Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ohio set to maintain stable statewide minimum wage

A bill is on its way to Governor Kasich’s desk for signature that would prohibit any municipality or other political subdivision from establishing a minimum wage different from Ohio’s state minimum wage.

Sub. S.B. 331 [pdf] is a reaction to efforts of the “Fight for 15” movement to create piecemeal minimum wage increases city by city. Recall that earlier this year, Ohio’s attorney general issued an advisory opinion that a municipal ordinance may not require an employer to by a to pay its employees an hourly minimum wage rate that is in excess of the statewide hourly minimum wage rate,which is fixed by Ohio’s Constitution. This bill clears up an ambiguity over this issue.

The bill provides: “No political subdivision shall establish a minimum wage rate different from the wage rate required under this section.”

Interestingly, a separate amendment to S.B. 331 also grants private employers the exclusive right to govern matters concerning work hours, location of work, scheduling, and fringe benefits, including:
  1. The number of hours an employee is required to work or be on call for work; 
  2. The time when an employee is required to work or be on call for work; 
  3. The location where an employee is required to work; 
  4. The amount of notification an employee receives of work schedule assignments or changes to work schedule assignments, including any addition or reduction of hours, cancellation of a shift, or change in the date or time of a work shift; 
  5. Minimizing fluctuations in the number of hours an employee is scheduled to work on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis; 
  6. Additional payment for reporting time when work is or becomes unavailable, for being on call for work, or for working a split shift; 
  7. Whether an employer will provide advance notice of an employee’s initial work or shift schedule, notice of new schedules, or notice of changed schedules, including whether an employer will provide employees with predictive schedules; 
  8. Whether an employer will provide additional hours of work to employees the employer currently employs before employing additional workers; 
  9. Whether an employer will provide employees with fringe benefits and the type and amount of those benefits. 
Once this bill becomes law (and all signals are that it will) employers statewide will be able to rest easy that their locality will not bump the minimum wage to an untenable level, as well as that their right to establish work hours, scheduling, etc. will remain free of government intervention.

It is shaping up to be a busy lame duck session in Columbus for bills that impact employers. Stay tuned.