Category Archives: Florida

NEW LAW: Florida’s Minimum Wage to Increase January 1, 2019

Florida employers, mark your calendars: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity recently announced that on January 1, 2019, Florida’s minimum wage will increase from $8.25 to $8.46 per hour. The minimum wage rate for tipped employees of large employers will also increase from $5.23 to $5.44 per hour.

It is recommended that all Florida employers prepare for these increases and download the revised minimum wage poster for 2019.  This poster is also available in Spanish and Kreyòl.

NEW CASE – Local Minimum Wages Prohibited in Florida

In a recent opinion (The City of Miami Beach, Florida vs. Florida Retail Federation, Inc.), the Third District Court of Appeal for Florida has held that Florida law prohibits Florida municipalities from passing a minimum wage that is higher than the state minimum wage.

Background

In June of 2016, the City of Miami Beach passed a wage ordinance that would increase the minimum wage within the city to more than $2 per hour ($10.31) above the state minimum wage effective January 1, 2018.  A lawsuit was filed by several industry groups in December of 2016 challenging the local minimum wage ordinance.

In March of 2017, the trial court found in favor of the industry groups and held that the local minimum wage was invalid because a 2003 state law (section 218.077 of the Florida Statutes which states ““a political subdivision may not establish, mandate, or otherwise require an employer to pay a minimum wage, other than a state or federal minimum wage.”) prohibits Florida municipalities from setting their own minimum wage rates.  The City appealed the trial court’s ruling to the Third District Court of Appeal for Florida.

The Case

The appellate court agreed with the trial court and found that (1) the City of Miami Beach’s local minimum wage ordinance was invalid and (2) Florida municipalities cannot establish their own local minimum wage.  The City plans to appeal the ruling to the Florida Supreme Court.

Take Home for Employers

At this point in time, the City of Miami Beach’s local ordinance is invalid and did not go into effect on January 1st.  However, it is recommended that Florida employers keep a close eye on the potential appeal to see if this position changes.

2018 MINIMUM WAGE CHECK-UP

With various cities and counties having enacted local minimum wages and 18 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York*, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington) are increasing their own minimum wages on January 1st (December 31st for New York), employers should take time to verify that they are meeting the minimum wage requirements of their state/city/county.

The below chart sets forth the minimum wage effective January 1, 2018.

employer PAYS $1.50/hr towards medical benefits$11.91

Federal $7.25
State City/County  Amount?
Alabama  $7.25
Alaska*  $9.84
Arizona* — all cities/counties except …  $10.50
Flagstaff* $11.00
Arkansas  $8.50
California* — all cities/counties except …                                  small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $11.00
Berkeley  $13.75
Cupertino* $13.50
El Cerrito*  $13.60
Emeryville                                           small employer (55 or less) $14.00
large employer (56 or more) $15.20
Los Altos* $13.50
Los Angeles                                         small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Malibu                                                  small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Milpitas* $12.00
Mountain View* $15.00
Oakland $12.86
Palo Alto* $13.50
Pasadena                                             small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Richmond*                                             employer does NOT pay $1.50/hr towards medical benefits $13.41
employer PAYS $1.50/hr towards medical benefits $11.91
Sacramento*                                      small employer (100 or less) $10.50
large employer (101 or more) $11.00
San Diego $11.50
San Francisco $14.00
San Jose* $13.50
San Leandro $13.00
San Mateo*                                                 For-profit organizations $13.50
Non-profit organizations $12.00
Santa Clara* $13.00
Santa Monica                                       small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Sunnyvale* $15.00
Los Angeles County                            small employer (25 or less)

unincorporated areas                            large employer (26 or more)

$10.50

$12.00

Colorado* $10.20
Connecticut $10.10
Delaware $8.25
Florida* $8.25
Georgia $7.25
Hawaii* $10.10
Idaho $7.25
Illinois — all cities/counties except … $8.25
Chicago $11.00
Cook County

(except for the Village of Barrington)

