Paid leave, minimum wage among 2020 election winners

Several ballot measures across the country included initiatives that will affect HR, including how California classifies ride-share drivers.
By: | November 4, 2020 • 3 min read
(Photo by Apu Gomes/Getty Images)

Former Vice President Joe Biden v. incumbent President Donald Trump. Although they are the headliners in the 2020 election, employers and HR leaders also have been looking a little further down-ballot in several states as voters made decisions that will affect workplace policies.

Here’s a look at a few that might affect you:

Florida’s minimum wage

Florida on Tuesday voted to gradually hike the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, joining a growing list of states and municipalities in taking the step.

The timeline to bring the current $8.50 minimum wage up to $15:

  • $10 on Sept. 30, 2021
  • $11 on Sept. 30, 2022
  • $12 on Sept. 30, 2023
  • $13 on Sept. 30, 2024
  • $14 on Sept. 30, 2025
  • $15 on Sept. 30, 2026

In addition, according to the amendment, beginning Sept. 30, 2027, increases to the Sunshine State’s minimum wage will be based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

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Colorado’s paid family leave

A ballot measure in Colorado, which was approved by 57% to 43%, will establish a paid family and medical leave program in the Centennial State to provide 12 weeks (up to 16 weeks in certain cases) of paid leave funded through a payroll tax to be paid by employers and employees in a 50/50 split. The maximum benefit will be $1,100 per week.

The law will offer job-protected paid-leave benefits to workers who have earned at least $2,500 from their employer and have been on the job for at least 180 days. Employers with fewer than 10 employees will be exempt.

While a number of states and D.C. already have paid leave laws on the books, some advocates have called on lawmakers to create a national-level paid leave policy to end the patchwork of laws they’re dealing with now

“Paid leave from work is essential to balance the demands of parenting, health and financial well-being,” American Benefits Council President James A. Klein has said. “That’s why the Council’s 220 multi-state member companies provide workers generous paid time off – and why the Council calls for federal legislation enabling uniform nationwide standards that leverage private sector solutions.”

“State and local governments have a legitimate interest in the well-being of their citizens,” added ABC’s State Law Project Co-Chair and former member of Congress Earl Pomeroy (D-ND). “But for national employers and their workers, adopting federal standards that build upon employer-sponsored programs recognizes the reality of a dispersed and mobile workforce and treats employers and employees fairly.”

California’s contractor classification

The Golden State’s 2020 election ballot also included Proposition 22, a measure exempting app-based gig-economy drivers from the state’s 2019 Assembly Bill 5 — a state law designed to determine a worker’s status as an independent contractor or an employee.

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A little more than 58% of the state voted yes on the initiative, which defines app-based transportation (rideshare) and delivery drivers as independent contractors and adopts labor and wage policies specific to app-based drivers and companies.

According to the ballot measure, app-based drivers will receive benefits, including:

  • Minimum net earnings of 120% of the state’s or locality’s minimum wage and 30 cents per mile;
  • Healthcare subsidies;
  • Occupational accident insurance; and
  • Accidental death insurance.

Under the measure, companies will also have to develop anti-discrimination and sexual-harassment policies, and it will limit drivers to working no more than 12 hours during a 24-hour period.

Nick Otto is HRE’s senior digital editor. He is a professional communicator with more than a decade of demonstrated accomplishments in newspaper and trade publishing. He has spent the past five years covering the employee benefits space and holds bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. He can be reached at notto@lrp.com or follow him on twitter @Ottografs.