June 24, 2019
MnRA has released our members-only 2019 legislative session recap report. If you have have not received an e-mail with the report featuring 55 bills passed or contemplated by legislators please contact Savannah Sepic at savannah@mnretail.org.
New Wage Theft Law Begins July 1; Sample Employee Notice Provided By DOLI
One of the outcomes of the 2019 session is a new wage theft law with portions that impact all employers across Minnesota kicking in July 1. This issue of The Retail Beat shares important compliance information from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI).

Retailers of all sizes and locations are subject to the new law. One provision retailers need to be aware of and prepare for is a new employee noticing requirement taking effect July 1 for all new employees.

See below for information on the July 1 requirements. To review all your obligations under the law visit http://www.dli.mn.gov/business/employment-practices/wage-theft-legislation-2019-and-summaries.

New Minnesota Laws In Effect In July Target Wage Theft, Marital Rape, Opiates
From WCCO-TV, June 23, 2019

Starting July 1, Minnesotans who rape their spouses finally can be charged with sexual assault. Wage theft becomes a crime. And drug manufacturers will help shoulder the costs of the opioid epidemic.

Those are some new Minnesota laws taking effect July 1 along with the state’s new $48 billion budget.

Minnesota will have what sponsors say is the country’s toughest wage theft law. It comes down hard on employers who cheat workers by making it a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. An estimated 39,000 Minnesotans annually are victims of wage theft in some form.

Drug manufacturers and distributors will now have to pay much higher registration fees, which will raise around $21 million annually to help fight the opioid epidemic in Minnesota.
Minneapolis City Council Proposes Crackdown On Wage Theft To Parallel State Law
From the Star Tribune, Andy Mannix, June 21, 2019

Minneapolis City Council members want to give workers more power to hold their bosses accountable for unpaid wages, following the state’s lead in improving policing of wage theft.

Before a chamber full of workers, some wearing fluorescent orange and yellow vests emblazoned with union logos, Council Members Linea Palmisano, Steve Fletcher and Phillipe Cunningham introduced a proposal Friday that would require employers to put all pay agreements in writing and provide regular written or electronic earnings statements to workers for transparency. A complementary ordinance would expand these protections to freelance workers, such as independent contractors or Uber and Lyft drivers, Fletcher said.

“No matter how people earn their income in the city of Minneapolis, we want to make sure they are paid what they’ve earned,” Fletcher said.

The ordinance proposal follows passage by a bipartisan group of lawmakers of one of the nation’s most rigid wage-theft laws at the Capitol this year, an effort to close the gap on an estimated $12 million in wages that go unpaid to roughly 39,000 Minnesota workers every year.

Fletcher praised the lawmakers and organizers who helped push the state law. “Now what we want to do is join the team,” he said.
New Date: Americans Have Paid $22 Billion In Higher Tariffs Since Trade War Began
From Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, June 19, 2019

Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, the national campaign supported by over 150 of America’s largest trade organizations representing retail, tech, manufacturing and agriculture, today released new data that shows Americans have paid nearly $22 billion in additional tariffs since the trade war began. The data, which is broken down by individual tariff action, shows American businesses and consumers have paid $15 billion in higher costs due to tariffs on Chinese imports. The data runs through April 2019, the most recent month available through the U.S. Census Bureau.

“The American people are facing one of the largest tax increases in decades due to the unprecedented tariffs we’ve seen over the past year,” Tariffs Hurt the Heartland spokesman Jonathan Gold said. “These unilateral tariffs are erasing the benefits of tax reform and raising costs for American businesses and families. We all agree China is a bad actor and must be held accountable, but a massive tax hike on Americans isn’t the answer. It’s time for Congress, which never approved these tax increases, to step up and take back its authority on trade.”

Imports

The data released today shows that over 70 percent of the additional tariffs collected during the trade war have come from Section 301 tariffs on China. Many of those tariffs increased from 10 percent to 25 percent on May 10, 2019, which will further balloon the impact on consumers and businesses. Through April, over $15 billion in all tariffs has come from China 301 tariff actions; $4.6 billion has come from steel tariffs; $1.3 billion has come from aluminum tariffs and $460 million has come from tariffs on solar products and washing machines.
Wage Theft: New Responsibilities For Employers
From the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, June, 2019

Note: This is not an all encompassing list of wage theft changes and requirements. Visit http://www.dli.mn.gov/business/employment-practices/wage-theft-legislation-2019-and-summaries
to see a complete list of requirements.

Additional Information Employers Are Required To Provide To Employees When They Start Work (amendments to Minn. Stat. § 181.032)

Providing written notice to employees about their employment status and terms of employment, including wages, hours and benefits, is not only a good business practice, it is also required by Minnesota law.

The new Wage Theft Law requires all employers to provide each employee with a written notice at the start of their employment. The notice must contain the following specific information about an employee’s employment status and terms of employment (New).

Below is the specific information employers must provide in the notice to employees when they start employment.

