Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org September 10, 2015
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On the Inside
LABOR
AGC Opposes Salary Threshold Increase to $50,440 in Proposed Overtime Rule
TRANSPORTATION
Future of House Transportation Bill Still Unknown
U.S. Transportation Department Adjusts Highway Trust Fund Balance Projections
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Participates in House Panel Discussion on Blacklisting Executive Order
Executive Order Would Mandate Paid Sick Leave
AGC EVENTS
Early Bird Discount for AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference Extended
Donít Miss Out on First Ever AGC Utility Infrastructure Conference
Early Bird Discount for AGC Highway Contractors Conference Ends Extended to Next Friday
LABOR
AGC Opposes Salary Threshold Increase to $50,440 in Proposed Overtime Rule
 

On Sept. 4, AGC submitted comments to the U. S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division regarding proposed changes to the overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If implemented, the proposed rule would increase the salary threshold for the executive, administrative and professional exemptions from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $970 per week ($50,440 per year) – an increase of more than 100 percent. The threshold for highly compensated employees would also increase from $100,000 per year to $122,148 per year. Both thresholds would be adjusted annually based on one of two proposed methods. 

The White House has stated that the proposal “would guarantee overtime pay to most salaried workers earning less than an estimated $50,440 next year” and result in higher wages for such workers.  A survey of AGC members, however, indicates otherwise.  When asked during a recent survey how companies would comply with a new threshold at the proposed level, 74 percent of AGC-surveyed construction contractors responded that they would likely reclassify some or all of the impacted exempt workers to a non-exempt hourly status at their current salaries.  The survey results also show that:  over 60 percent of respondents expect the proposed rule to result in the institution of policies and practices to ensure that affected employees do not work over 40 hours a week, 40 percent expect affected employees to lose some fringe benefits, 33 percent expect some positions to be eliminated, and 23 percent expect to exchange some full-time positions for more part-time positions.  Furthermore, about 80 percent of respondents expect employee morale to be damaged because employees who are reclassified to hourly, non-exempt status will feel as if they have been demoted despite eligibility for overtime pay.

The concerns of AGC member companies were expressed via joint comments submitted by the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity coalition; a diverse group of associations, businesses, and other stakeholders representing employers with millions of employees across the country in almost every industry.  The coalition’s letter asks WHD to: 

  • Lower the proposed minimum salary threshold to account for regional economic and market differences; lessen the impact on an employee’s ability to work in a part-time exempt capacity; and lessen the impact on employee compensation, flexibility and morale; 
  • Allow bonuses and commissions to count toward the minimum salary threshold;
  • Phase any salary increase in over time;
  • Leave the minimum required salary threshold for application of the Highly Compensated Employee exemption at $100,000;
  • Abandon the proposal to automatically increase the salary threshold;
  • Keep the current duties test in place for now;
  • Do not adopt California law or any other percentage of time requirement for the duties test;
  • Do not re-implement the short- and long duties test model;
  • Do not make revisions to the concurrent duties roles; and
  • Re-evaluate the economic analysis of the proposed rule.

AGC also submitted an independently-drafted letter to highlight the impact that the proposed rule would have in the construction industry as expressed in the AGC survey results. 

AGC will continue to monitor developments and will notify members once final regulations are issued.  For more information on the proposed rule, click here.  For AGC information and resources, visit AGC’s Labor & HR Topical Resources.  The primary category is “Wages and Benefits” and the secondary category is “Overtime.”  Additional resources may be found in the secondary category “Fair Labor Standards Act.”

For more information, please contact Tamika Carter at cartert@agc.org or (703) 837-5382. Return to Top

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TRANSPORTATION
Future of House Transportation Bill Still Unknown
AGC Members Must Continue to Press House of Representatives for Action
 

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee could meet as early as next week to mark up their version of a multiyear highway & transit bill.  However, they have yet to make any formal announcement or release the bill. Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said this week that the committee is working to finalize the bill and determine a markup date.

The House Ways & Means Committee, which is charged with providing the revenue needed to pay for the transportation bill, has yet to indicate a timeframe for moving their portion of the bill.  Ways & Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) is still determined to use some kind of international tax reform as a way to pay for the funding; however, he may not have enough time to move that type of complex  proposal forward before the end of October.

A bill must pass the House, be finalized by the Senate, and then signed by the president by Oct. 29, or else Congress will have to draft another short-term extension.  Considering the House is only in session 23 days before the end of October, it is imperative that representatives act as quickly as possible to bring a bill to the House floor.

AGC and our members need to continue to contact their House representative and urge them to take action now to avoid any further extensions.  Please visit Hardhats for Highways to deliver that message to your representative.

For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at oneills@agc.org or (202) 547-8892. Return to Top

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U.S. Transportation Department Adjusts Highway Trust Fund Balance Projections
 

Projecting the cash flow in and out of the Highway Trust Fund is a difficult task for the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Department just released new estimates that indicate there may be a sufficient balance to allow highway and transit funding to continue without interruption until June 2016, six months beyond the previous estimate. 

