Submission Deadline Extended to Friday, March 16, 2018
Submission Deadline Extended to Friday, March 16, 2018
On March 6, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced a new nationwide pilot program, the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, which intends to facilitate the resolution of potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to WHD, the program's primary objectives are to resolve such claims expeditiously and without litigation, to improve employers' compliance with overtime and minimum wage obligations, and to ensure that more employees receive the back wages they are owed—faster.
On March 6, AGC submitted comments to the U. S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) in response to a proposed rule intended to expand association health plans (AHPs) and increase flexibility for small employers to join groups or associations to offer insured health coverage in the large group market at potentially more favorable pricing with less restrictive requirements. A number of AGC Chapters across the country currently recognize the need to offer alternative health care options and have established AHPs that offer “group health plan” coverage to employees of members. AGC is supportive of the flexibility and opportunity the DOL proposes to provide, but is also concerned of negative impacts the changes might have on current Chapter-sponsored health plans and others who might be interested in sponsoring health plans.
The saga of the joint employer standard under the National Labor Relations Act continues. It began when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) under the Obama Administration established a broader standard for determining joint employer status in the controversial Browning-Ferris Industries case in 2015.
Brent Booker, secretary-treasurer of North America’s Building Trade Unions (NABTU), addressed attendees at a Union Contractors Committee-sponsored session during AGC of America’s Annual Convention in New Orleans, LA, on Feb. 26. He talked about NABTU’s current priorities and key activities, including the Capital Strategies program, craft training, infrastructure funding legislation, multiemployer pension plans, and owner community engagement.
Employers Should Prepare Now to Avoid Federal Enforcement Action
Union representation in the construction industry (covering all occupations) rose very slightly in 2017, from 14.6 percent to 14.7 percent, according to an annual report recently issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”). Union membership in the industry similarly increased over the year, from 13.9 percent to 14 percent. The total number of workers in the industry rose from 7,488,000 to 7,844,000.
AGC’s 2018 Construction HR & Training Professionals Conference and Federal Construction HR Workshop will be held October 10-12, 2018, in Fort Worth, TX. The conference will offer unique opportunities for HR, training, and workforce development professionals in the construction industry. For training professionals, the conference will offer sessions related to the most cutting-edge techniques currently in the industry and envisioned for the future in training, education and workforce development. For HR professionals, the conference will help attendees stay up to date and compliant with employment laws and best practices. Some sessions will be of interest to both HR and training professionals alike.
Construction-industry collective bargaining negotiations completed during 2017 resulted in an average first-year increase in wages and benefits of $1.34 per hour or 2.7 percent, according to the annual year-end Settlements Report issued by the AGC-supported Construction Labor Research Council. This sustains an upward trend that began in 2011. For newly negotiated multi-year contracts, the average second-year increase negotiated was $1.53 or 2.9 percent.
On January 31, 2018, AGC attended an intimate stakeholder meeting and roundtable with Ondray T. Harris, the recently appointed Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) at the U.S Department of Labor. AGC took the opportunity to discuss the unique challenges construction contractors face interacting with the OFCCP and complying with its requirements. AGC strongly advocated the need for clarity, communication, and understanding of the industry it regulates from the OFCCP. Director Harris spent much of his time introducing himself and his vision for the OFCCP before settling in for a very interactive and receptive conversation. It remains to be seen the true direction of the OFCCP in the coming months to years, but Director Harris and his staff appear to be interested in working more in partnership with industry to ensure the continued investment in diversity initiatives, the development of American workers, and ultimately the country’s workforce. In line with the Trump administration’s focus on apprenticeships, the Director and staff also discussed how apprenticeship programs can assist in diversity efforts and Affirmative Action requirements for contractors.
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the leading association for the construction industry. AGC represents more than 26,000 firms, including over 6,500 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 9,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 10,500 service providers and suppliers are also associated with AGC, all through a nationwide network of chapters.
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