2 New Small Business Labor Laws You Need to Know in 2015

January 20, 2015

Labor laws are constantly changing. As a small business owner, you’ve already got a lot on your plate--and2 New Small Business Labor Laws You Need to Know in 2015 keeping up with labor laws can be a game of catch-up. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are two of the newest small business labor laws you need to know for 2015.

Employers with 50 or More Employees May Have to Pay

If you’re a small business employer with 50 or more employees, you may now be subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility penalty if you do not offer affordable coverage, as a part of the Affordable Care Act. So, what is the Employer Share Responsibility (ESR)? It’s the requirement for larger employers to either offer health insurance to employees, or pay a fee if/when an employee buys subsidized health insurance through the Marketplace.

How is the Fee Calculated? 

2015 is the first year that employers are subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility fee. The fee is equal to the number of full-time employees the employer employed for the month (minus 80) multiplied by 1/12 of $2,000, provided that at least one full-time employee receives a premium tax credit/subsidy for that month.

If you are a larger employer and are wondering how to calculate your ESR fee, see our related article “Quick Guide to Calculating Employer Shared Responsibility Fees in 2015”

New Minimum Wages for 21 States

In January of 2014, Barack Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. And though the federal minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009, some U.S. states are giving workers higher wages on their own.

As such, 21 different states raised their minimum wage anywhere to nearly $8/hour and some have increased to over $10/hour. Listed below is a basic guide to minimum wage increases for the 21 states:

Alaska - $8.75/hour

Arizona - $8.05/hour

Arkansas - $7.50/hour

Colorado - $8.23/hour

Connecticut - $9.15/hour

Florida - $8.05/hour

Hawaii - $7.75/hour

Maryland - $8/hour

Massachusetts - $9/hour

Missouri - $7.65/hour

Montana - $8.05/hour

Nebraska - $8/hour

New Jersey - $8.38/hour

New York - $8.75/hour

Ohio - $8.10/hour

Oregon - $9.25/hour

Rhode Island - $9/hour

South Dakota - $8.50/hour

Vermont - $8.73/hour

Washington - $9.47/hour

West Virginia - $8/hour

Washington D.C. - $10.50/hour

For a more detailed breakdown of wages by state, see our related article “Minimum Wage Rates for 2015, By State”


It’s obvious that your small business is impacted by labor laws, so make it a point to keep up with what’s going on with both state and federal laws. Knowing this, it doesn’t have to be complicated--there are plenty of ways to stay in the loop. For example, we at Zane Benefits are committed to keeping you, the small business owner, up-to-date and informed on important topics such as labor laws, affordable healthcare benefits, HR, and more.

What do you think of the new minimum wage increases? How will it impact your small business? We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments--comment below!

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