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     Montana State Council

    Affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management

     

     


    April 2024 Update

    MONTANA STATE CONFERENCE – MAKE SURE TO REGISTER SOON!

    MAY 1ST – 3RD

    Go online and register for the conference in Kalispell!
     


    EOC Releases Final Regulations for Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

    April 15, 2024

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) final regulations for implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) on April 15th.

    After considering more than 100,000 public comments during a 60-day period, the EEOC aimed to clarify definitions and limitations of the law. For example, the PWFA only provides accommodations to qualified employees with limitations related to, affected by or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The EEOC noted that whether a condition constitutes “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions” will be guided by existing Title VII precedent.

    The PWFA, which went into effect on June 27, 2023, requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions unless the accommodation would cause the employer an undue hardship. The law applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

    The House Committee on Education and Labor Report on the PWFA provided examples of possible reasonable accommodations, including:

    • The ability to sit or drink water.
    • Closer parking.
    • Flexible hours.
    • Appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel.
    • Additional break time to use the bathroom, eat and rest.
    • Leave to recover from childbirth.
    • Reassignment from activities that are strenuous or involve exposure to compounds that are not safe for pregnancy.

    SHRM LINK ARTICLE: EEOC Releases Final Regulations for Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (shrm.org)

     

    SHRM GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS ADVOCACY REQUEST

    President Biden has the opportunity to preserve workplace flexibility and predictability by supporting the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution, H.J.Res.98, which would effectively overturn the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) 2023 final rule on joint employer status.

    SHRM urges you to send a letter to the President to support this resolution and restore clarity and consistency to the workplace.

    The NLRB’s 2023 final rule has generated significant concerns and garnered opposition from a wide range of stakeholders due to its lack of clarity and consistency in determining when two or more employers share responsibility for an employee. Specifically, the rule's broad definition of "joint employer" based on "indirect or reserved" control over a third party is problematic for many organizations that rely on various work arrangements to meet their needs and stay competitive.

    Through bipartisan efforts, Congress expressed its opposition to the NLRB’s 2023 final rule by advancing H.J.Res.98, reflecting the voice and will of stakeholders across the country. The resolution of disapproval will be sent to the President shortly, who has indicated that he will veto the measure. Should the President veto the CRA, this will effectively limit the options organizations will have to fulfill their needs with third parties, which in turn will limit opportunities for businesses and contractors.

    That is why your voice – the voice of HR – is needed, and we ask that you please urge President Biden to support H.J.Res.98. Text NLRB to 52886 or CLICK BELOW to take action

    Urge Biden to Support H.J.Res.98 to Restore Clarity & Consistency to the Workplace (shrm.org)

    House Passes WIOA Revamp, Modernizing Workforce Development

    The nation’s primary workforce development and training law was amended and reauthorized by lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 9.

    Originally enacted in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) provides funding to state agencies to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services.

    House lawmakers passed the bipartisan H.R.6655 A Stronger Workforce for America Act by a vote of 378-26, with another 26 not voting. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

    If enacted, the WIOA reauthorization would fund the system through 2030. The reauthorization aims to make improvements to WIOA to help close the national skills gap, provide more accountability in the system, and help U.S. workers obtain high-quality, well-paying jobs.

    SHRM ARTICLE LINK: House Passes WIOA Revamp, Modernizing Workforce Development (shrm.org)

     
    APR
    30
    EEO-1 Filing Period Opens
    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced the 2023 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection will open on April 30. The deadline to file the report is June 4.
    MAY
    31

    OSHA Walkaround Final Rule
    In a final rule issued March 29, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) clarified that workers may authorize another employee or nonemployee to serve as their representative to accompany an OSHA compliance officer during a workplace inspection.

    JUN
    23

    SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2024 (Through June 26 in Chicago and virtually)
    Join other forward-thinking HR professionals at the world’s largest HR conference. Get ready for four days of learning, networking, inspiration and professional growth.

    WEBCASTS/CONFERENCE SESSIONS

    The Heart of HR
    April 23, noon ET / 9 a.m. PT
    Sponsor: UKG

    FMLA: Qualifying Reasons and FAQs
    April 25, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT
    Sponsor: J. J. Keller

    Connecting Benefits Literacy and Employee Well-Being
    April 25, noon ET / 9 a.m. PT
    Sponsor: HealthEquity


    February / March 2024 Update

    SHRM’S TOP 5 WORKPLACE POLICY ISSUES TO WATCH IN 2024

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Be Regulated and Legislated

    In Brief: States and localities have outpaced the federal government in regulating AI. This means that HR professionals who want to introduce AI solutions in their workplaces will have to navigate through a complex and varied set of policies at different levels of government. SHRM favors thoughtful AI public policies that support innovation.