$10.00
Indiana $7.25
Iowa $7.25
Kansas $7.25
Kentucky $7.25
Louisiana $7.25
Maine* — all cities/counties except … $10.00
Portland $10.68
Maryland — all cities/counties except … $9.25
Montgomery County $11.50
Prince George’s County $11.50
Massachusetts $11.00
Michigan* $9.25
Minnesota* — all cities/counties except … “small employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of less than $500,000) $7.87
“large employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of $500,000+) $9.65
Minneapolis                                         large employer (101 or more) $10.00
Mississippi $7.25
Missouri $7.85
Montana* $8.30
Nebraska $9.00
Nevada $8.25
New Hampshire $7.25
New Jersey* $8.60
New Mexico — all cities/counties except … $7.50
Albuquerque*                                             employer provides benefits $7.95
employer does NOT provide benefits $8.95
Las Cruces* $9.45
Santa Fe $11.09
Bernalillo County*unincorporated areas                                             employer provides benefits $7.85
employer does NOT provide benefits $8.85
Santa Fe County unincorporated areas $11.09
New York**  “Upstate” employers (excluding fast food employees) $10.40
“Downstate” employers (excluding fast food employees) $11.00
“Small” NYC employers (excluding fast food employees $12.00
Fast food employees outside NYC $11.75
“Large” NYC employers (excluding fast food employees) $13.00
Fast food employees inside NYC $13.50
North Carolina $7.25
North Dakota $7.25
Ohio* $8.30
Oklahoma $7.25
Oregon — all cities/counties except … $10.25
Portland $11.25
Nonurban Counties 

(Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klmath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa Wheeler counties)

$10.00
Pennsylvania $7.25
Rhode Island* $10.10
South Carolina $7.25
South Dakota* $8.85
Tennessee $7.25
Texas $7.25
Utah $7.25
Vermont* $10.50
Virginia $7.25
Washington* — all cities/counties except … $11.50
City of SeaTac* (hospitality and transportation workers) $15.64
Seattle* $14.00
small employer who does not pay towards medical benefits

(500 or less)

small employer who does pay towards medical benefits

(500 or less)

$11.50
large employer who does not pay towards medical benefits

(501 or more)

$15.00
large employer who does pay towards medical benefits

(501 or more)

$15.45
Tacoma* $12.00
Washington DC $12.50
West Virginia $8.75
Wisconsin $7.25
Wyoming $7.25
 * = increase in minimum wage effective January 1, 2018

** = increase in minimum wage effective December 31, 2017

 

Caveat: Please be advised that this information is being provided as a courtesy and that ePlace Solutions, Inc. does not track local laws and ordinances and will not update this information with changes in local laws and ordinances.

 

 

NEW LAW: Florida’s Minimum Wage to Increase January 1, 2018

Florida employers, mark your calendars: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity recently announced that on January 1, 2018, Florida’s minimum wage will increase from $8.10 to $8.25 per hour. The minimum wage rate for tipped employees of large employers will also increase from $5.08 to $5.23 per hour.

It is recommended that all Florida employers prepare for these increases and download the revised minimum wage poster for 2018.  This poster is also available in Spanish and Kreyòl.

WAGE AND HOUR LAWS TO KEEP IN MIND IN THE AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE IRMA

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, employers in impacted areas in Florida are working to try to get their businesses back up and running as quickly as possible.  When engaging in these efforts, employers need to remember that there are certain legal protections for employees when faced by this type of natural disaster.

  • Wage and Hour Requirements
    • Exempt Employees: If the business closed for less than a full workweek and your exempt employees performed any work during that workweek, then under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are required to paid their exempt employees for the days that the business is closed (i.e. for the entire workweek).If, however, the business remains open and an exempt employee does not come into work, then the exempt employee does not have to be paid for the day.  Instead, it is treated as an absence for personal reasons.  But, if the exempt employee arrives late or leaves early, then he must be paid for the full day of work.

      Finally, if the exempt employee works from home in lieu of coming into work, then he must be paid for the entire workweek.

    • Non-Exempt Employees: Under the FLSA, employers are not required to pay non-exempt employees who do not report to work as the result of a natural disaster.The only exceptions to this rule are (1) if employees are paid under a fluctuating workweek or (2) if there is a collective bargaining agreement in place that requires payment under these circumstances.

