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A New Year Brings New Wage and Hour Laws

As always, the New Year came with a slew of new state wage and hour laws. Among other things, this year ushered in increased wages and continued trends in employee rights and protections.  Below are some of the new changes that employers should consider when implementing their employment practices.

State Minimum Wage Increases

            On January 1, 2023, Massachusetts, California, and Washington became the first states to require employers to pay $15.00 or more as a minimum wage. Many other states have also increased their minimum wages, effective January 1, 2023, including: Arizona to $13.85; Colorado to $13.65; Delaware to $11.75; Illinois to $13.00; Maryland to $13.25; New Jersey to $14.13; New York to $14.20; Rhode Island to $13.00; and Virginia to $12.00.  In addition, many cities and other municipalities have their own separate minimum wage rates.

            While not all states made changes to their minimum wage requirements effective as of January 1, 2023, many states are increasing their minimum wages throughout the year. Upcoming increases to the hourly non-tipped minimum wage rates include: Connecticut to $15.00 on June 1; Nevada to $11.25 or $10.25 (depending on whether the employer offers health insurance benefits) on July 1; and Florida to $12.00 on September 30.

            Michigan also raised its minimum wage this year, but it may go up even more in short order. On January 1, 2023, Michigan raised its hourly non-tipped minimum wage to $10.10, but issues surrounding Michigan’s minimum wage are currently tied up in litigation, and the minimum wage could potentially go up to $13.03 per hour. Businesses in Michigan will want to continue to follow this matter as it develops.

Salary Transparency Laws

            Salary transparency laws continue to gain traction in 2023. At least three states: California, Washington, and Rhode Island enacted state salary transparency laws that went into effect this month.

            In California, employers with 15 or more workers are now required to list salary ranges on job postings including those on third-party websites. Also, upon request, a business must provide its current employees a pay scale for the position they hold with the employer.

            Similarly, in Washington, the Equal Pay and Opportunities Act mandates that employers with 15 or more employees share the pay range for any job postings made by the company or listed on a third-party site. Job listings are also required to include the benefits for which the employee would be eligible if hired.

            Lastly, Rhode Island’s newly amended Pay Equity Act requires businesses to provide pay ranges for positions to job applicants and all current employees upon request. Additionally, businesses must disclose the pay range for a position when they offer a position to an applicant, upon hire, and when an employee changes roles within the business. Businesses are also prohibited from requesting or relying on an applicant’s wage history during the hiring process.

Bereavement Leave

            A less common topic that makes significant changes in wage and hour law concerns bereavement time for employees who have suffered the loss of a family member.  In California, the Family Rights Act has been amended to require employers with five or more employees to provide up to five days of unpaid bereavement leave for an employee within three months of the death of a family member. A family member is defined as a child, parent, sibling, grandparents, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law.

            Similarly, in Illinois, the Child Bereavement Leave Act, now renamed the Family Bereavement Leave Act, has been amended to expand its scope. Initially, the law required employers to provide employees with up to 10 work days of unpaid leave annually to grieve the death of a child. However, it was amended to include the death of covered family members. Covered family members include an employee’s child, stepchild, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, stepparent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, or grandparent. The law further requires covered employers to provide unpaid leave for absences resulting from a miscarriage, unsuccessful IVF treatment, a failed adoption or surrogacy, or a diagnosis or an event that negatively impacts pregnancy or fertility.

Other Pertinent Laws to Note

            Illinois has expanded its rest and meal break requirements, effective January 1, 2023.  First, Illinois’ One Day Rest in Seven Act (ODRISA) now requires employers to provide covered employees 24 consecutive hours of rest for every seven-day period. Previously, the statute simply required rest for “every calendar week.” Accordingly, employers can no longer schedule employees to work for more than seven consecutive days across a two week period without a day off unless they obtain a waiver from the Illinois Department of Labor. Second, ODRISA requires employers to permit employees to take a second 20-minute meal break for every additional 4½ continuous hours worked in excess of a 7½ continuous hours shift. A meal break does not include reasonable time spent using the restroom facilities.

            In Maine, the final wage statute (available here) now requires all unused paid vacation accrued pursuant to the employer’s vacation policy on and after January 1, 2023 to be paid upon separation of employment. This applies to private employers with 11 or more employees and must be paid regardless of the employer’s vacation policy.    

            If you have any questions about changes to state wage and hour laws, or need assistance reviewing and updating your business’ policies and procedures, please contact one of Honigman’s Labor and Employment attorneys.

  • Staff Attorney

    Elaina Bailey is a labor and employment attorney with experience in administrative investigations and federal wage and hour employment litigation matters. She leverages her diverse background to the benefit of her clients ...

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