Action-Packed Week Before Congress Departs for August Recess!

By Kelly Hastings, Senior Advisor, Government Relations Jul 15, 2016
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Overtime Update – More Legislative Efforts See Movement
As a growing indication of bipartisan concern for the DOL's overtime rule, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) introduced the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act this week to gradually phase-in the DOL's final overtime rule. This legislation would phase-in the DOL's new salary threshold over three years, starting with a substantial salary threshold increase to approximately $35,984 on December 1, 2016. Additional increases would occur in December 2017, 2018 and 2019. Importantly, if enacted, the legislation would also prohibit the final rule's automatic increases to the salary threshold. SHRM supports this legislation to address the overtime rule as we believe it would be beneficial to both employers and employees. Over the August recess, SHRM A-Team members, please weigh in with​ your member of Congress and ask that he or she co-sponsors this legislation and the SHRM-supported Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act!

In addition, this week the House Appropriations Committee considered the Labor Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017. SHRM was pleased to see a provision that would address the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL's) final overtime rule. While SHRM supports an increase to the salary threshold, the DOL's increase of more than 100 percent to the salary threshold in the first year is simply too much, too fast. SHRM will continue to support any legislative efforts by congressional leaders to address the overtime rule in a way that benefits both employers and employees. The appropriations bill also contained language to restore the long-standing definition of what constitutes a "joint employer." Once the appropriations bill is passed out of committee, it will likely be rolled into a larger funding package for consideration later this year.

Blacklisting Executive Order Addressed in the National Defense Authorization Act
SHRM's advocacy efforts lead to a partial victory against the administration's "blacklisting" executive order, also known as the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. The executive order ignores the current oversight infrastructure that permits federal agencies to debar and suspend federal contractors who commit labor violations. Rather than focusing on how to improve existing enforcement mechanisms, the order creates a burdensome reporting requirement that includes the required reporting of allegations of violations and unproven citations.

This is why SHRM applauds provisions in both the Senate- and House-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would limit the applicability of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order. The conferees of lawmakers are expected to begin meeting about the NDAA this month, with the plan of having a final bill ready in September. 

Congressional Compensation Equity Working Group Unveiled
Also this week, congressional leaders unveiled a compensation equity working group comprised of leading Republican members of Congress, including Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ), Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA). The members of Congress will travel across the country to conduct listening sessions and field hearings to learn effective practices on how to ensure compensation equity in the workplace. SHRM, as the chair of the compensation equity coalition, will make sure the voice of HR is heard on this critical workplace policy issue.

Sharing SHRM's 21st Century Workplace Principles​​​
And … finally, before leaving for the August recess, SHRM met with Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Representative Brad Ashford (D-NE) to discuss SHRM's principles for a 21st Century Workplace that is fair, innovative and competitive during an event with SHRM's strategic partner and moderate Democratic organization, Third Way. The conversation will continue over the August recess as SHRM shares these principles with congressional leaders from the House and Senate.  

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