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Warning against the broad use of federal contracting authority to achieve policy goals, a Kentucky federal judge has temporarily halted the vaccine mandate for federal contractors. With all three Biden administration vaccine mandates covering private employees now subject to at least partial injunction, it may be weeks before any may be permanently invalidated or reinstated. For now, the federal contractor ruling is limited to Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, meaning that the mandate is still in effect for federal contractors and their employees in all other states. In his ruling, the judge stated that if the government’s procurement authority could ...
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The Biden administration’s announcement that it will require employers to cover the cost of over-the-counter at-home COVID tests beginning in January raises a number of important questions about when the employer may try to limit the number and circumstances of those tests. Currently, employer plans are required to provide first-dollar coverage for COVID tests when an individual seeks and receives a diagnostic test from a licensed or authorized health care provider, or when a provider refers an individual for a diagnostic test, including asymptomatic individuals with no exposure to COVID. However, employer plans are not required to cover asymptomatic ...
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Democratic Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Charlotte Burrows and Republican Commissioner Keith Sonderling joined Future Workplace Policy Council staff and members in exploring, among other things, the various compliance challenges facing companies using artificial intelligence in the HR context. Importantly, Commissioner Sonderling cautioned employers against taking a “hands off” approach and giving too much deference to technology. Chair Burrows discussed the EEOC’s initiatives on artificial intelligence and retaliation, and gave her perspectives on the future collection of the EEO-1 Component 2 data and further COVID-19 guidance. A top ...
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As part of its economic analysis of the Build Back Better Act ( H.R. 5376 ), the Congressional Budget Office predicts that most employers who currently offer paid leave would provide fewer weeks of leave and less pay due to the bill's four-week federal paid family and medical leave program. Greater reliance on government programs: The CBO anticipates that most employees who currently have access to employer-provided benefits would rely on the state or federal program for the weeks in which they would be eligible for benefits. The report acknowledges that some employers who currently offer paid family and medical leave might provide additional payments ...
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The National Labor Relations Board could soon overturn Trump-era precedent that freely permits employers to include confidentiality and non-disclosure provisions, among other items, in employee severance agreements. Meanwhile, a recent decision by an NLRB administrative law judge could open certain company communications with legal counsel and labor consultants—generally considered privileged—to trial discovery. Strings attached to severance agreements in the crosshairs: The Board’s legal division has asked the Board to overturn a Trump-era ruling in Baylor University Medical Center , under which employers are freely permitted to include confidentiality ...
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President Biden’s executive order raising the hourly minimum wage for certain federal contractors from $10.95 an hour to $15 an hour will take effect January 30, 2022, and beginning January 1, 2023, will increase annually by an amount determined by the Secretary of Labor. Coverage: Only workers who are non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act and perform work on or in connection with a covered contract must be paid $15 per hour for the hours they work on the contract. In addition, DOL is phasing out lower wages and tip credits for tipped employees on covered contracts. By 2024, tipped employees must receive the full federal contractor wage rate. ...
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HR Policy and several Association members and business groups cited the U.S. economy's increased need for qualified workers in joint comments supporting a proposed regulation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to formally establish the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The regulation will address the procedural aspects of a federal court’s recent decision to vacate DACA, as the ultimate fate of the program rests on whether a higher court takes a different view of the substantive issues. Our comments note the positive impact of Dreamers on the U.S. economy: American businesses in every part of the economy depend ...
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Employers added 210,000 jobs in November and an average 378,000 jobs over the past three months compared to an average 845,000 in the previous three months, but the unemployment rate dropped to 4.2% as the number of unemployed fell by 542,000 and 473,000 Americans rejoined the labor market. Five industries accounted for 82% of the November job growth, including: Transportation and warehousing (+49,700), Administrative and support services (+42,400), Construction (+31,000), Manufacturing (+31,000), and Accommodation and food services (+17,6000). Most other industries were little changed except for retail trade (-20,400) and state and ...
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Following the Fifth Circuit’s decision to extend its temporary hold on the vaccine Emergency Temporary Standard, OSHA has suspended all activities “related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.” Sixth Circuit to review: The Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals was chosen by judicial lottery to hear a consolidated version of the numerous lawsuits filed against the ETS. It will decide whether to grant a permanent injunction invalidating the vaccine mandate for large private employers, or else uphold it as lawful. Notably, the Sixth Circuit has a significant majority of justices nominated by Republican ...
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The Securities and Exchange Commission voted 3–2 along party lines to propose partially reversing important 2020 proxy voting regulations . The proposed changes would eliminate access to final proxy advisory firm reports for all companies and distribution of company responses to voting recommendations to investor clients. The Commission’s proposed amendment : Rescinds a 2021 rule that proxy advisory firms share their recommendations with corporate executives at the same time as shareholders. Removes liability consequences for proxy advisors if they fail to disclose material information regarding proxy voting advice. The rules will still ...
