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Congress Takes Action on Harmful Employment Rules

Harmful Employment Rules

Congress has taken action on two harmful employment rules that NAA/NMHC have fought vigorously to overturn. The House Appropriations Committee passed funding legislation on July 14 that would prevent the Obama Administration from implementing the Labor Department’s controversial overtime final rule that, effective Dec. 1, lifts the overtime pay threshold from $23,660 to $47,476. Second, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) could not use any funds to enforce or investigate its joint employer ruling – a ruling that could make apartment firms liable for the actions of subcontractors, suppliers, vendors and temporary staff.
 
In addition to appropriations action, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) introduced legislation, the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act, on July 14 that would require the Labor Department to phase-in the overtime pay threshold over three years so that it would be fully effective beginning Dec. 1, 2019. The bill would also eliminate automatic adjustments to the pay threshold. NAA/NMHC sent a letter to Representative Schrader endorsing the measure.

Overtime Rule

Expected to impact 4.2 million executive, administrative and professional employees who are paid by the hour, or earn less than the threshold, the overtime rule would go into effect Dec. 1, 2016. The final rule would harm the ability of apartment housing employers to implement, and their employees to take advantage of, flexible scheduling options. In addition, the rule would limit career advancement opportunities for employees.
 
Joint Employer Rule

Joint employers occur when the supervision of an employee’s activity is shared between two or more businesses. And joint employers are required to negotiate with any union representing the jointly employed workers and share liability for National Labor Relations Act violations. The NLRB ruled that it could impose joint employer liability when an entity has “indirect” control and “unexercised potential” of control over another entity’s employees. However, for 30 years before this ruling, entities were designated joint employers when both had “direct and immediate” control over “essential terms and conditions of employment.”

Outlook

Currently, the outlook for overturning the overtime and joint employer rules is uncertain. On the appropriations front, many observers believe that Congress will be forced to pass a short-term spending bill in September to fund the government until after the election. This could leave decisions on the overtime and joint employer issues for the end of the year or the next Administration. Representative Schrader’s bill may emerge as a viable compromise on the overtime rule if it is able to attract Republican support in both the House and Senate.

Provided by NMHC as part of the NAA/NMHC Joint Legislative Program