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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House Passes Measure to Require Withdrawal of EPA's Waters of the US Rule

(Congress, Regulation) Permanent link

05_14_15 Golf Course with Pond

On Tuesday, May 12, the House of Representatives passed HR 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015. The measure passed 261 to 155. The bill would direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the Waters of the US rule within 30 days of the bill's enactment. The agencies would be required to develop a new rule that relies on further consultation and input from several organizations, including state and local officials.

The US Senate is expected to begin its consideration of WOTUS in the coming weeks.

Despite this positive action, the White House has already indicated its inclination to veto this measure if it makes it to the President’s desk.

The final rule is currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget and is expected to be released by the end of May. The EPA has already indicated its desire to have the rule in effect by October 1, 2015.


OSHA Updates Workplace Poster

(OSHA, Regulation) Permanent link

 05_14_15 OSHA Poster

On April 29, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) unveiled a new version of its "Job Safety and Health - It's The Law!" poster. The poster educates workers on their rights in the workplace, and reminds employers of their responsibilities.

Available in multiple languages, the newly designed poster informs workers of their right to request an OSHA inspection of their workplaces, receive information and training on job hazards, report a work-related injury or illness and raise safety and health concerns with their employer or OSHA without being retaliated against.

Last updated in 2007, the poster has been redesigned to reflect the new reporting obligations for employers, who must now report every fatality and every hospitalization, amputation and loss of an eye. It also informs employers of their responsibilities to train all workers in a language and vocabulary they can understand, comply with OSHA standards and post citations at or near the place of an alleged violation.

Employers are required to display the poster in a conspicuous place where workers can see it, but previous versions of the poster do not need to be replaced.

The poster is free and can be downloaded online

DHS and DOL Announce Substantial H-2B Visa Changes

(Legal Issues, Dept of Labor, Immigration) Permanent link

On April 28, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a joint final interim rule regulating the H-2B visa program. The rule includes the provisions of the 2012 rule which never became effective due to court intervention. In addition, the rule goes beyond the 2008 regulations with additional requirements for employers. This rule will significantly impact employers who rely on H-2B visas to successfully operate their businesses.

New Definitions – The rule provides new definitions for "corresponding employees," "incumbent employees," "full time" and "temporary need." Corresponding employees are workers who are not H-2B workers who perform either substantially the same work performed by the H-2B workers. Exclusions exist for workers who have been on the job for more than one year (incumbent employees) and those covered by collective bargaining agreements. The definition contains exceptions for two categories of incumbent employees (certain employees who have worked full-time for at least one year and certain employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement).Full-time will now be considered 35 hours per week and temporary need is limited to nine months instead of the previous ten.

New Multi-Step Registration Process – Employers will now have to complete a registration process and be certified through the DOL for their temporary worker needs. Generally, this registration will last three years. This process will need to be started 120 to 150 days prior to the date needed for the start of H-2B visa employees. After registration and obtaining a prevailing wage determination, employers will need to file a labor certification application, copies of third party agreements (see disclosure section) and a job order no later than 75 to 90 days prior to the employee start date.

Job orders will be very specific and must contain explanation on benefits, wages and working conditions (inclusive of rate of pay, frequency of pay, the availability of overtime, and hours); a list of board, lodging or facilities provided; any deductions from paychecks; the three-fourths guarantee; a statement about employer reimbursement for transportation and visa fees; a statement about tools, supplies and equipment provided by the employer; and information such as the employer's contact information and a full description of the job opportunity.

Recruitment – The rule includes new, specific recruitment steps including a requirement to contact former US workers. As well, employers must continue to seek US workers and must offer the job until up to 21 days prior to the start date of the H-2B visa worker.

Three-Fourths Guarantee – Employers must guarantee and include specific language in the job order to offer employment for a total number of work hours equal to at least three-fourths of the workdays of each 12-week period (or 6-week period if the employment covered by the job order is less than 120 days). In the case that the guarantee is not met, the employer must pay the worker what the worker would have earned if the employer had offered the guaranteed number of days.

Transportation and Visa Fees – Employers must provide for the payment of or reimbursement for inbound transportation costs (including meals and necessary lodging) to the US and visa fees. If the employee completes 50 percent of their agreement, employers must also provide outbound/return transportation costs. Payment was also be made to "corresponding workers" who are not reasonably able to return to their residence within the same workday.

Disclosure – The rule will require the disclosure of any agreements with third-party agencies that assist employers with finding H-2B workers as the DOL seeks to create a public list of such entities in the interest of transparency.

In conjunction with this rule, the DHS and DOL reissued an accompanying wage rule. This rule established that employer-provided surveys may not be used to set the prevailing wage except in limited circumstances.

