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State Labor Laws, 2003 - page 10 / 27





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State Labor Laws, 2003

District of Columbia

Other laws. A District of Columbia govern- ment employee who serves in a reserve com- ponent of the United States Armed Forces and who has been or will be called to active duty as a result of Operation Enduring Free- dom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, will re- ceive, upon application and approval, an amount that equals the difference in com- pensation between the employee’s District government basic pay and his or her basic military pay. This amount will be paid from the time the employee is called to active duty until the employee is released from active duty.


Wages. Political subdivisions are barred from establishing, or otherwise requiring an em- ployer to pay a minimum wage, other than a Federal minimum wage, or applying a Fed- eral minimum wage to those wages exempt from Federal coverage. A minimum wage other than the Federal minimum wage can be established for the employees of the politi- cal subdivision; for the employees of an em- ployer contracting to provide goods or ser- vices for the political subdivision, or for the employees of a subcontractor of such an employer; or for the employees of an em- ployer receiving a direct tax abatement or subsidy from the political subdivision, as a condition of the direct tax abatement or sub- sidy. A Federally authorized and recognized tribal government may establish a minimum wage in excess of the Federal minimum wage for persons employed within any territory over which the tribe has jurisdiction.

Equal employment opportunity. An amend- ment to the Civil Rights Act authorizes the Attorney General to bring a civil action for damages, injunctive relief, civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, and such other relief as may be appropriate under State law, where the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that any person or group either has engaged in a pattern or practice of prohibited discrimination, or has been dis- criminated against and the discrimination raises an issue of great public interest.

Worker privacy. Acts relating to a public records exemption for State, county, and mu- nicipal employee assistance program records were amended to provide that an employee’s personal identifying information contained in employee assistance program records is confidential and exempt from disclosure.

Other laws. As part of a Florida Uniformed

Servicemembers Protection Act, employing authorities are to adhere to all provisions contained in the Federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment RightsAct with respect to those serving in the State National Guard and the United States Armed Forces.

The law concerning the health benefits and job protections afforded to members of the State National Guard and the State De- partment of Military Affairs was amended. School district employees are now specifi- cally included as employees of political sub- divisions of the State who may take a leave of absence, not to exceed 30 days, for each emergency or disaster as established by Ex- ecutive order. As such, these employees are protected from being discharged, repri- manded, or penalized as a result of being ac- tivated for State duty. Additionally, the re- quirement for employees to notify their em- ployers that they wish to continue their health insurance coverage upon being called to active duty has been modified to allow the appropriate military authority to provide au- thorization. Consistent with Federal law, such notice is not required if it is precluded by military necessity or if such notice is im- possible or unreasonable.


Wages. Resolutions were adopted declaring April 15, 2003, to be Equal Pay Day and urging the citizens of Georgia to recognize the full value of women’s skills and signifi- cant contributions to the labor force and en- couraging businesses to conduct an internal pay evaluation to ensure that women are being paid fairly. April 15th symbolizes the day on which the wages paid to American women catch up to the wages paid to men from the previous year.


Wages. As the result of prior legislation, the State minimum wage rate rose from $5.75 per hour to $6.25 on January 1, 2003.

Family issues. The State Family and Medi- cal Leave Act was amended by revising the definition of “employers” and by defining “sick leave” and specifying how it can be used. “Employer” now includes the State and any of its political subdivisions or in- strumentalities, reversing the exclusion of public-sector employees enacted in 2000 that became effective on July 1, 2002. “Sick leave” is an accrued increment of compen- sated leave provided by an employer for employees’ use when: the employee is physically or mentally unable to perform


Monthly Labor Review

January 2004

his or her duties due to illness, injury or a medical condition; the absence is for the purpose of obtaining professional diagno- sis or treatment for an employee’s medical condition; or the absence is for other medi- cal reasons of the employee, such as preg- nancy or obtaining a physical examination. It does not include any other type of insur- ance, compensation or disability benefit not payable from the employer. Employers who provide sick leave must permit an em- ployee to use his or her accrued sick leave, not to exceed 10 days per year, for pur- poses defined in the Act, unless an express provision of a valid collective bargaining agreement authorizes the use of more than 10 days for family leave purposes.

Public-sector employers are now to pro- vide employees with at least 2 hours of paid leave during normal business hours to attend either a mutually-scheduled parent-teacher conference for the employee’s minor child, or a mutually-scheduled parent-caregiver conference for a preschool-aged child attend- ing a licensed group childcare center. The employee may take leave for no more than two mutually-scheduled conferences per child in a calendar year, and travel time may be included as part of the 2 hours permitted for each conference. The provision of paid leave may not adversely interfere with the operations of the work unit nor require the applicable agency to incur additional human resources or overtime costs.

Legislation was enacted to assist victims of domestic or sexual violence and stalking. Employers with 50 or more employees must allow employees to take up to 30 days of unpaid victim leave per calendar year. Em- ployers with 49 or fewer employees must allow employees to take up to 5 days of unpaid victim leave per calendar year. Em- ployees are entitled to the leave provided it is for the purpose of 1) seeking medical at- tention; 2) obtaining services from a victim services organization; 3) obtaining psycho- logical or other counseling; 4) temporarily or permanently relocating; or 5) taking legal ac- tion. An excused absence may be taken when the domestic abuse or sexual violence is against an employee or the employee’s mi- nor child. Employers may require employ- ees to report their status once a week and may require employees to provide a medical and/or legal certification prior to return to work. Upon returning, an employee shall return to the same position or one of compa- rable status and pay with no loss of accumu- lated service credits and privileges. Employ- ees are to exhaust other paid and unpaid leave benefits before victim leave benefits may be applied.

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