While many in the business community have an eye on the Dems-vs.-GOP shakeout in today's elections and how that may shape the future of health care reform, there are ballot issues in several states that could have a more immediate impact on tasks managed by the human resources department.

Among them are minimum wage proposals in:

  • Illinois, where voters are mulling an advisory only question from the state legislature which is looking for guidance on whether or not the minimum wage should be raised to $10 by 2015;
  • Alaska, where voters will decide whether to raise the minimum in two steps, to $9.75 by 2016;
  • Arkansas, where a three-step increase to $8.50 by 2017 is on the ballot;
  • Nebraska, where voters are looking at a two-step increase to $9 by 2016;
  • South Dakota, where voters can choose to raise it to $8.50 effective Jan. 1, 2015, and to trigger automatic annual increases in subsequent years, based on inflation.

Expanded sick leave is on the ballot in Massachusetts. If approved, Question 4 would require employers with 11 or more employees to provide sick leave of up to 40 hours of per calendar year. The measure would grant 40 hours of unpaid sick leave to employees with small businesses.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.