Labor and Healthcare
Drive Safe Act • DOL Overtime Rule • Minimum Wage • Healthcare
Drive Safe Act Pilot Program
BACKGROUND: Due to the aging workforce of commercial drivers and a lack of new entrants to the industry, there is a significant shortage of commercial drivers. CDA has worked for the last several years to advance legislation, the DRIVE Safe Act (S. 659/H.R. 1745), that would allow drivers under age 21 to obtain Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL), under certain circumstances and with conditions.
STATUS: The bipartisan “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” includes a pilot program similar to the DRIVE Safe Act. This modified version of the DRIVE-Safe Act would establish a Department of Transportation (DOT) driver pilot program to allow younger drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles. The pilot program is limited to 3,000 apprentices at any one time and will conclude in 3 years but will allow the DOT to gather data on the safety records of younger drivers which we believe will provide proof points that will allow expansion of the program. The Senate approved the bill in August and the House passed the bill in November of 2021.
In January 2022, the FMCSA published proposed regulations for the pilot program, which is under an expedited timeline. Once implemented, FMCSA will publish, on the Agency’s website at www.fmcsa.dot.gov, an announcement that applications are being accepted for participation in the pilot program. The website will also provide links to the application forms and other helpful information for motor carriers and drivers interested in participating in the pilot program.
CDA members and others interested in participating in the pilot must be enrolled in the Department of Labor’s apprenticeship program. While it is not a requirement that carriers become a registered apprenticeship program prior to applying to FMCSA’s pilot program, FMCSA notes that interested carriers may want to work with DOL while FMCSA is finalizing its program and before the application period for FMCSA’s pilot program is opened.
Details on how to participate are here and here.
DOL Overtime Rule
BACKGROUND: The federal overtime provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unless exempt, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half of their regular rates of pay. Over the last few years, the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued several rules governing overtime that are relevant to CDA member operations.
On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to make 1.3 million American workers eligible for overtime pay.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/overtime2019/index.
On December 12, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a Final Rule that will allow employers to more easily offer perks and benefits to their employees.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/overtime/2019-regular-rate.
On May 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to withdraw the partial lists of establishments that lack or may have a “retail concept” under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/overtime/2020-7i.
On May 20, 2020, the Department of Labor announced a final rule that allows employers to pay bonuses or other incentive-based pay to salaried, nonexempt employees whose hours vary from week to week. The final rule clarifies that payments in addition to the fixed salary are compatible with the use of the fluctuating workweek method under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/overtime/fww.
In Fall 2021, the Department of Labor announced that it plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in Spring 2022 to update the salary level to qualify for the executive, administrative and professional employee exemptions (collectively known as “white collar” or “EAP” exemptions) and outside sales employee exemptions to the Fair Labor Standard Act’s overtime pay requirements.
CDA is part of a large coalition of organizations opposing any changes to overtime rules. In May 2022, CDA spoke against the proposal at a Listening Session hosted by DOL, and in early 2022, CDA signed on to a letter from 110 associations opposing the proposed changes. In June 2022, CDA organized a Congressional letter from members of the House of Representatives urging the DOL not to make any changes to the overtime regulations. However, the DOL’s regulatory agenda continues to list this proposed rule as one that will be issued this year.
BACKGROUND: In spring of 2020 the US Senate considered an amendment raising the minimum wage. The amendment would have gradually raised the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15 over five years. Senators voted 58-42 against the amendment. Raising the minimum wage remains a top priority of Progressive Democrats in Congress.
STATUS: CDA opposes legislation to increase the minimum wage and urges Congress to oppose such initiatives, which would have a tremendously deleterious impact on the economy. Even the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated in their 2021 report that a $15 minimum wage would result in a likely loss of 1.4 million jobs. Likewise, the national deficit was also predicted to increase by $54 billion over the next decade if the wage were raised. Hiking the minimum wage hurts the lowest paid workers. The typical minimum-wage employee is young, with few skills and little or no job experience. Higher labor costs mean fewer people get hired, job loss and less working hours.
Court Challenges to the Affordable Care Act
BACKGROUND: During the Trump Administration, Republicans were unable to pass a wholesale healthcare “repeal and replace” bill, but were able to repeal the ACA’s individual mandate via H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law in late 2017. H.R. 1 eliminated the federal tax penalty for violating the individual mandate, starting in 2019.
STATUS: When the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in June of 2021, it was widely regarded as an end to efforts to dismantle the landmark law.