Government policies and proposals

Legislative Update for the Week of January 7, 2013

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgDOL's Wage and Hour Division Seeks Input on Proposed Worker Classification Survey
According to a notice published in the Federal Register, the proposed Worker Classification Survey is intended to "provide critical information to Department policymakers on whether workers have knowledge of their employment classification and whether they understand the implications of their classification status." Read the full post here. (January 11)

Hilda Solis Resigns as Labor Secretary
Shortly after the Department of Labor released its ambitious regulatory agenda, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced her resignation from the agency. Read the full post here. (January 10)

OSHA Issues Its Annual Inspection Plan
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released its annually updated Site-Specific Targeting program designed to focus agency inspection resources on workplaces that experience the highest injury and illness rates. Read the full post here. (January 9)

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Legislative Update for the Week of December 31, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgIRS Issues Updated Withholding Tables in Response to Fiscal Cliff Deal
Shortly after President Obama signed the fiscal cliff deal into law, the IRS issued updated income tax withholding tables to reflect the changes made by the measure. Among other provisions, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 allows Social Security payroll taxes to return to 6.2%. Read the full post here. (January 4)

While Congress Averts Leap off Fiscal Cliff, Employment Issues Still Loom
The eleventh hour agreement to avoid the precipitous tax hikes and spending cuts widely known as the "fiscal cliff" will still require employers to make some changes to their current practices, and leaves many questions unanswered. Read the full post here. (January 2)

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Legislative Update for the Week of December 24, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgAgencies Finally Issue Their Regulatory Agendas for 2012
Although federal agencies ordinarily release unified agendas in the spring and fall of each year, many did not release their long-awaited unified agendas and regulatory plans for 2012 until December 21, 2012. Read the full post here. (December 27)

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Legislative Update for the Week of December 17, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgIRS Amends Eligibility, Extends Timeframe for Voluntary Classification Settlement Program Participation
The Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) allows eligible taxpayers to voluntarily reclassify their workers as employees for federal employment tax purposes and thereby obtain partial relief from federal tax liabilities. The IRS has made a number of revisions to the VCSP, e.g., allowing taxpayers to participate in a modified version of the VCSP even if they have not met the prior VCSP requirement of having filed all require Forms 1099 for the previous three years with respect to the workers to be reclassified. Read the full post here. (December 21)

DOL Announces Effective Date of Rule Governing Nondisplacement of Service Contract Employees
The final rule implementing Executive Order 13495, which applies to certain contracts covered by the federal Service Contract Act, varies slightly from the initial proposals, e.g.: clarifies Department of Labor (DOL) regulations; amends Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR); adds cross-references throughout FAR to applicable DOL regulations; and clarifies that a "service employee" doesn't include an individual employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity. Read the full post here. (December 21)

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México Otorga Aumento a los Salarios Mínimos de las Áreas Geográficas A y B

Por Mónica Schiaffino

El 18 de diciembre de 2012, el Consejo de Representantes de la Comisión Nacional de los Salarios Mínimos acordó otorgar un aumento general a los salarios mínimos de las dos áreas geográficas para el 2013 de 3.9%. El incremento en los salarios mínimos entrará en vigor a partir del 1 de enero de 2013.

Para el área geográfica "A", el incremento aumentará el salario mínimo a $64.76 pesos diarios. Dentro del área geográfica se encuentran el Distrito Federal y su área metropolitana, los estados de Baja California y Baja California Sur, las ciudades de Acapulco, Guerrero, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Guadalajara, Jalisco y su área conurbada, Monterrey, Nuevo León y su área metropolitana, Hermosillo, Sonora, Matamoros y Reynosa, Tamaulipas y Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

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Mexico Approves an Increase to the Minimum Wage for Geographic Zones "A" and "B"

By Mónica Schiaffino

On December 18, 2012, the Council of Representatives of Mexico's National Minimum Wage Commission approved a general increase of 3.9%, to the minimum wage for geographic zones "A" and "B." The wage increase will be effective as of January 1, 2013.

For Zone A, the 3.9% wage increase will raise the minimum wage to $64.76 Mexican pesos (currently approximately $5.07 USD) per day. Among the geographical areas covered under Zone A are Mexico City (Federal District) and its metropolitan area; the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur; the cities of Acapulco, Guerrero, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Guadalajara, Jalisco and its suburbs, Monterrey, Nuevo León and its metropolitan area, Hermosillo, Sonora, Matamoros and Reynosa, Tamaulipas and Coatzacoalcos, and Veracruz.

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EC Boardroom Gender Diversity Proposals Back Away from Mandatory Quotas

By Madeleine Jephcott

DiversityBoardroom.jpgThe European Commission has published a scaled back proposal to increase the number of women on boards, setting a minimum objective of a 40% presence of female non-executive directors in publicly listed companies by 2020.

There is a powerful business case for addressing lack of female representation in top jobs, the reasons for which are varied and largely intractable. International interest in boardroom gender diversity has grown significantly in recent times and in October the EU Justice Commissioner signalled her intention to introduce decisive legislative action on mandatory gender quotas for corporate boards.

Reportedly, the plan was to force Europe's listed companies to reserve at least 40% of board seats for women by 2020 or face fines or other sanctions. However, stiff opposition from a number of EU member states effectively derailed those plans and the Commission has now published watered down proposals.

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Proposals on Shared Parental Leave and Flexible Working Unveiled

By Madeleine Jephcott

Family with a Baby.jpgThe UK Government has set out its plans for a new system of shared, flexible parental leave to be introduced in 2015 and confirmed that it will be extending the right to request flexible working to all employees from 2014.

These proposals originated from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills May 2011 Consultation on Modern Workplaces, which contained a number of proposals aimed at creating more flexible and family-friendly workplaces.

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Legislative Update for the Week of December 10, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgOSHA's Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee to Include Littler Shareholder Gregory Keating
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced that Gregory Keating, co-chair of Littler's Whistleblowing and Retaliation Practice Group, will be appointed to the newly established Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee, a 15-member panel charged with determining and recommending ways to improve the fairness, efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of OSHA's whistleblower protection program. Read the full post here. (December 14)

OIG's Semiannual Report to Congress Discusses Enforcement Actions, Legislative Recommendations
The Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued its Semiannual Report to Congress, outlining its significant accomplishments during the six-month period ending September 30, 2012 and making a number of legislative recommendations. Read the full post here. (December 11)

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"Employee-Shareholder" Status to be Introduced

By Richard Lister

StockCertificate.jpgThe UK Government is pressing ahead with plans for a new type of employment contract for "employee shareholders", with a view to implementing the scheme in April 2013.

The proposal, first announced by the Chancellor George Osborne in October, originally referred to "employee owner" status. In essence, the idea is that employees would give up certain employment rights, such as unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy pay, in return for between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares in the company which would be exempt from capital gains tax (CGT). Employers could determine the type of shares offered, including whether they carry voting rights or the right to receive dividends.

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