Senate releases highly anticipated healthcare bill

June 22, 2017 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

Following the May passage in the House of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Senate has now released the text of its own draft ACA reform bill.

Dubbed the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017,” the 142-page Senate proposal is substantively quite similar to the AHCA—including its elimination of the employer and individual mandates—with a few distinctions. Among other provisions, the Senate proposal: read more…

DOL rescinds joint-employment, independent contractor guidance

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has withdrawn two major Obama-era guidance documents, one addressing joint employment and one dealing with independent contractors.

The move, while not a surprise, is good news for employers, according to H. Juanita Beecher, an attorney with Fortney & Scott and editor of Federal Employment Law Insider. The Obama administration tried to find a way to deal with shifting employer-employee relationships, she said. The effort included a focus on outsourcing and the use of staffing companies as well as a big push to examine whether independent contractors were actually employees. By rescinding the guidance documents, the DOL is backing off its “aggressive” initiative, Beecher said.

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Signaling end of overtime rule, DOL will seek public input on new regs

On June 7, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said he will soon formally request the public’s input on new overtime regulations. The announcement signals that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) likely will drop its defense of former President Barack Obama’s overtime rule, according to one expert.

A request for information (RFI) likely will be filed with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the next two to three weeks, Acosta told lawmakers during a budget hearing of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations.

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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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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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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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Senate confirms ‘proemployer’ Gorsuch to Supreme Court

April 07, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

The Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch. Because Gorsuch is known for adhering to the letter of the law, his confirmation likely is good news for employers, experts say.

Democrats initially filibustered Gorsuch’s confirmation, but Republicans invoked the “nuclear option” and changed the Senate rules to allow them to break filibusters of Supreme Court nominees with only 51 votes. Previously, that required 60 votes. On April 7, the Senate confirmed Gorsuch 54-45.

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