This Week in HR Policy

Be the first person to recommend this.
HR Policy Association and the American Health Policy Institute’s Mark Wilson was named by Washingtonian Magazine as one of Washington’s most influential people on health care policy in its March edition. The inaugural list is comprised of policy experts “who understand the nuances and complexities of how and where laws affect business, government, and society” and thus have significant influence over policy. As President of the American Health Policy Institute, Mark has advocated for our members on health care issues like the Cadillac tax repeal, price transparency, surprise medical billing, HSAs, COBRA subsidies, ACA regulations, and drug pricing. ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Less than one week after its introduction, the House of Representatives passed a significant civil rights measure that would add sexual orientation and gender identity protections to federal civil rights laws. In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII employment protections include sexual orientation and gender identity. Yet “legislative action is needed to forestall endless litigation under other statutes,” reads our letter of support sent last week to House leadership. Some concerns have been raised regarding the potential application of the bill to other aspects of employment law. As our letter indicates, “the bill is silent as to whether ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) requested the SEC review and reform policies covering 10b5-1 plans, which provide corporate executives with a method to trade company shares without triggering insider trading prohibitions. The content of the letter is very similar to the bipartisan bill that passed the House almost unanimously in 2019 and calls for the following SEC actions: Describe how it ensures 10b5-1 plans are compliant with rules and regulations; List enforcement actions initiated in the last 5 years with regards to the plans; Consider implementation of a 4–6 month cooling ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
After the Senate parliamentarian ruled against including a minimum wage increase in the COVID relief bill, Sen. Sanders vowed to add language to the bill that removes tax breaks from large companies that do not pay at least a $15 per hour wage. The bill includes funding to: Provide COBRA subsidies for employers through September 30, 2021; Increase and extend the generosity of the ACA premium subsidies for purchasing coverage in the exchanges; Incentivize states to expand their Medicaid programs; and Speed up vaccine distribution and administration. On Thursday, the Senate parliamentarian ruled against including a minimum wage increase ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced this week that the House will consider the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 842) the week of March 8. The bill would upend labor relations in the most significant transformation of American labor law since passage of the National Labor Relations Act in 1935. Fast track to the House floor: The House Democratic leadership is invoking a new rule, which allows immediate floor action without committee consideration on any bills passed in the previous Congress. Elimination of balance: The anti-worker, anti-employer provisions in the bill are numerous, including measures that would: ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The DOL sent a proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget reviving the Obama administration’s effort to expand large companies’ liability for employment law violations by their contractors and franchisees. Trump-era joint employer rule replaced: The Trump DOL issued its own joint employer rule in January 2020 that clarified the law along traditional lines, finding a joint employer relationship only where an employer exercised actual and direct control over another employer’s workers’ terms and conditions of employment. The Trump-era rule was for the most part subsequently struck down by a federal judge, and the Trump administration’s appeal of ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
In a positive signal for employers, the Virginia General Assembly approved a comprehensive consumer data privacy measure that excludes employment data, implicitly recognizing the significant distinctions between privacy issues in the consumer and employment contexts. Similar to the California Consumer Privacy Act, Virginia’s Consumer Data Protection Act would give consumers the right to access their data, correct inaccuracies, request the deletion of information, and in certain cases opt out of data collection. The bill does not contain a private right of action. Violations of the law are enforceable by the state Attorney General. Privacy ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
HR Policy’s latest mental health webinar focused on the practical ways employers can help employees manage stress and build resiliency with tools such as self-monitoring, building healthy habits, and reducing stigma around seeking help. Resilience helps us bounce back more quickly from stressful or adverse situations and can be improved through consistent habits like resonant breathing and meditation. Emotional resilience is highly correlated with workplace productivity. Total Brain Founder and CMO, Dr. Evian Gordon presented on the neuroscience behind stress and resiliency. Company perspectives: Lincoln Financial SVP of Total Rewards, HR Technology ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The Association filed comments with the Department of Labor strongly recommending that it scrap proposed plans to delay the previous administration’s final rule on independent contractor status under federal law. The final rule, which was instituted near the end of the Trump administration, clarified the proper standard for determining independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the rule, determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor is dependent on the degree of control exercised by either party and the worker’s opportunity for profit or loss. The Association filed comments largely in support ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
