It’s anyone’s guess what the new administration will mean for the federal minimum wage, but employers should be aware of a dynamic already in play: When the federal government doesn’t take action on critical matters, state and local agencies often come forward with their own new or updated requirements.
The last increase to the federal minimum wage, which raised the rate to $7.25, took effect in July 2009. In the absence of any movement at the federal level
for nearly eight years, more than 60 percent of states have bumped up their minimum wages. Not only do most states have a higher minimum wage than
the federal rate, but a third of those states have minimum wages close to
or above $10.
“Because of a two-term deadlock between the Obama administration and
a Republican Congress, the federal legislative agenda often lagged,” says
Susan Drenning, President of ComplyRight, Inc. “Rather than wait around,
many state and local lawmakers have stepped in to raise the minimum wage
in their jurisdictions — and will continue to do so.”
With the state-level minimum wage momentum showing no signs of slowing down in 2017, employers should tune into what’s happening in their own backyards — and plan to comply with the necessary postings as changes occur.
Status of State and Local Minimum Wage Increases
Where does your state stand with the minimum wage uptick? The following states have new minimum wages (effective Jan. 1, 2017, in most cases):
Depending on the state, these minimum wage changes require new or updated workplace postings. Exceptions include South Dakota and Washington. Also, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont don’t currently require new postings, because these minimum wage increases already appear on posters issued in 2014 or 2015.
States aren’t the only players on the minimum wage front. Drilling down
another level, more cities and counties are issuing local-level minimum wage requirements. Besides such major urban centers as New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago taking action, a handful of counties in other states also have higher minimum wages.
“You can imagine how this degree of complexity impacts small businesses
or regional operations with locations in neighboring cities or counties,”
What to Do About Conflicting Minimum Wage Laws
Keeping a close eye on new and pending minimum wage changes is important
for two key reasons:
- When the minimum wage varies at the federal, state or local level, you must pay the highest rate. This is a requirement under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which must be followed to the letter
of the law.
- You must display local minimum wage postings in addition to mandatory federal and state postings. Even if the rates conflict, you must include all related postings in your workplace posting center.
How to Keep up with Minimum Wage Changes
The good news is that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Start with a visit to PosterTracker.com. There, you can audit your current labor law postings for free to see if they are out of date, and explore options for maintaining compliance with all federal, state and local posting regulations.
In a single year, it’s not unusual for the legal team at ComplyRight to identify and track up to 150 state posting changes (including state minimum wage increases). Plus, beginning in 2016, the team began monitoring 22,000+ local regulatory authorities to stay ahead of city and county developments. “Rest assured:
No matter what happens during the Trump administration — and whatever
its impact on your labor law postings — we’ll be on top of it,” says Drenning.