      Finally, if a non-exempt employee works from home in lieu of coming into work, then he must be paid for all hours worked.

NEW POSTER: St. Petersberg, Florida Publishes New Wage Theft Notice

Earlier this summer, the City of St. Petersburg, Florida amended its wage theft ordinance.  Under this new amendment, employers in St. Petersburg are required to:

  • Provide all employees with a pay notice at the time of hire and
  • Display “in a location accessible to all employees” a poster about wage theft (the new Wage Theft Notice is available here).

The pay notice must contain the following information:

  • The rate or rates of pay and basis thereof, whether paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission, or otherwise, including any rates for overtime, as applicable;
  • Allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage, including meal or lodging allowances;
  • The regular payday designated by the employer;
  • The name of the employer, including any “doing business as” names used by the employer;
  • The physical address of the employer’s main office or principal place of business, and a mailing address, if different;
  • The employer’s telephone number; and
  • A template summary, available from the City, summarizing the protections and rights of employees under the ordinance.

The form for the Notice is available here.

In addition to providing employees notice of their pay at time of hire, employers are also required to notify employees of any changes to the information in the pay notice within seven (7) calendar days after the time of the changes.

Under the ordinance, an employee is defined as a “natural person who performs work within the geographic boundaries of the City while being employed by an employer . . .” including “a person who performs work that benefits an employer located within the City even though the employee may have performed work outside of the City.”  Bona fide independent contractors are excluded from the definition of employee.

The new requirements will not become effective until 90 days after a community based organization has been selected to facilitate the implementation of the amended ordinance.  As of yet, a community based organization has not yet been selected.  Regardless, the amended ordinance will go into effect in the near future; therefore St. Petersburg employers should start preparing for the changes now.

What Not to Do When Your Job Applicant is Expecting

It is very important for prospective employers to tread carefully when they learn an applicant is pregnant. Brown & Brown of Florida, learned an expensive lesson on pregnancy discrimination and recently settled a legal claim (EEOC v. Brown & Brown of Florida, Inc.) related to this issue.

The Case

The plaintiff, Nicole Purcell applied for an entry-level position at brokerage firm of Brown & Brown in Daytona, Florida. She was shortlisted for the position after multiple rounds of interviews. The company gave her an offer of employment. Once the plaintiff received the offer, she contacted the company’s Employee Services Coordinator to accept and asked the coordinator about maternity benefits, while announcing that she is pregnant.

About 30 minutes after the call, the coordinator sent the plaintiff an email rescinding the job offer citing that the company needed somebody in the position “long term.”

The plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC in turn filed a federal lawsuit on her behalf against Brown & Brown. This lawsuit was later settled for $100,000 – quite a hefty price tag for what amounts to 30 minutes of employment.

Takeaways for Employers

Had the company engaged in an interactive conversation with the applicant regarding any limitations she might have developed related to her pregnancy, and whether any potential limitations existed affecting her ability to do her job that could be accommodated, it is possible that much that followed could have been avoided.

Here are some DOs-and- DON’Ts that might be helpful for employers faced with a similar situation.

  1. Don’t assume that a pregnant applicant (or employee) is unable to do a job or will be absent for an extended period of time.
  2. Do engage in the interactive process with the pregnant employee (or applicant) and discuss any limitations she might have performing essential job functions because of her pregnancy and what accommodations can be made.
  3. Do document all discussions with pregnant employees (or applicants) relating to the interactive process and possible accommodations.
  4. Do assure the pregnant employee (or applicant) that the company complies with all federal and state laws regarding pregnancy leaves.
  5. Don’t renege an offer of employment (or terminate an existing employee) because the individual is pregnant.