    Top Action for HR Professionals: Invest in the infrastructure, quality data and resources to stay updated on the latest AI advancements. Implement policies for using AI responsibly to protect confidential information.

    IE&D, Free Speech and Title VII Will Remain at the Forefront of HR Policy

    In Brief: Inclusion, equity and diversity initiatives and practices will be in the spotlight during the 2024 election season, a time when maintaining civility is crucial. Guidance from the EEOC and precedents from the NLRB and courts will require a balance between free speech and religious rights while keeping workplaces free from harassment.

    Top Action for HR Professionals: This is a powerful opportunity to set an example for employees, colleagues and partners to encourage mutual respect and value diversity of opinion.

    White House-Driven Labor Regulations Will Create Compliance Burdens

    In Brief: SHRM expects final rules on overtime and independent contractors, implementation of the NLRB’s joint-employers standard and more regulations related to unionization. These rules may be challenged legally, slowing implementation. To address talent shortages, immigration is expected to be dealt with through agency regulation given the challenge of congressional action.

    Top Action for HR Professionals: Develop a strategy to balance compliance with patience by staying well-informed, adaptable and proactive in navigating the evolving HR regulatory landscape.

    Pay Parity and Equity Will Gain Momentum With Policymakers

    In Brief: The concerted effort to address pay inequities at the state and municipal levels is expected to continue. These laws touch on themes such as pay transparency, new protected classes, questions on salary histories and reasons employers can use to justify pay differences.

    Top Action for HR Professionals: Make sure your pay practices comply with any new laws to maintain a fair and equitable work environment for all employees.

    Employee Benefits Management Will Require Careful Attention

    In Brief: HR professionals will navigate a complex web of federal and state regulations aiming to control health care and prescription drug costs. Regulatory guidance on noncompete clauses and repayment provisions may have implications for upskilling and reskilling benefits.

    Top Action for HR Professionals: Prepare to comply with new health and retirement plan disclosure rules by staying informed about changing regulations and establishing clear communication and transparency with your employees

    SHRM LINK ARTICLE: shrms-top-5-policy-issues-for-2024 (1).pdf

    Bill Would Require Some Employers to Auto-Enroll Workers in Retirement Plans

    Automatic IRA Act is introduced in Congress

    A new bill aims to expand retirement security for millions of U.S. workers by requiring employers that have more than 10 workers but do not offer a retirement plan to automatically enroll employees in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or other automatic-contribution arrangements, such as 401(k) plans.

    The Automatic IRA Act of 2024 was introduced Feb. 7 by Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., who first introduced a similar bill in 2017. Neal, who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, also worked on the SECURE Act 2.0 and tried to include similar provisions when that legislation was passed in late 2022.

    The Automatic IRA Act would generally apply to plan years beginning after 2026. 

    The legislation, according to a fact sheet released by Ways and Means Committee Democrats, would “dramatically expand retirement coverage of employees, gig workers, and other independent contractors. It would build upon, expand, and improve the private pension system in a manner that explicitly protects and complements employer-sponsored plans and arrangements.”

    SHRM ARTICLE LINK:  Bill Would Require Some Employers to Auto-Enroll Workers in Retirement Plans (shrm.org)

    Trucking Service Must Pay Drivers Waiting in Sleeper Berths

    Takeaway: Despite this decision, the Fair Labor Standards Act has a broad overtime exemption that excludes most long-haul truck drivers from overtime pay.

    Drivers must receive minimum wages for all hours worked, including hours in their sleeper berth when not sleeping, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided.

    Motor carriers CRST Expedited and CRST International (collectively, “CRST”) provide trucking services across North America through a driver-training program for aspiring long-haul truck drivers. CRST’s team-based driver training program hires and trains inexperienced drivers in teams.

    The team-driving model assigns to each truck two drivers who take turns driving the vehicle. CRST keeps its trucks in near continuous motion for multiple days, while complying with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations limiting driving-time hours.

