A resolution has been introduced in Congress under the Congressional Review Act that would overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) joint employer rule. The IRS has announced the 2024 pension contribution limits. The Employee Benefits Security Administration has proposed a rule updating the investment advice fiduciary definition. The NLRB reported increased activity during the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2023. The Senate has confirmed nominees to head the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. The NLRB and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have signed an agreement designed to ensure greater collaboration.
Resolution Overturning NLRB Joint Employer Rule Introduced – A bipartisan group of members of Congress have introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution (S.J. Res 49/H.J. Res 98) to overturn the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new joint employer rule. The NLRB advised that under the new standard established in this rule, an entity may be considered a joint employer of another employer’s employees “if the two share or codetermine the employees’ essential terms and conditions of employment.” The Congressional Review Act requires federal agencies to submit final rules to Congress prior to the rules taking effect. Any member of Congress can introduce a joint resolution disapproving of an agency’s final rule, with a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate required voting to approve the resolution, which is then sent to the president who can either sign or veto it. Congress has 60 days from the date a rule is submitted to vote on the disapproval resolution.
IRS Releases 2024 Pension Contribution Limits – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced the amount individuals in 2024 can contribute to 401(k), 403(b), and most 457 plans will increase to $23,000, a $500 increase from 2023. The limit on annual contributions to an IRA increased to $7,000 from $6,500. The IRA catch-up contribution for individuals who are at least 50 years old will remain $1,000 next year. Catch-up contribution limits for employees 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan will increase by $500 to $23,000.
DOL Proposes Updated Investment Advice Fiduciary Definition – The Employee Benefits Security Administration of the Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed a retirement security rule that updates the investment advice fiduciary definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Comments on the proposed rule are due by January 2, 2024. Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su stated, “America’s workers and their families should not have excess fees and lost investment returns chipping away at their retirement savings due to the cost of conflicted investment advice.”
According to the Employee Benefits Security Administration, the investment advice fiduciary definition has not been updated since 1975 and the “proposal would require trusted investment advisers to adhere to high standards of care and loyalty when they make investment recommendations and avoid recommendations that favor their financial and other interests at the expense of retirement savers.” The updated definition would apply when investment advice is being given for a fee to retirement plan participants. The proposal would require the investment advice fiduciaries to give advice that is prudent and loyal, avoid misleading statements about conflicts of interests, fees, and investments, follow policies and procedures that ensure the investment advice is in the best interest of the investors, charge only reasonable amounts for services provided, and inform investors about any conflicts of interest.
NLRB Reports Increased Activity – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reported that for fiscal year 2023, which ended on September 30, 2023, a total of 22,448 cases were filed with the agency, representing a 10% increase over the previous fiscal year. Additionally, the NLRB reported a ten percent increase in the number of unfair labor practice charges that were filed with its field offices and a three percent increase in the number of union representation petitions that were received by field offices. The increased activity in the field offices led to an increase in adjudicative decisions issued by the Board. There were 246 decisions issued in contested cases during the just completed fiscal year, which represented a slight increase and included what the NLRB referred to as twelve “significant precedent-setting cases.” The median age of cases pending before the Board fell slightly from 108 days to 106 days.
Senate EEOC/WHD Confirmations – The Senate recently confirmed Charlotte Burrows, Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Jessica Looman as the administrator of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD). The Senate confirmed Charlotte Burrows to her third term on the EEOC. President Biden had designated her as the EEOC Chair in January 2021. Jessica Looman was appointed in January 2021 as the WHD Principal Deputy Administrator. Before joining the WHD, she served as the executive director of the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council.
NLRB & OSHA Sign MOU – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) designed to ensure closer collaboration by sharing information, cross-training staff, and partnering on investigations. Efforts to improve workplace safety and health are often protected under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the National Labor Relations Act. NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo stated that the “MOU will bolster protections for workers to speak out about unsafe working conditions by strengthening coordination between OSHA and the NLRB on our enforcement efforts.”
Neil Reichenberg is the former executive director of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources. He is an attorney, a frequent writer and speaker on public policy and human resource issues and was an adjunct faculty member at George Mason University. For questions or additional information, contact Reichenberg at email@example.com.