The Virginia General Assembly has not adjourned as scheduled for Saturday, March 7
. The legislature has taken a temporary break to finalize the budget between both chambers and will meet later this week. Three different issues that we have been working on have received conference reports or been finalized. The Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association would like to take a moment to share with you an update on some of the major legislative proposals we have been following this session.
- Minimum Wage Increases: HB395 and SB7 would increase Virginia Minimum Wage. The conference committee report stipulates following:
- Exempts any person who is less than 18 years of age and who is enrolled in a full time basis in any secondary school, institution of higher education, or trade school so long as they are not employed more than 20 hours per week.
- Establishes training wage be created that allows for an employee be paid 75% of the state minimum wage for the first 90 days.
- Beginning on January 1, 2021 the minimum wage will increase to $9.50 per hour, from January 1, 2022 to January 1, 2023 the minimum wage will be $11 per hour, and from January 1, 2023 to January 1, 2025 the minimum wage will be $12 per hour.
- There is a provision to increase it to $15, but that has a re-enactment clause attached to it that requires the legislature to approve that section again. If the increase to $15 per hour is not approved then it will be set to CPI-U.
- Beginning January 1, 2022 the state will conduct a study on the impact of implementing a regional minimum wage, counting all fringe benefits towards the minimum wage, and the impact on employees and employers.
- The study will also review the impact of the increases that have taken place on employers. The report must be provided to the General Assembly and Governor no later than December 1, 2023.
- The bill doesn’t make any changes to the tipped wage.
- Local Taxing Authority: HB785 and SB588 allow counties to levy meals, lodging, and admissions taxes without General Assembly approval or referendum requirements. The measures set caps on the meals tax rate at six percent, and caps on admissions taxes at ten percent; however, the lodging tax rate does not appear to have a cap, but it does continue to dedicate anything above two percent and up to five percent towards tourism promotion. In addition, it includes a provision that indicates a county may not impose a meals tax until six years after a referendum failed.
As you can see there have been some wins for our industry, but also some losses for the hospitality and tourism industry.
Should you have questions or concerns, please contact VRLTA Director of Government Affairs, Robert Melvin at