On Thursday, February 25, 2016, the Alabama Senate voted to pass HB174, as already passed by the House, by a vote of 23-10.  HB174 provides, among other things:

  1. SYNOPSIS: This bill would establish the Alabama Uniform Minimum Wage and Right-to-Work Act. It would further specify Alabama's status as a right-to-work state and prevent local governmental entities from requiring minimum leave, wages, or other benefits for employees, and provide the Legislature with the authority to establish uniform employment policies and regulations of collective bargaining under federal labor laws.
  2. Section 2 (b) A county, municipality, or any other political subdivision of this state shall not enact or administer any ordinance, policy, rule, or other mandate requiring an employer to provide any employee, class of employees, or independent contractor with any employment benefit, including, but not limited to, paid or unpaid leave, vacation, wage, or work schedule, that is not required by state or federal law, and shall not require an employer to compensate an employee, class of employees, or independent contractor for any vacation or other form of leave for which state or federal law does not require the employee, class of employees, or independent contractor to be compensated. (c) Any ordinance, policy, rule, or other mandate of a county, municipality, or any other political subdivision of this state that is inconsistent with this section is void.  
  3. Section 3(b)(5) An employer or employee may seek injunctive relief in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County for violations of the provisions of this section.
  4. Section 8. This act shall become effective immediately following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.

Practice pointers.  The Governor's office has announced that Governor Bentley has signed HB 174 into law.  I anticipate that there will be a legal challenge to the state's preemption of Birmingham's right to set its own minimum wage.  If a lawsuit is filed, I will post an update.  In the meantime, most, if not all Birmingham employers will rely on the new state law.