Kaplan nomination called way to ‘stop the bleeding’ at NLRB

June 22, 2017 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will nominate Marvin Kaplan, currently chief counsel of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, to one of two vacant seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is being hailed by probusiness interests as a way to bring balance to the Board.

Kevin C. McCormick, an editor of Maryland Employment Law Letter and attorney with Whiteford, Taylor & Preston L.L.P. in Baltimore, called the nomination “a smart move” by the Trump administration because Kaplan has the “pedigree” needed for confirmation to and service on the Board.

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Senate releases highly anticipated healthcare bill

June 22, 2017 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

Following the May passage in the House of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Senate has now released the text of its own draft ACA reform bill.

Dubbed the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017,” the 142-page Senate proposal is substantively quite similar to the AHCA—including its elimination of the employer and individual mandates—with a few distinctions. Among other provisions, the Senate proposal: read more…

Changes to Iowa unemployment benefits coming July 1

by Tara Z. Hall

Several changes related to unemployment benefits in Iowa are set to take effect July 1. The changes are seen as beneficial to employers.

Unemployment and incarceration

An amendment to the Iowa Employment Security Act (IESA) adds a new subsection to the Iowa Code that provides that an employee will be disqualified from receiving benefits if he misses work because of incarceration unless the following four factors are satisfied: read more…

Seattle scheduling law to take effect July 1

by Chelsea Petersen and Stephanie Holstein

An ordinance affecting how large retail and food services employers in Seattle schedule workers is set to take effect July 1.

The ordinance applies to employers in the retail and food services industries (defined broadly to include restaurants, food trucks, bars, and caterers) with 500 or more employees worldwide or, for franchises, within the franchise network. In addition to the 500-employee requirement, full-service restaurants (that is, restaurants where patrons order and are served while seated) are covered by the ordinance only if they have 40 or more physical locations.

Covered employers will have to comply with numerous requirements: read more…

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Iowa workers’ comp changes coming July 1

by Tara Hall and Rebecca Duffy

Changes to Iowa’s workers’ compensation law—changes seen as mostly beneficial to employers—are set to take effect July 1.

The employer-friendly changes to the state’s workers’ comp law include a new provision classifying shoulder injuries as scheduled-member injuries rather than body-as-a-whole injuries, which force an industrial disability analysis. Another change limits compensation for body-as-a-whole injuries to functional disability when the employee returns to work or is offered work at the same or higher pay than he earned at the time of the injury. Another employer-friendly provision places burdens regarding an offer of suitable work on both the employer and the employee.

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All eyes on Philly: Businesses launch second challenge to city’s salary history ban

For a second time, a Philadelphia business group has asked a judge to block the city’s ban on salary history questions, arguing that the law infringes on business’ free-speech rights.

The law also would prevent businesses in the city from keeping pace with competitors, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia said in a statement. “The inevitable consequences will be companies choosing to do business elsewhere and the loss of jobs for city workers.”

The challenge may serve as a test case for similar bans being adopted around the country.

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Los Angeles, San Francisco minimum wages going up July 1

Employers in Los Angeles and San Francisco must prepare to pay higher minimum wages starting July 1.

In the city of Los Angeles and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, the minimum wage is going to $12 an hour on July 1 for businesses with more than 25 employees, up from $10.50 an hour. Businesses with 25 or fewer employees will have to pay at least $10.50 an hour, up from $10 an hour. Unincorporated areas of Los Angeles are the areas of the county that aren’t governed by local city governments.

San Francisco’s minimum wage will go from $13 an hour to $14 an hour on July 1.

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DOL rescinds joint-employment, independent contractor guidance

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has withdrawn two major Obama-era guidance documents, one addressing joint employment and one dealing with independent contractors.

The move, while not a surprise, is good news for employers, according to H. Juanita Beecher, an attorney with Fortney & Scott and editor of Federal Employment Law Insider. The Obama administration tried to find a way to deal with shifting employer-employee relationships, she said. The effort included a focus on outsourcing and the use of staffing companies as well as a big push to examine whether independent contractors were actually employees. By rescinding the guidance documents, the DOL is backing off its “aggressive” initiative, Beecher said.

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Signaling end of overtime rule, DOL will seek public input on new regs

On June 7, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said he will soon formally request the public’s input on new overtime regulations. The announcement signals that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) likely will drop its defense of former President Barack Obama’s overtime rule, according to one expert.

A request for information (RFI) likely will be filed with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the next two to three weeks, Acosta told lawmakers during a budget hearing of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations.

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Paid sick leave laws for Chicago-area workers take effect July 1

by Steven L. Brenneman

Most employers in Chicago and Cook County will be required to offer paid sick leave beginning July 1. The city of Chicago passed a sick leave ordinance last summer, and Cook County (where Chicago is located) passed a nearly identical law in October. The ordinances apply to all businesses that are located in the city or county or are subject to city licensing requirements (except for employers in the construction industry).

The laws require employers, regardless of size, to provide all employees who work at least 80 hours in a 120-day period with one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours of leave per year. Employees are allowed to carry half of their unused accrued paid sick leave (up to 20 hours) to the next year. In addition, employers that are subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) must allow FMLA-eligible employees to carry over up to 40 additional hours of accrued paid sick leave to use exclusively for FMLA-qualifying purposes.

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