‘Breathtakingly radical’: Acosta questions legality of any overtime threshold

March 23, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor has questioned whether the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has the authority to set any salary threshold for overtime pay—not just the pending increase that would raise the threshold to $47,476.

Alexander Acosta volunteered that concern twice during his March 22 confirmation hearing, despite no questions from lawmakers to that effect. A former DOL economist who worked under President Barack Obama called Acosta’s statements “breathtakingly radical,” noting that an overtime threshold has been in place since 1938.

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Trump proposes ‘substantial’ DOL budget cut

March 17, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) would see a nearly 21 percent reduction in funding under the White House’s proposed 2018 discretionary spending budget, which was released March 16.

“A 21 percent cut is very substantial,” according to H. Juanita Beecher, of counsel with Fortney & Scott in Washington, D.C., and an editor of Federal Employment Law Insider. It’s unclear, however, which DOL subagencies will be affected, she said.

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CBO: Fewer employers would offer insurance under Obamacare replacement

March 14, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On March 13, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its cost estimate of the effects of the proposed Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replace legislation.

Deficits down, but number of uninsured up

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Federal contractors hail Congress’s decision to kill ‘blacklisting’ rule

March 08, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

On March 6, Congress voted to repeal a regulation requiring federal contractors to report employment law violations to agencies that award contracts. President Donald Trump is expected to approve the resolution.

The move was expected but is still a great relief to all federal contractors, according to Burton J. Fishman, senior counsel with Fortney & Scott and a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider. Even the most compliant contractors had negative reactions to the rule. “They were all opposed to this[,] and that tells you something,” Fishman said. “This was really exceedingly burdensome with very little upside and had the trappings of political—not practical—purpose involved.”

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ACA repeal proposal: Employer mandate gone, Cadillac tax remains

March 07, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On March 6, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) released long-awaited proposed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a budget process known as reconciliation—a process that allows legislation to be passed with a simple majority in the Senate. The legislation is part of House Republicans’ American Health Care Act.

Employer and individual mandates gone . . . retroactively

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Employers face uncertainty over ‘less disruptive’ new travel ban, H-1B delay

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

The Trump administration recently implemented two major changes to its immigration policies, and the full effect for employers remains to be seen. Between a replacement Executive Order (EO) on immigration and the suspension of the fast-track process for H-1B (highly skilled) worker visas, employers and foreign employees may soon face new hurdles, albeit fewer than under the original immigration EO.

President Donald Trump signed the new EO on immigration March 6, rolling back parts of his original order. The first EO, issued January 27, barred travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, arguably including permanent U.S. residents, for 90 days. It also placed a 120-day hold on the U.S. refugee program, prevented even individuals who already had received refugee status from entering the country, and adopted a new religious test for refugees that had the effect of prioritizing non-Muslims.

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Supreme Court’s action on transgender rights keeps employers watching

March 07, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that it has decided not to hear arguments in a case regarding restroom access for transgender students doesn’t directly affect employment, but it puts employers on notice to keep up with developments that could affect the workplace.

On March 6, the Court announced that it is sending back to a lower court the case of a transgender boy suing a Virginia school district in an effort to be allowed to use the boys’ restroom. The Court had been scheduled to hear arguments in the case later this month. But on February 22, the Trump administration revoked guidelines released by the Obama administration advising public schools to allow transgender students to use the restrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

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Advocacy groups challenge Trump’s 2-for-1 regulation requirement

February 09, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

Three liberal advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit alleging that President Donald Trump’s 2-for-1 regulation mandate violates the U.S. Constitution and directs agencies to violate federal law.

In a January 30 Executive Order, Trump instructed federal agencies to cut two regulations for every new one issued during the current fiscal year. He said the order is aimed at alleviating the regulatory burdens businesses face.

Now, consumer group Public Citizen is challenging the Executive Order, joined by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Communications Workers of America. In a February 8 complaint, the groups alleged the order violates the Constitution and requires federal agencies to violate both the laws they implement and the Administrative Procedure Act.

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Republican ACA proposal poses challenges for multistate employers

January 25, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

A group of Republican senators has proposed a replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would allow states to choose whether to keep Obamacare’s provisions in place. Because employers’ requirements would depend on where employees work, compliance could be a real challenge for companies with operations in multiple states, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The bill is seemingly an attempt to gain bipartisan support, but lawmakers on both sides have expressed dissatisfaction with its provisions, said Chatrane Birbal, SHRM’s senior adviser for government relations.

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Trump takes aim at ACA on first day in office

January 23, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

Following his inauguration on January 20, President Donald Trump signed his first round of Executive Orders, including one directing federal agencies to ease enforcement of some Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements.

Trump told agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of”ACA provisions that impose fees or other burdens on a range of stakeholders, including individuals and health insurers.

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