The Legislative Report blog provides timely information on federal and state legislation and regulations and state trends as well as the myriad issues affecting the private club industry. A companion to CMAA's Legislative website, this resource should be your first stop for any information regarding legal, tax or legislative club-specific issues.

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Employee Safety and the Zika Virus

(OSHA, Regulation) Permanent link

 04.28.16 Mosquito

OSHA has released new guidance for outdoor workers on the Zika virus. The Zika virus is primarily spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes. To date, no local mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases have been reported in US states, but there have been travel-associated cases.

For outdoor workers, OSHA recommends that all employers:

  • Inform workers about their risks of exposure to Zika virus through mosquito bites and train them how to protect themselves.
  • Visit the CDC Zika website frequently for the most updated information.
  • Provide insect repellents containing EPA-registered active ingredients and encourage their use.
  • Provide workers with, and encourage them to wear, clothing that covers their hands, arms, legs and other exposed skin. Consider providing workers with hats with mosquito netting to protect the face and neck.  Read more...

States Tackle Increasing the Minimum Wage

(Congress, State Trends, Dept of Labor) Permanent link

04.19.16 - US MapThis topic is trending in Presidential campaign rhetoric. We’ve heard numbers like $15 an hour. While that rhetoric reverberates in terms of Congress and the federal government, it is most applicable at the state and municipal level where increases are already being enacted, and the financial impact experienced by businesses.

  • Oregon recently enacted the highest statewide minimum wage rate in the nation. In a phased-in approach through 2022, the minimum wage will range from $12.50 to $14.75 based on geographic area.
  • California and New York have passed measures that will gradually increase the minimum wage up to $15 over time.
  • Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA, and other cities have recently approved $15 minimum wage rates. Cities like Baltimore, MD, are considering similar increases.

Many states are planning to put this issue to the voters in their state in November including Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Washington and Washington, DC. In 2014, seven states held ballot referendums on raising the minimum wage.

It is important to note that 29 states and the District of Columbia already have minimum wage rates which exceed the federal standard, 14 states have rates which equal the federal rate, 2 states have rates lower than the federal standard on the books and 5 states have no minimum in state statutes. See the Department of Labor’s handy guide. The last increase to the federal minimum wage was 2009.

DOL Releases Final Persuader Rule

(Dept of Labor) Permanent link

On March 24, the Department of Labor (DOL) released the final Persuader Rule. It requires full public disclosure on the use of labor relations consultants by employers. The rule was first introduced in 2011, but has been on hold since 2014.

The Persuader Rule requires employers and their hired consultants to report when the consultants directly persuade workers or when the consultants in one of the following four “indirect” categories:

  1. Plan, direct, or coordinate managers to persuade workers;
  2. Provide persuader materials to employers to disseminate to workers;
  3. Conduct union avoidance seminars; or
  4. Develop or implement personnel policies or actions to persuade workers

For example    Read more....

OSHA Increases Reporting Fines, Shares 2015 Data

(OSHA, Regulation) Permanent link

Effective March 4, OSHA has increased the fines for injury reporting requirements. Under previous rules, the maximum fine for failing to report the injury within 24 hours was $1,000. It has been increased to $5,000, and OSHA still retains the right to increase to $7,000 in the event of creating a “necessary deterrent effect.” 

Effective January 1, 2015, clubs were required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Previous OSHA regulations required an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. Reporting single hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye was not required under the previous rule. The updated rule leaves in place the current requirement that employers report all work-related fatalities to OSHA within eight hours. Read more...

New Bill Would Nullify Overtime Rules

(Congress, Dept of Labor) Permanent link

On Thursday, March 17, legislation was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate which would invalidate the proposed overtime rule changes. The legislation, The Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act, would limit the actions of the Department of Labor (DOL).

The legislation would nullify the overtime rule and prevent the DOL from promulgating anything substantially similar. It would require the DOL to reanalyze the economic effects of this action, particularly on small employers and non-profits.

The bill would also prohibit the inclusion of automatic salary updates in any future version of the rule. It would also restrict the ability of the DOL to issue any changes to the existing duties tests without providing specific text in the proposed rule for public review and comment.

In the Senate, the legislation’s chief sponsor was Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). On the House side, Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI) is leading the charge.

While this legislation is unlikely to become law, it sets the stage for further Congressional action to prevent the rule from becoming effective.

Congressmen Challenge DOL on Proposed Overtime Changes

(Congress, Dept of Labor) Permanent link

Congressmen Steve Knight (CA-25) and Cresent Hardy (NV-4) are leading the charge in the United States House of Representatives to formally oppose efforts by the Department of Labor to substantially alter existing overtime rules. Knight and Lee formally outlined their opposition to the rule, citing its significant impact on small businesses in a bipartisan letter to the DOL. The letter was signed by 108 members of Congress.

In addition to the impact on small businesses, Knight and Hardy detailed concern for the ambiguity of the question of altering the existing duties test. The proposed rules did not outline definitive changes to the duties test but instead posed the question of whether the duties rule should be amended. Knight and Hardy cited this ambiguity as unfair to businesses that should have the opportunity to comment on specific changes prior to their finalization.

This letter mirrored the formal comments submitted by CMAA and our allies in the industry in September.

In July, the DOL announced a proposed rule to change the existing overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The proposed overtime changes would increase salary thresholds to approximately $50,440 annually, and potentially make changes to the existing duties tests.

The DOL is expected to release the final rules later this year.

Overtime Rule Advances to Final Stage of Review, Final Rule Forthcoming

(Congress, Dept of Labor) Permanent link

On Monday, March 14, the Department of Labor (DOL) sent the new final overtime rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Generally, the review by OMB takes 30 to 60 days.

Given the advanced timeline, the final rule will now likely be released in April or May. Previously, the final rule was expected to be released in July.

Unfortunately, at this time, we still do not know the details of the final regulation. The specific provisions will be made public once the final rule completes the OMB’s review and is published in the Federal Register.

Stay tuned for the latest information!