Labor & HR

June 25, 2010
On June 17, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in New Process Steel v. NLRB holding that the National Labor Relations Board lacked authority to issue decisions from the end of 2007 to March 2010, when the five-member Board had only two members.  The decision effectively invalidates nearly 600 Board decisions issued during the 27-month period.
June 24, 2010
The eligibility period required for certain individuals to receive a 65 percent premium subsidy to help pay for continuing health coverage, also known as COBRA, has been extended several times but will likely not be extended again.  Although Congress recently passed the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, extending the COBRA subsidy eligibility period to May 31, when addressing the matter after the Memorial Day break, the Senate decided to remove a further extension from pending legislation in order to save $7 billion.  This decision leaves many workers who were involuntarily terminated after May 31 and who desire to continue their employer-sponsored health care coverage to pay the full cost of COBRA.  Those who were involuntarily terminated on or prior to the expiration date and currently receive the COBRA subsidy may continue with the subsidized coverage, but will lose the benefit once they reach the maximum subsidy coverage period of 15 months.
June 23, 2010
The National Labor Relations Board has refused to rule on a jurisdictional dispute between the Carpenters and Laborers on a project covered by the National Construction Agreement (NCA), finding that all parties were bound to submit jurisdictional disputes to the Plan for the Settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes (Plan), despite claims by the Carpenters council that it was not so bound.
June 21, 2010
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division has issued a final rule to revise the Fair Labor Standards Act as it pertains to workers under age 18. It will place a few more restrictions on tasks that cannot be performed by 16- and 17-year-olds working in construction but leaves in place, for now, an exemption for 16- and 17-year-old apprentices and student learners.
June 15, 2010
The number of multiemployer pension plans in the green zone as of January 1, 2010, was significantly higher than that a year earlier, according to The Segal Company's recently released Survey of Calendar-Year Plans' 2010 Zone Status.  Fifty-four percent of the 230 calendar-year plans surveyed -- which are Segal clients from a variety of industries - are certifies in the green zone for 2010.  This is a 15 percent increase from the 39 percent found last year, but still well below the 83 percent found in 2008.  The survey found little change in the percentage red-zone plans, which is now much higher than the percentage of yellow-zone plans.
June 11, 2010
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Ill., Ind., Wis.) has upheld an arbitration award against the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters (CRCC) for violating a most-favored nation (MFN) clause resulting in substantial damages to a residential and commercial roofing contractor.  
June 11, 2010
A provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) requiring employers to provide a private location for nursing mothers to express breast milk may have flown under the radar for many employers.  The requirement amends Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and may pose challenges for many construction companies with nursing mothers working on a construction jobsite.  While many portions of the PPACA have specific effective dates, this portion does not and employers must comply with the requirement immediately.
June 11, 2010
In an effort to increase voluntary compliance, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that it began randomly questioning 1,200 sponsors of 401(k) plans as a part of a compliance check program administered by its Employee Plans Compliance Unit.  Sponsors of the selected plans were expected to receive a letter that was mailed the week of May 17, 2010, describing the program and directing them to a secure website where they will have 90 days to complete an online compliance questionnaire.  The IRS says it will use the information gathered for education, outreach and enforcement actions.
June 11, 2010
In response to the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, a new law created to encourage employers to hire workers who were previously unemployed for at least 60 days immediately prior to hiring, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued revised 2010 W-2 and W-3 forms, along with an updated list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for employers. 
June 11, 2010
Recently, the U. S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the addition of new and revised Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses (elaws Advisors) used to help employers and employees understand federal employment laws.  According to Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, "the new online advisor harnesses technology to help take the mystery out of the new rules."  The new tools address H-1B classified workers, union elections, disability nondiscrimination laws and veterans' assistance. 


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