  • Employee’s employment status and whether an employee is exempt from minimum wage, overtime and other state wage and hour laws, and on what basis (New).
  • Number of days in the employee’s pay period and the regularly scheduled payday (New).
  • Date the employee will receive the first payment of wages earned (New).
  • Employee’s rate or rates of pay and the basis thereof, including whether the employee is paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission or other method and the specific application of any additional rates (New).
  • Allowances, if any, that may be claimed for permitted meals and lodging (New).
  • Provision of paid vacation, sick time or other paid time off (PTO), how the paid time off will accrue and terms for its use(New).
  • A list of deductions that may be made from the employee’s pay (New).
  • Employer’s legal name and the operating name, if different (New).
  • Physical address of employer’s main office or principal place of business and a mailing address, if different (New).
  • Employer’s telephone number (New).

Employers are required to keep a copy of the notice signed by each employee (New). All employers must provide the notice to employees in English. The notice must include a statement, in multiple languages, that informs employees they may request the notice be provided to them in another language (New). The employer must provide the notice in another language if requested by the employee (New). The Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) is preparing and will make available to employers the statement in multiple languages that must be included with the notice. Employers are also required to provide employees in writing any changes to the information in the notice before the date the changes take effect (New).


Additional Information Employers Are Required To Provide Employees On Earnings Statements (amendments to Minn. Stat. § 181.032)

Earnings statements (or paystubs) are important payroll records for employers and employees that document information about wages paid, hours worked, deductions made and benefits accrued by an employee. Existing state law requires earning statements be provided to employees in writing or by electronic means at the end of each pay period and specific information be included on the earnings statement. The new law requires the following additional information be included on the earnings statements provided to employees each pay period:

  • Name of the employee.
  • Total hours worked by the employee in the pay period.
  • Employee’s rate or rates of pay and basis thereof, including whether the employee is paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission or other method (New).
  • Allowances claimed for permitted meals and lodging (New). •Total amount of gross pay earned by employee in the pay period.
  • Net amount of pay after all deductions are made.
  • List of deductions made from the employee’s pay.
  • Date pay period ended.
  • Employer’s legal and operating name.
  • Employer’s telephone contact (New).
  • Physical address of employer’s main office or principal place of business and a mailing address, if different(New).


Additional Records Employers Are Required To Maintain
(amendments to Minn. Stat. § 177.30)

Under existing law, employers are required to keep various records for three years. It is in the employer’s interest to maintain complete and accurate records that can be used to demonstrate an employer’s compliance with state wage and hour laws. The new law requires the following additional records be kept by an employer:

  • Each employee’s name, address and occupation.
  • Each employee’s rate of pay and the amount paid each pay period.
  • Each employee’s hours worked each day and each workweek, including, for all employees paid at piece rate, the number of pieces completed at each piece rate(New).
  • A list of personnel policies with brief descriptions of each policy that were provided to each employee, including the date the policies were given to the employee (New).
  • A copy of the new notice that is required to be provided to and signed by each employee at the start of employment and a copy of any written changes to the notice that were provided to each employee (New).
  • For each employer subject to Minn. Stat. §§ 177.41 to 177.44 (Minnesota Prevailing Wage Act), and while performing work on public works projects funded in whole or in part with state funds, the employer shall furnish under oath signed by an owner or officer of an employer to the contracting authority and the project owner every two weeks, a certified payroll report with respect to the wages and benefits paid each employee during the preceding weeks specifying for each employee: name; identifying number; prevailing-wage master job classification; hours worked each day; total hours; rate of pay; gross amount earned; each deduction for taxes; total deductions; net pay for week; dollars contributed per hour for each benefit, including name and address of administrator; benefit account number; and telephone number for health and welfare, vacation or holiday, apprenticeship training, pension and other benefit programs.
  • Other information the commissioner finds necessary and appropriate to enforce Minn. Stat. §§ 177.21 to 177.435.

These and other records that are required to be kept by an employer must be available for inspection by the commissioner upon demand. The records must be either kept at the place where employees are working or kept in a manner that allows the employer to comply with the commissioner’s demand within 72 hours(New).

If records maintained by the employer do not provide sufficient information to determine the exact amount of back wages due, the commissioner may make a determination of wages due based on available evidence(New).


Clarifications And Requirements For What Wages And Commissions An Employer Must Pay And When Employers Must Pay Wages And Commissions To Employees
(amendments to Minn. Stat. § 181.101)


Employers must pay all wages, including salary, earnings and gratuities (New) earned by an employee at least once every 31 days and all commissions earned by an employee at least once every three months (New) on a regular payday.

The new Wage Theft Law further clarifies that Minn. Stat. § 181.101 provides a substantive right to the payment of commissions and wages, at the employee’s rate or rates of pay or the rate or rates required by law, whichever is greater, as well as the right to be paid wages and commissions earned on a regular pay day (New).