In making this new projection, the Department noted that, “many programs funded through the Highway Trust Fund are only authorized through Oct. 29, 2015. Although sufficient balances exist in the Highway Trust Fund to maintain solvency through the third quarter of FY 2016, an October 29th lapse in authorization prevents new obligations in Highway and Transit programs and impacts reimbursements to States."

In July, Congress passed an extension through October 29 and provided an additional $8 billion in revenue to the trust fund. At that time, it was estimated that $8 billion was needed to keep the trust fund solvent through December 2015. DOT’s estimates are based on current spending and revenue trends. With the pace of construction typically slowing down greatly in the winter and increased revenue expected due to additional driving, the revenue projections are better than first anticipated. 

Unfortunately, the extra time could give lawmakers leeway to pass another temporary extension instead of finishing a multiyear transportation bill. Please continue to pressure your representatives and tell them to complete work on a long-term highway & transit bill now.

For more information, please contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org or (703) 837-5319. Return to Top

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Participates in House Panel Discussion on Blacklisting Executive Order
 

On Sept. 10, AGC participated in a business community roundtable discussion on the “Fair Pay and Safe Work Places” Executive Order– commonly referred to as the Blacklisting Executive Order – with Republican members of the House Small Business Committee. AGC General Counsel Mike Kennedy discussed the myriad legal and practical difficulties this executive order will present construction contractors when bidding and performing work on federal contracts.

Last month, AGC submitted its comments to the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council and the U.S. Department of Labor on their proposed rule and guidance, respectively, which would implement the executive order. To read AGC’s comments on the FAR Council proposed rule, click here. To read AGC’s Comments on the proposed DOL Guidance, click here.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org or (703) 837-5325). Return to Top

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Executive Order Would Mandate Paid Sick Leave
Federal Contractors Again the Focus of Executive Action
 

On Labor Day, President Obama signed an executive order that would mandate direct-federal prime contractors and subcontractors to issue paid sick leave.  The executive order mandates paid sick leave at a rate of no less than 1 hour earned for every 30 hours worked, setting a minimum of 56 hours a year of paid sick leave—about seven days—covering not only employee illness, but also caring for a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner “or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.”

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) must issue regulations to implement the order by Sept. 20, 2016. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council would issue corresponding FAR clause regulations within 60 days after DOL’s regulations. The order’s requirements will take effect for contracts issued in 2017. AGC will take time to assess the impact this executive action will have on construction contractors and represent the concerns of the industry accordingly.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org or (703) 837-5325). Return to Top

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AGC EVENTS
Early Bird Discount for AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference Extended
Register by Sept. 15 and Save $80
 

Jointly sponsored by AGC and the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), the 19th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference will be held Nov. 4-6, 2015 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nev. This three-day conference offers programs and workshops designed specifically for financial professionals in the construction industry. The 32 interactive sessions will cover the latest industry issues and their financial implications.

Register by Tuesday, Sept. 15 for special “Early Bird” discounts.  Additional discounts are available for subsequent registrations from the same firm.  Participants may earn up to 20 continuing professional education (CPE) credits for attending. 

For more information, please visit meetings.agc.org/agc_cfma or contact Brynn Huneke at brynn.huneke@agc.org Return to Top

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Donít Miss Out on First Ever AGC Utility Infrastructure Conference
Co-Located with the International Construction & Utility Equipment Expo
 

AGC will host its first ever Utility Infrastructure Conference, Sept. 29–Oct. 1 in Louisville, Kentucky. Join other contractors, owners and key industry constituents involved in every aspect of utility infrastructure construction for high-quality education sessions, the premier utility construction equipment expo, and networking opportunities.

This year’s conference will be co-located with the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE), which is the largest industry event focused exclusively on the utility infrastructure market, with over 17,000 industry professionals attending ICUEE 2013. All conference sessions will take place inside the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sessions will focus on subjects such as the utility construction economic outlook, the challenges and opportunities in managing a multigenerational workforce, and how OSHA’s new Confined Space Entry final rule will impact utility construction contractors. AGC will also host a legislative & regulatory update on the Expo Demo Stage and will partner with the Common Ground Alliance for an Underground Damage Prevention lunch.

For more information, please visit meetings.agc.org/utility or contact Scott Berry at berrys@agc.org. Return to Top

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Early Bird Discount for AGC Highway Contractors Conference Ends Extended to Next Friday
Take Advantage Before Itís Too Late!
 

Get up-to-date information on a variety of issues that will impact the highway and transportation construction markets over the next year. The 2015 AGC Highway Contractors Conference will be held Nov. 5-7, 2015, at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. 

Industry professionals from companies involved in building highway, bridge, transit, airport runway and rail projects will benefit from this conference.  The conference will feature presentations and discussions on major trends in highway construction, including:

  • Washington Legislative & Regulatory Update
  • State & Local Funding Initiatives
  • Social Media in Advocacy
  • Construction Technology
  • Use of Drones in Construction
  • Risk Management

For more information, please visit meetings.agc.org/highway or contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org. Return to Top

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