Portland Rethinks, Repeals Hazard Pay

Just days after it took effect, the Portland City Council effectively voted to end the new hazard pay ordinance that pushed minimum wages to $19.50 an hour! By a vote of 8-1 on January 3, the council ended the state of emergency that the city had declared back on March 16, 2020 and in exchange,…

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Additional News on Wages

As if the ongoing labor shortages coupled with these dramatic increases in minimum wages weren’t having a big enough impact on businesses still struggling to recover from the COVID pandemic, some communities are piling on with additional mandates for business beginning tomorrow. A perfect case in point is the city of Portland Maine, where the…

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Maine Court Blesses Hazard Pay

The Supreme Judicial Court in the state of Maine has unanimously approved a voter-initiated law that requires employers in Portland, the state’s largest city, to pay employees hazard wages equal to time and a half for any work performed during a declared state of emergency within the city. Disputes arose immediately after 62% of Portland…

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Different Directions on Minimum Wages

As we anticipate another run by progressives in Congress at a federal $15 minimum wage, it’s reported that a group of moderate Senators – led by Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) are working on bipartisan legislation that would increase the federal minimum over the next four years from the current $7.25 to $10…

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“Hero Pay” Lawsuit Dismissed

As the idea of “Hero Pay”, an hourly premium paid to front-line grocery and retail workers during the existence of a public emergency, gains traction around the country (hazard pay ordinances are in effect in Berkeley, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and a host of other California cities as well as in Seattle),…

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Hazard Pay for Frontline Workers

If as the old sayings go, Orange is the new Black, and 50 is the new 40, then hazard pay for ‘frontline workers’ is the new paid sick leave. Currently the benefit – between $4 and $5 more an hour – is mostly limited to grocery workers, but some have already talked about the need…

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State/Local Updates Around the Country

Staying out west for the moment, on January 25, the Seattle City Council voted – unanimously – to pass an ordinance mandating that certain grocery store employees receive hazard pay during the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Seattle minimum wage is currently $16.69 per hour and the hazard pay mandate will add $4 for each…

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Minimum Wages Amid Coronavirus

One could rightly conclude that the middle of a severe economic downturn resulting from a widespread global pandemic would not be a good time to consider increasing a state or local community’s minimum wage. But that wisdom apparently doesn’t hold with some in Portland Maine. Aside from the presidential decision on November 3, voters in…

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