Wage and Hour Division Final Rule: Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors

Sept. 30, 2016

The Department of Labor has announced that on September 30, 2016, it will publish a final rule to implement Executive Order 13706, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors. Executive Order 13706 was signed by President Barack Obama on September 7, 2015, and requires parties that enter into covered contracts with the Federal Government to provide covered employees with up to 7 days of paid sick leave annually, including paid leave allowing for family care. The final rule describes the categories of contracts and employees covered by the Executive Order; the rules and restrictions regarding the accrual and use of paid sick leave; the obligations of contracting agencies, the Department of Labor, and covered Federal contractors under the Order; and the remedies and enforcement procedures to implement the Order’s requirements.

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Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order makes contracting system more accountable

Posted August 24, 2016 at 4:40 pm
by Ross Eisenbrey

The final rule implementing President Obama’s executive order on fair pay and safe workplaces has been issued, along with guidance from the Department of Labor. This is a big deal, affecting as many as 28 million employees in the workforce of hundreds of thousands of government contractors.

The executive order puts in place a commonsense principle: when choosing which companies to do business with, choose the ones that follow the rules rather than the law breakers. Tax dollars should go to contractors with a record of integrity and business ethics, and should not be spent on bad actors. The executive order makes it clear that violations of labor law are an indication of bad ethics and a lack of integrity that must be considered when contracts are awarded.

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Civil and Human Rights Coalition Applauds Implementation of Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order

Contact: Scott Simpson
August 24, 2016

WASHINGTON – Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Labor’s release of regulations governing the implementation of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which ensures that federal contractors comply with workplace safety and fair pay laws:

“This is good news for working people and for the entire country. One in five Americans is employed by a federal contractor and this will help protect millions of workers from wage abuse, workplace discrimination, and unsafe working conditions. This measure is a major step forward in ensuring that federal contractors provide fair and safe conditions for their employees. And for businesses that play by the rules, there will be no burden from implementing these new regulations.

This is a commonsense step to protecting workers and boosting our economy. The Leadership Conference coalition of more than 200 national civil rights groups is proud to support it.”

Nancy Zirkin is executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference, visit www.civilrights.org.

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Paralyzed Veterans of America Applauds Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order

Order strengthens discrimination prevention against veterans and people with disabilities

AUG 25, 2016, 17:47 ET
SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America

Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) today applauded the Obama Administration for issuing final regulations and guidance implementing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, originally signed by the President in July of 2014. The executive order and regulations are of particular importance to veterans and people with disabilities because they provide greater oversight of federal contractors, and hold them accountable for discrimination and civil rights violations.

“Every American should be protected against discrimination of any kind in the workplace, and Paralyzed Veterans of America commends President Obama for taking this action,” said Executive Director Sherman Gillums, Jr. “The American workforce is increasingly diverse. As a result, upholding an equal opportunity to work is vital. The executive order will help prevent discrimination against veterans and people with disabilities by requiring that violations of labor and employment rights laws-such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act-be among the considerations taken into account by the federal government in its contracting process.”

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Take the High Road On Construction in Baltimore

by: Mark Coles
September 21, 2016

Today’s construction industry is two-faced.

One model in construction combines jobs, high-quality training, and education to put workers on a career path with sustainable wages and benefits – the “high road” model. Another, revealed in a 2014 McClatchy Newspapers investigative report, exploits workers in dangerous, low-paying jobs with no upward mobility – the “low road” model.

Unfortunately, Baltimore’s construction market has thrived on the detrimental “low road” model for several decades now – but there’s hope for change. By approving a Community Benefits Agreement for Sagamore Development’s Port Covington project, the Baltimore City Council can create safe, sustainable job opportunities for members of our community.
Under a CBA, developers agree to hire workers in the community where they’re building – and give them decent wages and benefits.

CBAs starkly contrast with the history of Baltimore’s construction market. In 2005, the Maryland government tried to cut all funding for the Prevailing Wage Office – the office that makes sure workers on public construction projects earn fair, livable wages. Despite rain and sleet, Baltimore construction workers joined 1,500 workers’ rights advocates to protest the injustice.

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Real Data on Prevailing Wage Show No Savings

Posted: Aug 25, 2016 12:22 PM EDT Updated: Aug 30, 2016 6:00 AM EDT
Guest Columnist – Steve White

If you look at facts, it is clear the repeal of the state prevailing wage law will be one of the most disastrous, job-killing measures our Legislature has ever taken.

Yet it is not surprising writers Bryan Hoylman and Jason Huffman (Aug. 4) claim great savings – without any facts – because they represent the few people who will profit from West Virginia’s wage and job loss created by the repeal.

The current discussion about prevailing wage should be simple: has or has not the promised 25 percent savings from repealing the prevailing wage law been realized? During the legislative session the claim that four schools would be built for the price of three was made many times.

Repeal supporters take us through a twisted logic of hypothetical savings based on wage cuts but never show any actual savings on any real project

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Illinois’ Construction Apprenticeship Programs Return $11 in Total Benefits for Every Dollar Invested


Published by Frank Manzo IV
AUGUST 24, 2016

A new report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois finds that apprenticeship programs have significant positive social and economic impacts in Illinois.

Construction is the fastest-growing industry in Illinois. Over the next decade, the construction industry is projected to grow at twice the pace of the overall state economy, adding thousands of new jobs. All of the fastest-growing trades in Illinois’s construction industry require at least 3 years of apprenticeship training.

For many young Illinois workers, enrolling in a registered apprenticeship program is a better option than attending college or university. The annual income gain from participating in a registered apprenticeship program is $3,442 on average, greater than the average effect of having an associate’s degree and many bachelor’s degrees- including social work, English language and composition, and linguistics and foreign languages.

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(PDF Copy of Study)


Sep 20, 2016 / by Katherine C. Parris

Employee misclassification causes headaches for both workers and employers, and the federal government and the states are joining hands to ease the pain.

Misclassification often has substantial consequences for all parties involved-employers and workers, as well as the federal government and the states. Misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor may result in denial of minimum wages, overtime compensation, family and medical leave, and unemployment and workplace safety protections. Employers may face costly lawsuits and be liable for unpaid overtime and minimum wages, as well as back pay, court costs and attorneys’ fees.

For these reasons, the Department of Labor is entering into enforcement partnerships with state agencies for “information sharing and coordinated enforcement” in support of its Misclassification Initiative, according to its website.

Joint federal-state efforts likely will continue to play a large role in the future of worker misclassification enforcement as more states enter into formal agreements with the DOL.

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WHD News Brief: 08/31/2016
Release Number: 16-1411-NAT

Participants: U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division
North Carolina Industrial Commission

Partnership description: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and the North Carolina Industrial Commission signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding intended to protect employees’ rights by preventing their misclassification as independent contractors or other non-employee statuses. The two agencies will provide clear, accurate and easy-to-access outreach to employers, employees and other stakeholders; share resources; and enhance enforcement by conducting coordinated investigations and sharing information consistent with applicable law.

Background: The division is working with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and 32 other U.S. states to combat employee misclassification and to ensure that workers get the wages, benefits and protections to which they are entitled. Labeling employees as something they are not – such as independent contractors – can deny them basic rights such as minimum wage, overtime and other benefits. Misclassification also improperly lowers tax revenues to federal and state governments, and creates losses for state unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation funds.

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