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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Comment period for rule on federal contractor compensation data extended

November 03, 2014 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has extended the comment period for a proposed rule that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to submit an annual equal pay report to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

The 60-day extension means comments must be submitted by January 5, 2015. Interested parties can read and comment on the proposed rule, which was published in the August 8 Federal Register, by visiting www.dol.gov/ofccp/epr.html.

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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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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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OFCCP updates guidance on gender identity and transgender discrimination

August 20, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

On August 19, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced a new directive related to its decision to update its enforcement actions regarding gender identity and transgender discrimination.

On June 30, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced it would update its enforcement protocols and guidance to reflect that the full protection of federal antidiscrimination laws applies to claims of gender identity or transgender status.

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Comment period on $10.10 minimum wage rules ends July 28

July 09, 2014 - by: HR Hero Alerts 1 COMMENTS

by Rachael E. Luzietti

The comment period for the proposed rule to implement President Barack Obama’s Executive Order to raise the minimum wage for employees working on government contracts ends July 28. Those interested in having their voices heard should submit comments at www.regulations.gov.

In February, Obama issued Executive Order 13658, which mandates a minimum hourly wage of $10.10 to be paid by employers contracting with the federal government. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on June 17 to implement the order.

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Proposed rule would extend FMLA protection to employees in same-sex marriages

June 20, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

On June 20, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule that would allow employees to take Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to care for a same-sex spouse even if the couple lives in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages.

The proposed rule is another result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor. The Court struck down the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that interpreted “marriage” and “spouse” to be limited to opposite-sex marriages for the purposes of federal law.

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DOL issues proposed rule on $10.10 minimum wage for federal contractors

June 13, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez announced a proposed rule on June 12 that will raise the minimum wage for workers on federal service and construction contracts to $10.10 per hour. The proposed rule implements the executive order President Barack Obama announced on February 12.

The proposed rule provides guidance and sets standards for employers concerning coverage, including coverage of tipped employees and workers with disabilities. It also establishes an enforcement process, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL’s proposed rule includes an economic analysis showing that nearly 200,000 workers will see the increase.

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New COBRA model notices available

May 12, 2014 - by: Jessica Webb-Ayer 0 COMMENTS

by Jessica Webb-Ayer

The Obama administration recently announced that new COBRA model notices are available. The notices alert employees about their ability to continue their healthcare coverage through COBRA following certain events that otherwise would result in termination of coverage.

The administration updated the notices to make it clear that if employees are eligible for COBRA continuation coverage when they leave a job, they may choose to purchase coverage through the health insurance marketplace (aka the health insurance exchange). According to the administration, the updated notices provide information “on more affordable options available through the marketplace, where workers and families may be eligible for financial assistance that would not otherwise be available for COBRA continuation coverage.”

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New executive actions target equal pay for women

April 08, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

President Barack Obama is once again using executive action related to the pay American workers earn. A White House fact sheet says the actions are aimed at fighting pay discrimination and strengthening enforcement of equal pay laws.

In one action, Obama signed a presidential memorandum instructing Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit more data to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The president wants the DOL to collect summary data on compensation paid to employees, including data by sex and race.

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