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In an op-ed recently published in The Hill , HR Policy’s Ani Huang highlighted the unnecessary overreach of the FTC’s recently proposed ban on non-compete agreements. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators reintroduced legislation that would similarly prohibit such agreements, reinforcing the reality that the debate over non-competes will not stop with the FTC’s rulemaking. “An axe where a scalpel is called for:” In her op-ed, Ms. Huang argues that “executives have the sophistication, market experience, and wage information to effectively advocate for themselves, without the potential power imbalance during negotiations that an hourly worker might ...
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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held a hearing exploring potential discrimination in AI as a “New Civil Rights Frontier,” with few employer voices represented. HR Policy filed comments urging an “open and transparent process involving public comment from all stakeholders” to ensure any resulting guidance clarifies employers’ obligations. Background: The hearing was the continuation of the Commission’s “Artificial Intelligence and Algorithmic Fairness Initiative,” launched in November 2021 to ensure that artificial intelligence and algorithmic decision-making tools “do not become a high-tech pathway to discrimination,” in the ...
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The Democratic committee chairs in the U.S. Senate for the 118th Congress were confirmed this week. The committees with jurisdiction over workplace issues that the Association will continue to engage with include: Finance: Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR); Health, Education, Labor and Pensions: Chair Bernie Sanders (D-VT) Judiciary: Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL); Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs: Chair Sherrod Brown (D-OH); and Commerce, Science and Transportation: Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA). No Senate Power-Sharing Agreement: Democrats control the Senate, 51 to 49, after two years of a 50 to 50 split, which means as a practical matter that ...
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This week, a new Department of Labor rule took effect reversing a rule by the previous DOL that deterred pension fund fiduciaries from considering ESG factors in directing their funds’ investments. The new rule eliminates the previous Department’s requirement that investments be directed solely on the basis of “pecuniary” factors, but does not require consideration of ESG factors. A lawsuit seeking to enjoin the rule was filed in federal court last week by 25 state attorneys general and aligned parties. Controversy: Even though the rule does not mandate that fiduciaries consider ESG factors, it has still drawn fire from Republicans at both the federal ...
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President Biden announced the Covid-19 public health emergency (PHE) will end on May 11, 2023, just before the House voted along party lines to immediately end it. Commercial market rates will apply. The end of the PHE will take pricing and coverage of Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and other treatments out of the government's control and move them to the commercial market. Employees could see more costs depending on the terms of their employer benefits. Employers often cover the costs of preventive care, such as vaccines, but often charge deductibles or require cost-sharing for other drugs and treatments. People without health insurance will have to pay ...
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A new Illinois bill awaiting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) signature would require Illinois employers to allow up to 40 hours of paid sick leave, which could be used for any reason without the employee having to give a reason to the employer. Illinois would join Maine and Nevada as the only states with mandatory paid sick leave laws under which the leave can be used for any purpose, while other states, including Minnesota and Michigan, could enact similar laws soon. The law entitles employees who work in Illinois at least 40 hours of paid leave during a 12-month period. Per the bill: “The paid leave may be used by the employee for any purpose.” The employee ...
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As the new Congress forms its legislative agenda, Representatives Stephanie Bice (R-OK) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) have formed the Bipartisan Paid Family Leave Working Group, made up of six congresspeople, half Republicans and half Democrats. Group members include Representatives Colin Allred (D-TX), Julia Letlow (R-LA), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and Haley Stevens (D-MI). The first meeting of the working group will be on February 7, the same day as President Biden’s State of the Union address. Rep. Bice said the group is starting with a “blank slate,” with Rep. Houlahan noting that “nothing is off the table” for consideration. Reps. Bice and Houlahan ...
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Employers added jobs in January at the fastest pace in almost a year and the unemployment rate dropped to a low last seen at the height of the Vietnam War (1969) and the Korean Conflict (1951-52). Broad-based: Accommodation and food services added 113,400 jobs in January, followed by professional and business services (+82,000), state and local government (+69,000), health care (+58,200), and retail trade (+30,100). Most other industries also had solid gains except for mining and logging, utilities, information, and financial activities. Wage increases moderating, but still elevated. Average hourly wages in January were 4.4% higher than a year earlier, ...
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The Speak Out Act – which covers employees and independent contractors – makes pre-dispute nondisclosure and non-disparagement agreements unenforceable in cases involving sexual assault or sexual harassment. A study conducted in 2021 found that more than half of workers in surveyed firms were covered by an NDA. Notably, the bill only applies to pre-dispute agreements, and only in sexual harassment and sexual assault contexts. Specifically, “no nondisclosure clause or nondisparagement clause agreed to before the dispute arises shall be judicially enforceable”. The definition of “pre-dispute” remains an open question. Whether ...
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HR Policy and over 350 other companies and business groups sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to expand access and improve affordability by allowing employers and health plans to offer telehealth health services pre-deductible. Expanded employer telehealth flexibilities will expire at the end of 2022 without another extension. The letter notes that without congressional action, employers will be required to charge employees more to access telehealth services, creating a barrier to care. Barrier to mental health care if provision not extended: The letter also notes that in 2022, 75% of large employers offered access to lower- or ...
