Labor & HR

March 4, 2013

On Feb. 6, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by issuing new regulations along with an updated poster and forms.  The regulations cover leave related to members or veterans of the military as well as the disclosure of genetic information obtained by employers for FMLA purposes.  FMLA covered employers are required to begin using the new forms and poster no later than March 8, 2013.  The poster must be displayed in a conspicuous location where employees and applicants can see it, including locations where there are no employees eligible for FMLA.  

February 19, 2013
The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in response to the release of the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans Retirement Security Review Commission’s proposed plan for preserving, remediating and innovating multiemployer retirement plans: “The Commission’s plan represents a pragmatic, reasonable and – most importantly for taxpayers – self-sufficient approach to preserving and protecting nearly half a trillion dollars worth of multiemployer retirement plans."
January 31, 2013
On Jan. 29, 2013, the federal the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) agencies sent Congress several reports on multi-employer pension plans insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). These reports provide information on the financial health of multi-employer plans and the PBGC’s multi-employer insurance program, but make no recommendations. First, ERISA requires an evaluation every five years to determine whether current PBGC insurance premium levels support the multi-employer benefits guarantee. Second, the Pension Protection Act (PPA) of 2006 mandated a study on the effects of the law on multi-employer plans, including the impact on small employers. These two reports were due to Congress in 2011. Additionally, PBGC issues an annual “exposure report” that examines the future solvency of its insurance programs.
January 24, 2013
On Jan. 2, 2013, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the employer mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  This provision goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, although there is some transition relief for plans that do not operate on a calendar-year basis.  The IRS also released a series of questions and answers highlighting the key provisions in the NPRM.  The proposed regulations explain how employers should determine if they are subject to the employer mandate of the Act – the so called “pay or play” rules, how to determine which employees are considered “full-time employees,” and how the employer penalty would be calculated and paid.  While this rule is not yet final, it is considered by the IRS to be guidance for employers and can be relied upon through 2014.  The proposed rule can be found in the Federal Register. 
January 24, 2013
A federal district court has struck down a state statute restricting the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on the basis that the statute was preempted by the federal National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
January 24, 2013
On Jan. 14, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued an Administrator’s Interpretation (AI) clarifying the definition of “son or daughter” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  The guidance specifically addresses the needs for parents who request leave to care for an adult child, eighteen years of age or older, with a mental or physical disability.
January 24, 2013
A provision in the fiscal cliff deal has increased the monthly limitation regarding the fringe benefit exclusion amount for transit passes and transportation in a commuter highway vehicle from $240 to $245 for the 2013 tax year.  The legislation also allows for a retroactive increase to include tax year 2012.  As a result, the 2012 exclusion amount was increased from the $125 limit that had previously been established to the new $245 limit.
January 24, 2013
The AGC Annual Convention and Constructor Expo - March 6-9, 2013, in Palm Springs, Calif. - is the ideal opportunity to see what AGC can do for you and your business, as well as to learn from industry peers and experts on how they are overcoming today’s challenges.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to build your connections, grow your business, and get involved.  Register now before the early-bird registration discount ends on January 31. 
January 22, 2013
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington has dismissed a controversial lawsuit brought by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters international and certain subordinate bodies and individual members (Plaintiffs) against the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department and named labor officials (Defendants).
January 18, 2013
Construction-industry collective bargaining negotiations settled during 2012 resulted in an average first-year increase in wages and benefits of $0.88 or 2.0 percent, according to the year-end Settlements Report issued by the AGC-supported Construction Labor Research Council.  For newly negotiated multi-year contracts, the average negotiated second-year increase was $1.08 or 2.3 percent, and the average third-year increase was $1.13 or 2.4 percent.

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