AGC's Human Resource and Labor News - March 31, 2011 / Issue No. 2-11 (Print All Articles)

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OFCCP Chief of Enforcement to Present & Answer Questions During AGC Webinar April 6-7; 4.0 HRCI Credits Offered

AGC will host a two-part webinar, April 6-7, to provide compliance assistance training and best practices for federal and federally-assisted construction contractors governed by the requirements of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) – the federal agency responsible for ensuring that those who do business with the federal government do not discriminate and take affirmative action.

AGC will host a two-part webinar, April 6-7, to provide compliance assistance training and best practices for federal and federally-assisted construction contractors governed by the requirements of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) – the federal agency responsible for ensuring that those who do business with the federal government do not discriminate and take affirmative action.

Registrants who successfully complete the webinar program may receive 4.0 recertification credits towards PHR, SPHR or GPHR recertification from the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI).  As an authorized provider of continuing education credits, AGC is providing the opportunity to earn these credits, which can be important to maintaining a professional designation and accelerating career growth.

The webinar will address both daily compliance issues and preparation for an audit.  On day one, Margaret Kraak, OFCCP’s branch chief of planning and program development, and Gilberto Garcia, OFCCP’s branch chief of enforcement, will educate participants about the laws regulated by OFCCP, the 16 affirmative action steps, what to expect during a compliance evaluation, and more.  On day two, David Fortney, a seasoned labor and employment lawyer with Fortney & Scott, LLC, and Jill Smith, Executive Director for WorkPlace HR, LLC, an HR consulting firm specializing in equal employment opportunity and affirmative action matters for federal contractors, will deliver practical guidelines, compliance assistance tips, and safeguards for employers to consider when faced with an OFCCP compliance evaluation.  Each day will provide an opportunity for questions.

As an added bonus, registrants will be able to co-order AGC’s Affirmative Action Manual for Construction, a necessary tool for all construction contractors required to comply with the laws administered by OFCCP, for a special discounted price with the webinar.

OFCCP has increased its enforcement efforts over the past two years to monitor compliance efforts and now, more than ever, it is important to comply with these laws or face costly fines, penalties or debarment.

For more information or to register for the event, visit www.agc.org/OFCCPWebinar.


Labor Department Creates Davis-Bacon YouTube Video

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor recently created a YouTube video explaining the Davis-Bacon Act, the law that gives the department authority to determine the payment of local prevailing wage and fringe benefit payments for laborers and mechanics working under construction contracts with the federal government and the District of Columbia.   The 14-minute video includes an overview of the Davis-Bacon Act and its application to projects funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and additional resources available to the public.

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor recently created a YouTube video explaining the Davis-Bacon Act, the law that gives the department authority to determine the payment of local prevailing wage and fringe benefit payments for laborers and mechanics working under construction contracts with the federal government and the District of Columbia.   The 14-minute video includes an overview of the Davis-Bacon Act and its application to projects funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and additional resources available to the public.

While the video was created for the President’s Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, construction contractors may find it useful as a brief overview of the law when on-boarding project managers and other staff who will be responsible for the company’s compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act.

The video is presented by Timothy Helm, head of Davis-Bacon enforcement for the WHD, and co-presenter during AGC’s webinar, The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts: The Ins and Outs of Federal Prevailing Wage Law. Helm partnered with attorney and Davis-Bacon compliance expert Deborah Wilder of Contractor Compliance and Monitoring, Inc, to offer an insightful three-hour webinar presentation covering such topics as wage determinations, site of work issues, coverage of truck drivers, apprentices and helpers, fringe benefit requirements, overtime issues, certified payrolls, subcontractor reporting, enforcement initiatives and more. Ezekiel Arvizu, Corporate Compliance/Diversity Representative for Sundt Construction, moderated the webinar, addressing the most common compliance issues faced by contractors.

Download a copy of AGC’s Davis-Bacon webinar, purchase AGC’s new Davis-Bacon Compliance Manual for Federal & Federally Assisted Construction – Third Edition, or visit AGC’s Labor & HR Topical Resources web page for additional guidance and compliance assistance tools.


AGC Expands Efforts to Educate FASB on Proposed Multiemployer Plan Disclosure Accounting Standards

AGC has joined a construction industry advisory group established to work with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on revising its proposal for enhanced disclosure standards by  employers that contribute to  multiemployer benefit plans.  The advisory group includes representatives from other contractor associations and from the banking and surety industries.

AGC has joined a construction industry advisory group established to work with the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) on revising its proposal for enhanced disclosure standards by  employers that contribute to  multiemployer benefit plans.  The advisory group includes representatives from other contractor associations and from the banking and surety industries.