    The DOT regulations specify that a driver may be on duty for a maximum of 14 hours at a time. Within this 14-hour period, a driver may drive only up to 11 hours; the remaining three hours may be spent taking care of nondriving responsibilities, such as vehicle loading or unloading. After 14 hours of on-duty time, a driver must take at least 10 consecutive hours of time off duty under DOT regulations, during which the driver cannot drive, load or unload the vehicle, or have other responsibilities relating to the truck or its equipment.

    SHRM ARTICLE LINK: Trucking Service Must Pay Drivers Waiting in Sleeper Berths (shrm.org)

     

    UPCOMING CALENDAR EVENTS:

    WEBCASTS/CONFERENCE SESSIONS

    SHRM’s International Women’s Day Virtual Retreat
    March 8, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. ET / 8 a.m.-2 p.m. PT
    Sponsor: SHRM

    The Power of Personalization: Adapting Benefits to Employee Wants and Needs
    March 6, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT
    Sponsor: HealthJoy

    March 14, 2024 | A Conferences for Women Event
    This Women's History Month, join tens of thousands of professional women from across the nation for a groundbreaking virtual event, and gain access to some of the world's top women experts on career advancement, leadership, and personal development.
    Register now

    KEY DATES AND DEADLINES:

    March 1 
    Better Workplaces Challenge Cup Member Track Deadline
    This worldwide competition spotlighting innovative HR solutions crafted by SHRM members to tackle contemporary workplace issues is your chance to share your innovative idea and your chance to win $1,000 along with an all-expenses-paid trip to the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2024.

    March 2
    OSHA 300A Electronic Data Submission Deadline
    More employers will be required to submit workplace injury and illness information under a final rule released by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2023. The new rule took effect on Jan. 1, 2024. OSHA has amended its regulations to require certain companies to electronically report work-related injury and illness data.

    April 14

    SHRM Talent Conference & Expo 2024 (Through April 17 in Las Vegas and virtually)
    Engage with top industry experts and thought leaders delivering cutting-edge methods and processes to transform the way you manage talent and empower your organization to succeed in an ever-evolving job market.

    THANK YOU
     


    January 2024 Update

    Supreme Court, NLRB Decisions Changed Employment Law in 2023

    The U.S. Supreme Court and federal agencies altered employment law in 2023 with decisions that changed the way employers and employees interact. 

    The U.S. Supreme Court, in particular, dismantled affirmative action in college admissions, despite the support of many companies for affirmative action, and fortified the standard for religious accommodations.

    These opinions dominated the news, but a decision from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that sparked the revision of many employers' handbooks attracted the most readers of any SHRM Online employment law article this year.

    Handbooks Need Revision Following NLRB Ruling

    Many employer handbooks and policies likely had to be reviewed and revised following a landmark Aug. 2 ruling by the NLRB, Stericycle.

    "This ruling, in a word, is huge," said David Pryzbylski, an attorney with Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis. "This decision may invalidate countless workplace rules maintained by private-sector employers—whether they are unionized or not."

    Supreme Court Dismantles Affirmative Action in College Admissions

    On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court voted in a 6-3 decision to curb affirmative action in higher education. The ruling came in response to a pair of lawsuits accusing Harvard University and the University of North Carolina of racial discrimination in admissions.

    In a response to the ruling, SHRM reaffirmed its commitment to advocating for inclusive workplaces and diverse workforces.

    Supreme Court Fortifies Standard for Religious Accommodations

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision on June 29 that employers can deny an employee's request for a religious accommodation under federal law only if they can prove it would result in substantial increased costs for the businesses.

    What Employers Should Know About the Updated Form I-9

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced July 21 a new Form I-9—which has been streamlined and shortened—that employers could use beginning Aug. 1, 2023. Employers were able to use the older Form I-9 (Rev. 10/21/19) through Oct. 31, 2023.

    States Outlaw Noncompete Agreements

    A growing number of states have banned noncompete agreements, leaving employers to grapple with a patchwork of different state-level requirements and federal actions.

    The End of FMLA Time Off May Be the Start of ADA Leave

    Potential leave entitlement doesn't end with the exhaustion of 12 weeks of leave under the FMLA but may be extended for a specified period of time under the ADA, so long as that doesn't result in an undue hardship on the employer. HR needs to coordinate ADA and FMLA obligations, including for health insurance and return to work.

