Government policies and proposals

Legislative Update for the Week of December 3, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgSupreme Court Agrees to Review Same-Sex Marriage Cases
The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will decide the constitutionality of both the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines "marriage" as a legal union between a man and a woman, and California's Proposition 8, a 2008 state voter initiative banning gay marriage. Read the full post here. (December 7)

DOL Launches Workplace Recruitment Database Comprising Potential Hires with Disabilities
The Departments of Labor and Defense have established a 2013 Workforce Recruitment Program database containing more than 3,000 profiles of postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities, including veterans, that can be accessed by private sector employers. Read the full post here. (December 5)

DOL Proposes to Update OALJ Rules of Practice and Procedure
The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a proposed rule that seeks to revise and restructure the agency's rules of practice and procedure for conducting administrative hearings before the Office of Administrative Law Judges, the "trial court" that presides over many employment-related claims filed with the DOL. Read the full post here. (December 3)

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Legislative Update for the Week of November 26, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgSenate Approves Amendment to Defense Bill that Expands Whistleblower Protections, Rejects Amendment Eliminating Contractor Cuts
The Senate unanimously agreed to an amendment to the Defense bill that would extend whistleblower rights and protections to federal contractors and their employees. Read the full post here. (November 30)

The Use of Criminal Records in Employment Will Get Another Look
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has announced that it will hold a public briefing to examine the use of criminal background checks in employment. The meeting will discuss in particular how criminal background checks impact African American and Hispanic workers, as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's recently-approved updated enforcement guidance on this topic in general. Read the full post here. (November 29)

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México Promulga Reformas Importantes a la Ley Federal del Trabajo

El día de hoy se publicó en el Diario Oficial de la Federación el "Decreto por el que se reforman, adicionan y derogan diversas disposiciones de la Ley Federal del Trabajo" de México. Las reformas entran en vigor a partir del 01 de diciembre de 2012 con algunas excepciones las cuales se especifican más adelante. La LFT no había sufrido modificaciones substanciales desde 1970, por lo que la Reforma tiene implicaciones significativas para las empresas con operaciones en México. Para más información sobre las disposiciones claves de la reforma, continúe leyendo la nota de Actualidad Laboral de Littler, México Promulga Reformas Importantes a la Ley Federal del Trabajo, escrito por Oscar de la Vega, Mónica Schiaffino, Eduardo Arrocha y Liliana Hernández (For the English version, please click here).

Important Reforms to Mexico's Federal Labor Law Enacted

Mexico's Federal Official Gazette today published a Decree that reforms and repeals various provisions of its Federal Labor Law (FLL). The reform will become effective on December 1, 2012, with some exceptions. The FLL had not been subjected to any substantial modifications since 1970. Accordingly, the reform has extensive implications for employers with operations in Mexico. For information on the key provisions of the reform, please see Littler's ASAP, Mexico Enacts Important Reforms to the Federal Labor Law, by Oscar De la Vega, Mónica Schiaffino, Eduardo Arrocha, and Liliana Hernandez (Para la versión en español, prosiga a leer aquí).

Se Aprueba el Ajuste de Salarios Mínimos Generales y Profesionales del Área Geográfica B

Por Mónica Schiaffino y Rogelio Alanis Robles

El 23 de noviembre del 2012, el Consejo de Representantes de la Comisión Nacional de los Salarios Mínimos ("CONASAMI") aprobó una iniciativa para ajustar los salarios mínimos generales y profesionales vigentes del área geográfica "B", a partir del próximo 27 de noviembre del 2012, a fin de nivelarlos con los del área geográfica "A", significando un aumento del 2.9%. La iniciativa había sido sometida por la Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social el pasado 20 de noviembre, siendo votada y aprobada por la CONASAMI tres días después.

El ajuste de 2.9% en el salario mínimo que percibirán los trabajadores que pertenecían a la actual área geográfica "B" aumentará el salario mínimo en $53.50 pesos al mes. Debido al aumento que tendrá efecto a partir del próximo 27 de noviembre, el salario mínimo general diario para las áreas geográficas "A" y "B" será de $62.33 pesos. Los salarios mínimos actuales para las áreas geográficas "A", "B" y "C" se pueden encontrar en el siguiente vínculo: Tabla Salarios Mínimos - CONASAMI.

Es importante señalar que este ajuste es independiente del aumento al salario mínimo que habrá de definirse en el mes de diciembre de este año para el periodo del año 2013.

Adjustment to the General and Professional Minimum Wage for Geographic Zone "B" Has Been Approved

By Mónica Schiaffino and Rogelio Alanis Robles

On November 23, 2012, the Board of Representatives of the National Minimum Wage Review Committee ("Consejo de Representantes de la Comisión Nacional de los Salarios Mínimos" or "CONASAMI") approved an initiative (in Spanish) to adjust the general and professional minimum wage for geographic zone "B" employees by 2.9%, in order to equalize it to that of geographic zone "A." This increase will be effective as of November 27, 2012. The initiative, which had been submitted by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare on November 20, was voted on by CONASAMI within three days.