HR Policy’s Senior Labor and Employment Counsel Roger King fielded questions on a variety of labor and employment law and policy topics in the second edition of the Association’s new Ask Me Anything series. The discussion began with a comprehensive preview of Biden’s labor policy agenda. Mr. King highlighted President Biden’s self-characterization as the “most labor-friendly President ever,” and discussed the impact a number of high-ranking progressive appointees, such as Marty Walsh, Jenny Yang, and Julie Su, will have on achieving the administration’s ambitious labor and employment agenda. “We expect a big pendulum swing back towards labor interests,” ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Mexican President López Obrador noted an agreement with the business community over the legislative effort to ban outsourcing had yet to be reached but expressed confidence that the ban would be adopted “in this period.” In December, an agreement had been reached with the business community to delay the bill's passage until February in order to allow for negotiations. The delayed negotiation deadline appears to have expired but President López Obrador confirmed it would be adopted. As we have previously noted, multinational companies in Mexico frequently rely on outsourcing as a workforce composition strategy. The strategy, ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Senate Democrats reintroduced the Medicare-X Choice Act , which creates a public option close to what President Biden campaigned on and restarts the debate on government-run health care plans. The measure, which would shift costs to employer plans, could be included in the next budget reconciliation process, thus avoiding a Senate filibuster. The public option plan follows the Medicare framework but will be available to younger populations. The measure includes: Prohibition on cost-sharing for primary care services in addition to the essential health benefits required under the ACA. Increased subsidies for those having incomes below 400% of the ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
HR Policy called on congressional leadership to pass the recently reintroduced Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity protections to federal civil rights laws and is expected to see a floor vote next week. Our letter to House Leadership states: “Our members have a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, and they take proactive steps to ensure their companies are fostering positive and respectful cultures, free from any form of discrimination.” The Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that Title VII employment protections include sexual orientation and gender identity. The Equality Act would enshrine the ruling ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
A bipartisan group of representatives reintroduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act , a popular bill that would require companies to provide “reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform the functions of a job are limited by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.” Last year, HR Policy spearheaded a coalition letter supporting the bill, noting that it would give employers “clear and flexible options to ensure pregnant employees can remain at work for as long as they wish to do so.” The measure passed the House in September, with 226 Democrats and 103 Republicans voting in favor. Several ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Illinois is considering expanding its non-compete restrictions by increasing its income thresholds, expanding the scope of covered restrictive covenants, and imposing new requirements for the covenants to be enforceable. The Biden administration supports imposing federal restrictions on such agreements. Key aspects of HB 789 that are being considered: Income thresholds would be increased from $13.00 per hour (or minimum wage if that is higher) to “actual or expected” annual earnings exceeding $75,000 per year. That amount would increase to $80,000 in 2027, $85,000 in 2032, and $90,000 in 2037. For non-solicitation covenants, the threshold would ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Communications Workers of America counsel Jennifer Abruzzo’s confirmation as General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board would set the stage for the independent agency to implement extensive labor policy rewrites. Extensive pro-worker tenure at the NLRB: Ms. Abruzzo brings nearly 23 years of NLRB experience, including serving as Deputy General Counsel under General Counsel Richard Griffin during the Obama administration and briefly as Acting General Counsel at the beginning of the Trump administration. Since leaving the Board during the Trump administration, Ms. Abruzzo has worked as a union attorney for the Communications Workers of America. ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The January Mental Health Index demonstrated improvement for employee mental health in the new year, but experts warn this does not mean that workplace mental health troubles are over. HR Policy’s American Health Policy Institute will hold a webinar on February 23 on the subject. Employee stress and the risk of general anxiety disorder dropped to pre-pandemic levels . The index saw a 21% increase in sustained attention among employees in January. While this is very encouraging, the risk of depression and PTSD remained at 71% and 33% higher, respectively, than before COVID-19. Mental Health Webinar – February 23 at 12 p.m. EST: While ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) introduced President Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 , which includes encouraging provisions on employment-based green cards and DACA while signaling potential challenges in obtaining H-1B visas for certain workers. The 353-page comprehensive immigration bill would, among other items, provide an eight-year path to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants and eliminate several restrictions on family-based immigration. Many Republicans have already expressed opposition to these provisions. The bill includes several measures of particular interest to employers: Wage-based ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
HR Policy Association called on President Biden to rescind a Trump-era immigration ban that suspends the issuance of most new H-1B visas for highly skilled workers and L-1 visas for internal company transfers. The letter , signed by 174 advocacy groups, trade associations, and businesses, urges President Biden to rescind “or halt the impact of Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052, which have suspended the entry of many people seeking to enter as immigrants and nonimmigrants and continue to cause harm to a wide cross-section of families, businesses, and communities in the United States.” In April 2020, President Trump banned most immigration to ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
This week, House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) was joined by 197 other Democrats in introducing a paid family and medical leave measure with strong potential to be passed into law this year. The FAMILY Act ( H.R. 804 ) would create a federal insurance fund paid for by both employers and employees to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave—but without providing relief from the existing maze of state and local paid leave laws. The new leave program would: Require employees and employers to each contribute 0.2% of wages through a new payroll tax; Provide employees on leave up to 66% of their wages, capped at $4,000 a ...
0 comments