While Louisiana has passed many laws that strip working people of their basic rights and protections, and laws that overtly benefit large corporate interests, the state ban on local authority over minimum wage and earned leave policies is among the most damaging to Louisiana’s communities and working families.
The state’s ban on local authority over wage floors was first passed in 1997, as Act 317, making Louisiana the first state to enact such a ban. Since then, Louisiana’s towns, cities, and parishes have been forced to revert to the federal minimum wage rate—since the state has yet to set its own minimum wage—no matter what local circumstances dictate.
Because we were the first state to enact this ban, it would make sense that its positive effects, if they exist, would show up quite clearly. Our unemployment rate would be lower than other states that didn’t have such a ban. Our wages would have grown faster than other states, too, if the ban was good for both businesses and workers. But that’s not the case. Instead, we have higher than average unemployment and lower than average wages.
Despite the failure of the original ban, in 2012 the legislature saw fit to also ban local authority over earned leave policies. Unsurprisingly, the additional ban has also been bad for working people in Louisiana.