The 2.9% adjustment in the minimum wage that geographic zone "B" employees will receive will raise the minimum wage by $53.50 Mexican pesos (approximately $4.11 USD) per month. Given this increase, which will come into effect on November 27, the daily general minimum wage for both geographic zones "A" and "B" will be of $62.33 Mexican pesos (about $4.80 USD). The current minimum wage for geographic zones A, B, and C may be found in the following link: Tabla Salarios Mínimos - CONASAMI.

It is important to note that this adjustment is independent from the minimum wage increase to be determined in December for the 2013 calendar year.

U.S. Department of Justice and SEC Release Guidance on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Enforcement Division of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have issued new guidance to help individuals and employers that conduct business internationally understand and comply with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Enacted in 1977, the FCPA aims to combat the bribery of foreign officials, and ensure accounting transparency. The new document - A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act - is nonbinding, informal guidance for entities of any size that conduct business abroad and/or have foreign subsidiaries.

The 130-page guide discusses such topics as who and what is covered by the FCPA's anti-bribery and accounting provisions; the definition of a "foreign official"; how successor liability applies in the mergers and acquisitions context; what constitutes proper and improper gifts, travel and entertainment expenses; the nature of facilitating payments; what constitutes an effective corporate compliance program; what whistleblower provisions and protections are available under the Act; and what are the civil and criminal penalties, sanctions, and remedies under the FCPA.

For a more detailed discussion of this new guidance, see Littler's ASAP: U.S. Department of Justice and SEC Release Long-Awaited Guidance on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by Katherine Franklin, Earl "Chip" Jones, and Bradley Siciliano.

Legislative Update for the Week of November 19, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpg401(k)s and Other Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans Can Make Loans, Hardship Distributions to Victims of Hurricane Sandy
To further assist employees affected by Hurricane Sandy, the Internal Revenue Service has announced that it is easing procedural and administrative rules to allow 401(k)s and similar employer-sponsored retirement plans to more readily make loans and hardship distributions to employees and their family members who live or work in a designated disaster area. Read the full post here. (November 21)

Even Administrative Agencies Make Mistakes: Corrected Model FCRA Forms Now Available to Employers Who Conduct Background Checks
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken responsibility for issuing several model forms required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It recently acknowledged that the Notice of User Responsibilities and the Summary of Rights published by the Bureau in December 2011 contained errors. The announcement is important for employers because the deadline for using the model forms is January 1, 2013. Read the full post here. (November 19)

More Than 3,000 Whistleblower Claims Were Filed Under Dodd-Frank in 2012, While Only 1 Award Granted, According to SEC Report
The SEC's 2012 Annual Report on this whistleblower program summarizes the agency's experience with the program during the 2012 fiscal year, the types of tips received, and the SEC's enforcement efforts. Read the full post here. (November 19)

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El Congreso de México Aprueba la Iniciativa de Reforma a la Ley Federal del Trabajo

Después de mucho debate ante las Cámaras de Diputados y Senadores, con manifestaciones públicas de apoyo y rechazo, el día 13 de noviembre de 2012, el Congreso aprobó la iniciativa de reforma a la Ley Federal del Trabajo (LFT). Se anticipa que el Presidente Calderón apruebe la reforma antes de terminar su sexenio el 1 de diciembre. Una vez promulgada la reforma, la LFT será transformada de manera significativa y tendrá implicaciones para las empresas con operaciones en México. Para más información sobre las disposiciones claves de la iniciativa de reforma, continúe leyendo la nota de Actualidad Laboral de Littler, El Congreso de México Aprueba la Iniciativa de Reforma a la Ley Federal del Trabajo: Qué Impacto Tendría la Reforma Para las Empresas Con Operaciones en México, escrito por Oscar De la Vega, Eduardo Arrocha y Liliana Hernández. (For the English version, please click here).

Mexico's Congress Approves Initiative to Reform the Labor Law

After much debate before Mexico's House of Representatives and Senate, as well as public demonstrations both in support and in opposition, on November 13, 2012, Congress approved an initiative to reform the Federal Labor Law (FLL). It is expected that President Calderon will approve the reform before his presidential term ends on December 1. If the reform is promulgated, the FLL will be transformed in significant ways that will have extensive implications for employers with operations in Mexico. For information on the key provisions of the reform initiative, please see Littler's ASAP, Mexico's Congress Approves Initiative to Reform the Labor Law: What the Reform Will Mean for Employers with Operations in Mexico, by Oscar De la Vega, Eduardo Arrocha, and Liliana Hernández. (Para la versión en español, prosiga a leer aquí).