Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Obama Seeks Support for Health Care Bill

Due to financial crisis, many people are down in spirits during the work. But it is different in Michigan. When the federal minimum wage increased to $7.25 an hour last Friday, it also boosted Michigan's sub-minimum wage, which is currently $6.55 an hour.

The 17-year-old Attica Township teen from Michigan has been working this summer for a Lapeer-based landscaping service mowing grass. "It may not seem like much, but it's better than a sharp poke in the eye," Harlow told The County Press. "I'm just a kid still living at home, so I don't know how the government thinks people can live in this wage."

The federal minimum wage increase in last week is the final of a three-step increase which began in 2007. The workers under 18 years of age comply with Michigan's sub-minimum wage which equals 85 percent of the state's adult minimum wage. But the minimum wage cannot be lower than the federal minimum wage. According to federal estimates, about 2,000 Michigan workers, on average, had wages at the federal minimum wage level in 2008.

Although the federal minimum wage will increase, Michigan's minimum wage will still be higher at $7.40 an hour. The current state’s minimum wage is 25 cents higher than last year.

"You keep increasing the minimum wage, and it's just going to be exacerbating the problem," said David Hamel, professor of business management for Wayne State University. "Whenever you have more money coming in on wages, you're going to have folks who take advantage of it."

More information about the Wage & Hour Division as well as the state's minimum wage and overtime law is available at Michigan official website.

Federal Minimum wage Increase Benefits Michigan Workers under 18

Due to financial crisis, many people are down in spirits during the work. But it is different in Michigan. When the federal minimum wage increased to $7.25 an hour last Friday, it also boosted Michigan's sub-minimum wage, which is currently $6.55 an hour.

The 17-year-old Attica Township teen from Michigan has been working this summer for a Lapeer-based landscaping service mowing grass. "It may not seem like much, but it's better than a sharp poke in the eye," Harlow told The County Press. "I'm just a kid still living at home, so I don't know how the government thinks people can live in this wage."

The federal minimum wage increase in last week is the final of a three-step increase which began in 2007. The workers under 18 years of age comply with Michigan's sub-minimum wage which equals 85 percent of the state's adult minimum wage. But the minimum wage cannot be lower than the federal minimum wage. According to federal estimates, about 2,000 Michigan workers, on average, had wages at the federal minimum wage level in 2008.

Although the federal minimum wage will increase, Michigan's minimum wage will still be higher at $7.40 an hour. The current state’s minimum wage is 25 cents higher than last year.

"You keep increasing the minimum wage, and it's just going to be exacerbating the problem," said David Hamel, professor of business management for Wayne State University. "Whenever you have more money coming in on wages, you're going to have folks who take advantage of it."

More information about the Wage & Hour Division as well as the state's minimum wage and overtime law is available at Michigan official website.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

U.S. Department of Labor announces 1st Trade Adjustment Assistance certifications under new law

On June 22, 2009, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the certification of 20 petitions for benefit eligibility for workers under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. The new TAA law took effect on May 18, 2009, which provides training and employment services for workers who have lost their jobs due to competitive foreign trade and these are the first certifications under the new TAA law.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) expanded the pool of eligible TAA recipients to include: workers in companies that supply services; workers whose companies have shifted production to any foreign country; workers in public agencies; workers whose companies produce component parts of a finished product; workers in companies that supply testing, packaging, maintenance and transportation services to companies with TAA-certified workers; and workers whose companies are identified in an International Trade Commission "injury" determination listed in the Trade Act of 1974. The Recovery Act also raised the cap on annual TAA training funds from $220 million to $575 million.

A petition may be filed by a group of three or more workers, by a company or public agency official by One-Stop operators or partners (including state employment security agencies and dislocated worker units) or by a union or other duly authorized representative of such workers. The workers on whose behalf a petition is filed must be or have been employed at the firm or subdivision identified in the petition. If the group of workers described in the petition is certified, the certification will cover all workers in the group whether or not their names are on the petition. Workers certified as eligible for TAA have access to a variety of resources such as re-employment services, job search allowances, relocation allowances and various types of income support.

"These certifications mark the beginning of a new era of opportunity for service workers who lose their jobs as a result of direct foreign competition," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Workers covered under TAA are offered the employment and training services needed to upgrade existing skills or pursue new careers in growing industries."

Monday, July 20, 2009

4.7 Percent of Texas Workers Received Lower Wages

According to U.S. Department of Labor’s study, 262,000 Texas workers received lower wages than the federal minimum wage last year. Statistics shows that about 4.7 percent of the state's hourly workers received lower wages, which is the seventh highest share in the nation.

But in San Antonio, it seems that the current situation is becoming harder. It’s harder to find workers who earn the low-end salary because the economy has performed well and because city government has promoted higher “living wages” for its employees and contractors.

Living wages are used as a guide by city administrators in establishing departmental salaries. But it often exceeds minimum wages by several dollars an hour, said Dan Williams, a human resources administrator for the city. As a result, all city employees are paid more than the current minimum wage. Thirty workers in the city's summer programs receive $7.25 an hour. This wage will not change until the labor law updates.

Yolanda Arellano, the executive director of the Texas Restaurant Association's San Antonio branch presents that restaurateurs were aware of the looming salary increases and may have cut back slightly on staff this summer as a result.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Healthy Families Act Would Guarantee Paid Sick Leave

One change to healthcare system may be coming, and it's one many small business owners would not like. Senator Ted Kennedy recently introduced a bill –the Healthy Families Act– that would implement a mandatory sick leave law and require employees to receive at least 7 paid sick days per year. In the House, the mandatory sick leave law introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro is called HR 2460.

