LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: June 2011
The GBRSHRM Legislative Review Committee recommends to the Board of GBRSHRM that we support, oppose and merely track the following House and Senate Bills:
Senate Bill No. 121
Unemployment Compensation: Adds an additional exception to unemployment compensation claims applied to an employer’s experience rating. Benefits paid where unemployment is caused solely by an act or omission of a third party or by an act or omission by a third party in combination with an act of God or act of war will not be charged against an employer’s experience rating.
Senate Bill No. 143
Workers’ Compensation: Excludes bonuses that are not part of the employment contract of the employee and which are paid at the sole discretion of the employer from the definition of “payroll” for purposes of determining the premium rate to be paid for workers’ compensation coverage. Also excludes these bonuses from the determination of “wages” for the average weekly wage.
We propose to support these bills because they will be financially beneficial to employers regarding both workers compensation and unemployment insurance while presenting minimal administrative obligations.
House Bill No. 175
Immigration: Amends the law related to employment of illegal aliens to require every public or private employer to use an electronic status verification system (i.e., E-Verify). Prohibits public employers from entering into contracts unless the person or contractor participates in an electronic status verification system and provides for training to be conducted by the Louisiana Workforce Commission and for the Louisiana Workforce Commission to cooperate with law enforcement in enforcing immigration laws.
House Bill No. 210
Inquiry into Arrest Records: Makes it unlawful for an employer to inquire about the arrest record of an applicant on a job application. Inquiries can be made and consideration given to arrest records after a conditional offer of employment has been made and only if the arrest record bears a rational relationship to the duties of the job position. This requirement would not apply to employers who are legally required to conduct criminal history checks.
House Bill No. 320
Louisiana Equal Pay for Women Act: Prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex when paying wages for the same or substantially similar work. Allows for the recovery of unpaid wages, an additional one-half amount of unpaid wages in liquidated damages, reasonable attorney fees and costs. Requires employees to give employers written notice of claims 90 days prior to filing a lawsuit. The lawsuit must be filed within one year from the date the employee knows of a violation and would limit recovery to violations occurring within 36 months prior to the employee’s written notice of a claim.
House Bill No. 535
Workplace Fraud Prevention Act: Requires employers in the construction industry to properly classify individuals as employees or independent contractors pursuant to current law (La. R.S. 23:1472). Provides fines for non-compliance and requires posting of a notice by employers.
Senate Bill No. 66
Immigration: Requires private employers who bid on or contract with a public entity to perform services within the state to register with and participate in the federal E-Verify Program. Establishes penalties for failure to comply, including ineligibility to work on state or public contracts for up to three years. This bill has passed out of the Senate and is now in the House Committee on Transportation.
While we support the principles of equal pay for equal work regardless of sex and the employment those legally entitled to work in the U.S. and the proper classification of employees v. independent contractors, these bills will present significant additional administrative issues, cost and possible liability to employers. As is our usual position, unless we see a driving reason to do otherwise, we generally oppose such bills.
House Bill No. 59
Immigration: Creates the Louisiana Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2011. Requires all “ public employers” to register for and use an electronic status verification system (i.e., E-Verify) for all new employees as of March 15, 2012. It also requires each agency or political subdivision of the state to verify the lawful presence of any person 14 years or older who has applied for public benefits and prohibits illegal aliens from receiving any benefits related to higher education based on residency within the state. Requires peace officers to verify legal status upon arrest.
House Bill No. 88
Louisiana Quality Jobs Program: Repeals the deadline to apply for tax credits under the Louisiana Quality Jobs Program, which is currently January 1, 2012.
House Bill No. 147
Tax Credit for Small Employers: Provides a tax credit against Louisiana income tax for employers with no more than 10 employees for health insurance premiums paid directly by the employer for the benefits of employees.
