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Callie Harman

Colorado’s Paid Leave Proposal is Well-Intentioned but Bad for Workers and Business

By | General | No Comments

Manufacturers know that paid leave is a powerful tool for attracting and retaining talented employees. That is why the National Association of Manufacturers supports paid leave programs created by employers and employees that fit the needs of the workplace—rather than broadly imposed programs that do more to create compliance burdens than provide workers with more generous leave. Manufacturers differ widely in terms of the benefits they can offer their workforce, and one-size-fits-all paid leave mandates are often more harmful than helpful to small businesses seeking cost effective ways to provide better benefits. One bill in Colorado, SB 188, is a perfect example of how a state mandated paid leave program can miss the mark.

Colorado’s legislature is currently debating a proposal that sounds like a paid version of the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)—the federal statute that provides 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave for eligible employees for specified family and medical purposes—but is not. If enacted, it would create extreme new compliance burdens and confusion for Colorado manufacturers. Other states have debated and even adopted legislation that ties paid leave to FMLA—albeit far less than the 12 paid weeks contemplated in Colorado. Those states, however, tied their paid leave funds to pre-existing disability leave or other programs. SB 188, in comparison, creates a brand-new system that not only levies a new tax on employers and employees, but also differs vastly from FMLA requirements in important ways. For example, SB 188 would apply to a business with as few as one to four employees—the size of a majority of manufacturing establishments—when Congress recognized that even providing unpaid leave for such a business through FMLA might be unduly burdensome. SB 188 imposes a financial and practical burden that hits small manufacturers the hardest.

Despite Colorado lawmakers’ good intentions, a blanket mandate that does not fit with existing workplace paid leave policies, that clashes with federal law and that creates heavy financial burdens on workers and small manufacturers is not the answer. Manufacturers already face an increasingly confusing patchwork of state and local workplace regulations. States should focus on eliminating obstacles that stand in the way of employers that want to provide more generous paid leave policies. SB 188, and other bills like it across the country, simply make the problem worse.

NAM Joins Business Groups to Petition NLRB on Joint-Employer Rulemaking

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

On June 5, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chairman John Ring announced that the NLRB will conduct notice-and-comment rulemaking to define a workable joint-employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act.

Prior to 2015, an entity would be determined a joint employer of another entity’s employees, and thus liable for labor law violations, only if they exercised “direct control” over the employees. This was a clear and dependable test. However, in 2015, the NLRB upended 30 years of labor law, in Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), redefining joint-employer status on a case-by-case basis to determine whether an entity has the potential to or does exercise indirect control over the conditions and terms of employment of another company’s employees.

Today, manufacturers who exercise little to no control over a subcontractor’s employees are exposed to unmeasurable risk. The result of BFI has exponential effects as many manufacturers often contract with more than one company to perform various services (e.g., on-site cleaning, maintenance or food services). Employers have struggled to apply the Board’s BFI decision to predict their responsibilities and liabilities with regard to these services’ employees, outside of their control, all because of one bad decision from the NLRB.

Since BFI, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has worked tirelessly to make the case for a more workable standard, both in the courts and Congress. This week, the NAM joined a group of other industry associations in filing a petition for rulemaking with the NLRB.

The NAM applauds the NLRB for taking this step, and we will continue to fight for a workable, dependable and stable joint standard for the manufacturing industry throughout the rulemaking process.