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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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OSHA Announces Delay for July 1 Reporting Deadline

(OSHA, Regulation) Permanent link

OSHA Webpage

For clubs with 250 or more employees, the first reporting deadline for the updated OSHA reporting requirements was slated to be July 1, 2017. Under the final rule published in May 2016, businesses 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. 

On May 17, OSHA posted the following information to its website “OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017 date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically.” 

In related litigation, the rule is currently being challenged in two federal district court cases. Neither case is expected to be decided before the original July 1 deadline. 

Until there is a further announcement as to the new compliance date, clubs should continue to maintain their records and be prepared to comply with the new rule. 

Stay tuned for the latest information! 

House Passes Health Care Overhaul Repealing Employer Mandate

(Health Care Reform, Congress) Permanent link

On Thursday, May 4, the House of Representatives passed HR 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017 by a vote of 217 to 213. This measure eliminates several of the unpopular tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) including the individual mandate penalties to have insurance and the employer mandate.

Relevant to clubs specifically, the AHCA repealed the employer mandate which requires qualifying large employers to provide affordable health insurance to all employees.

(Sec. 206) This section repeals the penalties for certain large employers who do not offer full-time employees and their dependents minimum essential health coverage under an employer-sponsored health plan (commonly referred to as the employer mandate). The repeal is effective for months beginning after December 31, 2015.

The US Senate has already indicated that it will undertake consideration of its own effort to repeal and replace the ACA. In a statement, Senate Health Committee Chairman Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) indicated that the committee plans to take its time on the effort. If and when this measure is passed, reconciliation between the House and the Senate would need to occur. It is likely there will be significant differences between the two measures.

Stay tuned! 

Congress Expands H-2B Availability Through FY2017 Spending Package

 Permanent link

The FY2017 spending package will provide much-needed relief to clubs and other seasonal employers who rely on H-2B visas to fill peak season jobs at their businesses. A provision included in the measure would give the Department of Homeland Security the authority to adjust the annual limit of 66,000 visas. The increase would be limited to no more than the maximum number of visas issued in years when the returning worker exemption was in effect. It is estimated the new cap could be approximately 84,000.  

Prior to this move, the H-2B visa cap had been met on March 13, 2017. Without this action, no further visas would have been available until October 1. 

While this action fills the immediate need to help seasonal businesses this year, long-term reform is still needed. Legislation pending in both houses - s.792, the “Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017” and HR 2004, the "Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now (Season) Act" would make the returning worker exemption permanent as well as other reforms to the program.

Register your support for permanent reform with your Congressional representation through www.clubindustryvotes.org

House Passes Bill to Alter Overtime

 Permanent link

ballot box vote

On Tuesday, May 2, the US House of Representatives passed   HR 1180, the “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017.”  The measure amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to allow private employers, including clubs, to utilize compensatory time in lieu of providing overtime pay.  

 
The bill outlines that employees can be provided 1.5 hours of “comp” time for each hour exceeding 40. Currently, under the FLSA, employees must be paid 1.5 of their normal hourly rate for hours which exceed 40 as overtime compensation. This practice has previously only been allowable by in the public sector.  

 
Further stipulations include:  

  •  A limitation of accrual of no more than 160 hours; 
  •  A limit of one year of accrual with the option to pay out the unused “comp” time on the last day of the month following the year end;  
  •  The establishment of the payment as the higher of two rates – the employee’s regular rate at the time of the accrual or the payout;  
  •  The option for an employer to pay out unused “comp” time in excess of 80 hours at any time after giving the employee at least 30 days’ notice; and 
  •  The ability of the employee to request payout of unused “comp” time within 30 days.  

 The bill was received by the US Senate for its consideration on May 3. To become effective, it will need to be passed by the majority of the Senate and signed into law by the President. Once enacted, it would become effective after 30 days.  

 
Stay tuned!  



 

Bills Would Make Returning Worker Exemption Permanent

(Congress, Immigration) Permanent link

 

 

take-actionSenators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Angus King (I-ME) have introduced s.792, the “Save our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017.”

In the House of Representatives, Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Andy Harris (R-MD), Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Bob Gibbs (R-OH) sponsored HR 2004, the "Strengthen Employment and Seasonal Opportunities Now (Season) Act."

This bipartisan legislation is designed to make substantial reforms, aimed to help seasonal employers better navigate the H-2B visa program, including the reinstatement of the “returning worker exemption.”

This provision allows workers who have successfully used the program in the past to be exempted from the annual cap of 66,000 visas. The exemption was in place in FY2016, but Congress failed to extend the provision for FY2017.

As of March 13, H-2B visas have been exhausted for the 2017 fiscal year which may severely impact seasonal businesses including clubs and hospitality in securing workers for their summer seasons.   

Register your support for this measure with your US Senator through www.clubindustryvotes.org


 


Supreme Court Declines to Halt WOTUS Consideration

(Congress, Legal Issues, Regulation) Permanent link

Supreme Court Declines to Halt WOTUS Consideration

On Monday, April 3, the Supreme Court declined a request by the Trump Administration to delay consideration in the National Association of Manufacturers vs. the Department of Defense. This case is not specific to the merits of the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule but instead addresses the issue of jurisdiction, specifically which courts should hear challenges to the Clean Water Act. 

The Trump Administration requested a delay in consideration due to its recent executive order to the Environmental Protection Agency to proceed with rescinding and/or revising the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule through the regulatory process.

Without further explanation, the Court issued a brief statement denying the request.  

This does not mean that a ruling will be immediately forthcoming. The case will be scheduled for oral arguments in the term beginning in October and a decision would not be expected any earlier than the summer of 2018. 

The final WOTUS rule remains on nationwide injunction,  following the October 2015 action of the Sixth Circuit of the US Court of Appeals.  

American Health Care Act Withdrawn From Consideration

(Health Care Reform, Congress) Permanent link

ACHA Vote

Following turmoil in the House of Representatives, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) has been withdrawn from further consideration. This bill was designed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). HR 1628 would have eliminated several of the unpopular provisions of the ACA including the individual mandate penalties to have insurance, and the employer mandate for qualifying large employers to provide affordable health insurance to all employees. 

The House of Representatives was slated to vote on the measure on Friday, March 24, but dissension within the majority party prompted the bill to be withdrawn from further consideration at this time. 

Speaker Paul Ryan has indicated that the House of Representatives will not immediately reconsider the AHCA but remains committed to the goal of repealing and replacing the ACA.