“I’m just glad we don’t know what’s going to happen.” – Said no one ever.
Uncertainty is a bad thing. This can be universally agreed upon – and manufacturers have been in limbo for months waiting for the Department of Labor to announce its regulation agenda. Unfortunately, with the oddly timed summer release of its “Spring 2013 Unified Regulatory Agenda” — a forecast of the Administration’s timetable on when certain regulations will be proposed or finalized, manufacturers are still on hold. We were hopeful that, given the delays, manufacturers would see improvements to the agenda – not retreads and delays of bad policy that will hurt economic growth. Sadly, that isn’t the case. Timetables have slipped further into the future, creating more uncertainty for employers who are not sure what to expect, when to expect it and what the impact financially will be.
Examples of rules being further kicked down the road within the world of labor and employment are OSHA’s Injury Illness Prevention Program (I2P2), OSHA’s Silica Rule, and the Persuader Rule. According to previous agendas, I2P2 should have been in the notice and comment period by now, yet OSHA has yet to convene a small business panel to review a draft rule and now, the notice of proposed rule-making is scheduled for January.
We have been anticipating OSHA’s silica rule since the rule went to OMB for review in February of 2011. We are told we can expect something “anytime,” but what does that really mean? The industries affected by this rule continue to wait and are unable to accurately plan.
The Persuader Rule’s comment period closed in the fall of 2011 and according to the last Agenda, we should have seen a final rule in April, but again, employers must wait until November (or longer) to see if they way in which they have received from their lawyers or consultants for decades will now be radically altered and ultimately disclosed to the Department of Labor and the public.
These are just a few examples of what DOL and other agencies have on their agendas, but no matter what the proposed regulation is, the fact is employers are still in limbo as to what they are facing in the future when it comes to changing how they do business and at what cost.