CBO says revised AHCA not much of an improvement over prior version

May 25, 2017 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

The saga of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican plan to repeal and replace key portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has been a long and winding one so far.

To recap: The original version of the AHCA was introduced in early March. After receiving lukewarm support and a discouraging report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which concluded that it would leave an additional 24 million Americans uninsured by 2026 as compared with the current ACA, it was pulled from the House floor shortly before a scheduled vote on March 24.

Republican lawmakers regrouped, and on May 4, a modified version of the AHCA squeaked through the House by the slimmest of margins. The vote took place before the CBO had a chance to review the new version of the bill.

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New Tennessee law allows employers to pay employees once a month

by David L. Johnson

On May 11, Governor Bill Haslam signed a new law that gives private employers in Tennessee more flexibility in paying wages and other compensation. The law took effect immediately.

The new law specifies that private employers must pay wages and other compensation only once per month. Companies that issue paychecks once per month must pay all wages earned and unpaid as of the end of the month no later than the fifth day of the next month. In other words, employers can issue employees a paycheck on the fifth day of each month that reflects wages for the entire previous month.

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Categories: HR Hero Alerts / Tennessee

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Judge strikes down Alabama workers’ comp law

by Al Vreeland

In a potentially monumental decision, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Pat Ballard struck down the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act as unconstitutional on May 8.

Specifically, Judge Ballard held that 1989 limits on compensation payments to injured workers and fees for their attorneys were so low that they violated the Alabama Constitution. Currently, compensation payments to an injured employee are capped at $220 per week, no matter how much the employee is paid regularly. Attorneys’ fees are capped at 15 percent of an employee’s award. The judge noted that the compensation payment amount was below the poverty line for a family of four.

The implications are monumental. Although the decision focused on payments and fee caps, the effect would be to strike down the entire Workers’ Compensation Act if the decision holds. If the Act is unconstitutional, employees would be allowed to sue employers for work-related injuries. Employees would be able to recover for medical treatment, pain and suffering, and—potentially—punitive damages.

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ACA ‘repeal’ bill eases employer requirements, faces uphill battle in Senate

Now that the House has passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA)—a proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare—the ball is in the Senate’s court. And while Senate Republicans say they won’t adopt the House’s version wholesale, most of the provisions easing requirements on employers are likely to appear in the Senate’s bill as well.

The measures in H.R. 1628 that affect employers are relatively uncontroversial, according to Eric Schillinger, a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider and an attorney at Trucker Huss. Senate Republicans probably will push back against some of the changes affecting Medicaid and the individual market, Schillinger said, but “the employer provisions aren’t attracting the same controversy.”

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‘Religious liberty’ order leaves LGBT nondiscrimination provisions intact

On May 4, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) that, unlike a draft version, leaves intact Obama-era LGBT nondiscrimination requirements for federal contractors.

The EO, which one expert described as largely hortatory, addresses tax exemptions for religious organizations and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate. But it includes little affirmative movement, according to Burton J. Fishman, senior counsel with Fortney & Scott and a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider.

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Modified Obamacare replacement bill narrowly passes House

May 04, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

In a squeaker of a vote, a modified version of the American Health Care Act passed the House 217-213 on May 4. The vote was cleanly split along party lines, with no Democrats supporting the legislation and 20 Republicans voting against it.

In March, the bill was pulled prior to a vote when it became apparent that it did not have enough support to pass. Since then, President Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have been working within the GOP to generate support for the legislation and tweak it to satisfy disparate party factions.

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House passes comp time bill; White House voices support

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allow private employers to offer workers compensatory time off in lieu of overtime pay.

The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 will now go to the Senate. However, despite having the White House’s support, the bill could face obstacles.

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Senate confirms Acosta as secretary of labor

April 28, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On April 27, the Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta as secretary of labor by a vote of 60-38.  Eight Democrats joined the Republican majority in voting for President Donald Trump’s nominee, completing Trump’s Cabinet just shy of his 100th day in office.

Acosta, a former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member, previously served as assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Most recently, he was dean of the Florida International University College of Law.

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New York City freelancer law to take effect May 15

by Zach Morahan and Shannon Kane

New York City’s new “Freelance Isn’t Free Act,” which goes into effect May 15, requires written contracts for many freelance jobs worth $800 or more and provides for stiff monetary remedies if the hiring party tries to avoid paying the freelancer for work performed.

Under the new law, a “freelance worker” means any person or organization composed of no more than one person who is hired as an independent contractor in exchange for compensation. Commissioned sales representatives and attorneys are excluded from the definition of freelance worker. The definition of “hiring party” excludes foreign, federal, state, and local municipalities.

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DOL to address overtime rules by June 30

April 19, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

A federal court of appeals has granted the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) its third extension in defending a lawsuit challenging new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations.

A lower court temporarily enjoined the rules last year, and the Obama administration appealed that order. Now the Trump administration must decide whether to continue with that defense.

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