New OSHA reporting requirement takes effect January 1

by Judith E. Kramer

A new rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requiring employers to notify the agency when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye goes into effect on January 1 for workplaces under OSHA’s jurisdiction. The rule also updates the list of employers that are partially exempt from OSHA’s record-keeping requirements.

The previous regulation required employers to report work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees within eight hours of the event. Reporting single hospitalizations, amputations, or loss of an eye wasn’t required under the previous rule.

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NLRB adopts ‘quickie election’ rule

December 12, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision to adopt a rule speeding up union representation elections continues to draw fire, as opponents of the change consider legal options.

The Board’s action, announced on December 12, represents the second time the controversial regulation—dubbed the “quickie” or “ambush” election rule by detractors—has been advanced. In June 2011, the changes were proposed, but they were struck down in 2012 because only two members participated in the vote.

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Comment period on OFCCP’s proposed regulation on pay secrecy closing

by Emily L. Bristol

The comment period for a new rule prohibiting federal contractors from having pay secrecy policies will come to a close on December 16.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regulation, “Government Contractors, Prohibitions Against Pay Secrecy Policies and Actions,” would prohibit contractors from taking action against applicants or employees because they were discussing, inquiring about, or disclosing their compensation or the compensation of another applicant or employee. The proposed regulation also includes:

  • Definitions for key terms such as “compensation,” “compensation information,” and “essential functions”;
  • An obligation to disseminate a new OFCCP-mandated nondiscrimination provision to employees and applicants; and
  • A defense for the discipline of an employee, such as an HR employee, who improperly discloses employee pay absent a separate legal obligation to disclose the information.

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Part of once-delayed ACA employer mandate takes effect January 1

by Douglas R. Chamberlain

Employers got a reprieve in 2014 on a key mandate incorporated in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but the new effective date for many employers is now set for January 1, 2015.

The ACA generally provides that all employers with 50 or more employees who work 30 or more hours per week must offer their employees health insurance coverage. This “employer mandate” was originally slated to take effect January 1, 2014, but during 2013, the Obama administration delayed the effective date to 2015.

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New circuit ruling complicates same-sex marriage issue

November 07, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The issue of how employers should handle same-sex marriage got a bit murkier November 6 as a divided appeals court panel broke with rulings from four other U.S. circuit courts of appeals by upholding state bans on same-sex marriage.

A three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the 2-1 decision, which allows bans on same-sex marriage in four states to stand. The court’s decision—affecting Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee—differs from other jurisdictions that have recently struck down similar state bans.

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Employers should review policies on same-sex couples in wake of Supreme Court decision

October 07, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

With the U.S. Supreme Court deciding not to take up a case to settle the same-sex marriage issue on the national level, employers need to understand how the Court’s decision affects their policies.

As it opened its new term on October 6, the Supreme Court declined to review one of seven cases from five states up for consideration. The Court’s decision means that rulings from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th, 7th, and 10th Circuits will stand. The rulings struck down state prohibitions on same-sex marriage.

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Final rule on minimum wage for contractors released

October 02, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

Federal contractors can now take a look at the rules they will have to follow when an Executive Order that requires a $10.10 per hour minimum wage for workers on federal service and construction contracts takes effect.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the final rule on October 1. The rule implements Executive Order 13568, which was announced by President Barack Obama in February. The DOL’s announcement said the Executive Order will affect nearly 200,000 workers.

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OSHA seeks more comments on injury and illness tracking

by Judith E. Kramer

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has extended the comment period for the proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. Comments will be accepted through October 14.

The proposal, published on November 8, 2013, would amend the agency’s record-keeping regulation to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep.

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Federal contractor ‘pay transparency’ rule up for comment

September 17, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has published a proposed rule aimed at ensuring that employees of federal contractors are allowed to discuss their compensation. The proposed rule, which was published in the September 17 Federal Register, gives interested parties until December 16 to submit comments.

The rule’s language prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from firing or otherwise discriminating against employees or applicants who discuss, disclose, or inquire about their compensation or another employee’s or applicant’s compensation.

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Executive Order creates new compliance requirements for federal contractors

August 01, 2014 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

On July 31, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order “to promote economy and efficiency in procurement by contracting with responsible sources who comply with labor laws.” The order will apply to new government contracts worth more than $500,000, and according to a White House fact sheet, it will be “implemented on new contracts in stages, on a prioritized basis, beginning in 2016.”

The Executive Order requires contractors to report if they have violated any of 14 labor laws in the past three years. Employers also must provide updates regarding violations every six months and possibly face remedial action.

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