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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Obama pushing to make more workers eligible for overtime

March 12, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The latest development in President Barack Obama’s continuing effort to boost pay for low-wage workers is coming in the form of a plan to increase the number of workers who  are eligible for overtime pay.

A March 11 report on The New York Times website says Obama will direct the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to change its regulations so that fewer workers will be ineligible for overtime pay because of their classification as executive or professional employees.

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Categories: DOL / Federal Regulations / FLSA

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Training, enforcement key parts of DOL’s proposed budget

March 06, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The Obama administration’s proposed U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) budget for fiscal year 2015 stresses a continuation of enforcement initiatives from previous years as well as new job training and assistance initiatives.

Released on March 4, the budget proposal includes $11.8 billion in discretionary funding for the DOL, $300,000 less than the request in the 2014 proposed budget. The 2015 proposal also includes new dedicated mandatory funds. A DOL statement says the proposed budget adheres to the spending levels agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and includes the fully paid-for Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative.

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Categories: DOL / OFCCP / OSHA / WHD

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U.S. Supreme Court expands SOX whistleblower protection

March 05, 2014 - by: Holly Jones 1 COMMENTS

In the early 2000s, corporate and accounting scandals involving Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, and other publicly traded companies cost investors billions of dollars and prompted federal legislation to reform corporate financial practices. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) covers everything from mandatory financial disclosures to enhanced penalties for white-collar crime to requiring a company’s CEO to sign corporate tax returns. The law also includes penalties for retaliating against whistleblowers who provide information or assist in federal investigations.

Generally, SOX applies only to publicly traded companies. However, in a surprisingly entertaining opinion (at least when corporate governance and ethics are concerned), the U.S. Supreme Court expanded the law’s antiretaliation provisions to some private employers—specifically, to contractors and subcontractors performing work for publicly traded companies.

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New resources available on upcoming rules for federal contractors

February 24, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has posted new resources on its website to help federal contractors comply with new regulations pertaining to recruiting people with disabilities and veterans.

New regulations going into effect March 24 strengthen requirements under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.

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Obama administration issues long-awaited mental health parity regulations

November 08, 2013 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Today the Obama administration released final regulations implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA). The MHPAEA is designed to make sure mental health and substance use disorder benefits offered by health plans are in parity with the medical and surgical benefits the plans offer.

The new regulations have been highly anticipated since Congress passed the MHPAEA in October 2008. The law amended and expanded a variety of previously enacted parity provisions in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), and the Internal Revenue Code. In February 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly issued interim final regulations to aid employers and group health insurers in implementing the MHPAEA’s requirements.

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Most homecare workers entitled to minimum wage, overtime under new rule

September 19, 2013 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A new rule taking effect January 1, 2015, means most direct-care workers employed by agencies and other third-party employers will be entitled to at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) says the change will affect nearly two million direct-care workers, such as home health aides, personal care aides, and certified nursing assistants. The rule extends minimum wage and overtime protections to all direct-care workers employed by homecare agencies and other third parties.

Individual workers who are employed only by the person receiving services or that person’s family or household and engaged primarily in fellowship and protection (providing company, visiting, or engaging in hobbies) and care incidental to such activities still will be considered exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime protections, according to a DOL fact sheet.

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New regulations toughen requirements for federal contractors

August 28, 2013 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

Federal contractors soon will have to establish benchmarks for hiring veterans and employing individuals with disabilities as a result of two new rules from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

The new regulations are expected to be published in the Federal Register within the next couple of weeks, according to information from the OFCCP. The rules will go into effect 180 days after publication.

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Obama administration delays another ACA provision

August 13, 2013 - by: Jessica Webb-Ayer 0 COMMENTS

The Obama administration has delayed another Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision. The administration has postponed a consumer protection provision that limits out-of-pocket costs until 2015. Under the provision, the limit on out-of-pocket costs was not to exceed $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family.

According to the New York Times, the one-year grace period was announced in February on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) website in guidance titled “FAQs about Affordable Care Act Implementation Part XII.” However, the language outlining the grace period largely flew under the radar until DOL officials recently confirmed what the language means.

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Senate to consider Obama’s NLRB nominations

May 24, 2013 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Senate is expected to consider President Barack Obama’s five nominations to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after its Memorial Day recess. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted on May 22 to approve the nominees, moving the confirmation process to the full Senate.

The nominees up for Senate confirmation are Republicans Harry I. Johnson, III, and Philip A. Miscimarra and Democrats Sharon Block, Richard Griffin, and current NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce, whose term will end August 27 unless confirmed again by the Senate. Block and Griffin have had seats on the Board since January 2012, when Obama made recess appointments to fill vacant seats.

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