New Laws Effective July 2017

Labor Laws in the Workplace as Concept

Aside from the minimum wage increases, there are a number of new laws coming into effect in July 2017. While many of these have been addressed in detail in previous articles, the following is a summary of the new laws/regulations that may be going into effect in your state …

State New Law
Arizona House Bill 2322 — For purposes of the state’s labor and employment laws, a franchisor is not an employer or co-employer of either a franchisee or an employee of the franchisee, unless the franchisor agrees, in writing, to assume that role. Effective July 6, 2017
Proposition 206 (Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act) — Arizona workers accrue and have the legal right to use a minimum amount of paid sick time each year. Effective July 1, 2017
California Applicant/Employee Criminal History Regulations – New regulations relating to when an employer can (and cannot) use an applicant’s or employee’s criminal history in hiring and other employment decisions. Effective July 1, 2017
Transgender Identity and Expression Regulations — New regulations relating to the rights of transgender employees in the workplace, how to resolve certain situations associated with transgender employees. Employers are also required to respect the names, genders, and pronouns preferred by employees for identification purposes and cannot require individuals to provide documentation of sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression as a condition of employment. Effective July 1, 2017
New Workplace Notices for Barbering and Cosmetology Establishments – This notice must be posted in the workplace. Available in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese. Effective July 1, 2017
New Domestic Violence Workplace Notice – Employers with 25+ employees must provide employees with this notice or (for existing employees) upon request. Available in English and Spanish. Effective July 1, 2017
Florida Senate Bill 370 (Civil Air Patrol Leave) — Employers with 15+ employees must provide up to 15 days of unpaid Civil Air Patrol Leave to eligible employees. Effective July 1, 2017
Georgia Senate Bill 201 (“Family Caregiver” Leave) — Employers with 25+ employees who provide sick leave benefits (i.e. sick leave or PTO) must allow their employees to use up to five days of these benefits per year “to care for an immediate family member.” Effective July 1, 2017
House Bill 243 — Georgia localities (i.e. cities, counties, municipalities, etc.) cannot require employers to pay employees “predictive pay” (e.g. to compensate employees for changes to an employee’s schedule). Effective July 1, 2017
Indiana Senate Bill 312 – Indiana localities (i.e. cities, counties, municipalities, etc.) cannot bar employers from inquiring about criminal history at the time of initial employment or requiring the candidate to disclose such information. Effective July 1, 2017
Iowa Senate File 444 – Using a handheld electronic communication device to write, read, or send an electronic message, including texts or social media posts, while driving is prohibited. Effective July 1, 2017
Senate File 32 – Use of hair samples for pre-employment workplace drug-testing is permissible. Effective July 1, 2017
Montana Senate Bill 326 — Employer cannot inquire or consider about an applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. In addition, unless a criminal background check of an applicant is required for a license or otherwise prior to hiring for employment, an employer cannot disqualify an applicant solely or in part because of a prior conviction unless certain criteria are met. Effective July 1, 2017
Nevada Assembly Bill 113 — Employers must provide reasonable unpaid break time for covered employees (breastfeeding employees with children under one year of age) to express breast milk as needed. Effective July 1, 2017
New Hampshire House Bill 194 – Employers are required to pay all wages due to employees at regular intervals not to exceed 14 days. (previously it was within eight days following the week in which the work was performed.) Effective July 11, 2017
New York New York Paid Family Leave Benefits Law – Employers may start collecting the weekly employee contribution for paid family leave. (Employees cannot start using this leave until January 1, 2018) Effective July 1, 2017
South Dakota Senate Bill 137 — A franchisee or an employee of a franchisee is not considered an employee of the franchisor Effective July 1, 2017
Vermont Senate Bill 69 — Employers are required to make child support payments directly to the appropriate out-of-state agency upon receipt of a Court order. Effective July 1, 2017
House Bill 261 — Employers cannot ask questions about criminal history on job applications (except under limited circumstances). Criminal history inquiries can only be made during an interview or once the applicant has been deemed otherwise qualified for the position.   If a candidate with a criminal history is eligible for the job, that individual must be given the opportunity to explain that history, including any post-conviction rehabilitation. Effective July 1, 2017
Senate Bill 16 – Authorized medical marijuana users expanded to include persons suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease, and Crohn’s disease Effective July 1, 2017
Washington Senate Bill 5289 (Distract Driving Law) – Individuals are banned from “using” (e.g. holding in either or both hands; using a hand of finger to compose, send, browse, access or retrieve messages or other data; or watching a video) cell phones and related devices while driving. Effective July 1, 2017
Senate Bill 5835 – Employers with 15+ employees must provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers unless doing so would impose an undue hardship. Employers also cannot discriminate and retaliate against employees who request, decline, or use any such accommodation. Effective July 23, 2017
West Virginia Senate Bill 76 – Employers receive limited civil immunity for hiring convicted felons and persons in reduced misdemeanor status. Effective July 8, 2017
House Bill 2857 (West Virginia Safer Workplace Act) – Clarifies that drug/alcohol testing prospective and current employees is legal and makes it easier for employers to conduct drug and alcohol testing without violating the law. Effective July 1, 2017
Senate Bill 386 (West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act) — Legalizes medical marijuana use for persons with a qualifying medical condition and protects employees from discrimination based on their certification for medical marijuana use. However, employers are not be required to make any accommodations for the use of medical marijuana at the workplace. Effective July 6, 2017
Wyoming Senate File 94 — Franchisors are only considered employers of either a franchisee or a franchisee’s employees if agreed to in writing by the franchisor and franchisee. Effective July 1, 2017

