State Labor Legislation Enacted in 2001; Increases in Minimum Wage Rates, Restrictions on Youth Peddling, Bans on Discrimination Because of Genetic Information, and Protection from Workplace Harassment and Violence Were among Major Subjects of State Labor Legislation. (State Labor Laws, 2001).(united States)(Statistical Data Included)

By Nelson, Richard R. | Monthly Labor Review, January 2002 | Go to article overview

State Labor Legislation Enacted in 2001; Increases in Minimum Wage Rates, Restrictions on Youth Peddling, Bans on Discrimination Because of Genetic Information, and Protection from Workplace Harassment and Violence Were among Major Subjects of State Labor Legislation. (State Labor Laws, 2001).(united States)(Statistical Data Included)


Nelson, Richard R., Monthly Labor Review


State labor legislation enacted in 2001 covered a wide variety of employment standards and included several significant developments. (1) Minimum wage rates were increased in a number of States, child labor measures were enacted, governing employment in the entertainment industry and placing limits on children selling products door-to-door, and employment discrimination on the basis of genetic information or other reasons was banned in several States. Laws also were enacted in the emerging areas of regulating employee monitoring in the workplace, allowing breaks for nursing mothers, providing benefits for domestic partners, and addressing workplace harassment and violence.

This article summarizes significant State labor legislation enacted in 2001. It does not, however, cover legislation on occupational safety and health, employment and training, labor relations, employee background clearance, economic development, and local living wage ordinances. Changes in unemployment insurance and workers' compensation laws appear elsewhere in this issue.

Wages. Legislation to increase minimum wage rates was introduced in more than one-half of the States and at the Federal level. New legislation increased minimum wage rates in Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Texas, and Wyoming; rates also increased in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Washington as the result of previous laws. A bill proposing an increase in the minimum wage was vetoed in New Mexico. A bill to increase the Federal minimum wage was pending at press time. If enacted, this will affect 25 jurisdictions where rates are linked to the Federal rate. (2)

As of January 1,2002, minimum wage rates were higher than the Federal standard in Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Of the 43 States with minimum wage laws, only 3 have rates lower than the Federal rate of $5.15 per hour.

Utah passed a measure prohibiting cities, towns, and counties from establishing minimum rates that exceed the Federal rate, and Oregon passed a law barfing local governments from establishing minimum wage requirements for private sector employers in their jurisdictions.

Provisions that allow employers to use employee tips to meet a portion of the minimum wage were revised in Connecticut, Hawaii, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming.

Other significant minimum wage legislation was enacted in Arkansas where civil penalties replaced criminal penalties for violation, in the District of Columbia where civil penalties were authorized for minimum wage and wage payment violations, and in Oregon where civil penalties were authorized for willful minimum wage law violations. Idaho brought agricultural employment under coverage, Nevada eliminated a sub-minimum wage rate for minors, Vermont abolished its wage board, and Wyoming eliminated exemptions for minors under age 18 and part-time workers. Wyoming will allow a sub-minimum wage rate for employees under age 20 during the first 90 days of employment.

Laws were enacted in Maine and Oregon placing limits on mandatory overtime for nurses.

Prevailing wage laws pertaining to public works projects currently exist in 31 States and the Federal Government. In 2001, as usual, there was a mix of reform legislation enacted. Laws enacted in California, Illinois and Rhode Island expanded coverage to include additional authorities or agencies, while the Oregon law was amended to provide a new exemption. The dollar threshold amount for coverage was increased administratively in Ohio and Wisconsin and by legislation for certain projects in West Virginia.

Rate determination methodology was changed in Montana and Wyoming. Wyoming also revised its hearing procedures. Nevada changed penalty provisions, Oregon made changes in requirements for the submission of certified payroll records, and in California, "public works" will now include installation work. …

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State Labor Legislation Enacted in 2001; Increases in Minimum Wage Rates, Restrictions on Youth Peddling, Bans on Discrimination Because of Genetic Information, and Protection from Workplace Harassment and Violence Were among Major Subjects of State Labor Legislation. (State Labor Laws, 2001).(united States)(Statistical Data Included)
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