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Legislative Update on Employment & Safety Related Issues Pat Grischow Manager – Government Affairs – HR & Government Communications.

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Presentation on theme: "Legislative Update on Employment & Safety Related Issues Pat Grischow Manager – Government Affairs – HR & Government Communications."— Presentation transcript:

1 Legislative Update on Employment & Safety Related Issues Pat Grischow Manager – Government Affairs – HR & Government Communications

2 2 Federal Legislation / Regulation  Expect a very active Congress and Administration  Democrats have control of the US House and Senate –House: 259 Ds, 178 Rs, 1 Independent –Senate: 57 Ds, 41 Rs, 2 Independents who caucus with Ds,  New president was one of the most liberal US Senators  Labor unions spent tens of millions on candidates who would support their agenda  Employers will have to become active to be sure Congress and Administration understand the impact of their actions on employers

3 3 Federal Legislation / Regulation What has already passed  ADA Restoration Act ( H.R. 3195 / S. 1881) –Compromise bill expanded Americans with Disabilities Act –EEOC Commission stopped rules from becoming effective  Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act ( H.R. 493 / S. 358) –Prohibits employment and benefits discrimination on the basis of genetic information –EEOC has issued proposed rules for employment provisions  Mental Health Parity Act (H.R. 1424 / S. 558) –Mandates coverage for mental illnesses at the same level as physical illnesses –Includes substance abuse

4 4 Federal Legislation / Regulation What has already passed  Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act ( H.R. 11 / S. 181) –Eliminated time limits to file pay discrimination claims  Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization ( H.R. 2 / S. 275) –Reauthorizes & expands State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)  FMLA Expansion for Military Service Family Members and Caregivers (H.R. 1585) –Provides FMLA-protected leave to employees caring for injured military service members and to family members of service members called to active duty

5 5 Federal Legislation / Regulation What has already passed  American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1 ) –COBRA continuation subsidy of 65% for up to 9 months –Unemployment benefits extended for as long as 33 weeks –Unemployment benefits increased $25 per week –Incentive fund for states to change unemployment insurance programs to cover workers who quit to care for a sick family member and certain part-time workers –Funding for national study on comparative effectiveness of medical treatments –Funding to accelerate development and adoption of national health information technology infrastructure –More stringent HIPAA requirements

6 6 Federal Department of Labor  Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) –New regulations effective January 16, 2009 –Requires significant changes in administration  US Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA) confirmed as DOL Secretary –Director of American Rights at Work, union group coordinating lobbying effort for Employee Free Choice Act  Increased Wage & Hour enforcement

7 7 Federal Department of Labor  Jordan Barab named OSHA’s acting assistant secretary until OSHA administrator is named –Former labor safety & health consultant and program coordinator  Expect increased OSHA inspection & enforcement activity  Potential new regulations on dust, silica, ergonomics  OSHA PEL Standard for Hexavalent Chromium upheld by court –Supports rule based on technological & economic feasibility

8 8 Federal Legislation What may be on the horizon  Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 12) –Passed by House in January 2009 –Unlimited compensatory & punitive damages under the Equal Pay Act, weakens employer defenses & expands class actions –Comparable worth  Employee Free Choice Act (Card Check) (H.R. 1409 / S. 560) –Eliminates secret ballot election to determine union representation –Sets time limits & mandatory arbitration for first contract –Takes away workers right to vote on first contract –Coalition for a Democratic Workplace:

9 9 Federal Legislation What may be on the horizon  Health Care Reform –Started with SCHIP reauthorization & economic stimulus package –Expect broad range of proposals to achieve universal coverage –Funded with tax increases and cuts in Medicare / Medicaid  FMLA Expansion –Eligibility requirements & covered employers –Paid leave proposals  Working Families Flexibility Act –Establishes legal obligation for employer to negotiate work schedules and locations with individual employees

10 10 Federal Legislation What may be on the horizon  Worker Protection Against Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires Act (H.R. 849) –Requires OSHA to develop standard for combustible dust –Discards consideration of technological & economic feasibility  Protecting America's Workers Act –Amends OSHA to cover more workers, increase penalties, strengthen whistleblower protections  Change Rulemaking Process for Permissible Exposure Limits –Would discard normal rulemaking process & require adoption of voluntary consensus standards

11 11 Federal Legislation What may be on the horizon  Civil Rights Act –Major rewrite of numerous workplace discrimination law  Re-Empowerment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Tradeworkers (RESPECT) Act –Changes NLRB definition of supervisor  National Commission on State Workers' Compensation Laws Act of 2009 (H.R. 635) –Establishes commission to study & evaluate adequacy of state workers compensation laws

12 12 Federal Legislation What may be on the horizon  401(k) and IRA plan changes –Eliminate tax-favored treatment –Replace with government-run program similar to Social Security  Energy & climate change legislation –Significant increases in electricity costs –Billions in new revenue generated for federal government –Under cap & trade proposal, Ohio increased cost projected to be $11.2 billion ($975 per person) per year

13 13 Ohio Issues  Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund –Claims cost has exceeded fund balance, prompting federal bailout –Caused by high rate of unemployment & insufficient funding –Federal economic stimulus incentive funding encourages state expansion of eligibility  Workers’ Compensation –Board of Directors reviewing all aspects of system –Workers’ Compensation Council –Deloitte study on BWC Web site: –Group rating / discount changes –Self-Insuring Employer Work Group –BWC & IC budgets (H.B. 15 & 16) passed by Ohio House

14 14 Ohio Issues  Health Care Coverage Expansion –Started with Medicaid expansion –Expect proposals to increase access to coverage  Education Proposals –Funding & education reforms –Stark Education Partnership:  Energy –S.B. 221 revised regulatory structure for electric public utility companies –PUCO hearing requests for huge rate increases from electric companies

15 15 Participative Democracy  Government impacts all aspects of American business  Policies & laws shaped by many special interest groups  Voters support candidates who reflect their thinking  All sides can speak & participate in political process

16 16 What Can You Do?  Watch & evaluate impact of proposed legislation & regulations  Join organizations  Establish relationships with elected & appointed government officials  Participate in political process  Participate in election process  Communicate! With government officials and your associates

17 17 Questions? “America is not governed by the majority, but governed by the majority of those who participate.” Thomas Jefferson

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