Our colleague at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Wage and Hour Defense Blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the retail industry: “Tenth Circuit Rules Tips Belong to the Employer If Tip Credit Is Not Taken.”

Following is an excerpt:

When an employer pays the minimum wage (or more) instead of taking the tip credit, who owns any tips – the employer or the employee? In Marlow v. The New Food Guy, Inc., No. 16-1134 (10th Cir. June 30, 2017), the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held they belong to the employer, who presumably can then either keep them or distribute them in whole or part to employees as it sees fit. This directly conflicts with the Ninth Circuit’s decision last year in Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Ass’n v. Perez, 816 F.3d 1080, 1086-89 (9th Cir. 2016), pet for cert. filed, No. 16-920 (Jan. 19, 2017) and likely sets up a showdown this fall in the U.S. Supreme Court. …

Read the full post here.

By Nancy L. Gunzenhauser

Election Day 2014 proved to be a big win for employees who earn minimum wage.  Several states and cites approved measures to increase the minimum wage.  The city of Oakland, CA established its first ever minimum wage at $12.25/hour, which will go into effect on March 2, 2015.  Over the past few years, many states and cities have passed legislation that will increase minimum wage based on inflation rates, as tied to the Consumer Price Index.  While some states have not yet announced the new minimum wage, they may still see increases in the new year (e.g. Colorado).  Below is a chart with the minimum wage increases that are currently set to begin in 2015.

We may also soon see an increase in Illinois.  The state ballot had a nonbinding referendum question asking voters whether the minimum wage should be raised from $8.25/hour to $10/hour January 1, 2015.  Voters overwhelmingly voted “yes.”  Increase to the minimum wage, however, will require legislative approval.

Make sure to check back in a few weeks, and we’ll announce if any new minimum wage increases are set to hit your state or city.

*The minimum wage in Seattle will depend on the number of employees in the company and whether the company provides health benefits to its employees.


By: Anna A. Cohen and Nancy L. Gunzenhauser

It’s that time of year! As the new year rolls in, 13 states are increasing their minimum wage. Unless noted otherwise, all increases to the minimum wage reflected below will become effective on January 1, 2014.

State Current New*
Arizona $7.80 $7.90
California $8.00 $9.00 (effective 7/1/14)
Connecticut $8.25 $8.70
Florida $7.79 $7.93
Missouri $7.25 $7.50
Montana $7.80 $7.90
New Jersey $7.25 $8.25
New York $7.25 $8.00 (effective 12/31/13)
Ohio $7.85 $7.95
Oregon $8.95 $9.10
Rhode Island $7.75 $8.00
Vermont $8.60 $8.73
Washington $9.19 $9.32

Although the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, introduced in March 2013, would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour in three annual steps, the current federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour.  Employers in states with minimum wage provisions that differ from the federal law must pay the higher of the two rates.

Employers operating in one of the 13 states increasing minimum wage in 2014 should ensure that their payroll is in compliance.

*Note: some states have also increased the minimum tip credit for eligible employees.