2019 Minimum Wage Rate Increases: The List Grows

While the federal minimum wage has remained stalled at $7.25 an hour since 2009, there has been significant movement at the state level, with some states enacting a minimum wage rate that is now more than double the federal level.

Seattle is currently the leader for 2019, increasing its minimum wage to $16.00 per hour beginning in January for large employers (those with more than 500 employees). New York is close behind, increasing the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour for large employers located in New York City, though the state minimum will be $11.10 in 2019.

Many minimum wage increases scheduled for next year stem from statutes passed in 2016 or earlier that included pre-determined annual “stepped” increases or potential annual increases based on a particular consumer price index (CPI). But several new states that enacted increases this year (i.e., Delaware, Massachusetts, Arkansas, and Missouri) joined the club as a result of successful voter initiatives.

The majority of the upcoming minimum wage increases will go into effect on January 1 of next year (or the day before in New York). Others, including many municipal increases, will take effect on July 1, 2019.

Furthermore, the minimum wage for “tipped” employees, where allowed, is not reflected in this update, nor are the “living wage” ordinances passed by some municipalities and applicable only to that local government’s employees, contractors, program beneficiaries, and the like.


Minimum wage increases effective January 1, 2019 (December 31, 2018, for New York):

Jurisdiction Rate Increase
    Statewide $9.89 $0.05
    Statewide $11.00 $0.50
    Flagstaff $12.00 $1.00
    Statewide $9.25 $0.75
      26+ employees $12.00 $1.00
      ≤25 employees $11.00 $0.50
    Statewide $8.75 $0.50
    Statewide $8.46 $0.21
    Statewide $11.00 $1.00
    Statewide $12.00 $1.00
      $500K+ revenue $9.86 $0.21
      <$500K revenue $8.04 $0.17
    Statewide $8.60 $0.75
    Statewide $8.50 $0.20
New Jersey
    Statewide $8.85 $0.25
New Mexico
    Albuquerque $9.20 $0.25
      If employer pays at least $2,500 annually toward healthcare or childcare $8.20
    Bernalillo County $9.05 $0.20
    Las Cruces $10.10 $0.65
New York
    Statewide $11.10 $0.70
$12.75 (fast food workers) $1.00
    Nassau/Suffolk/Westchester Counties $12.00 $1.00
$12.75 (fast food workers) $1.00
    NYC (>10 employees) $15.00 $2.00
$15.00 (fast food workers) $1.25
    NYC (≤10 employees) $13.50 $1.50
$15.00 (fast food workers) $1.50
    Statewide $8.55 $0.25
$7.25 (gross sales <$314K)
Rhode Island
    Statewide (most employees) $10.50 $0.40
South Dakota
    Statewide $9.10 $0.25
    Statewide $10.78 $0.28
    Statewide $12.00 $0.50
      500+ employees in U.S. $16.00 $1.00
      <500 employees in U.S. $12.00 $0.50
    SeaTac (hospitality & transportation workers) $16.09 $0.45
    Tacoma $12.35 $0.35

Minimum wage increases effective July 1, 2019 (unless otherwise stated):
[Note: Some jurisdictions base their minimum wage increase, if any, on a year-end consumer price index and, therefore, have not yet determined the 2019 rate(s).]

Jurisdiction Rate Increase
    Statewide (Oct. 1) $9.25 $0.50
District of Columbia
    District-wide $14.00 $0.75
    Chicago $13.00 $1.00
    Montgomery County $13.00 (51+ employees) $0.75
$12.50 (11-50 employees) $0.50
$12.50 (≤10 employees) $0.50
    Minneapolis $12.25 (101+ employees) $1.00
$11.00 (≤100 employees) $0.75
    “Non-Urban” Counties $11.00 $0.50
    Portland Metro $12.50 $0.50
    All Other Counties $11.25 $0.50


*California has approximately 20 different city, county, or other local hourly minimum wage rates, many of which are now at $15.00 or more. For further information, please consult the Jackson Lewis workthruIT® app or any Jackson Lewis attorney.

**For “Schedule 2” employers (<500 employees) in Seattle, the minimum hourly wage will be $12.00, but the minimum hourly compensation will be $15.00. The additional $3.00 may be based on wages, tips, bonuses, commissions, or medical benefits contributions.

Jackson Lewis is available to assist employers in achieving compliance with these and other workplace requirements.

