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This fall, with key agencies staffed and their leaders in place, government regulations implementing the Biden administration’s agenda will begin to emerge on a scale and frequency not seen since the Obama years. In Congress, continuing attention to COVID relief efforts and philosophical disagreements within the Democratic caucus have stalled much of the President’s legislative agenda, which would also have to clear the Senate filibuster hurdle. The lack of legislative action is creating a new sense of urgency—and energy in federal agencies—to move the agenda through regulatory action, as doubts grow about Democrats’ ability to maintain control of Congress ...
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In the midst of new variants, rising COVID infections, lagging vaccination rates, and increasing mandates, HR Policy’s Evolving Workplace Initiative held a session providing expert assessments of the issues presented by the current spread and an outlook of what's next for COVID variants. The call featured Dr. Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer at Merck and formerly Director of the U.S. CDC, and Dr. Peter Nigro, Chief Employee Health Officer at Merck in a discussion moderated by Ani Huang, HR Policy’s Senior Vice President. “COVID is winning right now”: Dr. Gerberding set the stage by noting that the Delta variant is ...
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In a memorandum issued to National Labor Relations Board regional offices, recently confirmed NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo set out numerous areas where she can be expected to move the law in a more pro-union direction. These include, but are not limited to, including employer workplace rules and policies, independent contractor classification, and employee activities protected against employer discipline. The NLRB General Counsel largely determines the agenda for the five-Member NLRB. With no private right of action under the National Labor Relations Act, the GC has the exclusive decision whether to prosecute an employer or union for a labor law ...
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Labor- and management-side experts at the first annual Big Sky Labor and Employment Conference, hosted by Roger and Lori King, agreed that much of the law governing the employment relationship is broken, revealing the potential for collaboration on solutions moving forward. The meeting was well attended by government officials from both parties, union leaders, HR Policy member companies, and labor- and management-side attorneys and business groups, including HR Policy staff. New administration, new priorities for NLRB and DOL: As the National Labor Relations Board gains a Democratic majority and President Biden’s picks for key Labor Department leadership ...
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U.S. job openings jumped to a record 10.1 million in June, or 1.2 openings for every unemployed American, with record or near-record job opening rates in 11 industries, further highlighting the mismatch between available jobs and worker skills. Industries with the highest job opening rates include: accommodation and food services (10.2%), arts, entertainment, and recreation (9.4%), professional and business services (7.9%), nondurable goods manufacturing (7.2%), and retail trade (7.0%). But quit rates are up too. Industries with the highest quit rates and therefore difficulties retaining employees include: accommodation and food services (5.7%), retail ...
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The Senate passed a $3.5 trillion FY2022 Budget Resolution that could enable Democrats to enact paid family leave and other health care reforms this fall without any GOP votes. However, enactment hinges on whether the House approves the resolution, Democrats can reach a consensus within their own caucus on actual legislation, and procedural obstacles in the Senate can be overcome. The resolution includes several workplace topics that are Democratic priorities such as paid family and medical leave, pro-union incentives and worker support, health equity, ACA expansion, corporate tax reform, childcare for working families, workforce development and job training, ...
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HR Policy Online, the Association’s member-only online community relaunched this week with an all-new user interface and several helpful site enhancements. Since it was introduced in June of 2020, thousands of HR Policy members have shared ideas with their peers. Available to all HR Policy members, HR Policy Online is a forum where members can post questions and responses to other member inquiries. The community site is exclusive to HR Policy members and nothing posted can be viewed publicly. Recent topics of discussion include: Business Travel Programs The Delta Variant and CDC Guidance Labor and Employment Scorecard Vaccine Incentives ...
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The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals became the second federal appeals court to rule that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) requires employers to provide paid military leave if they provide paid leave for comparable non-military absences. Background: USERRA is a federal law designed to encourage military service by reducing the negative impacts such service can have on civilian careers. USERRA requires that employees on military leave receive the same non-seniority-based “rights and benefits” as similarly situated employees on comparable forms of leave. Prior to a recent Seventh Circuit decision, several district ...
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A female employee's recent allegation of sexual assault at Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba sparked a massive online reaction and government scrutiny of the company, marking a trend of employees in corporate China challenging workplace discrimination and harassment via online tools, putting employers on notice. In the Alibaba case, the company held its CHRO accountable for neglect, terminated the supervisors involved, and promised to implement an internal “anti-harassment” policy. The quick reaction reflects an increasing intolerance of sexual violence and discrimination against women in China. Weibo (a Chinese site similar to Twitter) was a primary platform ...
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President Biden's vaccine rule for federal employees and recent employer vaccine announcements are expected to generate litigation that could threaten the longstanding legal authority of employers to impose health measures at work. Meanwhile, a group of former public health officials has called on employers to take “clear and actionable measures”—including temporarily requiring vaccines—to keep their workers safe. So far, vaccine requirements have had some early wins in court. A federal judge in Texas shot down a suit from health care workers at a Houston hospital that required its employees to be vaccinated. The case has been appealed to the 5th Circuit. ...
