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Washington Weekly Update 4-15-24

Overtime Rule Clears White House Review

The White House Office of Management and Budget completed its review of the Department of Labor’s overtime rule. This is the final step in the rulemaking process before a final rule is released. The proposed rule would update exemption thresholds for overtime eligibility under the Fair Labor Standards Act so that salaried workers paid up to $55,000 annually would be automatically owed overtime pay. This is an increase from the current level of $35,568. The proposed rule noted that the threshold could be as high as $60,209, because it will be based on the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics salary data, which has been updated since the proposal was released last year.

Senate Passes Disapproval Resolution of NLRB Joint Employer Rule

Last week, the Senate narrowly passed a joint disapproval resolution under the Congressional Review Act that would block the National Labor Relation Board’s updated joint employer rule. Three Senators who caucus with Senate Democrats—Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), and Angus King (I-Maine)—voted with Republicans to rescind the rule, which establishes that if two or more entities may be considered joint employers if each entity has an employment relationship with a group of employees, and if the entities share or codetermine one or more of the employees’ essential terms and conditions of employment. Most recently, the rule was vacated by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The measure will go to President Biden’s desk, where it will be vetoed. 

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House Appropriations Hearings on NCA Policy Priorities

This week, the House Appropriations Committee will continue to hold a series of hearings that examine federal agencies’ budget requests for Fiscal Year 2025. On Wednesday, Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su will testify before the committee, providing lawmakers with the opportunity to ask questions related to the Department of Labor’s regulatory agenda. The committee will also host officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Interior’s water division. The second hearing will likely feature questions about the Army Corps’ ongoing implementation of its updated Waters of the United States rule. 

House GOP Proposes Worker Benefits for Independent Contractors

During a House Education and Workforce Committee hearing last week, Congressman Kevin Kiley (R-Calif.), who heads the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, announced he is working on legislation that would allow states and companies to provide portable benefits to independent contractors without the risk of that being used as a factor to classify them as employees. These benefits could include retirement, paid leave and health insurance. The proposal could be considered a response to the Department of Labor’s final independent contractor rule, which has been criticized by GOP lawmakers for making it harder for employers to classify workers as independent contractors. In March, Rep. Kiley introduced a disapproval resolution to overturn the rule.