NEW LAW – Florida Passes Medical Marijuana Law

Last November, Florida voters approved an amendment to the Florida constitution legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. (see Impact of Florida’s New Medical Marijuana Law on Employers)

Under this amendment, the Florida legislature had until July 3, 2017 to implement regulations that provide guidelines on the implementation of the state’s Constitutional Amendment regarding medical marijuana. Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 8-A, which addresses the medical use of marijuana in Florida.

The constitutional amendment legalized the use of medical marijuana for persons with specific “qualifying conditions” including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic nonmalignant pain, and comparable medical conditions).

Under the new law, “medical use” does not include possession, use, or administration of marijuana that was not purchased or acquired from a medical marijuana treatment center.  In addition, the only permissible use of medical marijuana is consumption as edibles, vaping, oils, sprays or tinctures. The smoking of medical marijuana is not permitted under the law.

In addition, the new law includes some employer-friendly provisions:

  • The term “medical use” does not include use at a qualified patient’s place of employment, except when such use is permitted by his or her employer.
  • The law does not limit the ability of an employer “to establish, continue, or enforce a drug-free workplace program or policy.”
  • Employers are not required to “accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any workplace or any employee working while under the influence of marijuana.”
  • Medical marijuana is not reimbursable under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Law.
  • The law “does not create a cause of action against an employer for wrongful discharge or discrimination.”

Recommendations for employers

It is recommended that Florida employers review their drug and alcohol policies to determine whether any revisions are required.

Impact of Florida’s New Medical Marijuana Law on Employers

The Florida Medical Marijuana Legislation Initiative is the newly passed medical marijuana law in Florida, which was approved by voters in the 2016 election.

This new law allows individuals with certain “debilitating medical conditions” to use medical marijuana to treat those conditions. Included in the list of “debilitating medical conditions” are cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. In addition, individuals suffering from “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable” to this list, so long as a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would “likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient” may legally use medical marijuana.

The new law goes into effect January 3, 2017.

The impact on employers?

Under the new law, Florida employers are not required to accommodate any “on-site medical use of marijuana” in any place of employment. However, the law does not address whether employers are required to extend reasonable accommodations to medical-marijuana-using applicants or employees who happen to have the drug in their system while on duty at work or submitting to a pre-hire drug test. It is recommended that employers develop a plan to handle these situations and then enforce that plan consistently.

In addition, the law also does not address the use of drug testing (pre-employment, safety-sensitive, or reasonable suspicion) on an employee who uses medical marijuana. Current drug tests only flag whether THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) is present in the individual’s system and does not determine the level of a tested individual’s impairment. This means that an individual can test positive for marijuana without being “high.” It is recommended that employers train frontline supervisors and managers will need to be more vigilant about documenting independent indications of impairment in the workplace such as unusual sleepiness, slowed perception and motor skills, and red eyes.