The Ohio Fair Minimum Wage Act
The Ohio Fair Minimum Wage Amendment will raise the minimum wage rate to $6.85 per hour, effective January 1, 2007. The Amendment also includes a provision automatically boosting the minimum wage each year in proportion to the rate of inflation for the previous twelve months.
Those exempt from the new state law include employers which generate less than $250,000 in gross annual receipts. However, such employers are required to pay the current federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour. Also exempt are employers and employees specifically exempted under the regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act; state-approved agencies which provide employment opportunities to individuals with physical or mental disabilities who would otherwise face substantial challenges in obtaining a job; family-member employees of businesses which are exclusively family owned and operated; and individuals casually employed on or around the employer's property or residence. Employees who routinely receive tips may be paid as little as $3.43 per hour if the employer can demonstrate that the tips combined with the hourly base pay equal the minimum wage rate.
The amendment imposes certain record-keeping requirements on those employers regulated by the law. Such employers are required to provide each new employee with the employer's name, address, telephone number and other contact information. In addition, employers have a duty to inform employees of any updates to this information. Employers are also required to keep the following information for each employee for a period of three years after such employment ends: name, address, occupation/job title, pay rate, hours worked on each day worked, and amount paid. Upon request by any employee, any person acting on behalf of any employee, or the state, employers are required to provide such information at no charge.
The Minimum Wage Amendment will be enforced two ways: by the state or through civil suit. Individual employees, or groups of employees, may file a complaint to the state to enforce the new law's record-keeping requirements; or the state may also enforce these provisions on its own. Individual employees or groups of employees may also bring a civil lawsuit against an employer believed to be in violation of the minimum wage law. The law prohibits employers from retaliating against any employee who exercises his or her right to access wage and hour information under the terms described above.
Violators of the law are required to pay back wages, punitive damages in an amount equal to two times the back pay, as well as the employee's litigation costs and attorney fees. If an employer violates the anti-discrimination provision, it will be liable for an additional punitive damage amount of at least $150.00 per day for each day that the violation continued.
Ohio employers governed by the new law should make sure they are in compliance by consulting with legal counsel to, among other things, ensure that their hiring process includes the provision of a document to each employee containing the organization's name and address, as well as a contact name and telephone number that an employee may call to discuss issues related to wages. Such contact information may be provided with each paycheck or pay statement as a way to routinely notify each employee of any change. Employers must also be sure to review and revise their current record-keeping systems to ensure that each employee's name, address, occupation/job title, pay rate, hours worked for each day worked, and amount paid is maintained throughout his or her employment and for a period of three years thereafter. Employers may also find it useful to implement a wage and hour information release policy that requires each employee requesting his or her wage and hour information to sign a written authorization, and to insist that any person requesting such information on behalf of an employee or group of employees be required to present the same authorization in writing from each individual for whom information is sought. Employers are not required to release an employee's entire personnel file, social security number, or other personal and/or confidential information.
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Last updated 12-Nov-2015.