The Act would require businesses with more than 15 employees to grant no less than one hour of paid sick leave per every 30 hours worked, up to a total of 7 paid sick days per year. Employees would be eligible to use paid sick leave after 60 days.

Employees could use the sick leave for their own illness, for preventive care, to care for a child, parent, spouse or "any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.", or to seek medical or legal assistance relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

The Times notes that similar legislation was attempted repeatedly during the Bush administration. The current bill's preamble notes that more than half private sector employees, and a vast majority of low wage workers have no paid sick leave, requiring them to choose between losing pay (and perhaps losing a job) and caring for themselves or their family.

The latest statistics show that more than half private sector employees and a vast majority of low wage workers have no sick leave. They must choose between losing pay (and perhaps losing a job) and caring for themselves or their family.

Business groups are vowing to block the legislation, arguing that the recession makes this an inopportune time to create a new mandate that they say would raise costs for employers. Supporters, on the other hand, say the legislation is especially timely now, given the swine flu epidemic.

San Francisco and Washington D.C. already require paid sick leave, and Milwaukee as well as many states are currently considering doing so as well. In addition, the legislatures of some other states, including Connecticut and Massachusetts, are debating similar measures.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Florida Minimum Wage Increase in 2009

The state of Florida will increase its minimum wage by 3 cents, which means, from the current $7.21 per hour to $7.24 per hour on July 24, 2009. At the same time, the federal minimum wage will increase to $7.25 per hour.

Of course, the change has a number of ramifications for Florida employers. They must update their state and federal minimum wage posters in the workplace.

This is the second time for Florida to change the minimum wage this month. On July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage will increase to $7.25, so the minimum in these thirteen states will increase $7.25 per hour, too.

The change in the federal minimum wage will affect most of the employers in the United States. The companies earning $500, 000 or more annually will conform to the federal law.

When an employee qualifies for his or her state’s minimum wage and for the federal minimum wage, the worker is entitled to whichever wage provides the greater benefit to the employee

Monday, July 06, 2009

Minimum Wage Rises in Midst of Bad Economy

A new federally-mandated minimum wage will take effect across the nation July 24.
In order to help state workers, the Kentucky General Assembly voted to put this new act into effect July 1, three weeks earlier than the schedule date.

Congress made a two -year plan to increase the minimum wage in 2007. The minimum wage of 2007 is $5.85 an hour, and that of 2008 is $6.55. The minimum wage of 2009 will be 7.25$. The minimum wage for employees who receive tips will remain at $2.13 an hour. "This increase is significant for many Kentucky workers who, like others, have been struggling during these difficult economic times," Kentucky Labor Secretary J.R. Gray commented in a news release.There are two different views about the increase of minimum wages. Proponents take it as a good way for employees to make ends meet while increasing the standard of living, especially to the poor and vulnerable people. . It prevents workers from being exploited. However, opponents say the law reduces profit margins, destroys jobs and creates inflation, since many employers immediately pass the extra personnel cost on to consumers.
The Kentucky Retail Federation doesn’t think it is a good idea to increase the minimum wage at this time. Jan Gould, Senior Vice President for the Federation thinks it is extremely awful as there are layoffs in all industries. Gould said. "We're seeing major national retailers struggling. Increasing the base wage level and other wage levels just exacerbates it." Gould says arguing about the minimum wage hike is a moot point since the law is now two years old and had an automatic increase for 2009 written into it.
No one could have predicted that the economy would have such sharp decline when passed the minimum wage law in 2007. So it is very important to adjust the wage in Gould’s opinion.

No matter your agree it or not, the new act in Kentucky will taken into effect. That’s the final say about this thing.
Kentucky businesses will need to update their state and federal labor law posters and display them in the workplace. Employers with questions about the new minimum wage regulations can consult the Kentucky Labor Cabinet or call at 502-564-3534. If workers suspect their employer is not paying them properly under the federal minimum wage law, they may contact the U.S. Department of Labor Louisville District Office toll-free at 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act Goes Into Effect

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)of 2008, signed into law by previous President George W. Bush on May 21, 2008,and partly goes into effect on May 21, 2009, is an Act of Congress in the United States designed to prohibit the improper use of genetic information in health insurance and employment.

Under GINA, the EEOC definition of “genetic information” includes information about an individual’s family medical history. The law would prohibit an employer from asking about family medical history during an interview, or at any time after the employee is hired. It also prohibits employers from gathering information about the employee through individual genetic tests, or genetic tests of a family member.

The law has two parts: Title I and Title II. Title I, goes into effect on May 21, 2009, prohibits health insurance providers from discrimination against an individual based on genetic testing. This makes it illegal for health insurance providers to use or require genetic information to make decisions about a person's insurance eligibility or coverage. Title II, goes into effect on November 21, 2009, makes it illegal for employers to use a person's genetic information when making decisions about hiring, promotion, and several other terms of employment.

GINA applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including private employers, employment agencies, labor unions, and joint labor-management training programs. It also applies to government employers with 15 or more workers, including state and local governments, agencies of the federal executive branch and Congress. Each of these employers is referred to as a “covered entity” in the GINA regulations.