COLUMBUS—This week, State Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) introduced “The Ohio Worker’s Rights Act”, Senate Bill 25, to raise Ohio’s minimum wage, expand overtime protection and prevent employee misclassification. The bill is a multi-pronged approach to improving worker’s rights in Ohio and a priority for the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus for the 131st General Assembly.
“Ohio workers have suffered from stagnant wages and this legislation would give them relief,” said Senator Yuko. “It is time for the General Assembly to take action and empower workers whose paychecks, benefits, and well-being have been eroding for decades.”
Provisions in Senate Bill 25 would increase Ohio’s minimum wage and overtime compensation to inflation adjusted levels based on the 1975 update of the Fair Labor Standards Act. They would also do the following:
Raise the Minimum Wage—Helping the Working Poor 
Increase Ohio’s minimum wage from $8.05 to $10.10 an hour, adjusting to changes in inflation each year.

  • Of those who would be affected by the increase—56% are women, 86% are over 20 years old and 82% work more than 20 hours weekly. (Source: Policy Matters Ohio)
  • The additional wages would stimulate Ohio’s economy generating over $977 million. (Source: Policy Matters Ohio)
  • An estimated 88,580 Ohio’s would no longer need food stamps, saving $153.9 million in Ohio. (Source: Policy Matters Ohio)

Expand Overtime Compensation—Helping the Middle Class to Build Strong Families
Increase the threshold for overtime compensation for salaried employees from $23,000 to $50,000 in first year, then to $69,000 in following years.

  • In 2015, only workers earning an annual income of under $23,660 qualify for mandatory overtime, or around $455 a week-- only $2 a week above the poverty level for a family of four. (Source: Economic Policy Institute)

Employment Reclassification—Create A Better Playing Field for Collaboration & Clarity 

  • Replace the definition of “employee” in the Minimum Fair Wage Standards Law and the Industrial Commission and Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Law.
  • Adds the definition of “employee” created under the bill to the Bimonthly Pay Law, the Prevailing Wage Law, the Unemployment Compensation Law, and the Income Tax Law.
  • Prohibits any person from requiring or requesting an individual to enter into an agreement or sign a document that does not accurately reflect the Individual’s relationship with an employer.
  • Prohibits an employer from retaliating against an individual who seeks employment protection and creates criminal and civil penalties for individuals who violate proposed employment provisions.

“Raising the minimum wage boosts consumer spending, generating higher sales revenue for local businesses and promoting economic growth,” said Yuko. “Likewise, working to provide adequate compensation for overtime hours worked and giving clear guidance to workers and employers on their status sends a signal that we care about the future of our citizens.”
Senate Bill 25 is co-sponsored by all members of the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus and has been assigned to the Senate Transportation, Commerce & Labor for future hearings.

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