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FMLA “Marriage Penalty” May be Going Away

Friday, November 15, 2019

A new Senate bill proposes removing the restriction on married co-workers’ ability to take time off to care for newborn or adopted children, parents, or military family members under the FMLA.  The FMLA provides job protected, unpaid leave for employees for certain purposes, such as the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a sick family member.   Employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave during a one-year period.  Currently however, there is statutory language that only allows spouses to take a total of 12 combined weeks of leave.

Federal DOL Issues Proposed Rule Allowing Inclusion of Bonus Pay in Overtime Calculation for Fluctuating Workweek Half-Time Overtime Employees

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The fluctuating workweek half-time overtime option has been available for many years under federal law as a way for employers to reduce their overtime costs for employees who work different hours each week. The option requires that the employee be paid a fixed minimum amount weekly regardless of the number of hours worked. Then, if that number of worked exceeds 40, the employer may pay overtime on a half-time of the regular rate of pay basis (determined each week overtime is worked).

NY’s New Law Affecting Domestic Violence Victims Takes Effect in November

Friday, October 25, 2019

NY passed a new law this year that applies to employees that are victims of domestic violence.  This law requires employers to provide victims reasonable time off from work to seek medical attention for himself or herself for the injuries caused by domestic violence, to receive services from a domestic violence shelter or program or a rape crisis center, to obtain psychological counseling, to participate in safety planning or other activities to increase the victim’s safety in the future, to receive legal services, assist in the prosecution of the perpetrator, or to appear in court in rela

U.S. Supreme Court Argument on 10/8/19 Regarding LGBTQ Discrimination Coverage Under Title VII

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Observers noted a sharp divide among the United States Supreme Court Justices during oral argument of three cases before them on October 8, 2019. At issue before the Court was whether the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of “sex” in federal Title VII includes protection from discrimination for the LGBTQ community.

New Salary Levels for Federal Overtime Exemption Announced

Monday, September 30, 2019

The federal government has announced the new salary requirements for employees to be exempt from overtime pay under federal law.  The new salary threshold is $35,568 annually or $684 weekly.

Are Changes to Gig Worker Classifications Coming?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Historically, gig workers (think Uber drivers, InstaCart, Doordash) have been classified as independent contractors, allowing companies to avoid having to pay benefits or minimum wage and overtime.  This may change sooner than you think.  Just last week, California got one step closer to making it harder for companies to classify these individuals as independent contractors.  While the bill still must be signed into law, experts believe that this is inevitable.  New York Gov.

Federal DOL Set to Publish a Proposed Rule Regarding Fluctuating Workweek Pay

Friday, September 06, 2019

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employers who agree with employees who work a fluctuating number of hours each week to pay them a base salary regardless of the number of hours worked, are then able to pay those employees half-time for their overtime hours.  This somewhat unknown, and not often used, structure generally saves employers money and gives employees the certainty of the salary during weeks working less than 40 hours.

PFL 2020 Rates Announced

Friday, September 06, 2019

The New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) Superintendent revealed the new Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) benefit and employee contribution rates on Friday August 30. By law, those on PFL will receive up to 60% of the New York State average weekly wage (which the DFS set at $1,401.17 for 2020), for the up-to-10 weeks of PFL taken during the year. Accordingly, most employees who take PFL in 2020 will receive $840.70 per week, up about $100 from 2019, and it will be interesting to see if more employees seek to take it.

Expanded NY Anti-Harassment Legislation Has Become Law

Friday, August 30, 2019

On June 25, we wrote about new anti-harassment legislation that we expected Governor Cuomo to sign into law.  On August 12, he did, in fact, sign that legislation and expanded the definition of what is considered legally actionable harassment in the workplace.  The traditional standard that harassment must be “severe and pervasive” will no longer apply.  Now, a complainant must show that the conduct in question rises above the level of “petty slights and trivial inconveniences.” 

 

Additional changes are:

NY Passes New Discrimination Laws

Friday, August 23, 2019

Continuing with its’ busy employment legislation season, New York has amended the Human Rights Law to prohibit discrimination based on religious attire, clothing and facial hair.  The law becomes effective on October 8, 2019.   The law already prohibited employers from treating applicants or employees differently because of their religion, but the amendment makes clear that the definition of religion includes bias against any employee’s religious clothing, facial hair or attire.

Governmental Affairs
08

Federal Legislative Action Alert

YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED!  Please e-mail your U.S. senators and representative and ask them to co-sponsor the Enzi / Gingrey Joint Resolution! 

Former HR professional and SHRM member, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), have introduced Senate Joint Resolution 36 and House Joint Resolution 103 in the Senate and House, respectively. If adopted by Congress, these joint resolutions would nullify the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new “quick election” rule, which will shorten the time employers have to respond to union petitions.

Please Take This Action:
Write your members of Congress using SHRM’s HRVoice program by following these steps:

1.    Log onto the SHRM Advocacy Action Center by clicking HERE

2.    Personalize your message with your own story

3.    Include your home mailing address.


Background

Since the demise of the Employee Free Choice Act following the 2010 midterm election, the Obama Administration has increasingly advanced labor-management relations policy through the executive branch. Throughout 2011, the NLRB was active in issuing case decisions and substantive regulations.

Issue

One of the recent NLRB actions is its election case procedures rule, otherwise known as the “quick election” rule. The final rule was published on Dec. 22, 2011, and it intends to shorten the time employers have to respond to representation petitions to as few as 10 days. The quick election rule is scheduled to take effect on April 30, 2012.

Congressional Republicans are working to repeal the NLRB’s quick election rule before it takes effect. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), introduced a joint resolution that, if passed, would nullify the NLRB’s quick election rule.  The joint resolutions are based on the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA), which allows the Senate and House to consider a joint resolution of disapproval that features the full force of law to stop a federal agency from implementing a rule or regulation.

Outlook

Senate supporters of the Enzi/Gingrey joint resolution are likely to force a vote on the resolution in late March or April. The joint resolution needs only a simple majority (51 votes) to pass the Senate, not the 60 votes it usually takes to defeat a Senate filibuster. If the resolution passes both the House and Senate and is not vetoed by President Obama, the quick election rule would be repealed.

SHRM Position

SHRM supports the Enzi/Gingrey joint resolution based on the belief that the quick election rule’s reduced timeframe is unnecessary. A recent NLRB annual report revealed that the median time from a representation petition to an election was 38 days in Fiscal Year 2010. This reasonable 38-day average period gives employees ample time to hear both the union and employer perspectives on collective bargaining prior to a representation election.

Should you have any questions regarding the Enzi/Gingrey joint resolution, please contact Michael Layman, SHRM Government Relations Senior Associate, at michael.layman@shrm.org.

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