The Obama administration’s already brought some big employment law changes — and there’s likely more where that came from. Here’s a rundown of recently introduced bills that could impact your recruiting efforts:
1. Fair Pay Act of 2009
An amendment to the Equal Pay Act, the FPA would prohibit employers from paying lower wages for jobs dominated by women and minorities compared to “equivalent” jobs worked mostly by men. What are “equivalent” jobs? According to the legislation, they’re “jobs that may be dissimilar, but whose requirements are equivalent, when viewed as a composite of skills, effort, responsibility, and working conditions.”
In other words, employees would be able to sue for wage discrimination because someone working a different job in a different department is paid more.
2. Patriot Employers Act
Introduced in the Senate on April 20, the Patriot Employers Act doesn’t contain any new requirements for companies. But it would provide a tax credit for employers that:
- keep their headquarters in the U.S.
- pay at least 60% of employees’ healthcare premiums
- have policies requiring neutrality in union organizing drives
- maintain or increase the number of workers in the U.S. relative to those working outside the country
- offer a defined contribution plan with a full match of at least 5% of employees’ contributions, and
- provide full differential salary and benefits to National Guard and Reserve employees called for active duty.
3. Common Sense English Act
Introduced in response to a growing number of lawsuits over English-only workplace policies, the Common Sense English Act would amend Title VII to guarantee employers the right to hire English-speaking employees and require them to speak English while working.
Despite legal complaints about such policies, many employers have argued that having workers speak only English is necessary for safety, productivity and morale.
4. New Employee Verification Act
If passed, the New Employee Verification Act would require companies to sign up for the Electronic Employee Verification System, which would be based on the new hire reporting systems already used in each state to enforce child support payments. About 90% of employers already use their state’s new hire system, the bill’s backers said.
The electronic verification would replace the Form I-9.
We’ll keep you posted on the movement of these bills.