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Wisconsin Legislature Preempts Local Enactment of Wage and Hour Regulations

Joining more than two dozen other states that have barred local enactment of minimum wage or other employment laws, on March 22, 2018 the Wisconsin legislature passed Assembly Bill 748, intended to promote statewide uniformity in the regulation of employment practices. AB 748 prevents local governments and municipalities from enacting and enforcing their own ordinances relating to various employment matters, including several areas pertaining to wage and hour law.  Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the Bill into law in the near future.  In addition to precluding local counties and municipalities from enacting ordinances regulating “labor peace” agreements, requiring more stringent occupational licensing, or mandating employer provision of pension or other benefits, AB 748 prohibits local jurisdictions from enacting laws:

  • Regarding employee work hours and overtime, including shift schedules.  However, certain ordinances regulating business operating hours or the work hours of certain traveling sales  crew workers are excluded;
  • Prohibiting employers from requesting salary history information from prospective employees;
  • Establishing minimum wages for local government employees, contract employees or employee work that is funded by financial assistance from the local governmental unit.  This provision supplements existing Wisconsin law, passed more than a decade ago, prohibiting local jurisdictions from enacting minimum wage laws related to private employers; or
  • Regulating “wage claims or collections.”  Investigation of disputes regarding such claims will remain the purview of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Notably, in a last-minute amendment to the Bill, local counties and municipalities will not be precluded from enacting and enforcing employment discrimination laws that provide greater protection than those provided under Wisconsin law.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019

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About this Author

Tony H. McGrath, Jackson Lewis, Collective Actions Lawyer, Class Disputes litigation attorney
Principal and Office Litigation Manager

Tony H. McGrath is a Principal in the Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offices of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is the Office Litigation Manager.

His practice focuses on representing employers in litigation, including defending class and collective actions.

Employers rarely want to go to court. When they must do so, however, Mr. McGrath aggressively defends their interests while proactively managing the case to provide creative strategies and options for attaining the employer’s goals. 

A significant...

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Craig Papka, Labor and employment lawyer, JacksonLewis
Associate

Craig T. Papka is an Associate in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice is focused on employment law and corporate immigration law.

Mr. Papka advises and represents employers in the entire spectrum of employment law matters, including but not limited to defending discrimination and harassment charges and complaints. He handles employment matters before federal, state and local agencies, as well as state and federal courts.

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