HR Policy Calls on Congress to Settle Joint Employer Issue in Omnibus Spending Bill

March 16, 2018

HR Policy urged Congress to include the bipartisan House-passed "Save Local Business Act" (H.R. 3441) in the consolidated Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bill, which will be voted on next week.  Our letter notes that “inclusion of H.R. 3441 in the spending bill is urgently needed to clarify what constitutes joint employer status,” and that until Congress takes definitive action on the issue, businesses will continue to suffer the damaging consequences of unpredictable court and regulatory decisions.  Enactment of the joint employer legislation would also provide companies the legal certainty they need to establish corporate social responsibility standards for their contractors and franchisees regarding pay, benefits, and training.  In addition to varying standards adopted by courts determining who qualifies as a joint employer under the Fair Labor Standards Act, recent actions by the NLRB have created substantial uncertainty under the National Labor Relations Act as well, making it clear that only Congress can settle the issue.  The Association has also filed comments in response to the Labor Department’s proposed rule on association health plans (AHPs), urging DOL to create a legal “safe harbor” against joint employer liability for employees that participate in AHPs and to publish a proposed rule to update the FLSA joint employment regulations.  Separately, the Senate HELP Committee voted along party lines (12-11) to approve the nomination of John Ring for the NLRB.  If the full Senate confirms Mr. Ring, the NLRB will once again have a full five members.  However, recusal questions may continue to limit the issues the Board is able to resolve.