Workplace Policy Institute Insider Report — May 2016

Littler's Workplace Policy Institute Insider Report details key labor, employment, and benefits news and events at the federal, state, local, and global levels. The May edition of the Insider Report discusses recent agency rulemaking, legislative maneuvers to block new and pending rules, and state efforts to enact labor and employment laws that have stalled at the federal level. The Report contains the following sections:

Insider Briefing [p. 1]. With the number of legislative days left on the congressional calendar before the November elections dwindling and control of the White House and Congress at stake, April was a busy month for federal workplace policy developments. Both the Administration and Congress accelerated their efforts to advance the labor, employment, and benefits agenda and messaging in advance of the upcoming elections.

On the Move [p. 1]. The flurry of new bill introductions that marked the beginning of 2016 slowed dramatically in April, with only about 50 new labor- and employment-related bills and ordinances making their debut at the state and local levels during this period. About an equal number of measures were vetoed or died in committee in April. At least 28 measures were enacted or adopted by states or localities in April 2016, while another 22 cleared both legislative chambers. State lawmakers continue to focus on topics that have languished at the federal level: minimum wage, paid leave, wage theft, fair scheduling, background checks, and social media password protection.

In Focus [p. 12]. On April 6, 2016, the Department of Labor issued its final rule governing conflicts-of-interest in retirement investment advice. The final rule changes the definition of who is deemed a "fiduciary" of an employee benefit plan under ERISA by virtue of giving investment advice to the plan and its participants and beneficiaries. The rule similarly amends the Internal Revenue Code regarding Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Overall, the fiduciary rule has taken on much more significance and controversy than a mere change to an ERISA definition.

Global Report [p. 10]. This section provides a roundup of international labor and employment news.

Outlook [p. 15]. A calendar of events provides information on upcoming regulatory comment deadlines, agency meetings, and related activities.

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Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.