On February 10, 2022, the National Labor Relation Board’s (NLRB) General Counsel, Jennifer Abruzzo, issued Memorandum GC 22-03 announcing her agreement with and support of the Biden administration’s Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment (Task Force) February 7, 2022 report. The Task Force was created by executive order in April 2021 to identify ways the executive branch can promote worker organization and collective bargaining through existing policies and programs. The Task Force’s report included recommendations to increase organizing and encourages collaboration between government agencies focused on worker protection. In addition to instructing field offices to adopt the recommendations outlined in the report, Abruzzo’s memorandum details current interagency undertakings and outlines future efforts to strengthen those collaborations.
On February 1, 2021, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) opened its new Federal Contractor Portal (Portal) for one-time registration and updated its website landing page with a Federal Contractor User Guide and additional FAQs. As previously reported, the OFCCP has implemented an annual affirmative action plan (AAP) certification process, which requires covered federal contractors and subcontractors (contractors) to register for the Portal and then annually certify they are meeting their existing requirement to develop and maintain annual AAPs. At this time, the Portal is open only for registration — it will not open for certification until March 31, 2022. The OFCCP encourages contractors to complete registration by March 30, 2022 to avoid any delays in the certification process.
On November 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) finalized a rule to increase the hourly minimum wage for employees of certain federal contractors beginning January 30, 2022. The final rule implements Executive Order 14026, which President Joe Biden signed earlier this year.
The final rule requires certain federal contractors to pay workers on government contracts at least $15 per hour beginning January 30, 2022. After 2022, the minimum wage will be adjusted annually for inflation at a rate set by the Secretary of Labor.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay non-exempt employees at least minimum wage plus overtime compensation. If an employee is unpaid or underpaid — due to a calculation error or an employee’s unreported time worked, including remote work arrangements during the pandemic — the employee may recover back pay, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees and litigation costs. If two or more employers have a relationship with an employee — for example, if an employee works for a staffing agency and is assigned to work at the agency’s customer or an employee performs work for two with common ownership or management — the law may deem the employers to be joint employers with joint and several liability, depending on the facts. If one joint employer fails to comply with the FLSA, both joint employers may be held liable. Different laws use different tests for joint employment.
On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced his six-pronged COVID-19 Action Plan, which will have a significant impact on employers across the country by mandating vaccinations for many employees. Many key details — including what exemptions may apply to mandatory vaccinations — remain unknown until additional federal guidance is provided in the upcoming weeks.”
In late April 2021, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) signaled its intent to revisit the “Persuader Rule” — an Obama-era regulation that imposes strict reporting requirements on employers facing organization. Although the Persuader Rule has not yet been reinstated, and will almost certainly face significant opposition, employers should be aware of the possible ramifications of the regulation.