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Washington Update

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During the last month of 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued two proposed rules that, if finalized, could affect significant segments of HR professionals. 

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a proposal to modify  federal contractors’  affirmative action plans under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act to include requirements  for individuals with disabilities.

The rule would require contractors to invite all job applicants to voluntarily self-identify as persons with disabilities, survey employees annually about their disability status, and also review their personnel policies every year to ensure affirmative action compliance. Plus, it requires that contractors set a goal of 7 percent of their workforce being persons with disabilities.

While SHRM strongly encourages the hiring of people with disabilities, we have expressed some concerns about the initial proposed rule in September 2010.  Many of those issues remain unchanged, and we plan to file additional comments by the February 7 deadline. 

Also, in the final days of 2011, the Wage and Hour Division announced a proposal to extend the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime regulations to most home care aides. 

The FLSA now exempts workers who provide “companionship services” from the minimum wage and overtime requirements. Its proposal would narrow the exemption to cover only workers providing “fellowship” and “protections” duties. Aides providing medically-related, personal care-related or household work would not be exempt. 

SHRM is reviewing the rule and is considering providing comments by the February 27 deadline.

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