While many are mesmerized by the presidential primaries and remain frustrated by gridlock in Congress, states and municipalities are aggressively tackling social and economic issues that impact employers. The states of California and New York recently enacted legislation that will gradually raise the minimum wage in each state to either $12.50 or $15 an hour. In California the statewide minimum wage will, for most employers, incrementally rise each year until it reaches $15 an hour on January 1, 2022. In New York, the minimum wage will rise to $15 an hour by the end of 2018 for a large number of businesses in New York City, and to $15 an hour by the end of 2021 in certain counties (Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester) surrounding New York City, while the minimum wage for the rest of the state will gradually rise to $12.50 an hour by the end of 2020. In addition to minimum wage increases, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D – New York) recently signed a bill that provides employees in New York with 12-weeks paid family leave. This is the strongest and most generous paid family leave law in the country.
Pennsylvania government employees and contractors are now protected from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity.
On April 7, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed a pair of executive orders prohibiting discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity. The pair of orders come on the heels of a recent slate of controversial so-called “religious freedom” laws in states such as North Carolina and Mississippi.