AGC is represented in the advisory group by Eric Wallace, CPA and partner at Carbis Walker, LLP, of Pittsburgh, PA.  Wallace is an active member of AGC’s Tax and Fiscal Affairs Committee who led an AGC task force that submitted detailed comments to FASB in response to its proposal in November 2010.

After receiving more than 335 comment letters – including 230 concerning the construction industry – FASB announced that it will delay issuance of a final standard until the second quarter of 2011 to allow more time for deliberations.  The advisory group was then formed and met with FASB in fall 2010 to discuss construction industry issues.  The group has been invited to continue collaborating with FASB and has developed a proposal for an alternative disclosure standard to present at a meeting with FASB in the end of March. 

At a board meeting held March 9, FASB members expressed its intent to still issue a revised proposal or a final standard in the second quarter of this year, likely late in the quarter.  (Click here to access a video recording of the meeting.)  The Board appears to be still interested in increasing disclosure in this area, but it now seems to recognize the need for a standard which is more reliable and more manageable for companies.  While the final standard remains to be seen, AGC is hopeful that the final standard will no longer include disclosure of withdrawal liability calculations.

AGC participation in the advisory group is the latest of AGC’s continuing activities to engage FASB on issues of concern  to construction contractors.  AGC last met independently with FASB in January and is planning to meet again in June.  Both AGC and this advisory group will continue to monitor these developments and to meet with the FASB on this and other projects of interest.

For more information, contact Karen Lapsevic at (202) 547-4733 or lapsevick@agc.org.


Bob Gasperow Retires from CLRC; Cary Peters Becomes New Executive Director

Carey L. Peters, Ph.D., has been named the new executive director of the Construction Labor Research Council (CLRC) effective February 22, succeeding Bob Gasperow who is retiring after over 30 years of distinguished service.  Gasperow began his tenure at CLRC with the organization’s founding in 1979 and is responsible for establishing CLRC as the nation’s foremost source of labor cost and related information for the unionized sector of the construction industry.  Gasperow will continue to serve CLRC on a part-time, consulting basis through October.

Carey L. Peters, Ph.D., has been named the new executive director of the Construction Labor Research Council (CLRC) effective February 22, succeeding Bob Gasperow who is retiring after over 30 years of distinguished service.  Gasperow began his tenure at CLRC with the organization’s founding in 1979 and is responsible for establishing CLRC as the nation’s foremost source of labor cost and related information for the unionized sector of the construction industry.  Gasperow will continue to serve CLRC on a part-time, consulting basis through October.

Peters comes to CLRC after 14 years with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the nation’s largest public power company, where he conducted extensive market studies on wages/salaries and benefits, led all compensation related negotiations with the construction trades, and implemented a wide variety of human resources initiatives.  He earned his doctorate degree in industrial/organizational psychology at the University of Tennessee and has a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University.  Peters is committed to maintaining the preeminent position of CLRC while also expanding the scope of the products and services offered by the organization. 

To access CLRC’s latest reports – such as the Construction Labor Rate Trends and Outlook, the Wage and Benefit Settlements in Construction, and the Cost of Terms and Conditions in Collective Bargaining Agreements reports – visit AGC’s Labor & HR Topical Resources web page at www.agc.org/labor/topicalresources, and select “Collective Bargaining” from the first pull-down menu and “Collective Bargaining Agreement Data” from the second.  To access a searchable database of CLRC-supplied collectively bargained wage and fringe benefit rates, go to www.agc.org/cbrates.

AGC is a founding member of CLRC and supports its efforts to gather and report useful and accurate labor-related information for contractors.  Collective bargaining chapters of AGC are reminded to kindly send all settlements information to CLRC promptly upon completion.  Information may be submitted to CLRC by e-mail at clrc@clrc.biz, by fax to (202) 347-8442, or by mail to 1750 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC  20006.

For additional information about CLRC and the services it offers, call the CLRC office at (202) 347-8440.


AGC Joins Comments on NLRB’s Proposal to Mandate Employee Rights Notice

AGC signed onto comments submitted by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) in opposition to the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed rule requiring employers to post notices informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  AGC is a member of CDW’s steering committee.  AGC is also a member of the Labor Relations Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Chamber), which also submitted comments.

AGC signed onto comments submitted by the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW) in opposition to the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed rule requiring employers to post notices informing employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  AGC is a member of CDW’s steering committee.  AGC is also a member of the Labor Relations Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Chamber), which also submitted comments.

