States step in to undercut local minimum wage ordinances
- As cities across the nation pass minimum-wage raises, some state governments, like Missouri, are voting down the increases, NPR reports.
- So far, 27 states have passed minimum-wage increases, says NPR. More municipalities are expected to do the same, but some states argue that cities and towns should abide by state minimum-wage rates and therefore are rolling back those ordinances.
- Mike Aitken, SHRM's vice president of government affairs, told NPR that administering a patchwork of minimum wage rates is a burden for employers with workers in different jurisdictions.
The battle between cities and states over minimum-wage increases is largely partisan. Democrats tend to run cities, especially large municipalities, where many of their constituents are low-wage earners. Republicans won gubernatorial races in a number of states in recent elections, and they are using their clout to roll back large increases. Workers in Washington State, Maine, Colorado and Arizona voted for increases that GOP-led states are rolling back.
Of course, this type of battle isn't limited to minimum wage. Issues ranging from paid sick leave benefits to medical marijuana usage are in a legislative holding pattern, causing headaches for HR departments that operate across state lines. And with confusion at the federal level in the form of leadership shortages, it's far from certain that federal agencies will intervene.
Employers will want to monitor cross-country, minimum-wage battles between cities and state to determine what compliance steps they might need to take. More municipalities will likely pass minimum-wage ordinances. Documentation will be key, and employee handbooks will need to be consistently updated in anticipation of new regulations.