Labor and Employment

Econ Piggy

The Census Bureau released data from its Annual Survey of Public Pensions today, which provides a financial overview of state- and locally-administered defined benefit pension systems. The report found that earnings on investments for those pension systems increased from $382.2 billion in 2013 to $537.5 billion in 2014 – a 38.6 percent jump. In 2012, earnings totaled just $96 billion.

The U.S. Department of Labor has published a notice in the Federal Register proposing a new rule that could extend overtime protections to almost 5 million additional workers as early as 2016. Current law requires employers pay overtime for non-salaried workers. Salaried employees are defined by a set of criteria, including job duties and a salary threshold. The proposed new rule would more than double the salary threshold and tie it to inflation, which means more workers would qualify for overtime protections. The number of workers that would be affected by the changes varies by age, education level and state; middle-aged, educated workers would see the biggest impact.

The Department of Labor published a notice in the Federal Register today proposing a new rule that could extend overtime protections to almost 5 million additional workers as early as 2016. The law requires that employers pay overtime for non-salaried workers. Salaried employees are defined by a set of criteria, including job duties and a salary threshold. The new rules would more than double the salary threshold and tie it to inflation, which means more workers would qualify for overtime protections. 

The Department of Labor published a notice in the Federal Register today proposing a new rule that could extend overtime protections to almost 5 million additional workers as early as 2016. The law requires that employers pay overtime for non-salaried workers. Salaried employees are defined by a set of criteria, including job duties and a salary threshold. The new rules would more than double the salary threshold and tie it to inflation, which means more workers would qualify for overtime protections. 

CSG Midwest
The future of some states' decades-old prevailing-wage laws is in doubt this year, with one repeal already passed in Indiana and similar proposals under consideration in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Two years ago, UPS committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and to contributing 25,000 volunteer hours to veterans causes by Dec. 31, 2018. UPS, a CSG Associate member, then upped the ante last year by declaring its intent to hire 50,000 veterans and to donating 50,000 volunteer hours to veterans’ causes within the same timeframe. These commitments were made as part of UPS’ participation in the White House’s Joining Forces initiative, which was established in 2011 to give service members, veterans and their families the tools needed to be successful.

While the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which regulates private employer retirement plans, does not apply to state and local government retirement plans--a fiduciary duty does. A lower court determining the precise nature of the fiduciary duty state and local governments owe employees under a state law similar to ERISA regulating public retirement plans may look to the Supreme Court’s opinion in Tibble v. Edison International.  In this case the Court held unanimously that employers have a continuing duty to monitor retirement investments and remove imprudent ones.   

CSG Midwest

Nebraska legislators unanimously approved a bill this year that clarifies and solidifies state protections for pregnant workers. Signed into law in April, LB 627 requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” for these workers — for example, periodic rest, modified work schedules and workloads, and job restructuring. This “reasonable accommodation standard” is already applied to individuals with disabilities, according to Unicameral Update, the newsletter of the Nebraska Legislature.

CSG Midwest
A year after voters approved a hike in the state’s minimum wage, South Dakota legislators have carved out a separate — and lower — hourly standard for workers under the age of 18. The state’s new minimum wage for youth workers is $7.50 per hour. That compares to $8.50 for adult workers.

The Council of State Governments (CSG) and Elsevier are proud to partner on this report to analyze the research strengths of the United States. Using a variety of data sources, including Scopus—Elsevier’s proprietary abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed research literature—this report assesses where states have a comparative advantage in research and how they can capitalize on those advantages to drive innovation, attract jobs, and foster economic growth.

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