Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org April 18, 2013
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On the Inside
IMMIGRATION
Senate Immigration Bill Unveiled
WORKFORCE
Comp-Time Legislation Moves through House Committee
TAX
House Ways & Means Collects Comments on Tax Reform
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IMMIGRATION
Senate Immigration Bill Unveiled
 

This week, the Senate bipartisan “gang of eight” unveiled their long-awaited immigration bill.  The 884 page bill covers border security, establishing an opportunity for earned legal status of undocumented workers, visa programs for highly skilled workers and temporary visas for lower skilled workers, and an employment verification system. AGC continues to review the entire bill and will be commenting on issues of high priority to the construction industry. One troubling provision is that the construction industry would be the only industry under a separate, smaller annual cap of eligible visas under the proposed temporary worker visas program for lesser-skilled workers. The construction industry could account for no more than one-third of the visas, with a cap of no more than 15,000 visas per year. If the unemployment rate is above 8.5 percent in a metropolitan statistical area, then no construction occupation visas would be issued for that area this is a significant change from prior discussion when organized labor tried to prohibit any construction occupations from the program. 

On April 16, AGC issued a press statement that the arbitrary cap on the construction industry new temporary visa program would undermine the success of reform. But, AGC is supportive of the work of the Senators and the opportunity to fix a significantly broken system.  AGC will continue to lobby and make recommendations on the bill throughout the legislative process and work with the U.S. House on their bill.

Please click here to review a summary of the bill.

For more information, contact James Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org. Return to Top

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WORKFORCE
Comp-Time Legislation Moves through House Committee
 

On April 17, the House Education and Workforce Committee approved H.R. 1406, the Working Families Flexibility Act, which would allow private-sector employers the option to offer workers the choice of paid-time-off or “comp-time”, in lieu of compensation, for overtime hours worked in a workweek.

The legislation is in response to the many employees who are facing significant challenges as they struggle to negotiate between work, family and personal obligations. Employers in the construction industry need the flexibility to offer employment options that meet the needs of future employees. As a result, employers are faced with the recruiting and retention challenge of offering flexible workplace options that will appeal to this growing group of workers. However, current wage and hour laws prohibit private sector employers from offering non-exempt employees the option of comp-time in lieu of overtime compensation, even though this option has existed in the public sector for more than 25 years and has proven to be very popular among employers and employees alike.

The bill includes numerous employee protections for workers who choose to participate in the program. For example, employees who first choose to receive comp-time and then later reconsider, deciding to receive their overtime compensation in cash, will be able to have their hours converted to a payment. Additionally, any banked comp-time hours not used by the end of the year will be paid to the employee, automatically.

The legislation is expected to pass the U.S House in the next couple of weeks; however, it will face considerable opposition in the Senate.  To view a letter AGC sent in support of the legislation, click here.

For more information, contact James Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org.
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TAX
House Ways & Means Collects Comments on Tax Reform
 

On April 15, the House Ways and Means Committee closed the comment period for interested stakeholders to submit documents to the 11 Tax Reform Working Groups established in February.

AGC provided comments [link here] on Chairman David Camp’s (R-MI) latest draft discussion proposal on small business and pass-through tax structures as well as other areas of tax policy affecting the construction industry including but not limited to Section 179 expensing, look-back accounting and employment taxes.

AGC continues to consult with members of the tax writing committees on proposals and legislation to address large and small businesses’ priorities for reforming the tax code. For more information on the Ways and Means Committee efforts you can visit their webpage here.

For more information, contact Brian Lenihan at (202) 547-4733 or lenihanb@agc.org.
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