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Employers added 943,000 jobs in July after adding 938,000 jobs in June as the unemployment rate dropped to 5.4%, however, the numbers predate the rise in Delta variant cases. The number unemployed dropped by 782,000, the largest monthly drop since October 2020, and 261,000 people joined the labor force. In addition, the number of long-term unemployed (27+ weeks) dropped by 560,000. There are still 5.7 million fewer jobs in the U.S. than before the pandemic and 1.5 million more people who say they want a job are not in the labor force. The war for talent heats up—more job openings than unemployed Americans: There are 8.7 million Americans unemployed ...
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With strong backing from HR Policy and others in the business community, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee passed the House-approved Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S. 1486), setting up a vote in the full Senate. Our letter backing Committee approval states: “Employers currently face great uncertainty about whether, and how, they are required to accommodate pregnant workers. The PWFA would clarify an employer’s obligation to accommodate a pregnant employee or applicant with a known limitation that interferes with her ability to perform some essential functions of her position.” The PWFA would require employers to provide ...
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A United Kingdom proposal could require companies to “disclose annually on a comply or explain basis whether they meet specific board diversity targets and to publish diversity data on their boards and executive management.” The process: The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the regulatory organization responsible for overseeing the listing requirements of any entity listed on a UK securities exchange, issued the public consultation on Thursday, July 28, 2021 with a three-month public comment period. The FCA’s consultation amounts to a “proposed rule,” which enables the agency to subsequently issue final listing standards which must be met by ...
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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) reintroduced the Restoring Justice for Workers Act , which would prohibit the use of mandatory predispute arbitration agreements between employers and employees. The bill would prohibit employers from requiring employees to resolve work disputes through arbitration, as well as retaliation against workers for refusing to arbitrate work disputes. Further, the bill would prohibit postdispute arbitration agreements unless such agreements are not mandatory, made a condition of employment, or similarly obtained through coercion of the employee. Nadler was joined by House Education and Labor Committee ...
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Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the business community-backed SAFE DATA Act in hopes of jumpstarting deliberations over comprehensive privacy legislation, which have stalled during the pandemic. Sen. Wicker’s bill excludes HR data, preempts state laws, and does not provide individuals with a right to sue for infractions. For large employers, the need for comprehensive consumer privacy legislation is apparent . However, many of the protections in pending legislative proposals are designed for consumers, not workers, and would create significant issues if applied in the employment context. Fortunately, most ...
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Despite continuing legal concerns, the federal government, New York City, and California have announced COVID vaccination requirements for their employees, with the federal requirement extending to on-site contractors. Meanwhile, the CDC’s new masking recommendations will require employers to rethink their reopening policies. President Biden announced federal employees and on-site contractor employees must attest they have been vaccinated or be subject to twice weekly testing and work-related travel restrictions. Anyone who does not attest to being fully vaccinated will be required to wear a mask on the job no matter their geographic location and ...
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The Senate confirmed union attorneys Gwynne Wilcox and David Prouty for seats on the National Labor Relations Board, paving the way for a 3-2 Democratic majority and dramatic changes in policy from the Board starting August 27, when Republican member William Emanuel’s term expires. The Board is expected to quickly take pro-union positions on joint employer liability, contingent worker status, union election procedures, bargaining unit determinations, handbook policies, union access to public property, and many other areas of labor law and policy. Gwynne Wilcox, a Senior Partner at Levy Ratner, is perhaps best known for bringing a case against McDonald's ...
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The Evolving Workplace Initiative session took a deep dive into current and future trends in business travel, including the impact of the Delta variant, and how companies are approaching business travel policy and budgets. Rich Floersch, HR Policy’s Senior Strategic Advisor, moderated a panel including Edith Clee, Partner, Head of HR Strategy, Marsh McLennan; Suzanne Neufang, CEO and Executive Director, Global Business Travel Association (GBTA); and Beth Sullivan, SVP Business Operations Executive, Global Travel, Meeting & Event Management, Corporate Fleet and Aviation, Bank of America. Drop in travel spending will cost billions: Mr. Floersch ...
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The U.S. Department of Labor rescinded an HR Policy-supported final rule that updated and modernized the Department’s joint employer standard. However, DOL did not replace the rule, leaving it up to the courts to decide the issue until new guidance is published. DOL argues the previous 2020 rule is inconsistent with the FLSA’s text and purpose: According to DOL, “the [Trump administration’s] vertical joint employment analysis had never before been applied by [the Department's Wage and Hour Division], was different from the analyses applied by every court to have considered the issue prior to the Rule’s issuance, and has generally not been adopted by courts,” ...
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HR Policy CEO Tim Bartl, along with CEOs from member companies and key industry groups, called on Congress to pass legislation creating a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants brought illegally into the U.S. as children. The letter comes on the heels of a ruling by a federal judge that found the DACA program unlawful. “Dreamers… are employees who fill key roles at our companies,” the letter reads. “They pay federal, state, and local taxes; they work with us, start their own small businesses, teach our children in school, and serve in our military. About half of all Dreamers are essential workers who have been serving on the front lines of ...
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