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Overtime Proposal Misses the Mark

On July 6, the Department of Labor proposed a new income threshold to determine who would be eligible to receive overtime pay. The current threshold of $23,660 a year, or $455 per week, has been in place since 2004 and we have to go back to 1975 in order to look at the time before that. In total, the income threshold for overtime has been increased seven times since it was first implemented in 1938. It has never been indexed to inflation, wage rates, or any measure. The threshold being proposed would increase to $50,440 a year, or $970 per week, and then indexed to either the 40th percentile of all salaried employees, or to the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). If the $50,440 figure strikes you as a bit high and wide of the strike-zone, you would be right. In the chart below, you can see why. (continue reading…)

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USCIS Steps Back on Simeio Guidance

On May 21st USCIS released guidance detailing new requirements for changes in H-1B employment as a result of an Administrative Appeals Office decision regarding Simeio Solutions. That decision held that employers must file amended H-1B petitions when a new Labor Condition Application (LCA) for nonimmigrant workers is required due to a change in the H-1B worker’s worksite location.

The May 21 guidance made the new LCA process retroactive, mandating that LCAs would need to be issued for all H-1B workers whose location had changed prior to the decision, and all of those new petitions would need to be filed before August 19, 2015.   The NAM filed joint comments on the guidance stating that the retroactivity associated with the proposed guidance posed significant costs and burdens on employers, especially given the short August 19, 2015 deadline and that these significant changes should be made through formal notice and comment. (continue reading…)

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You’re Demoted!

Donald Trump turned one of the most feared phrases in the workplace into a punchline. As the star of The Apprentice, Trump famously critiqued contestants in a board room and concluded by telling one of them, “You’re fired.” With the release of a new proposed regulation on overtime, it seems President Obama is rebranding the show’s tagline to “You’re demoted!” (continue reading…)

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PORTS Act – A Thoughtful Approach

Today, Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the “Protecting Orderly and Responsible Transit of Shipments” (PORTS) Act, which creates an option to avoid economic disruption demonstrated by recent events on the West Coast. The NAM applauds Senator Gardner for introducing this bill which give state governors the option to intervene in labor disputes at seaports to prevent disruptions. (continue reading…)

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IPAB Needs to Go

Today the House Ways and Means Committee will be considering legislation to eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created as part of the Affordable Care Act. The intention behind IPAB was to form an independent body appointed by the Administration to recommend spending reductions in the Medicare program if expenditures reach a level determined to be too high as defined by the ACA. If for some reason the IPAB has not been convened or its members not appointed, the Secretary of Health and Human Services steps in to serve the role of making recommendations to Congress for an up or down vote – without amendment. (continue reading…)

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Still Searching for the Contracting Problem

In a statement released by the NAM in response to the recent announcement of proposed regulations and guidance to implement the so-called Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, I said they were a solution in search of a problem. There has been scant justification for the recent efforts of the administration and their allies to inject political subjectivity into what should be a clinical judgment about the ability of a contractor to fill an order on-time and on-budget. In what appears to be the best argument for creating an entirely new process and giving authority to political appointees to exclude businesses from federal contracting for political reasons, a blog post was put out Wednesday by the White House. (continue reading…)

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Blacklisting Regulations Proposed

Today, the Department of Labor and the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council announced the proposed regulations to implement President Obama’s “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Order.” The proposed regulations are the culmination of nearly a year’s work by the agencies in drafting what are perhaps the most politically motivated changes to the federal procurement process in decades. The last attempt to inject such partisan politics into procurement happened at the end of the Clinton Administration in 1999 and 2000. Those regulations were rolled back in 2001. Back then it was called “High-Road Contracting,” but the intent was the same. (continue reading…)

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Lower Cost, More Options and Better Information Top Healthcare Concerns

A new survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation was aimed at trying to get past the political wrangling over the various provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and see what the public is generally and genuinely concerned about when it comes to healthcare. The results very closely resemble the concerns of manufacturers around the country and hit upon the three main points the National Association of Manufacturers are focused on. Namely, lowering the cost of care, increasing options for coverage, and better information to make better decisions. (continue reading…)

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The Ambush-Specialty Ambush

If anyone had a question about how the National Labor Relations Board decision on Specialty Healthcare and the recent implementation of the Ambush Election regulation would play out, we got an answer today. Today the NLRB released a decision on four cases involving Nestle Waters. The company has gone from having no petitions filed on April 13, to four petitions in four facilities filed in California on April 15. The petitioned bargaining units were contested to the Regional Director and ruled on today, May 5th. The elections in each of the four petitioned units will occur on Friday – this Friday, May 8th, just three weeks after the employer received the petitions. (continue reading…)

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Another Sign of Our Broken Immigration System

With only four working days since the H-1B application process opened on  April 1,  the number of applications for H-1B visas has already far exceeded the annual visas limitations. On Tuesday April 7, USCIS stated they are no longer accepting applications and  “Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date on which it will conduct the random selection process.” Which means they received so many that they are still counting them. The limit is  – again -  exceeded before one week had passed. (continue reading…)

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