close
close
Washington DC June 28, 2024 Beltway News

Washington DC June 28, 2024 Beltway News

Washington DC June 28, 2024 Beltway News

He The Beltway Buzz is a weekly update that summarizes labor and employment news within the Beltway and sheds light on how what’s happening in Washington, DC could affect your business.

Will a new overtime rule come into effect? Pending a ruling in one of three legal challenges filed in a Texas federal court, the first phase of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) changes to regulations implementing the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime requirements is scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2024. That initial change will increase the wage base threshold to $43,888 per year, meaning employees making less than that amount are automatically eligible for overtime pay. Beginning January 1, 2025, the threshold is scheduled to increase to $58,656 per year.

Cassidy to Sanders: Hold hearing on NLRB nominees. Like the summer temperatures, the politics surrounding the potential confirmation of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chair Lauren McFerran for another term are heating up. With the U.S. Congress spending much of the second half of the year campaigning and finalizing “must-pass” legislation (such as government funding), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is expected to push for a vote on McFerran’s confirmation sooner rather than later. Before any vote, U.S. Senate Republicans are hoping for a chance to grill McFerran about the direction she’s taken the Board (as well as examine the bona fides of Republican nominee Joshua Ditelberg). This week, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, sent a letter to committee chair Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) requesting that he schedule a hearing on the two Board nominees. In the letter, Sen. Cassidy argues that McFerran has demonstrated a “clear preference for unions, anti-employer bias, and blatant disregard for the rights of workers who do not actively want a union” and that the “Committee should meet to question Chair McFerran about her tenure on the Board.”

Appropriation season. It’s appropriations season in the U.S. House of Representatives, as lawmakers are looking ahead to the Sept. 30, 2024, deadline for current government funding. Meanwhile, Congress is scheduled to adjourn next week for Independence Day, a week in mid-July for the Republican National Convention, and five weeks beginning in early August. This leaves just six weeks during which the House and Senate will be in session in Washington, D.C., before the Sept. 30 deadline. In bills released this week by the House subcommittees in charge of appropriating funds to federal labor and employment agencies, Republican lawmakers propose using their power of the purse to limit the DOL, the NLRB, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in implementing and enforcing various workplace-related regulations and policies. For example, a bill debated during a review hearing Thursday would prohibit the DOL from implementing or enforcing its regulations on independent contractors, overtime, and workplace visits. The NLRB would also be prohibited from implementing and enforcing its joint regulation for employers and using funds “to issue any new administrative directive or regulation that provides employees with any means to vote through any electronic means in an election to determine a representative for purposes of collective bargaining.” While most of these appropriations provisions face an uphill road to becoming law, the ban on electronic voting has been included and maintained in recent funding cycles.

The court prohibits the provisions of the Davis-Bacon rule. This week, a federal court issued a nationwide order prohibiting the DOL from implementing and enforcing certain provisions of its changes to Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) regulations finalized in August 2023. Specifically, the court struck down one provision of the regulations applied by the DBA. prevailing wage requirements for projects operating under contracts that do not expressly include such requirements, noting that this provision was contrary to the text of the statute and “is not consistent with the basic principles of the contract and procedural due process.” The court also ruled that by extending the DBA to cover trucking operations, the DOL enacted a “fundamental change to the Act by adding ‘transportation’ as a category of work covered by the DBA, contrary to Congressional limitations of the DBA. to cover only mechanics and workers. employees directly in the workplace. Suffice to say, the court was not happy with the DOL, writing: “Defendants committed egregious violations of Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, because instead of taking care to faithfully execute the DBA, Defendants usurped the law of Congress. -decision-making power and attempts at substantial amendments to the DBA.”

Fed Contractor Affirmative Action Compliance Covered federal supply and service contractors have until Monday, July 1, 2024, to certify their compliance with affirmative action requirements. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) requirement, which debuted in 2022, responds to a 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office report that recommended that OFCCP “develop a mechanism to monitor the AAPs of covered federal contractors on a regular basis.” Contractors can visit the OFCCP Contractor Portal FAQ resource for more information.

Equal time. The debate that took place last week between President Biden and former President Trump was tightly controlled not only by the two campaigns, but also by federal laws and regulations. The Radio Act of 1927, later superseded by the Communications Act of 1934, established the “equal time rule,” requiring radio and television stations to provide political candidates with equal access to air time. This rule has had an impact on presidential debates and campaigns ever since. In 1959, Congress amended the Communications Act to create exceptions to the equal time rule if the coverage is in the form of genuine newscasts, news interviews, documentaries, or on-site coverage of a news event. Because political debates did not fall within these exceptions, Congress passed a joint resolution to waive the equal time rule in 1960 in order to limit the Kennedy-Nixon debates to those two candidates and exclude third parties. The Federal Communications Commission later changed its rules to include debates within the “news event” exception, provided those debates are sponsored or organized by a third party, such as the Commission on Presidential Debates, rather than the stations themselves. The equal-times board has required stations to remove content that features political candidates (such as Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, Mehmet Oz and Fred Thompson) while they were campaigning for office.

He Buzz It will be on hiatus next week, but will return on July 12, 2024..