*Original article



After the Hashtag Stops Trending: What Are the Lasting Effects of the #MeToo Movement?

The #MeToo movement gained national prominence in October 2017 with the swift dismantling of Harvey Weinstein. During the 2017 holiday season, the nation was treated to a twisted advent calendar of rich and powerful men accused of sexual harassment and misconduct. The activists who championed the movement vowed that they would create a permanent and significant culture shift. Now, a year later, the media attention has faded, the nation is focused on other subjects and scandals, and the lasting effects of the #MeToo movement are uncertain.

On an individual level, it does appear that #MeToo may have empowered people to feel more comfortable reporting sexual harassment and misconduct. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported that sexual harassment complaints increased by 12 percent during the current fiscal year over the same period in the 2017 fiscal year. From last fiscal year to this year, the EEOC also upped the number of sexual harassment lawsuits it pursued and filed.

The movement’s effect on legislation is spottier. USA Today analyzed the more than 2,000 state bills that passed in the last two years. It found that, in the 12 months after #MeToo first trended, there was a less than one percent increase in the number of bills mentioning “sexual” and a related buzz term, such as “rape kit” or “nondisclosure,” compared to the 12 months prior to the movement. The #MeToo conversation has not directly translated into a watershed moment for enacting new laws to combat sexual harassment and misconduct.

There have been some areas of success. One such area is the enactment of laws to combat the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims. Maryland, for example, enacted its Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act, which went into effect on October 1, 2018. This law voids any provision in an employment contract, policy, or agreement that waives a substantive right, procedural right, or remedy with regard to a future sexual harassment claim. Arizona, New York, Tennessee, Vermont, and Washington have also enacted laws addressing this topic. State legislatures have also successfully passed laws addressing rape kits – either addressing a state’s backlog of untested rape kits or creating procedures for testing in a timely fashion – and lengthening statutes of limitation for sex crimes. Still, while these laws will undoubtedly help certain victims, they are limited in scope and applicability.

Additionally, we have not seen the passage of any sweeping federal laws that address sexual harassment and misconduct. The sole change on the federal level so far has been one of limited applicability – and also in an area of law that is not intuitively related to sexual harassment – a tax law. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, employers are prohibited from deducting any settlement or payment for sexual misconduct or attorneys’ fees related to such a settlement or payment as business expenses if there is a nondisclosure agreement involved.

Moreover, the federal change most immediately on the horizon appears to be more of a backlash to the movement than the type of legislation that #MeToo activists hoped to enact. On November 16, 2018, the Department of Education (DOE) proposed a new rule under Title XI of the Education Amendments of 1972. The new regulations address the way schools must handle complaints of sexual misconduct. In particular, they narrow the definition of sexual harassment to a school’s employee demanding quid pro quo sexual relations, sexual assault, or “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity.” The new regulations also permit a school to decide whether to apply the “preponderance of the evidence” or the much stricter “clear and convincing evidence” evidentiary standard to accusations of sexual misconduct and only hold schools accountable for investigating formal complaints made through proper authorities. Furthermore, schools will only be found liable if they acted with deliberate indifference when responding to a complaint.

The DOE’s proposed rule will need to go through a period of public comment before it is finalized, but unsurprisingly, it received a mixed reception. Assuming the final rule does not differ much from the proposed rule, it may be that the most significant law to come out of the #MeToo era is one that many believe is designed to insulate schools from liability, not combat sexual misconduct on school campuses.

For assistance with preventing and addressing sexual harassment claims in your workplace, contact the author, Megan Quinn, or any member of Baker Donelson’s Labor & Employment Group.




How To Establish A Culture Of Employee Engagement

Because having a successful business is every employer’s dream, companies emphasize employee engagement. With an engaged staff of employees, you lower your risk of turnover, boost customer satisfaction, and increase your company’s overall chance of success. Not to mention, there is a slew of accounting benefits of employee engagement.

I’ve learned that neither you nor your employees can force workplace engagement. It has to be ingrained in your business and within each individual employee. Find out how you can get highly engaged employees below.

5 Ways To Encourage Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is the level of commitment, passion, and loyalty a worker has toward their work and company. The more engaged an employee is, the more work they’ll put forth.

Only 32% of employees in the United States are engaged, according to a Gallup poll. That means over two-thirds of employees nationwide are disengaged with their work.