The proposed rule establishes the size, form, and content of the notice, and sets forth provisions regarding sanctions and remedies for noncompliance.  The content of the proposed notice is substantively identical to a notice already required of federal contractors by a regulation issued last May by the Department of Labor (DOL) to implement Executive Order 13496.  For more information on the proposed rule, click here.

CDW’s comments assert that:  the Board lacks of statutory authority to require such a notice absent the filing of a union representation petition or an unfair labor practice charge; the proposed rule conflicts with longstanding Board precedent concerning remedial notices; and the proposed penalty for failure to post the notice of tolling the statute of limitations for filing an unfair labor practice charge conflicts with the NLRA.  The Chamber’s comments express additional concerns, including criticism of the imbalanced, union-favoring content of the notice, and practical problems in complying with proposed electronic and foreign language posting requirements.  The comments also express support for the proposed safe harbor for federal contractors in compliance with the DOL notice.

For more information, contact Denise Gold, Associate General Counsel, at (703) 837-5326 or goldd@agc.org.


EEOC Provides Guidance with Final ADAAA Regulations

On March 25, 2011, more than two years after the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) went into effect, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published final regulations to clarify the law.  The final regulations, which are expected to make it easier for employers to assess whether or not an individual has a substantially limiting impairment, go into effect May 24, 2011.

On March 25, 2011, more than two years after the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) went into effect, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published final regulations to clarify the law.  The final regulations, which are expected to make it easier for employers to assess whether or not an individual has a substantially limiting impairment, go into effect May 24, 2011.

In January 2009, the ADAAA broadened the definition of “disabled” for all employers with 15 or more employees; however, the regulations provide additional guidance and interpretation of the law.  According to the regulations, while the definition of disability remains “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,” the regulations emphasize that going forward, determining whether an employee has a disability “should not demand extensive analysis.”  For example, certain conditions, such as deafness, autism, cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and HIV will now “virtually always” be considered disabilities.  Also, whether an activity is “major” is not to be determined by its “central importance to daily life.”  For example, sleeping, thinking and interacting with others and the operation of major bodily functions such as the immune system and reproductive functions qualify. 

According to the regulations, an impairment “need not prevent, or significantly or severely restrict” the performance of a major life activity to be considered substantially limiting, and scientific, medical and statistical analysis are not necessary.  Impairments that are episodic or in remission, such as epilepsy or cancer are disabilities if they substantially limit a major life activity when active.  Furthermore, whether an impairment is a disability must be considered without regard to assistance such as medication or equipment use, with the exception of contact lenses or ordinary eyeglasses.  Employees no longer need to show that their employer perceived them to be substantially limited in a major life activity to establish that they were “regarded as” disabled, but only that they were subjected to a prohibited action because of an actual or perceived impairment and impairments lasting only a short period of time may be considered disabilities if the impairment substantially limits a major life activity and if the “effects” of the impairment, lasting even less than six months, can be substantially limiting.

As a result of these regulations, employers will need to shift focus from determining whether an individual has a disability to determining whether discrimination occurred because of a disability, whether an individual was disqualified for a job, or whether a reasonable accommodation was necessary.  This can be done by updating internal disability discrimination policies and reasonable accommodation processes, training managers and supervisors to recognize when a reasonable accommodation might be necessary, and making sure that charges of disability discrimination are handled by a person with appropriate expertise. 

In addition to following the law and regulations of the ADAAA, it is important to also make sure that applicable state disability laws are followed, which, at times may be more generous to applicants and employees.  For help with your company’s specific concerns, consult an employment law attorney licensed to practice in your state.  For a list of attorneys who regularly represent AGC members on labor and employment matters, visit www.agc.org/lelc and click on the LELC Roster link.

For a full copy of the ADA Amendments Act, click here. For more ADA resources, visit AGC’s Labor & HR Topical Resources web page and select the category EEO, subcategory Americans with Disabilities Act.


IRS Issues Guidance on Form W-2 Reporting of Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage

On March 29, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued interim guidance to employers on the requirement, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, to report the cost of employer-provided health insurance coverage on Form W-2.  Using a question-and-answer format, the IRS provided guidance for employers on how to report, what coverage to include and how to determine the cost of the coverage. The IRS emphasized that the W-2 reporting requirement is only for informational purposes and the amounts that are reported will not be taxable.

On March 29, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued interim guidance to employers on the requirement, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, to report the cost of employer-provided health insurance coverage on Form W-2.  Using a question-and-answer format, the IRS provided guidance for employers on how to report, what coverage to include and how to determine the cost of the coverage. The IRS emphasized that the W-2 reporting requirement is only for informational purposes and the amounts that are reported will not be taxable.