    Overtime Would Become Available to Millions More Employees Under Proposed Rule

    More workers would be eligible for overtime under a proposed rule released by the DOL on Aug. 30. If the rule is finalized and implemented, overtime protections would be extended to approximately 3.6 million more workers, according to the DOL.

    Strikes and NLRB Decisions Transform Labor Relations in 2023

    Next Stop for Big Labor: More Organizing

    Union organizing will be a primary goal for big labor in 2024, following the recent deals between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. The key question to watch in the next year is whether the UAW's deals with the Big Three automakers—and the Teamsters' agreement with UPS—can be converted into organizing victories at other companies such as Tesla and Amazon.

    Lawmakers Disagree on Union Rights

    Congressional lawmakers debated conflicting bills related to workers' union rights. Republicans favored the National Right to Work Act, which would prevent labor unions from requiring workers to pay union dues if they don't want to belong to the union.

    Democrats supported the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO) Act, which would nullify laws in 28 states that say workers can't be required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of the job. The PRO Act also would replace secret-ballot union elections with card-check elections and prohibit captive-audience meetings by employers to discuss union activity. Both bills have been introduced but have not passed the House or Senate.

    Strikes Not Legal If They Harm Property

    A June 1 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court demonstrated how unions may have to pay hefty penalties if a strike causes damage to a company's property. In Glacier Northwest v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the court ruled in favor of an employer that sued in state court after a strike risked significant damage to its trucks. Striking workers must take reasonable precautions to avoid foreseeable, imminent harm to the employer's property.

    Rule Changes for Recognizing Unions

    On Aug. 25, the NLRB ruled that when a union requests recognition on a card-check basis, an employer must recognize the union or file a petition seeking an election. Previously, if a union demanded recognition based on signed union cards, the employer could decline recognition and the union would need to file a petition with the NLRB.

    A separate NLRB decision on Aug. 2 held that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by maintaining certain rules for its employees that addressed personal conduct, conflicts of interest and confidentiality of harassment complaints. The NLRB announced a new standard for whether work rules violate the NLRA. Employer handbooks and policies may need to be revised and updated.

    Trends HR Should Be Ready For in 2024

    The year 2024 looks to be one of amazing potential and ongoing challenges for HR. Talent, economic and supply chain issues are expected to continue, while myriad political views will take center stage during this election year.

    The Great Resignation, the Gray Resignation, the Great Regret, the Big Stay, quiet quitting, quiet firing and so many other epithets have developed in recent years for good reason: While the economy is strong and talent scarcity widespread, some employers have embraced layoffs as the best way to manage their bottom line.

    The erratic pressures and “polycrises” of global wars, labor strikes, technology disruption, stock market and interest rate gyrations, political turmoil, gun violence, immigration, climate change, and so many other social issues pervade the workplace. Simply put, many employees are exhausted, confused and overwhelmed. The pace of change will only exacerbate these problems, leaving workers constantly putting out fires, at work and at home. These realities pose both opportunities and threats to HR leaders of organizations large and small.

    SHRM Article Link: Trends HR Should Be Ready For in 2024 (shrm.org)

    UPCOMING CALENDAR EVENTS:

    WEBCASTS/CONFERENCE SESSIONS

    Workplace Compliance Trends for 2024
    Jan. 17, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT

    The Future of Digital Health and What it Means for Your Workforce in 2024
    Jan. 30, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT

    Building a Sense of Belonging at Work in 2024
    Jan. 22, 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT

    FEB
    26
    NLRB Expands Definition of Joint Employer
    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) released a final rule on Oct. 26 to provide a broadened standard for when two employers that conduct business together are considered to be joint employers and thus liable for one another’s unfair labor practices. It will take effect on Feb. 26.
       
    APR
    14
    SHRM Talent Conference & Expo 2024 (Through April 17 in Las Vegas and virtually)
    Engage with top industry experts and thought leaders delivering cutting-edge methods and processes to transform the way you manage talent and empower your organization to succeed in an ever-evolving job market.

    Thank You.


    December 2023 Update

    Montana SHRM well represented at SHRM VBLM in Washington DC

    Thank you Dawn Lambert, Amanda Kieth, Rayne Hoover, Alyssa Bernhardt and Sarah Raymond for your involvement and participation in the VBLM Conference last month in Washington DC!  You all made Montana SHRM proud.