Wyatt Employment Law Report


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Kentucky Supreme Court Invalidates Louisville’s Minimum Wage Ordinance, Decision Impacts Lexington’s Ordinance As Well

By Sharon L. Gold

wage increaseToday the Kentucky Supreme Court issued a much awaited opinion in the minimum wage battle between Louisville and business groups, siding with the business groups and invalidating the ordinance.  In Kentucky Restaurant Association et. al v. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Gov’t, 2015 –SC-000371-TG (October 20, 2016), the Kentucky Supreme Court invalidated Louisville’s minimum wage ordinance that raised the minimum wage above the state minimum.  Louisville’s ordinance raised the minimum wage gradually to $9.00 over the next several years.  Lexington passed a similar ordinance in November of 2015 that raised the minimum wage gradually to $10.10 over the next three years.  At the time of the decision, Lexington’s minimum wage had increased to $8.20 and Louisville’s was $8.25.

In February of 2015, the Kentucky Restaurant Association, Kentucky Retail Federation and Packaging Unlimited, LLC filed a lawsuit in Jefferson Circuit Court arguing that local governments do not have the authority to raise the minimum wage.  While several states have raised the minimum wage, Kentucky’s is the same as the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour.

The Jefferson Circuit disagreed with the business groups and held that local governments had the authority to pass a minimum wage ordinance.  The business groups Continue reading


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Lexington Has a New Mandatory Minimum Wage Rate…For Now

By Leila G. O’Carra

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s minimum wage ordinance went into effect earlier this month, increasing the minimum wage requirements for all employers within Lexington-Fayette County.  As of July 1, 2016, the minimum wage for Lexington is $8.20 per hour.  On the same date, Louisville’s minimum wage hit $8.25 pursuant to that city’s minimum wage ordinance, which first raised Louisville’s minimum wage to $7.75 as of July 1, 2015.  Kentucky’s state minimum wage requirement matches the federal minimum wage at $7.25 per hour.

Does a local government have the authority to invoke a minimum wage that is higher than Kentucky’s requirement?  This is one of the issues that Kentucky’s Supreme Court may soon decide in the case of Kentucky Restaurant Association, et al. v. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, Case No. 2015-SC-371.  If the Court answers the question in the negative, the mandatory minimum wage rates in Lexington and Louisville will drop back down to $7.25 per hour.

 


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Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council Votes 9-6 to Increase the Minimum Wage to $10.10 over the Next Three Years

By Sharon L. Gold

coin stackAt last night’s packed council meeting, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voted 9-6 to increase the minimum wage in the city to $10.10 over the next three years. The ordinance provides that the minimum wage shall increase to $8.20 an hour on July 1, 2016, $9.15 an hour on July 1, 2017, and $10.10 an hour on July 1, 2018. Mayor Gray indicated to the media that he will sign the ordinance.

Neighboring Louisville passed an ordinance increasing the minimum wage to $9 over the next three years. A group of businesses challenged the Louisville ordinance and that case is currently pending before the Kentucky Supreme Court. The Court will ultimately have to decide whether cities have the authority to increase the minimum wage.

This issue is being hotly contested all across the country, with proponents of a minimum wage increase arguing that families cannot live on the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Opponents of the wage increase argue, on the other hand, that raising the minimum wage will hurt lower income families because it will result in lost jobs and increased cost in everything from groceries to gas. Others argue that job training and education are more proper avenues to raise working families’ incomes.

 

 


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Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council Proposes Minimum Wage Increase

By Courtney Ross Samford

Last week, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council joined a growing list of U.S. cities and local governments that are considering an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. If enacted, the proposed plan would take effect over the next three years and is expected to impact more than 31,000 employees in Fayette County who earn less than $10.10 per hour.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council proposal is similar to a measure that was recently enacted by the Louisville Metro Council in 2014, which will minimum-wagesincrease the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour by 2017. Louisville was the 12th U.S. city to raise its minimum wage in 2014.

The Kentucky General Assembly is considering a state-wide increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over the next two years, but many forecasters are doubtful that the bill will pass. A similar bill failed in the Kentucky Senate last year.

Currently, twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages that are above the $7.25 federal minimum wage. The minimum wage in California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington is $9 or higher.

While it’s difficult to anticipate which city, local government or state will be next, it’s clear that the minimum wage movement is gaining momentum. Employers must pay close attention to similar proposals in their area and be prepared to respond to the evolving environment.