Seyfarth Policy Matters Newsletter - December 2019 #2

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Another Future of Work Hearing Scheduled. The House Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee has announced a hearing titled “The Future of Work: Ensuring Workers Are Competitive in a Rapidly Changing Economy.” The hearing is the next in a series of hearings on the future of work that are planned in the House Education and Labor Committee.

Tip Rule Comment Period Ends. The Wage & Hour Division’s proposed rule regarding tipped employees closed this week and received 450 comments. Although the number of comments was relatively low for such a significant rulemaking, there is a wide difference of opinion on the Division’s proposal. In particular, the House Education and Labor Committee Majority (and others) submitted comments against the proposal. Look for the Committee to continue its opposition — via hearing or otherwise — as the Division works to finalize the rule next year.

White House Engaging on Paid Leave. Today the White House hosted a Childcare and Paid Leave Summit, which featured the President, Ivanka Trump, six senators, 56 House members, two governors and several cabinet officials. A list of childcare principles were distributed. Stay tuned…

Paid Leave Gets a Hearing, But Not Where You’d Think. This week, the issue of paid sick and family leave had a moment. Fresh on the heels of an agreement to provide federal employees with 12 weeks of paid parental leave, Congress pivoted back towards the private sector. The full House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing on “Examining the Need for Comprehensive National Paid Family and Medical Leave.” As we’ve noted in previous issues, there are a wide variety of Congressional proposals on paid sick/family leave, none of which has yet demonstrated that it has the widespread and bipartisan traction needed for Congressional action.

Flurry at the NLRB? Democrat Member Lauren McFerran’s last day at the Board is Monday, so watch for a flurry of decisions which traditionally happens as a member exits. Her departure leaves the Board, at least temporarily, with a three Republican member majority. No concrete rumors with regard to filling the two Democrat positions in the near future.

Bipartisan Immigration Reform? The House yesterday passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019, H.R. 5038, by the bipartisan vote of 260 – 165, with 161 Republicans and 3 Democrats voting no. Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Ranking Republican on House Judiciary, opposed, and restrictionist groups deemed it an amnesty bill. In sum, the bill takes numerous steps to modernize the H-2A program to provide relief for an industry beleaguered by a shortage of workers. The bill provides a process for undocumented farmworkers to seek a temporary 5 1/2 year “Certified Agricultural Worker" status if they have worked for approximately six months in the industry in the last two years. Chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee, Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), called the bill an “historic compromise” which would stabilize the workforce. H-2A reform bills have in the past been bipartisan but died in the Senate. Still, the bipartisan vote here at least shows that progress on some immigration issues is possible. Unfortunately, the bipartisan “per country cap legislation” (H.R. 1044) is still languishing in the Senate.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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