Businesses will have 60 days to comment on the interim rule, ending June 29, 2015. CMAA, in conjunction with our industry allied associations, will be formulating an impact response. In the meantime, however, the rule is currently in effect for clubs who are using the H-2B visa program. As well, make sure you are posting the required poster to your employees.

CMAA, in conjunction with our industry allied associations, will be formulating an impact response. Stay tuned!

April 28: Workers Memorial Day

(Dept of Labor, OSHA) Permanent link

4_22_15_175wObserved annually on April 28, Workers' Memorial Day honors those workers who have died on the job. The day was first established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971.
The good news is that the number of workplace fatalities per year has been reduced from approximately 14,000 in 1970 to 4,405 in 2013. This is a substantial achievement in a workforce that has doubled in size. Unfortunately, every day, 12 workers are killed on the job in the United States.   

Check out these statistics for employees most at risk:

  • There were 797 fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers which is a 7 percent increase from 2012.
  • The largest share of worker fatalities among foreign born workers is those born in Mexico (42 percent).  
  • Temporary or contract workers are also at significant risk. The number of fatal occupational injuries incurred by contractors was 734, or 17 percent of all fatal injuries.
  • Fatal falls, slips or trips took the lives of 699 workers in 2013. Falls to a lower level accounted for 574 (82 percent) of those fatalities.  
  • Workplace violence continues to be in the news this year and these incidents are reflected in workplace statistics. In 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that violence in the workplace resulted in 397 homicides.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act enacted in 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. OSHA ensures these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. These statistics underscore the importance of providing safety and health training in the appropriate language and upon hiring since many temporary workers are killed or injured in their first week at work.  

Take this opportunity to refresh your employee safety training and practices. Check out these staff training resources available through CMAA’s OSHA website and CMAA University.

Industry Converges for Eighth Annual National Golf Day

(Congress, National Golf Day, WE ARE GOLF, Regulation) Permanent link

4_17_15_2On Wednesday, April 15, representatives of the We Are Golf coalition, including the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) and the National Club Association (NCA) converged on Capitol Hill for the eighth annual National Golf Day to share the industry’s economic, environmental, health and charitable benefits as well as to lobby on issues of chief importance to our industry.

CMAA and NCA joined forces for meetings with House and Senate Leadership and shared our positions on technical corrections to the Affordable Care Act like including HR 30, the Save American Workers Act, and HR 863, STARS Act. Further, CMAA and NCA expressed support for HR 1732, Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, which would preserve existing rights and responsibilities with respect to the Waters of the US regulation.

CMAA was represented by Vice President Jill Philmon, CCM, CCE, Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Morgan, FASAE, CAE,  and Senior Director, Communications and Government Relations, Melissa Low, and conferenced with NCA representatives and CMAA members Mark Bado, MCM, CCE, Kirk Reese, CCM, and Kevin Vitale, CCM, and NCA’s CEO Sue Wegrzyn and VP Government Relations & General Counsel, Brad Steele. (pictured)

More than 75 industry representatives participated in Washington, DC, in approximately 100 Congressional visits and meetings. As well, representatives met with The White House.

Beyond Washington, thousands of other individuals nationwide supported the event through contacting their Congressmen via e-mail and social media.

H-2B Visa Program Granted Extension to May 15

(Legal Issues, Dept of Labor, Immigration) Permanent link

4_17_15On April 15, the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida issued an order extending the operation of the H-2B visa program. As a result, the US Department of Labor (DOL) will process temporary labor certification applications under its 2008 H-2B regulations through May 15, 2015.

In March, adjudications were briefly suspended following the same court’s March 4 ruling in Perez v. Perez where the court ruled that the DOL lacked the statutory authority to issue rules and regulations for the H-2B visa program and specifically named the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the governing body. The program resumed operation on March 17.

Further, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will resume premium processing for H-2B Petitions on Monday, April 20.

In the meantime, employers and employers are still awaiting the joint interim final rule which the DOL and DHS announced intentions to issue before April 30.

H-2B Cap Reached for FY2015

(Legal Issues, Dept of Labor, Immigration) Permanent link

On April 2, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it had met the Congressionally mandated H-2B cap for fiscal year (FY) 2015. The final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions was March 26, 2015. The current annual cap is 66,000 visas.

The only exemptions to this cap are:

  • H-2B workers in the United States or abroad who have previously been counted towards the cap in the previous three years;
  • Current H-2B workers seeking an extension of stay; or
  • Current H-2B workers seeking a change of employer or terms of employment.

For petitions for workers starting in FY2016 or after October 1, 2015, employers may file petitions up to 120 days prior to the employment start date.