Minimum Wage Bill Dies in CT, Rises in NY
A bill in Connecticut, detailed in Franchise Times in the May issue as a minimum-wage battle on steroids, has died in committee, much to the relief of opponents. But another has popped up in New York that’s something of a copycat.
The first bill, HB 5609, failed in the finance committee on a 17 “for” and 26 “against” vote. Dean Heyl, who lobbies in the states for the International Franchise Association, had testified against the bill and told this blogger it was a first—and not in a good way.
“Never before have we seen where they completely ignore the difference between a franchisor and a franchisee and treat both as one uniified entity,” Heyl said.
The bill called for imposing a fee, $1 per worker per hour, on companies with more than 500 employees that pay their workers less than $11.31 an hour. And it aimed to levy that fee on franchisors, not franchisees who actually handle payroll.
New York Senate Bill 6455, in like manner, calls for $15 per hour, and “blurs the line” between franchisors and franchisees when it holds them “jointly and severally responsible” for the payment of the franchisees’ employees, Heyl said.
“If enacted, both the CT and NY bills would be unprecedented in holding franchisors financially liable for the hiring decisions of franchisees,” said Heyl.
Supporters of the bills dismiss the distinction, and indicate they think it’s a way to dodge responsibility for fair wage and employment practices. As Rep. Frank Tercyak said about his Connecticut bill: “I think there’s a pool of money and the question is who gets how much of it. I think it’s a pretty permeable barrier” between franchisor and franchisee, “and not impenetrable.”