Across the country in recent years, cities, counties, and other local government bodies have been taking matters into their own hands when it comes to setting labor laws and regulations. These localities have enacted ordinances that increase the minimum wage, require businesses to provide sick leave (paid or unpaid), introduce restrictions and requirements for how employers can put together—and change—employee work schedules, and more. This practice means that states end up with a patchwork of different laws and regulations that vary by area and make it difficult for business owners to comply.
In Wisconsin, however, lawmakers have taken action to preempt these issues. Assembly Bill 748 standardizes employment law across the state and prohibits localities from enacting their own employment laws that differ from the state. AB 748 was approved 58-32 by the Assembly, 17-14 by the Senate, and was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker in late April.
Promoting statewide uniformity in regulating employment practices has been a top legislative priority for NFIB/WI this year. We have also previously supported similar bills that zero in on specific regulations. For example, several years ago, NFIB/WI supported legislation that created a statewide, uniform standard for minimum wage rates. More recently, NFIB/WI also supported legislation that established a state preemption of paid sick leave by local governments. And according to state survey ballot results, NFIB/WI members overwhelmingly support statewide labor law uniformity.
According to the new law, Act 327, the following employment practices are now regulated by state law:
- Requirements for scheduling hours of work, including overtime
- Requirements for profit-sharing, retirement, or employee leave benefits
- Regulations on requesting the salary history of prospective employees
- Requirements for occupational licensing
- Regulations relating to wage claims, use of local Labor Peace Agreements, and employee pay scales for work on local construction projects