This late winter/early spring has brought about one of the most controversial topics on labor issues we’ve seen since Card Check wage – specifically, minimum wage and overtime pay. (But don’t worry, that subject hasn’t gone away, but that will be addressed in a separate post.)
In 2014 alone:
- 38 states have introduced bills affecting minimum wage.
- 5 states and Washington, D.C. have raised the minimum wage.
- President Obama issued an executive order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour for new federal contract employees only (beginning in 2015).
- Congress has pushed several bills to increase minimum wage. The Senate will take up S. 2223, introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), on the week of April 28. This bill’s original intent was to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016, but it now includes language that would extend the $500,000 cap for small business expensing of investments eligible for deductions, including allowances for computer software and qualified real property (leasehold and retail improvements, and restaurant property). However, there is expected pushback from Republicans, who are using a recent Congressional Budget office report indicating that the passage of this bill and raising minimum wage would cost more than 500,000 jobs.
- President Obama was also going to issue an executive order to change how overtime would be considered for employees (changing requirements for executive and managerial positions). After some pushback, the order now requests that the Secretary of Labor investigate and propose revisions to overtime calculations. This directive could take years to get through the regulatory process, so employers can breathe a bit easier for now.
What Does This Mean for Owners in our Industry?
NSCA has received several questions concerning minimum wage requirements. If you, like many integrators, already pay technicians and installers well above the minimum wage, a change more than likely will not affect you.
In general, the minimum wage debate is one presenting pros and cons for business owners. By raising the minimum wage, 900,000 people would be lifted out of poverty, which could improve the number of people receiving subsidies and additional government support. Other reports have shown that seven out of 10 business owners are in favor of raising minimum wage.
Additionally, 21 states and Washington, D.C. already have a minimum wage that’s greater than the federal minimum wage, so nearly half of the country may not see too much of a difference.
The changes to employee definitions for wage purposes – overtime pay, exempt/non-exempt and healthcare coverage – are the issues that our industry will want to pay attention to. These issues will affect your costs, your bottom line, and your ability to hire.