HR Advocacy, the November Elections and DOL Overtime Regulation Front and Center at This Year's Conference in Washington

Mar 29, 2016
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From March 14-16, SHRM and its affiliate, the Council for Global Immigration (CFGI), again hosted over 500 HR professionals in Washington, D.C., at the annual 2016 SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference.

This year’s event – quite timely given the country is just months away from a critical national election – featured keynote speakers like Charlie Cook, editor, publisher, political pollster and columnist; The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United State and partner, Covington & Burling, LLP; Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup; Jenny Yang, chair of the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission; and Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Participants also attended concurrent sessions featuring workplace topics such highly-anticipated changes to overtime regulations; understanding and investigating retaliation claims; the “Gig” economy and the workplace of tomorrow; the Affordable Care Act and the high price of noncompliance; and workplace bullying – just to name a few. In total, over 21 media outlets covered the conference, with several journalists “live Tweeting”, garnering approximately 250 media hits the week of Conference alone! This demonstrates how workplace issues truly are at the forefront of national focus, and that HR is actually leading the national conversation on many of these important workplace issues.

  

The three-day conference culminated with Advocacy Day on Wednesday, March 16. The day began at breakfast on Capitol Hill with exclusive remarks from Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH, left) and Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE, right) to over 200 HR professionals. Sen. Ayotte spoke about her past experiences in working with SHRM, both in Washington and with active HR professionals back in her state. In particular, she voiced strong appreciation to SHRM and its members for aligning on workplace policies like compensation equity, and commended SHRM for being a thought leader and partner on these critical workplace issues of the day. Following Senator Ayotte, Advocacy Day participants heard from Representative Brad Ashford, one of two Democrats in Congress who voiced concerns to the Department of Labor (DOL) on forthcoming changes to overtime regulations. He echoed the importance of HR professionals continuing to build relationships with their lawmakers in Congress, and urged advocates to continue to educate their lawmakers on how various workplace regulations and legislation actually impact HR professionals, employers and employees in their communities.

 

Following breakfast, nearly 200 HR advocates conducted in-person meetings with their U.S. Senators (including Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming - left, and Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota - right) and House of Representatives members and staff to discuss the impending FLSA overtime regulations and paid leave mandates. A number of Advocacy Day participants remarked afterwards that they had a direct impact on their lawmaker’s understanding of these regulations and mandates. The following day, legislation was introduced in the House and Senate to effectively nullify the DOL’s pending overtime rule and send the rule back for a new economic analysis. 

Those not able to join their peers in Washington for this spring’s Advocacy Day still had an opportunity to make an impact through SHRM’s Virtual Hill Day efforts. By remotely sending emails and calling their legislators in Washington throughout the day on March 16, hundreds of advocates across the country were able to strengthen these key messages on Capitol Hill. Want to raise your voice in support of this critical overtime regulations legislation moving forward? Take action today!   

HR professionals not only canvassed the halls of Congress or participated in the Virtual Hill Day, they also took to social media to express their views on these critical issues. In addition, HR professionals from across the country sent almost 400 e-mails to members of Congress, highlighting how changes to the FLSA overtime regulations would impact employers and employees, and sharing the HR perspective on paid leave mandates. 

In This Issue

Overtime Update

Union Organizing

2016 SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conferences

EEOC Update

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