Picture two employees: One comes into work 10 minutes early each day, is excited to be there, and constantly comes up with and shares ideas for improving operations. The other employee gets to work on time every day, does the bare minimum, and counts the time until they can leave. Which employee is highly engaged?

For a business owner, the answer is simple. You want hard-working employees who are actively engaged with the work they do. You can create a culture of organizational engagement by doing the following.

1. Don’t Skip Onboarding And Training

If an employee doesn’t have a handle on their responsibilities, they won’t be engaged. Instead, they’ll be confused, frustrated, and rushed to catch up, which leads to disengagement.

Employees who can master their workload have a better shot at taking pride in what they do. Workers who are eager to meet their goals are engaged with the company. Onboarding and training new hires are some of the most important steps you can take to ensure employees are engaged at work. One SHRM survey reported that one-third of new hires left their jobs after only six months. You have less than six months to get employees engaged with their position.

With a successful onboarding and training program, employees will learn how to effectively do their job. This is the time they can engage with you and ask questions, offer ideas, and voice concerns.

For most employees, onboarding and training is also the time when they bond with co-workers and develop a connection to the company. Studies have shown that the more friends employees have at work, the more engaged they are. One study found that only 28% of employees with no work friends were engaged, versus 69% with 25 or more friends. Onboarding encourages relationships among employees.

2. Set Company Goals

To run a successful business, you need a business plan with a list of goals you want to accomplish. To engage employees, you need to involve them in reaching business goals.

You should set annual, semi-annual, quarterly, and monthly goals so employees have something to work toward. Reaching goals is something that encourages employee engagement.

Employees want to know how their position fits in with the other positions in the company. And, they want to learn how their work affects your business as a whole. You can set general company goals as well as goals within each department. That way, each employee knows how their work is impacting the departmental and overall success of your business.

3. Acknowledge Employees

Employees don’t automatically become engaged when you give them more praise, thanks, or any other type of acknowledgment. But, employees can quickly become disengaged if they feel like they’re invisible.

Engaged employees have a sense of comfortability and camaraderie with your business. Again, it’s important for employees to know their co-workers and develop friendships with them. But it’s also important to develop a relationship of respect and friendship between employer and employee.

When I say acknowledge employees, I don’t mean give them praise for every little thing they do. I’m talking about things like saying “Hello,” “Have a good night,” or “Thank you.” And when the employee puts in extra effort, acknowledge them.

Your employee engagement management should emphasize acknowledging employees for their hard work. According to Gallup, employees who aren’t recognized are twice as likely to quit.

At Patriot Software, we have TVs that broadcast accomplishments, anniversaries, birthdays, and more. We also acknowledge employees in our monthly newsletter.

4. Focus On Employee Development

There are many reasons job seekers apply for and accept a position, like salary and benefits. But, many workers also want the opportunity to grow their career. One Gallup poll found that 87% of millennials (and 69% of non-millennials) view development as important in their jobs.

Employees want to develop their skills and continue challenging themselves. They don’t want to do monotonous tasks that require minimal effort. Engaged employees constantly use their mind and enhance their skills.

You can focus on employee development in a few different ways. You might add new duties to the employee’s position to prevent boredom, allow room for growth in the position, or offer a job rotation program so employees do different tasks every so often.

Another way you can emphasize employee development is by offering educational assistance. This is a great perk that lets employees further their education. It shows employees that you value their career growth, and it also allows you to add new skills to your business.

5. Don’t Micromanage

If employees are told exactly what to do and how to do it, they won’t have the time or motivation to engage with the work. They’ll be more like robots. Employees can’t be engaged if they don’t have freedom in how to do their jobs.

Micromanaging can be damaging to your business. One business found that micromanaging resulted in 68% of employees saying their morale was dampened and 55% saying it led to a decrease in productivity. Lost morale and productivity leads to actively disengaged workers.

I don’t like micromanaging at Patriot Software, and my managers don’t like it, either. We encourage employees to work on their own, come up with their own ideas, and bring those ideas to the table. If we are watching over their shoulder every step of the way, employees wouldn’t have the freedom to develop their own ways to problem solve and engage with the work.

Instead of micromanaging, I let each employee make decisions about how to accomplish their work. This leads to higher levels of engagement. And, employees know they can reach out to their managers (or me) if they ever have any questions.

Start by looking at the big picture. Leave the details up to your employees, and you’ll end up with workers happy to put their own methods and ideas into action.

*Original Article