Joint-Employer Comment Docket Closes (Beltway Buzz, February 15, 2019)


The Beltway Buzz is a weekly update summarizing labor and employment news from inside the Beltway and clarifying how what's happening in Washington, D.C. could impact your business.

Joint-Employer Comment Docket Closes. As the Buzz mentioned previously, February 11, 2019, was the due date for submission of reply comments on the National Labor Relations Board's proposed joint-employer rule. The next step will be promulgation of a final rule, perhaps by the fall of this year.

OFCCP Olive Branch. This week the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced yet another new directive. This one establishes the Voluntary Enterprise‐wide Review Program (VERP). While the VERP sounds like a form of indigestion, it is intended to relieve some compliance heartburn by recognizing “high-performing” federal contractors that have “model diversity and inclusion programs.” Contractors that meet this criteria and are accepted into the VERP will be not be included in the pool of federal contractors that might be scheduled for a compliance audit. The program is scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2020.

Paycheck Fairness Act on the Move. On February 13, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services and the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA). The bill has a whopping 239 cosponsors—more than enough to pass the House. But with the Republican-controlled Senate likely to balk at the PFA's unlimited compensatory and punitive damages, class action facilitation, and wage data collection provisions, the Buzz will be watching to see if proponents of the bill make any changes that might attract Senate Republicans to their side.

Workplace Safety, Leave, and Age Discrimination Legislation Introduced. In addition to the pay equity hearing described above, several pieces of legislation impacting the workplace were introduced this week:

In the House, Democrats this week reintroduced the Protecting America's Workers Act (PAWA). Among other provisions, PAWA would expand the scope of coverage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, increase penalties on employers, codify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) rescindedVolks regulation, and reinstitute the electronic reporting requirements of OSHA's 2016 injury and illness tracking regulation. The Buzz would not be surprised if the House Committee on Education and Labor holds a hearing on this bill...

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