage Order (MW-2014)
There is an exception for learners, regardless of age, who may be paid not less than 85% of the minimum wage rounded to the nearest nickel during their first 160 hours of employment in occupations in which they have no previous similar or related experience.
There are also exceptions for employees who are mentally or physically disabled, or both, and for nonprofit organizations such as sheltered workshops or rehabilitation facilities that employ disabled workers. Such individuals and organizations may be issued a special license by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement authorizing employment at a wage less than the legal minimum wage. Labor Code Sections 1191 and 1191.5

1. Q. What is the minimum wage?

A. Effective January 1, 2008, the minimum wage in California is $8.00 per hour. It will increase to $9.00 per hour effective July 1, 2014, and to $10.00 per hour effective January 1, 2016.
For sheepherders, however, effective July 1, 2002, the minimum wage was set at $1,200.00 per month. On January 1, 2007, this wage increased to a minimum monthly salary of $1,333.20, and on January 1, 2008, it increased again to a minimum monthly salary of $1,422.52. Effective July 1, 2014, the minimum monthly salary for sheepherders will be $1600.34. Effective January 1, 2016, the minimum monthly salary for sheepherders will be $1777.98. Wages paid to sheepherders may not be offset by meals or lodging provided by the employer. Instead, there are provisions in IWC Order 14-2007, Sections 10(F), (G) and (H) that apply to sheepherders with respect to monthly meal and lodging benefits required to be provided by the employer.

2. Q. What is the difference between the state and federal minimum wage?

A. Most employers in California are subject to both the federal and state minimum wage laws. The effect of this dual coverage is that when there are conflicting requirements in the laws, the employer must follow the stricter standard; that is, the one that is the most beneficial to the employee. Thus, since California's current law requires a higher minimum wage rate than does the federal law, all employers in California who are subject to both laws must pay the state minimum wage rate unless their employees are exempt under California law.

3. Q. May an employee agree to work for less than the minimum wage?

A. No. The minimum wage is an obligation of the employer and cannot be waived by any agreement, including collective bargaining agreements. Any remedial legislation written for the protection of employees may not be violated by agreement between the employer and employee. Civil Code Sections 1668 and 3513

4. Q. Is the minimum wage the same for both adult and minor employees?

A. Yes. There is no distinction made between adults and minors when it comes to payment of the minimum wage.

5. Q. I work in a restaurant as a waitperson. Can my employer use my tips as a credit toward its obligation to pay me the minimum wage?

A. No. An employer may not use an employee's tips as a credit toward its obligation to pay the minimum wage.

6. Q. What can I do if my employer doesn't pay me at least the minimum wage?

A. You can either file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (the Labor Commissioner's Office), or file a lawsuit in court against your employer to recover the lost wages. Additionally, if you no longer work for this employer, you can make a claim for the waiting time penalty pursuant to Labor Code Section 203.

7. Q. What is the procedure that is followed after I file a wage claim?

A. After your claim is completed and filed with a local office of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), it will be assigned to a Deputy Labor Commissioner who will determine, based upon the circumstances of the claim and information presented, how best to proceed. Initial action taken regarding the claim can be referral to a conference or hearing, or dismissal of the claim.
If the decision is to hold a conference, the parties will be notified by mail of the date, time and place of the conference. The purpose of the conference is to determine the validity of the claim, and to see if the claim can be resolved without a hearing. If the claim is not resolved at the conference, the next step usually is to refer the matter to a hearing or dismiss it for lack of evidence.
At the hearing the parties and witnesses testify under oath, and the proceeding is recorded. After the hearing, an Order, Decision, or Award (ODA) of the Labor Commissioner will be served on the parties.
Either party may appeal the ODA to a civil court of competent jurisdiction. The court will set the matter for trial, with each party having the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses. The evidence and testimony presented at the Labor Commissioner's hearing will not be the basis for the court's decision. In the case of an appeal by the employer, DLSE may represent an employee who is financially unable to afford counsel in the court proceeding.
See the Policies and Procedures of Wage Claim Processing pamphlet for more detail on the wage claim procedure.

8. Q. What can I do if I prevail at the hearing and the employer doesn't pay or appeal the Order, Decision, or Award?

A. When the Order, Decision, or Award (ODA) is in the employee's favor and there is no appeal, and the employer does not pay the ODA, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) will have the court enter the ODA as a judgment against the employer. This judgment has the same force and effect as any other money judgment entered by the court. Consequently, you may either try to collect the judgment yourself or you can assign it to DLSE.

9. Q. What can I do if my employer retaliates against me because I questioned him about not being paid the minimum wage?

A. If your employer discriminates or retaliates against you in any manner whatsoever, for example, he discharges you because you asked him why you weren't being paid the minimum wage, or because you file a claim or threaten to file a claim with the Labor Commissioner, you can file a discrimination/retaliation complaint with the Labor Commissioner's Office. In the alternative, you can file a lawsuit in court against your employer.
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Friday, June 6, 2014

Delaware Minimum Wage now available

As announced in January 2014, the Minimum Wage for Delaware will be raised to $8.25 per hour.  The following announcement was released on January 30, 2014:

Delaware minimum wage will increase by $1 to $8.25 per hour 
Dover – Joined by members of the General Assembly, Governor Markell signed into law Senate Bill 6, which will raise the minimum wage in Delaware to $8.25 per hour in two increments. Under legislation that cleared both the Senate and House today, the state’s hourly minimum wage will go up 50 cents to $7.75 on June 1, 2014. On June 1, 2015, it will go up another 50 cents to $8.25 per hour, making it $1 higher than the current federal minimum wage.

“Even as we have made progress in creating more jobs and getting our state’s economy on track, we have much more to do to give opportunity to those earning minimum wage,” said Governor Markell. “I am proud to sign this bill and wanted to do so on the same day it passed to reflect the commitment that I and many members of the General Assembly share: we cannot wait any longer to get this done. Raising the minimum wage represents one of the fastest ways we can act to give a boost to many struggling working families.”
Delaware last increased its minimum wage in 2009, when the federal government increased the national minimum wage to its current level. Once the full increase is implemented, Delaware will be on par with New Jersey, where the current minimum wage is $8.25. The current minimum wage in the nearby states of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania is $7.25.

“Will this help people who are struggling to get by? Yes. Is it enough? No, but it’s a step in the right direction” said Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington West, the bill’s prime Senate sponsor. “We’ve needed to do this for a long time. This will help people, who really need our help, put groceries on the table.”
According to the Delaware Department of Labor, up to 40,000 people, nearly 10% of Delaware’s workers, could be affected, either directly or indirectly, by this increase.

“I am pleased so many of my colleagues joined in supporting a bill that will have a real impact on Delaware families,” said Rep. Gerald Brady, D-Wilmington West. “Our economy in recovery, and this minimum wage increase will allow Delawareans to participate in that recovery. It’s a small but important step.”

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