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State Labor Laws, 2003 - page 4 / 27





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State Labor Laws, 2003

State labor departments. In Michigan, the name of the Depart- ment of Consumer and Industry Services was changed to the Department of Labor and Economic Growth, and a new Wage and Hour Division was created within the department. In Idaho, the Disability Determinations Service was transferred from the Executive Office of the Governor to the Department of Labor.

The Utah Labor Commission is to assume certain coal mine regulatory functions previously performed by the Labor Commission’s Safety Division.

The Maryland Commissioner of Labor and Industry may now charge a fee to cover the cost of providing mediation services.

Other laws. Among other laws enacted, Arkansas and Iowa will provide employment leave for State employees to serve as bone marrow or organ donors. The Arkansas law also applies to public school employees. Hawaii joins several other States by now providing for paid leave for American Red Cross disaster volunteers. A Mississippi measure creates a program of paid educational leave for hospital employees.

A California measure permits employees to sue their em- ployers for violations of the State labor code. A Minnesota law permits civil actions against the State to be brought in Federal court by current, former, or prospective employees of the State who are aggrieved by the State’s violation of vari- ous Federal laws.

Idaho adopted a Voluntary Contributions Act regulating political contributions by labor organizations.

Alaw enacted in Tennessee prohibits the termination of an employee who is a volunteer firefighter if his or her absence or lateness to work is due to responding to an emergency. Illi- nois made it unlawful to use a false academic degree for the purpose of obtaining employment.

Application of the New York anti-sweatshop laws were expanded to allow public schools and colleges in the State to consider labor standards when evaluating bids for sports equipment. An Illinois State Prohibition of Goods from Forced Labor Act provides that each contract entered into by a State agency for the procurement of equipment, materials, or sup- plies must specify that foreign-made goods produced under the contract were not produced in whole or in part by forced, convict, or indentured labor. A similar law was enacted in California. Also, California made it unlawful to enter into a contract for labor or services with a construction, farm labor, garment, janitorial, or security guard contractor, if it is known that the contract does not provide sufficient funds to permit compliance with all applicable laws. Texas made it unlawful to traffic another person with the intent that the trafficked per- son engage in forced labor or services.

The following is a summary, by jurisdiction, of labor legis- lation enacted in 2003.


Other laws. The law allowing persons who are regularly employed by the State to engage in employment in the private sector—if the employment is not specifically prohibited by statute, and there is no conflict with the job of the State employee—was amended to limit this authorization to those employees whose pay is $75,000 or less exclusive of benefits. In addition, the law provides that no em- ployee is to engage in employment in the pri- vate sector during their scheduled working hours. The entity that employed the State employee may not do business with or be employed by the department that employs the State employee.


Wages. As the result of prior legislation, the State minimum wage rate rose to $7.15 per hour, from $5.65, on January 1, 2003.

The minimum wage law was amended to eliminate a provision enacted in 2002 that would have required annual adjustments to the minimum wage rate based on the rate of inflation. The first indexed rate would have become effective on January 1, 2004.

The section of law requiring the pay- ment of overtime was amended to provide

that it applies to all claims for overtime based on employment on and after July 1, 1990, and before June 2, 1999, and to all pending administrative and judicial actions that are based on the calculation of over- time for employment during that time pe- riod. The requirement for the payment of overtime at the rate of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week had been invalidated by a court decision and then reenacted in 1999. In determining whether an employee has worked more than 40 hours a week, the number of hours worked is calculated without including those hours worked in excess of 8 a day, because the employee is paid overtime compensation separately, based on those hours.

The overtime pay requirements of the minimum wage law were amended to exempt from coverage work performed by flight crew members employed by air carriers subject to the Federal Railway Labor Act. Flight crew is defined as the pilot, co-pilot, flight engi- neer, and flight attendants.

The submission of payroll information by contractors and subcontractors perform- ing work on a public construction contract is now to be made every second week rather

than weekly. By July 1, 2004, the Depart- ment of Labor and Workforce Development is to provide for filing these reports by se- cure online electronic filing.

Before commencing work on a public construction contract, the person entering into the contract with a contracting agency is to designate a primary contractor who must file a notice of work with the Depart- ment of Labor and Workforce Development. The notice of work must list work to be performed under the public construction contract by each contractor who will per- form any portion of work on the contract and the contract price being paid to each contractor. The primary contractor must pay all filing fees for each contractor per- forming work on the contract, including a filing fee based on the contract price being paid for work performed by the primary contractor’s employees. Upon completion of all work on the contract, the primary con- tractor must file with the department a no- tice of completion together with payment of any additional filing fees owed due to in- creased contract amounts. Within 30 days after the department’s receipt of the notice of completion, the department is to inform the contracting agency of the amount, if any, to be withheld from the final payment.


Monthly Labor Review

January 2004

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