As a corollary to my earlier post about Trends in Leave Policies, I wanted to highlight two large companies who have committed to raising wages for their employees. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sent a letter to employees on Monday announcing that all employees and store managers in U.S. company-run stores will enjoy a base pay raise of 5 percent or more come October. These raises will affect employees in approximately 7,600 Starbucks locations in the United States.
On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a 57-page opinion in Irving v. Employment Appeal Board. Sondra Irving appealed a judgment from the district court that affirmed the denial of her unemployment benefits after she was terminated from her job at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). Irving was absent from work while she was incarcerated on criminal charges unrelated to her job (which were ultimately dismissed).
Most people we meet with in our practice have, unfortunately, been discharged from their job. Those who are “lucky” have been offered some sort of severance from their former employer. The rest have been let go with nothing more than a final paycheck and some unused PTO. This frequently leads to the question, is severance pay required under Iowa law? Regrettably, the answer is no.
Earlier this week, California’s governor signed an equal pay bill into law that some commentators are calling the toughest equal pay law in the country. California’s prior equal pay law made it unlawful for an employer to pay an employee less than the wages paid to the opposite sex, but required the differently paid employees to work “in the same establishment” and perform “equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility” under similar working conditions. While the equal pay law applies to both men and women, laws of this kind are most frequently invoked by women paid less than their male counterparts.