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Last time minimum wage was worth this small price. . . the year Elvis released his first single
A recent economic policy institute analysis of the Consumer Price Index confirmed what many individuals and families across the country have been feeling lately: a dollar just won’t stretch as far as it used to. The analysis states: “The value of the federal minimum wage has reached its lowest point in 66 years” and “the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is now worth less than at any time since February 1956” , when the minimum wage was “75 cents an hour, or $7.19 in June 2022 dollars.”
Consider this: July 2021 marked the longest continuous period without a minimum wage increase since the minimum wage was established. The current minimum wage of $7.25 is now worth 27.4% less (after adjusting for inflation) than it was when the wage was set at this rate in July 2009. It is worth 40.2 % less than the value of the federal minimum wage at its all-time high, when it peaked in February 1968. The Biden administration made raising the minimum wage a priority. Stay tuned to these updates for developments on this front.
FY22 union election petitions already outnumber FY21 petitions by three-quarters
As these updates have reflected, union activity has seen accelerated growth and public approval, particularly in recent months. This information is confirmed by the Public Affairs Office of the National Labor Relations Board newsletterreleased on July 13, 2021, which reports that in the first nine months of fiscal 2022 (October 1 to June 30), applications for union representation filed with the NLRB increased by 56%.
As of May 25 of this year, union petitions for fiscal year 2022 exceeded the total number of petitions filed in the previous year. Unfair labor practice charges – brought by people who believe an employer or union has violated national labor relations law – also saw a marked increase over the same period, from 11,451 to 13,106 charges.
Beware of salary issues
This month saw two major wage and hour settlements.
First, Major League Baseball (MLB) and minor league players settled a class action lawsuit in California. MLB has agreed to pay $185 million to settle the lawsuit filed by minor league players seeking to pay for minimum wage and overtime violations. Additionally, MLB agreed to allow teams to pay minor league players during spring training, extended spring training, and instructional leagues in Florida and Arizona. Like ESPN reported“Some minor league players continue to receive wages below the poverty level after Congress passed a bill in March 2018 exempting them from federal minimum wage and overtime laws. 000 minor league players earn between $4,800 and $14,700 annually Minor league players were only paid during their season The lawsuit stems from violations spanning from 2009 to 2011.
Poultry producers are also responsible for wage issues: they must pay nearly $85 million to workers who have been subjected to an illegal wage-setting scheme. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the settlement, which ends the DOJ’s investigation into an alleged scheme to share details about wages and benefits of workers at processing plants at various poultry producers in violation of federal antitrust laws. Cargill Inc., Sanderson Farms Inc. and Wayne Farms LLC are among the perpetrators.
EEOC Provides Updated Guidance on COVID-19 Testing in the Workplace
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regularly updates its COVID-19 guidelines, and with the increase in Omicron’s BA.5 subvariant, the EEOC has again issued a update. This time, the agency is focusing on workplace testing.
The guidelines provide that employers can mandate virus testing and require testing before an employee enters the workplace only if the test is “job-related and consistent with business necessity. “. Employers can meet this standard if the testing policy meets current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and/or state and local public health authorities at the time of testing.
The EEOC also provided some factors to consider when employers decide whether or not to institute testing policies: community transmission; vaccination status of employees; processing accuracy and speed for different types of COVID-19 viral tests; extent to which breakthrough infections are possible for employees who are “up to date” on vaccinations; ease of transmissibility of the current variant(s); possible severity of the disease; what types of contact employees may have with other people in the workplace or elsewhere where they are required to work (for example, if they work with medically vulnerable people); and the potential impact on operations if an employee enters the workplace with COVID-19.
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