The Paycheck Fairness Act may have stalled in the Senate, but there’s no shortage of new bills before both houses of Congress that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Among the legislative proposals are an increase in the the minimum wage and a measure to add retaliation protections.
Here’s a rundown of what Congress is considering:
- End Pay Discrimination Through Information Act. This bill, which was introduced in the Senate, would make it illegal to discharge or discriminate against any employee who has filed in FLSA-related complaint or in anyway initiated an investigation under the act.
It would also protect from retaliation any employee planning to testify in an FLSA investigation.
- Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2012. This measure, which was introduced in the House, would increase the federal minimum wage to $10 per hour and tie future increases to the consumer price index.
It would also require the minimum wage of tipped employees to be 70% of the federal minimum, but not less than $5.50.
What’s all that got to do with 1968? After adjusting for inflation, minimum wage earners today are actually making less in real money than they did in 1968. Those making minimum wage in 1968 were making $1.60, the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $10.42.
- Companionship Exemption Protection Act. Introduced in the Senate, this bill would keep the FMLA’s in-home companion services FLSA exemption intact.
In December of 2011, the DOL issued a proposed rule that would extend minimum wage and overtime requirements to many in-home care workers. The rule would limit the types of duties that would render a caregiver exempt from FLSA requirements.
The Companionship Exemption Protection Act would prevent the DOL’s proposed rule from moving forward. The goal in blocking the bill is to keep in-home care costs down.
- Research Fairness Act of 2012. Introduced in the House, this bill would make marketing research participants (survey takers, focus group members and the like) and mystery shoppers exempt from the FLSA’s minimum wage and maximum hour requirements.