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A new Interim Final Rule (IFR) on prescription drug and health care spending transparency will require employers to quickly renegotiate their third-party administrator contracts to ensure their health plans meet the rule’s extra reporting requirements. The extra requirements in the IFR that are not in the statute include reporting the following by each state in which an employer plan has participants: Detailed prescription drug data and health care service cost data; The number of plan participants with a paid prescription drug claim; The total dosage units of prescription drugs dispensed and number of paid drug claims; Plan premium ...
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HR Policy Vice President of Government Relations Chatrane Birbal was named a National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics 2021 Top Lobbyist , an honor that “aims to recognize those who have been working hard behind the scenes to enact meaningful change.” According to NILE, the award is made by lobbyists for lobbyists. “All nominees were nominated by their peers, clients, or Congressional staff and were evaluated blindly to ensure receiving the honor of 2021 Top Lobbyist is 100% merit based.” “Chatrane has been an invaluable member of our team,” said HR Policy Association President and CEO Tim Bartl. “This is well-deserved honor, and that it is ...
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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Department of Labor have launched a tri-agency initiative to combat what they view as widespread, “increasingly alarming” retaliation by employers against employees for asserting workplace rights. Top officials from each of the three agencies vowed to use all available tools in a push against retaliation during a public webinar entitled “DOL, NLRB, and EEOC Dialogue: Ending Retaliation, Promoting Workers’ Rights.” Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda was joined by NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows, and Jessica Looman, Acting Administrator ...
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NLRB Chair Lauren McFerran and Member John Ring discussed several notable upcoming labor law changes, including those on handbook rules and whether certain offensive speech constitutes protected concerted activity, in our most recent Future Workplace Policy Council Fall Conference webinar. In the panel that followed, American Water Vice President, Chief Labor, Employment & Commercial Counsel Pam Richardson noted, “These upcoming changes make it very challenging to run a business as there are so many other changes happening—employers are craving some stability.” Chair McFerran noted “There should be a default presumption of mail-in ballots for the duration ...
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President Biden issued an executive order that requires employers with federal service contracts to give priority for jobs to employees who worked on the previous service contract under a predecessor. The order requires federal agencies to insert a clause in re-issued service contracts to give a prior contractor’s employees a right of first refusal to maintain their employment under the re-issued contract. Thus, per the EO, when a service contract expires, and a follow-on contract is awarded “for the same or similar services,” the new contractor employer would be required to offer employees under the previous contract a chance to continue employment ...
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The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed to eliminate the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) and direct its resources toward expanding access to its traditional Registered Apprenticeship program model. Background: IRAPs are apprenticeship programs recognized by a Standards Recognition Entity pursuant to DOL standards that provide individuals with opportunities to obtain workplace-relevant knowledge and progressively advancing skills. IRAPs are generally developed or delivered by trade and industry groups, corporations, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and joint labor-management organizations. The proposed rule ...
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overview of Saudi Arabia’s labor laws and recent legislative developments that could impact multinational employers during an HR Policy Global call. Mr. Khan emphasized that the changes are largely in line with the country’s vision to improve the representation of Saudi nationals in the private sector. Remarkably, 70% of Saudi Arabia’s 35 million people are under the age of 30 and 350,000 new graduates enter the job market every year, Mr. Kahn explained in providing an overview of the labor market. This has increased pressure on the government to expand the participation of local talent when only 23% of private sector employees are currently Saudi nationals. ...
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HR Policy examined the most pressing issues for employers related to OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard vaccine mandate and discussed the state and private legal action that may threaten its viability. HR Policy staff were joined by Sarah H. King, Senior VP, Chief People & Diversity Officer, Darden Restaurants, Inc., and William P. Schurgin, Partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP and member of the new HR Policy Legal Council , to discuss the most significant aspects of the ETS and how it will impact employers, including the pending litigation that is temporarily blocking the rule’s implementation. Topics covered included: Legal challenges to the ...
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U.S. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Jenny Yang highlighted several of the agency's priorities for HR Policy’s Future Workplace Policy Council, including emphasizing the importance of self-audits but raising questions as to whether such audits will continue to be protected under attorney-client privilege in all cases. “When you see a lack of compliance particularly around pay equity,” Director Yang said, “doing a self-audit on a regular annual basis and being willing to provide that information to OFCCP when we request it is important as part of this process.” She also said that the compensation committee and senior management should ...
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Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced the Resolving Sexual Assault and Harassment Disputes Act ( S. 3143 ), which would prohibit the enforcement of pre-dispute arbitration agreements and seek to ensure that fair procedures are used in arbitrations involving workplace sexual harassment claims. Notable provisions include: Prohibition of the enforceability of pre-dispute arbitration agreements in employment contracts with respect to sexual assault and harassment claims. Allowing a plaintiff to publicly discuss a sexual assault or harassment claim that will be arbitrated (unless both parties mutually agree otherwise) with the right to report harassment ...
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