Second Quarterly Legislative Update: 2013

Lamar8915-IMG11In her second quarterly update for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Sarah Lamar discusses recent changes in employment law:

Legislation: Healthy Families Act (Senate/H.R. – not yet available)
Introduced: 3/20/13
Status: Referred to Committee
Purpose: To require employers with 15 or more employees to allow employees to earn up to 7 days of paid sick leave each year. The bill would allow employees to earn one hour of paid sick leave per 30 hours of work after 60 days of employment. Anti-discrimination and retaliation provisions are included. Employers could require documentation of an illness of more than 3 consecutive days.
Comment: The bill has been introduced numerous times over the last 10 years without success. In the current polarized Congress, the likelihood of passage is low.
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Legislation: Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act (H.R. 1120)
Introduced: 3/13/13
Status: Reported by Committee
Purpose: To prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from taking any action that requires a quorum of the members of the Board until a Board constituting a quorum is confirmed by the Senate, the Supreme Court issues a decision on the constitutionality of the appointments to the Board made in January 2012, or the final adjournment of the first session of the 113th Congress.
Comment: The bill is just one of the measures introduced in Congress after the D.C. Court of Appeals Noel Canning decision was decided in late January, 2013. In that case, the Court held that the Board did not have a legal quorum to decide cases before it because the recess appointments of 3 members were unconstitutional. The Board has appealed the Noel Canning decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Unions assert that the various bills introduced in Congress to strip the Board of its authority pending resolution of the recess appointment issue are fundamentally anti-labor.
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Regulatory Requirements: Change to FMLA Regulations
Effective Date: 3/8/13
Purpose: The U.S. Department of Labor has issued new FMLA regulations, expanding the military leave provisions and clarifying how to calculate intermittent and reduced schedule leave, among other provisions. Note there is also a new FMLA poster requirement and new “optional” forms which can be downloaded from the DOL website.
Comment: It has been 20 years since the FMLA was passed. Happy anniversary.
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Regulatory Requirements: New Form I-9
Effective Date: 3/8/13
Purpose: Some time ago, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services proposed changes to the Form I-9 which technically expired on 8/31/12 but whose life was extended pending issuance of the new form. The new I-9 was finally published on March 8, 2013. Employers have until May 7, 2013 to start using the new form. Most changes to the form are cosmetic but there are some additional entries required for employees with temporary work visas. An updated employer’s handbook accompanies the new I-9.
Comment: Start using the new Form I-9 now and perform self-audits periodically to ensure compliance with I-9 and E-Verify requirements.
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