State Labor Laws, 2003
Other laws. Among amendments to the law establishing and regulating the Board of Nursing, it was specified that before hiring a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse in the State, a healthcare facility must verify that the applicant has a current, valid license to practice nursing.
A member of a volunteer fire department, rescue squad, or emergency medical services agency called into service of the State after a proclamation of a state of disaster by the Governor or the General Assembly, or upon the activation of the State Emergency Re- sponse Team in response to a disaster or emergency, will have the right to take leave without pay from his or her civilian employ- ment. No such individual will be forced to use or exhaust his or her vacation or other accrued leave from his or her civilian em- ployment for a period of active service. For the volunteer member to be entitled to take leave without pay, his or her services must be requested in writing by the Director of the Division of Emergency Management or by the head of a local Emergency Manage- ment Agency. The request is to be directed to the Chief of the member’s volunteer fire department, rescue squad, or emergency medical services agency, and a copy is to be provided to the member’s employer. The law will not apply to those members whose services have been certified by their em- ployer as essential to the employer’s own on- going emergency or disaster relief activities.
lawful money of the United States, by check or by direct deposit in the financial institu- tion of the employee’s choice.
Worker privacy. The law relating to confi- dentiality of central personnel division me- diation service records was amended. Divi- sion records relating to its mediation ser- vices are now exempt from the law that identifies these records as public records, and as such, open and accessible for inspec- tion during reasonable office hours. Addi- tionally, an employee may not be dis- charged, disciplined, or penalized concern- ing his or her compensation, conditions, lo- cation, or other privileges of employment because of the employee’s request for or participation in the mediation services pro- vided by the division.
Workplace security. The Information Tech- nology Department was authorized to re- quire as a condition of employment that in- dividuals who have unescorted physical ac- cess to the facilities or other security-sensi- tive areas of the department be fingerprinted and subject to security background checks.
Private employment agencies. The State em- ployment agency licensing law was amended to stipulate that employment agencies are not subject to licensure if they charge fees exclusively to employers.
The State Board of Education is to adopt rules relating to leaves of absence, without loss of pay or time, for periods of military training and for State or Federal military duty or for special emergency management service. The rules will apply to all public school employees employed by local boards of education or by charter schools. The rules will provide that (1) the State pays any salary differential to all public school employees in State-funded positions; (2) the employing local board of education pays any pay differential to all public school em- ployees in locally funded positions; (3) the employing charter school pays any pay dif- ferential to all public school employees in the charter school; and (4) the employing local board of education pays the local supplement.
Wages. The section of the wage collection law relating to direct deposit of wages was amended to eliminate a provision that had prohibited employers from requiring em- ployees to receive their pay by direct de- posit into a financial institution. The law now provides that payment will be made in
Other laws. The section of law relating to the authority of the labor commissioner to adopt rules on wages and working conditions in the State was amended to clarify that or- ders issued by the Commissioner of Labor must be promulgated as administrative rules under the Administrative Practices Act to have the force and effect of law. Provisions were repealed relating to the commissioner calling conferences of employers, employee representatives, and the public to consider and make recommendations concerning changes in hours, minimum wages, and work- ing conditions, and to issue orders based on these recommendations.
Wages. By law, threshold amounts for con- tract coverage under the State prevailing wage law are adjusted every 2 years accord- ing to the change in the Census Bureau’s Im- plicit Price Deflator for Construction, pro- vided that no increase or decrease exceeds 6 percent for the 2-year period. As a result, effective January 1, 2004, the threshold amount for new construction rose from $62,549 to $65,843 and the threshold
Monthly Labor Review
amount for reconstruction, remodeling, or renovation increased from $18,764 to $19,752.
Worker privacy. The law regarding privacy of peace officer records was amended to in- clude the positions of firefighters and emer- gency medical technicians (EMT). Firefighter is defined as any regular, paid, or volunteer, member of a lawfully constituted fire depart- ment of a municipal corporation, township, fire district or village. EMT is defined as an EMT-1, EMT-basic and paramedics that pro- vide emergency medical services for a public emergency medical service organization. Residential and familial information is not to be included in the public record. This in- cludes the employee’s name, residential ad- dress and phone number, name and address of employer, social security number, bank account, debit card, charge card or credit card number, the name of any beneficiary of em- ployment benefits, emergency telephone number of spouse, a former spouse, or any child of a firefighter or EMT.
Wages. An employer who is found to have violated the State wage payment law on two or more occasions within any 6-month pe- riod may be assessed an administrative fine of $500 per violation. Previously, the fine could be imposed only in instances of two or more knowing violations.
Worker privacy. Employers who conduct employee-owned vehicle searches of their employees must conduct the searches on their own property. Searches that are con- ducted on property not owned or rented by the employer will require a search warrant issued according to law.
Whistleblower. The Whistleblower Act was amended to provide that a State agency may not take disciplinary action against an em- ployee who discusses the operations and functions of the agency with the print or electronic media.
Wages. A minimum wage ballot initiative was approved by the voters in the Novem- ber 2002 general election. It provided for an increase in the State minimum wage rate from $6.50 per hour to $6.90 on January 1, 2003. It also provided that beginning January 1, 2004, and annually thereafter, the rate will be adjusted for inflation based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Con- sumer Price Index. As a result, the rate was