Bill Summary for H 1046 (2015-2016)

Printer-friendly: Click to view

Summary date: 

May 5 2016

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
House Bill 1046 (Public) Filed Thursday, May 5, 2016
Intro. by Cunningham.

View: All Summaries for BillTracking:

Bill summary

Subject to voter approval at the statewide election on November 8, 2016, adds new Section 38 to Article 1 of the North Carolina Constitution, which provides the following.  

Includes a statement about minimum wage and establishes that employers cannot pay employees wages less than the minimum wage for all hours worked in North Carolina.  Establishes that, effective January 1, 2017, the state minimum wage will be established at an hourly rate of $9.00.

Directs that, on September 30, 2017, and on each following September 30, the Commissioner of Labor will calculate an adjusted minimum wage rate using the consumer price index (all urban consumers, US city average for all items), CPI-U, or its successor index, as calculated by the US Department of Labor for the 12-month period preceding the previous September 1. Requires that each adjusted minimum wage rate calculated be published on September 30 and take effect on the following January 1.

Establishes that it is unlawful for an employer or any other party to discriminate in any manner or take adverse action against any person in retaliation for exercising rights protected under the amendment. Provides that rights protected under the amendment include, but are not limited to, the right to file a complaint or inform any person about any party's alleged noncompliance with the amendment and the right to inform any person of his or her potential rights under the amendment and to assist him or her in asserting those rights.  Provides that any person aggrieved by a violation of the amendment may bring a civil action against an employer or person violating the amendment and, upon prevailing, can recover the full amount of any back wages unlawfully withheld, plus the same amount as liquidated damages; can be awarded reasonable attorneys' fees and costs; and are entitled to appropriate legal or equitable relief, including, without limitation, reinstatement in employment and/or injunctive relief.  Establishes that any employer or other person found liable for willfully violating the amendment will also be subject to a fine payable to the state in the amount of $1,000 for each violation.  

Authorizes the Attorney General or other official designated by the General Assembly to bring a civil action to enforce the amendment, subject to a statute of limitations of four years or, in the case of willful violations, five years.  Provides that actions brought by the Attorney General may be brought as a class action pursuant to the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. Provides that implementing legislation is not required in order to enforce the amendment.  Authorizes the General Assembly, by statute, or the North Carolina Department of Labor, by rule, to adopt any measures appropriate for the implementation of the amendment. Authorizes the General Assembly to, by statute, establish additional remedies or fines for violations of the amendment, raise the applicable minimum wage rate, reduce the tip credit, or extend coverage of the minimum wage to employers or employees not covered by the amendment.

Specifies that the amendment provides for payment of a minimum wage and is not to be construed to preempt or otherwise limit the authority of the General Assembly or any other public body to adopt or enforce any other law, rule, regulation, requirement, policy, or standard that provides for payment of higher or supplemental wages or benefits, or that extends those protections to employers or employees not covered by the amendment.

Provides a statement that it is intended that case law, administrative interpretations, and other guiding standards developed under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are to guide the construction of the amendment and any implementing statutes or regulations.

Directs that the terms employer, employee, and wage as used in the amendment are to have the meanings established under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and its implementing regulations.

Subject to voter approval of the amendment, amends GS 95-25.3(a). Current law provides that every employer must pay each employee who in any workweek performs any work, wages of at least $6.15 per hour or the minimum wage set out in section 6(a) of the FLSA, as that wage may change from time to time, whichever is higher, except otherwise as provided in this section. Makes conforming changes to the wage amount in GS 95-25.3(a).  In addition, establishes that for tipped employees meeting eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the FLSA, employers can credit toward satisfaction of the minimum wage tips up to the amount of the allowable FLSA tip credit in 2003.