Proposed rules on contractor ‘blacklisting’ order published

by Judith E. Kramer

The controversial proposed “blacklisting” regulations implementing President Barack Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order have been published in the May 28 edition of the Federal Register for notice and comment. The proposed regulations were issued by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council.

The order, which the proposed regulations interpret, applies to prospective and existing contractors with contracts over $500,000. The order provides that employers can be denied federal contracts if they have violated or have allegedly violated a number of federal, state, or local labor and employment laws within the past three years.

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Fire up the paper shredder: DOL issues new FMLA forms

May 27, 2015 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

Time to head to the paper shredder. The expired Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) told you to keep using have been replaced. As first reported by attorney Jeff Nowak in his “FMLA Insights” blog, the DOL recently issued new FMLA forms that don’t expire until May 31, 2018.

Other than a change in the expiration date, it appears that the only substantive change to the forms is a brief reference to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) in the WH-380E, 380F, 385, and 385V medical certification forms. According to the GINA regulations, if an employer provides a safe harbor notice with the request for medical certification, any receipt of genetic information in response to the request will be considered inadvertent (and will not violate GINA).

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Proposed FLSA overtime regs go to OMB for review

May 06, 2015 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

by Susan Prince

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has submitted proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime regulations to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The new regulations will increase the number of employees nationwide who qualify for overtime. Employers, get ready because the changes will likely have a substantial effect on your workforce. Many employees who qualify for an exemption from overtime right now will be entitled to overtime once the regulatory changes are finalized.

How we got here

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New OFCCP rule on sexual orientation, gender identity takes effect April 8

March 30, 2015 - by: Tony Kessler 0 COMMENTS

by Emily L. Bristol

A new rule that adds “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of prohibited bases of discrimination under Executive Order 11246 goes into effect on April 8.

The rule, from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), will apply to federal contractors that hold covered contracts entered into or modified on or after April 8.

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Texas judge puts FMLA rule’s new definition of spouse on hold

March 27, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

For the time being, employers in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage don’t have to comply with a new rule changing the definition of spouse under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The rule was to take effect on March 27, but a federal district judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction on March 26 in response to a challenge from the attorneys general in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Nebraska.

District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the states making the challenge showed a likelihood that they would prevail and that they would be irreparably harmed if the rule were allowed to take effect. If the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) rule is allowed to take effect, it will require employers covered by the FMLA to allow eligible employees to take leave under the Act to care for same-sex spouses.

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Supreme Court decision gives agencies more leeway on rule interpretations

March 09, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling handing the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) a victory on how it can issue interpretations of its rules has major implications for employers, according to Judith E. Kramer, an attorney with Fortney & Scott, LLC, in Washington, D.C., and an editor of Federal Employment Law Insider.

The Court’s March 9 decision in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association means the DOL’s most recent interpretation that mortgage loan officers are eligible for overtime is valid. “The long-term impact of the Court’s decision, however, is much more significant for employers and, more broadly, for any person or entity subject to regulation by federal administrative agencies,” Kramer said.

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New rule extends FMLA rights to more employees in same-sex marriages

February 24, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

More employees in same-sex marriages will be able to take leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as a result of a new rule taking effect March 27. And while employers in states that recognize same-sex marriage already have been operating under a definition of spouse that includes legally married same-sex partners, employers in other states will need to change their practices.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule that was published in the Federal Register on February 25 that revises the definition of spouse under the law so that eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages will be able to take FMLA leave to care for their spouse or family member regardless of whether they live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, according to the DOL’s explanation of the new rule.

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Paid leave among priorities in DOL budget proposal

February 03, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

A $2 billion paid leave initiative as well as millions for enforcement of laws on equal opportunity, wage and hour issues, safety, whistleblowing, and retirement security are among the priorities outlined in President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

On February 2, the DOL announced that the budget includes $2 billion for a Paid Leave Partnership Initiative to help as many as five states launch paid leave programs following the example of California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. The DOL announcement said participating states would be eligible to receive funds for the initial setup and half of benefits for three years. The budget also includes a $35 million State Paid Leave Fund to provide technical assistance and support to states as they build the infrastructure needed to launch paid leave programs in the future, according to the DOL announcement.

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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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LGBT final rule for contractors published

December 05, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The final rule implementing President Barack Obama’s Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees and applicants based on sexual orientation and gender identity has been published in the December 9 Federal Register.

The rule implements Executive Order 13672, which Obama signed on July 21. The order directed the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to update rules to add gender identity and sexual orientation to classes protected by law. Obama had hoped Congress would pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have covered more employers than just those with government contracts, but that bill has not passed.

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