Labor Department to hold forum on state, federal minimum wage rules

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 116 views 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division will present an educational forum in Little Rock at the end of this month to discuss recent developments within its Payroll Audit Independent Determination Program (PAID), which facilitates resolution of potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

On Jan. 1, Arkansas business owners increased the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour after voters overwhelmingly supported Issue 5 during the Nov. 6 election, approving a 75 cent per hour wage hike from last year’s $8.50. Under the initiated act that was supported by the Business for a Fair Minimum Wage coalition and other progressive groups across the state, that standard will then rise to $10 in 2020 and $11 in 2021.

In the first week of the legislative session that began on Jan. 14, Sen. Bob Ballinger, R-Berryville, has filed a bill to amend the newly enacted state Minimum Wage Age by providing certain exclusions. Ballinger’s legislation, Senate Bill 15, if enacted, would allow employers with workers under 18 years of age and fewer than 50 workers, as well as charities to be excluded from the new minimum wage law. It has been referred to the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee.

According to Wolters Kluwer, the global legal consulting firm, a total of 22 states and the District of Columbia will raise the minimum wage in 2019, with 19 of those states implementing increases on Jan. 1. Labor Department (DOL) officials said PAID program’s primary objective is to resolve overtime and minimum wage claims quickly and without litigation, while also improving employers’ compliance with federal wage regulations and help more employees receive the back wages they are owed.

The upcoming Labor Department forum will include PAID officials from DOL offices in Washington, D.C., Dallas, and Little Rock, as well as representatives from the Arkansas Department of Labor, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, and other employer associations from the area. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Jan. 31, at the Association of Arkansas Counties headquarters, 1415 W. Third Street in Little Rock.

Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required here.