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As of Jan. 1, 2007, the minimum wage in Ohio is $6.85 per hour. Employers with gross sales of less than $250,000 may continue to pay the federal minimum wage ($5.85 per hour effective July 24, 2007).

Workers under age 16 aren’t subject to the minimum wage. Additionally, you may pay certain disabled workers less than $6.85 per hour, but you must apply for a license to pay them below minimum wage. The state evaluates each case on its merits.

For tipped employees, the tip credit is one-half of the minimum wage, or $3.42½  per hour. Employers must substantiate that those employees’ wages and tips add up to the minimum wage.

Note: The small business and under-age-16 exception applies to tip-earning employees as well.

The state minimum wage, indexed to the national consumer price index, will be adjusted annually.

Regulatory headache

Tucked into the Fair Minimum Wage initiative approved by voters last November are some record-keeping burdens for employers. The law requires you to maintain payroll records on employees during their entire tenure, plus at least three years after their termination. Specifically, you must keep a record (for at least three years after the employee’s last day of work) of the person’s:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Occupation
  • Pay rate
  • Hours worked for each day worked
  • Amount paid to each employee

Disclosure

Further, under the new law, any employee, former employee or person acting on his or her behalf may request detailed payroll data not just for that worker but also for all company employees. Employers that refuse to provide it, don’t have accurate information or intentionally or accidentally fail to release all information requested can end up in court facing fines and penalties.

Be aware that you have few options once presented with a request for payroll information. Failure to comply can lead directly to court (the law effectively shortcuts arbitration agreements), where employers may be liable for damages and the opponent’s attorneys’ fees.

Despite the costly nature of the additional record-keeping, employers may not charge those who request records. Under the new law, you must supply the records free of charge.

Privacy concerns

The law’s record-keeping requirements move employers dangerously close to violating the Ohio identity theft law. To comply with its provisions, you can and should redact Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers or financial account numbers from any information you release.

The Wage and Hour Bureau in the Ohio Department of Commerce administers the minimum wage law. For further information, visit http://wagehour.com.state.oh.us/w3/webwh.nsf?Opendatabase.

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Excerpted from Ohio’s 10 Most Critical Employment Laws, a special bonus report available to subscribers of HR Specialist: Ohio Employment Law.

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