Local HR Professionals Share Perspectives on Workplace Legislation on Capitol Hill

03/30/2015

Washington, D.C., March 25, 2015 – Members of the Society for Human Resource Management were on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, March 25, to share views on four legislative issues being considered by Congress that impact the workplace.

The group included Vandeventer Black’s Anne G. Bibeau, Esq., who is currently the Virginia SHRM State Council’s Director of Legislative Affairs and was formerly president of the Hampton Roads SHRM chapter, Kandy Grenier with Sodexco in Chesapeake, Heather Wagner with Domino’s in Tyson’s Corner, and a federal employee from Prince William County.

They were among more than 200 human resource professionals from across the country that met with their representatives and congressional staffs in Washington for the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) annual Advocacy Day.

They spoke about the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) definition of a full-time employee; proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations; employment verification for employers; and the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) union election rule.

“It was surprising to learn that both senators from Virginia, which is a right to work state, are very much in favor of the NLRB’s ambush election rule. Senator Warner, in particular, was known in the past as being pro-business. Obviously, that has changed,” said Ms. Bibeau.

The event was part of the SHRM 2015 Employment Law & Legislative Conference, held March 23-25 in Washington.

They discussed the following issues with lawmakers:

CA definition of full-time employee: Under the ACA, employers with more than 50 full-time employees are required to provide affordable group health insurance coverage to those employees working more than 30 hours a week and their dependents, or they will face financial penalties in 2016. Four years after enactment of the health care reform law, employers are encountering difficulties implementing the ACA requirement. SHRM members told Senate representatives that the ACA’s definition of a full-time employee should be modified to 40 hours a week, as the 30-hours-a-week designation is inconsistent with standard employment practices and other federal laws.

Proposed changes to FLSA overtime regulations: Under the FLSA, employees are to be paid at a rate of at least one and a half times their regular rate for working more than 40 hours a week. President Barack Obama has proposed to modernize and streamline the FLSA overtime regulations, yet no details have been shared about exactly what changes will be proposed. Since Congress will have hearings about this issue, SHRM members discussed with both House and Senate leaders how current FLSA regulations present challenges to employers because the classification of positions is based on both objective and subjective criteria.

Employment verification for employers and HR professionals: On March 3, the House Judiciary Committee approved its first immigration enforcement bill, the Legal Workforce Act, which requires U.S. employers to check the work eligibility of all new hires through the E-Verify system. In conversations with House and Senate representatives, SHRM members and SHRM’s affiliate, the Council for Global Immigration, supported the goal of a legal workforce. But they also urged Congress to improve E-Verify to include an electronic verification system that will eliminate virtually all unauthorized employment, provide security for employers to eliminate the current I-9 paper-based system, protect the identity and personal information of legal workers through identity authentication tools, and prevent employment discrimination based on national origin.

NLRB union election rule: In December 2014, the NLRB issued a final rule that would shorten the time frame between when the union asks an employer for a secret-ballot election and when that election occurs. Earlier this year, SHRM filed a lawsuit challenging the NLRB elections rulemaking; the lawsuit is pending. Under two resolutions of disapproval (S.J. Res. 9 and H. J. Res. 29), Congress can block the federal rule from being implemented if resolutions are passed in both the House and Senate. SHRM members told their Senate and House representatives that the union election rule limits employees’ ability to make an informed choice, and SHRM members from other states thanked their representatives for voting to block the rule. Both Virginia senators, however, voted against blocking the rule, and made clear to SHRM that they strongly favor the NLRB’s new rule.

About the Society for Human Resource Management
Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit us at shrm.org and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.

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