Trump puts final nail in the coffin: Blacklisting rule ‘gone forever’

March 28, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump has signed a resolution voiding an Obama-era regulation that would have required federal contractors to disclose employment law violations to agencies that award contracts. His signature was the final step in the repeal process. “It was the stake through the heart of the blacklisting regs,” according to H. Juanita Beecher, of counsel with Fortney & Scott and an editor of Federal Employment Law Insider.

The move is a welcome one for federal contractors, which expected the so-called blacklisting rule to be incredibly burdensome, Beecher said. The rule was issued to implement President Barack Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which directed agencies to consider employment law disclosures when awarding contracts.

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GOP ‘still has options’ after pulling ACA repeal bill

March 27, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

On March 24, Republican lawmakers pulled their proposal to undo parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when it became clear they didn’t have the necessary votes to pass the bill in the House.

The American Health Care Act would have, among other things, effectively voided the ACA’s employer mandate, which requires large employers to offer workers affordable health insurance. It also would have delayed the “Cadillac tax” on high-value health plans and made a few small changes to employer plans. Employers’ reporting requirements, however, generally would have remained. (For a full review of the bill’s provisions, see “ACA repeal proposal: Employer mandate gone, Cadillac tax remains.”)

Support for the bill dwindled as lawmakers tried to make concessions, according to Eric Schillinger, an associate at Trucker Huss and a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider. Each time Republicans amended the bill to appease one group, they alienated another, creating a tug-of-war, he explained. Instead of allowing the bill to come up short on the House floor, Republicans pulled it to save face, he said.

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‘Breathtakingly radical’: Acosta questions legality of any overtime threshold

March 23, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor has questioned whether the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has the authority to set any salary threshold for overtime pay—not just the pending increase that would raise the threshold to $47,476.

Alexander Acosta volunteered that concern twice during his March 22 confirmation hearing, despite no questions from lawmakers to that effect. A former DOL economist who worked under President Barack Obama called Acosta’s statements “breathtakingly radical,” noting that an overtime threshold has been in place since 1938.

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Federal contractors hail Congress’s decision to kill ‘blacklisting’ rule

March 08, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

On March 6, Congress voted to repeal a regulation requiring federal contractors to report employment law violations to agencies that award contracts. President Donald Trump is expected to approve the resolution.

The move was expected but is still a great relief to all federal contractors, according to Burton J. Fishman, senior counsel with Fortney & Scott and a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider. Even the most compliant contractors had negative reactions to the rule. “They were all opposed to this[,] and that tells you something,” Fishman said. “This was really exceedingly burdensome with very little upside and had the trappings of political—not practical—purpose involved.”

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ACA repeal proposal: Employer mandate gone, Cadillac tax remains

March 07, 2017 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On March 6, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) released long-awaited proposed legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a budget process known as reconciliation—a process that allows legislation to be passed with a simple majority in the Senate. The legislation is part of House Republicans’ American Health Care Act.

Employer and individual mandates gone . . . retroactively

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SCOTUS nominee ‘excellent’ choice for employers

February 01, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court’s vacant seat may be good news for employers, according to employment law attorneys.

Gorsuch is known for adhering to the letter of the law, which means he won’t create any new rights through judicial activism, according to John Husband, a senior partner at Holland & Hart in the judge’s hometown of Denver.

Trump announced his pick January 31, calling Gorsuch “a man who our country really needs—and needs badly—to ensure the rule of law and the rule of justice.”

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Republican ACA proposal poses challenges for multistate employers

January 25, 2017 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

A group of Republican senators has proposed a replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would allow states to choose whether to keep Obamacare’s provisions in place. Because employers’ requirements would depend on where employees work, compliance could be a real challenge for companies with operations in multiple states, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The bill is seemingly an attempt to gain bipartisan support, but lawmakers on both sides have expressed dissatisfaction with its provisions, said Chatrane Birbal, SHRM’s senior adviser for government relations.

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Puzder nomination could be the end of overtime rules

December 13, 2016 - by: Kate McGovern Tornone 0 COMMENTS

The president-elect’s nomination of Andy Puzder for secretary of labor may very well be the final nail in the coffin for the new overtime rules.

Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, has been an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama’s employment initiatives for years. Several of those efforts, especially the overtime rules, are dead given Puzder’s appointment, says John Husband, a partner at Holland & Hart LLP and an editor of Colorado Employment Law Letter.

The overtime regulations, which would have required employers to pay overtime to all employees earning less than $913 per week ($47,476 annually), were scheduled to take effect December 1. With just days to spare, a federal district court judge issued a temporary injunction halting the rules’ implementation. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) appealed the injunction order to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed to fast-track its review. Still, the expedited schedule puts final briefings after the inauguration.

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Obama’s Supreme Court nominee may not be a friend to employers

March 16, 2016 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On March 16, President Barack Obama announced his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997 and has served as chief judge since 2013.

Battle lines over when confirmation hearings will be held were immediately drawn between Obama and Senate Republicans. If the nomination is considered by the Senate before the end of Obama’s second term, employers may be interested in understanding where Garland will likely come out on employment-related issues.

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Cybersecurity bill gives employers plenty to consider

November 02, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Safety concept: blue Padlock on digital backgroundThe U.S. House and Senate have both passed versions of a cybersecurity bill that would enable companies to voluntarily share information on cyberattacks. The likelihood that some form of the measure will soon become law means employers need to consider whether or how they should participate.

The Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act on October 27. A similar bill passed the House earlier this year. Differences between the House and Senate versions will have to be reconciled before going to President Barack Obama for his expected signature.

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