House Bill No. 300
Criminal Background Checks/Direct Care Workers: Requires employers who hire employees or retain volunteers, with direct patient access to request information from the bureau of criminal identification to determine if the employee/applicant has been arrested for, convicted of or pled nolo contendere to any criminal offense. Provides a list of crimes that would prohibit an individual from working of volunteering in a position with direct patient access.
House Bill No. 303
Employment of Minors: Current law requires a 30 minute meal break if a minor works a five-hour period. The Bill provides that if the period prior to the break is less than 15 minutes over the five hours, the difference is considered de minimus. It also provides that a meal break between 20 and 30 minutes long is a de minimus violation that would not be a violation of the law. Also requires editing and documentation of time records if a minor fails to clock in or out.
House Bill No. 311
Public School Employees/Arrests for Sexual Offenses: Requires school employees to report arrests for sexual offenses relating to minors or affecting sexual morality within 24 hours of the arrest or prior to the employee reporting for work, whichever time period is shorter. Employees in a probationary status or who are not protected by rules related to tenure who do not comply with the reporting requirement would have to be terminated.
House Bill No. 342
Public Contracts-Immigration. Prohibits a private employer from bidding on or contracting with a public entity unless the private employer attests to the use of an immigration status system. (E-Verify)
House Bill No. 392
Criminal Records: Amend current law that allows employers to obtain conviction records from the Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification to also permit employers to obtain arrest records. Also allows for fingerprinting of applicants to be forwarded to the FBI for a national criminal history check.
House Bill No. 411
Immigration: Renders it unlawful for an occupant of a motor vehicle that is stopped on a street, roadway or highway to hire or hire and pick up passengers for work at a different location and would make it unlawful for a person to enter a motor vehicle for these purposes. Also makes it unlawful for a person who is not authorized to work in the United States to solicit work in a public place or perform work in the state. Also makes it unlawful to harbor, conceal, shelter, transport or assist illegal aliens. Requires the use of the federal E-Verify system and provides immunity from liability or suit to private and public employers who rely in good faith on the results obtained through the system. Establishes an Immigration Enforcement Trust Fund. Requires proper documentation for public benefits that require participants to be U.S. citizens.
House Bill No. 502
Workers’ Compensation: Encourages early referral to vocational rehabilitation programs and changes the duration of a long-term retraining program from 26 to 52 weeks. Also establishes standards for “a qualified functional capacity evaluation examiner” and for functional capacity evaluations.
House Bill No. 574.
Public Records of Criminal Convictions. Provides for the availability of records of criminal conviction through the La. Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information to any person for a fee of $26.
House Bill No. 593.
Tax Credits. Extends the deadline for applications to receive tax credits or rebates under the La. Quality Jobs Program
Senate Bill No. 211
Discrimination/Sexual Orientation: Amends the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law to prohibit state agencies, departments, offices, commissions, board and officers from discriminating against or harassing an employee based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. .
Although some of these bills are fairly limited in their application, i.e. to healthcare or construction industries only, we believe that our membership should be made aware of them and that they are worthy of tracking.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: June 11, 2010
As you may recall, we are supporting House Bill 1079 and Senate Bills 194 and 481.
House Bill 1079, regarding the payment of bonuses, passed the House and was referred to the Senate Committee on Labor & Industrial Relations on 5-10-2010, where it currently sits. It is unlikely that this Bill will make it out of the Senate Committee.
Senate Bill 194, regarding employment agreements, has been signed by the Governor and will become effective 08-15-10.
Senate Bill 481, regarding bonus payments to employees, is still in the Senate Committee on Labor & Industrial Relations and will probably not make it out this session.
Of the bills we are opposing, only House Bill 873 has seen any significant movement.
House Bill 873, which raises the penalties for failing to carry workers compensation insurance, passed both the House & Senate and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.
The remainder of the bills have been sitting in either the House Committee on Labor & Industrial Relations or the Senate Committee on Labor & Industrial Relations and are unlikely to make it out this session.Feel free to contact our Legislative Director, Jay Stovall, directly if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jerry L. "Jay" Stovall, Jr.
GBR SHRM Legislative Director