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EEOC Commissioner Andrea Lucas has initiated charges against several employers for providing employees with abortion travel benefits in the latest legal fallout from the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade . Discrimination against pregnant workers: The charges filed by Commissioner Lucas allege that by offering employees reimbursement and other benefits for procuring an abortion out of state, employers are discriminating against pregnant and disabled workers because they are not offering equivalent benefits for their medical needs. Commissioner charges, which can be initiated by a sole member of the Commission, are rarely used. Not without ...
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As more and more pay transparency laws go into effect around the country, pay range disclosure requirements have generated a variety of different company responses, with some companies opting to comply by posting ranges where the minimum and maximum salaries are more than $200,000 apart. NYC law goes into effect: Colorado became the first jurisdiction to require employers to provide salary ranges in job postings, and has since been followed by New York City, Washington, and California (New York state passed a similar law that is currently awaiting the governor’s signature). With the NYC law now in effect, a much larger swath of the employer community is ...
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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced legislation cracking down on “ghost networks,” increasing enforcement efforts and allowing the federal government to issue civil monetary penalties to group health plans found out of compliance. This legislation takes aim at inaccurate provider directories after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released in March of this year found that ghost networks are one of the barriers to accessing mental health care. The legislation increases requirements for group health plans. Starting three years after enactment, the legislation: Requires group health plans to annually ...
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HR Policy Global hosted a webinar to discuss the challenges multinational employers are facing due to widespread inflation, and how to assist employees around the world, especially those in Europe, with diminished purchasing power. When tackling economic challenges, tight labor markets, and pressures from employees and unions, it is critical to keep effective internal communications across countries and functions, to focus on specific local approaches under a global framework, and to implement solutions that won’t have a long-term undesirable impact. Building guiding principles on addressing global inflation : Mr. Cramer started with a Mercer ...
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HR Policy’s Future Workplace Policy Council continued its year-end webinar series with post-election analysis featuring Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), senior Democratic staff members on key congressional committees, and Republican Senate staff. Oversight from the Republican-controlled House ahead: Rep. Foxx noted that we can expect “lots of hearings looking backwards at what the Biden administration has done as well as being contemporary about what they are planning on doing.” She particularly focused on recent NLRB activity, the Federal Trade Commission, and agencies operating without clear congressional authority. “We will not be shy about ...
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Employers are increasingly turning to innovative ways to improve recruitment and retention with renewed interest in family formation benefits, onsite childcare, telehealth, and even pet insurance. A new Milliman report found: 38% of employers are currently offering pet insurance, and another 37% plan to offer it in 2023; 71% of employers are offering tuition reimbursement and 64% are offering financial well-being services; and Compared to five years ago, an additional 23% of employers are providing free onsite snacks and meals. Outlook: Nontraditional benefit innovation will continue to increase as employers seek to differentiate ...
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SEC staff are concerned that Chair Gensler’s “aggressive agenda—particularly as it relates to high-profile rules that significantly impact external stakeholders—potentially (1) limits the time available for staff research and analysis, and (2) increases litigation risk,” according to the Inspector General’s annual report. The IG is required to identify and report annually on “the most serious management and performance challenges facing the SEC,” and this year’s report was a doozy. A WSJ editorial opinion on the report noted that the review “would probably get a CEO of a public company sacked” and highlighted the concerns of SEC staffers themselves ...
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Continuing the ongoing anti-ESG push by Republican politicians, several Republican senators sent a letter to U.S. law firms warning them about the advice they provide to clients regarding ESG initiatives and to be prepared for congressional oversight hearings. The letter claims that the “ESG movement attempts to weaponize corporations to reshape society in ways that Americans would never endorse at the ballot box.” Signatories include Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Marco Rubio (R-FL). The letter points out a “particular concern” that there is a “collusive effort to restrict ...
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Company representatives and legal experts based in the U.S. and the EU examined recent U.S. privacy developments, drawing from experiences with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation in a webinar moderated by HR Policy’s Daniel Chasen, Vice President, Workplace Policy. In addition, panelists discussed NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo’s new memo on employee monitoring and AI, which points to the significant employee relations implications of new privacy developments. NLRB General Counsel Abruzzo’s new memo on employee monitoring sets high bar for employers: Last week, GC Abruzzo urged the Board in a memo to “adopt a new framework ...
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Although midterm election voting has ended, tallying up the final vote counts across the country will continue this week and possibly into next week. In addition, Democratic Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker will head to a runoff on December 6. In the meantime, the balance of power in Congress is in limbo, which could delay party leadership elections and committee chair decisions. As of publication, c ontrol of both chambers of Congress remains up for grabs , with several House and Senate races too close to call. House makeup (211 R; 192 D; 32 not yet called): Republicans could claim the majority with between two to ...
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