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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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DOL Releases Final Overtime Rule

(Congress, Dept of Labor) Permanent link

On Tuesday, May 17, the Department of Labor (DOL) released the final rule regulating overtime under the Fair Labor Standard Act. While the salary standard is approximately $3,000 less than the original proposal, the rule is expected to have a significant impact on clubs, golf courses and across the community of small businesses.

What Are the Major Provisions?

  • Threshold – The rule establishes the salary standard at $47,476 annually ($913 weekly) for a full-time salaried worker, which is double the existing threshold. This is approximately $3,000 less than the original proposal, and is indexed to the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South.
  • Primary Duties Test – The rule made no changes to the existing duties text. The existing Executive, Administrative and Professional exemptions remain intact.
  • Highly Compensated Employees – The minimum threshold increased to $134,004. This number is based on the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally.
  • Automatic Updates – The rule establishes the process for an automatic update of the salary threshold every three years to maintain the 40th percentile (or 90th for HCEs). The first update is slated for January 1, 2020.
  • Bonuses and Commission – The rule will now allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level. These amounts must be paid at least quarterly.
  • Effective Date – The rule is slated to become effective and enforceable on December 1, 2016.

Congressional opposition is already mounting. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a statement citing the rule as an “absolute disaster for our economy.”

On the day following the release of the rule, the CMAA and National Club Association delegation to National Golf Day on Wednesday, May 18, shared at multiple meetings with Congressman and Senators how this rule will adversely impact the industry and the individuals working in it.

Earlier this year in anticipation of the release of the final rules, legislation was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate which would invalidate the proposed overtime rule changes. HR4773/s.2707, The Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act, would limit the actions of the Department of Labor (DOL).

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

OSHA Issues New Reporting and Anti-Retaliation Protection Regulations

(OSHA, Regulation) Permanent link
05.12.16 Safety

On Wednesday, May 11, OSHA announced new final reporting requirements for employers and anti-retaliation protection provisions. OSHA is dramatically expanding its data collection practices in an effort to create a database of timely, establishment-specific information about injuries and illnesses in the workplace.

Clubs With 250 or More Employees: Under the new rule, all employers with 250 or more employees will now be required to electronically report injury and illness information to OSHA. This is the type of information that is currently maintained on OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301. OSHA is planning public disclosure of all of the collected data via the OSHA website. Review this OSHA Fact Sheet for more information on when your first report will be due.

Clubs With 249 or Fewer Employers: The final rule requires employers with 20 to 249 employees in specified industries must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A only. The club industry does not fall into these specified high-risk industries. There is no impact to clubs with 249 or fewer employees. Read more...

Employee Safety and the Zika Virus

(OSHA, Regulation) Permanent link

04.28.16 MosquitoOSHA 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.