While the requirement to report the cost of employer-provided health insurance coverage on the 2011 Forms W-2 is optional for all employers, according to an October 2010 announcement, the interim guidance explains that reporting is now optional for 2012 and beyond for employers filing fewer than 250 W-2 forms, at least until further guidance is issued.

AGC will continue to monitor any new developments and will share additional guidance from the IRS as it becomes available.


USCIS Unveils Voluntary E-Verify Self Check for Workers; Employers Reminded Not to Require Use

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began rolling out the use of E-Verify Self Check on March 21.  E-Verify Self Check is a voluntary electronic service available to any individual who wants to check his or her own authorization to work in the U.S.  It is currently available to users who maintain an address and are physically located in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia, or the District of Columbia.  In the coming months, USCIS will continue to expand availability to users in other locations on a rolling basis.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began rolling out the use of E-Verify Self Check on March 21.  E-Verify Self Check is a voluntary electronic service available to any individual who wants to check his or her own authorization to work in the U.S.  It is currently available to users who maintain an address and are physically located in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia, or the District of Columbia.  In the coming months, USCIS will continue to expand availability to users in other locations on a rolling basis.

E-Verify Self Check was developed to address employer concerns regarding the inaccuracy of information in the E-Verify system that led to an increased number of tentative nonconfirmations.   As explained in a February 16 Federal Register notice, E-Verify Self Check enables individuals to check their work authorization status prior to employment and facilitate correction of potential errors in federal databases that provide input into the E-Verify process.  If the information provided by the individual matches the information contained in federal databases, a result of ``work authorization confirmed'' is displayed to the individual.  If the information is a mismatch, E-Verify Self Check will provide the individual a result of ``Possible mismatch with SSA'' or ``Possible mismatch with immigration information.''  It also provides instructions on how to request correction of these potential errors in records contained in these federal databases should the individual choose to do so before any formal, employer run E-Verify query process.

While the launching of E-Verify Self Check has the potential to reduce the number of tentative nonconfirmations, employers are reminded and cautioned not to require applicants to self-check prior to applying for a job, as such a practice could violate the anti-discrimination provisions of E-Verify.  It is important for employers to remember that E-Verify may be used only for new hires (or certain existing employees pursuant to the Federal Acquisition Regulation rule covering federal contractors) once an offer has been extended and accepted, and an I-9 form has been completed.

For an interactive self-guided preview of the E-Verify Self Check system, click here.  Individuals located in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia, and the District of Columbia can use E-Verify Self Check now by clicking here


AGC's HR Network Changes Name to HR Forum

AGC of America’s HR Network is now known as the HR Forum.  The HR Forum will continue to operate under its existing structure, allowing all AGC members and Chapter staff who have an interest in construction-industry HR issues to connect and interact with each other, keep pace with the latest construction HR developments, and participate in association policymaking on HR matters.

AGC of America’s HR Network is now known as the HR Forum.  The HR Forum will continue to operate under its existing structure, allowing all AGC members and Chapter staff who have an interest in construction-industry HR issues to connect and interact with each other, keep pace with the latest construction HR developments, and participate in association policymaking on HR matters.

Following the example of AGC’s HR Network and Environmental Network – now known as the Environmental Forum – many AGC committees have begun transitioning to a similar structure that makes it easier for members to get involved and to manage their own level of participation and time commitment.  For example, the Construction Education Committee, Supervisory Training Committee, and Workforce Development Committee have recently combined their efforts to form the Training, Education and Development Forum, also known as the TED Forum.  Similarly, the Risk Management Committee and Surety Bonding Committee have transitioned to the Surety Bonding and Risk Management Forum.  Other AGC forums include the new Lean Construction Forum and the long-standing BIMForum, to name a few.

Members of the HR Forum receive:

  • A subscription to AGC’s Human Resource & Labor News electronic newsletter;
  • The option to join AGC’s Human Resource Practices e-Forum electronic discussion group;
  • An ID number enabling access to “members only” HR resources on the AGC Web site;
  • Prompt notice of professional development programs, meetings, and other events covering HR issues; and
  • Invitations to serve on task forces, sub-forums, and the HR Forum Steering Committee to help guide AGC in developing HR-related policy positions, publications, programs, and other member services.

Joining the HR Forum is free for members and chapter staff.  To join, email Crystal Yates at yatesc@agc.orgFor questions or more information on AGC’s HR resources, contact Tamika C. Carter, PHR, at cartert@agc.org.


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