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First Quarter Report


First Quarter Report

Human Resource professionals have made it through the first quarter of 2017, and we have seen many new labor laws and updates to existing regulations. There are many new regulations in front of us. We also wait in anticipation for the final ruling of the Department of Labor (FLSA) overtime rule, which was to take effect December 1, 2016 and blocked by a Texas federal Judge.

The ruling would extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million salaried workers and would have doubled salaries to $47,500; the maximum salary a worker can earn and still be eligible for mandatory overtime pay.  The court was careful to state it was not ruling on the legality of the salary-level test itself—but only that the DOL was not authorized to utilize the salary-level test as amended under the final rule. Human Resource Departments should not assume, however, that the overtime rule will be permanently barred. HR should still have a plan to move forward if necessary in the future. For now, we wait to see if it will be implemented later down the road.

It may seem to be too early to look into the horizon, but without planning and supporting or opposing future regulation we will be at the mercy of legislators. Looking ahead, all bills have until April 28, 2017 to pass the policy committees and until June 2, 2017 to pass the original house of origin, so many amendments are possible and particularly for the “spot bills.” SHRM has taken a stance to support the following bill:

Veterans’ Hiring Preference for Private Employers (AB 353 and AB 1477) are similar bills that attempt to address the higher-than-normal unemployment rate for returning veterans. Hence, new Government Code section 12958 would authorize employers to extend a preference during hiring decisions to honorably discharged veterans.

AB 353 unanimously passed the Assembly’s Veterans Affairs Committee and has been referred to the Labor and Employment Committee to be heard on April 19, 2017.  AB 1477 has been referred to the Assembly’s Veterans Affairs and Labor and Employment Committees but no hearings have been scheduled yet.

The House of Representatives passed the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101) on March 22, a bill that would make it easier for small businesses—those that could purchase coverage in the small group market—to band together and offer employee coverage through association health plans (AHPs).

IE SHRM will be present at the CalSHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference and we will keep you updated on the “2017 California Employment Law & Legislative Forecast.”