Thursday, January 29, 2015

Congress Hard at Work for Business?

Well, at least they’re trying. We’ll see how far they get.

Hearing on Benefits of Employer Wellness Programs
I’ve written earlier on the EEOC attacking employer wellness programs here. This week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a hearing to highlight their benefits, and may also introduce legislation, particularly if the EEOC fails to issue guidance (as promised) or if the agency's guidance is perceived to significantly limit the financial incentives employers are allowed under the ACA.

Congress to Consider Comp Time Legislation
While I’m not sure how I feel about comp time being allowed in private business, there are many who would like to see it and feel it would be a benefit. Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) reintroduced legislation that would allow employers to offer the option of compensatory time as payment for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This is supposedly a measure that is meant to counter the Democrats' push to increase workplace flexibility and mandate paid sick leave for all employees (which are more one-size-fits-all laws, that don’t fit all).  The basic thrust of The Working Families Flexibility Act is to allow an employee to voluntarily choose to accrue up to 160 hours of compensatory time, at a rate of time-and-a-half, for overtime hours worked (if the business chose to offer the comp time option). Any time worked over the 160-hour maximum would have to be paid in cash.

Forty hours is Full-Time Act (S. 30)
The HELP Committee held a hearing this week on changing the Affordable Care Act's definition of full-time employee to 40 hours per week. As many of you know, the ACA defined full-time as 30 hours a week or more for eligibility for health insurance. This is contrary to what has been considered the norm for full-time employment for decades. On January 8th, 12 Democrats joined with Republicans in the House to pass its version of the bill (H.R. 30). It is unclear when the full Senate will take up the bipartisan bill which the President has said he will veto; as he said he would several other bills during the State of the Union address.

There will be more, so…………………stay tuned!

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