Byrne bill would restore 'joint employer' definition

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“Congress, not unelected federal bureaucrats, should set our nation's labor policies through statute instead of executive fiat,” said Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL).
“Congress, not unelected federal bureaucrats, should set our nation's labor policies through statute instead of executive fiat,” said Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL).

Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) has introduced legislation designed to restore the definition of a joint employer to one that has “actual, direct and immediate” control over employees.

In 2015 under President Barack Obama, the National Labor Relations Board expanded the joint employer standard, which had been in place for more than 30 years, to include employers that share responsibility for or co-determine matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment. Senior living operators and other companies that use temporary workers or contract for certain work could have been considered joint employers under the refined definition, meaning that they ultimately would be held responsible for decisions related to terms and conditions of employment.

The NLRB said that its previous joint employer standard had failed to keep pace with changes in the workplace and economic circumstances. More than 2.87 million of the nation's workers, it noted, were employed through temporary agencies in August 2014.

The Labor Department under President Donald Trump, however, announced that it was rescinding the revised standard in June.

The new Save Local Business Act (H.R. 3441), introduced Thursday, has support from 29 co-sponsors, including some Democrats and House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC). It would make the definition restoration permanent by amending the National Labor Relations Act and Fair Labor Standards Act.

“Congress, not unelected federal bureaucrats, should set our nation's labor policies through statute instead of executive fiat,” Byrne said in a press release, adding that the bill would give “much-needed clarity and certainty” to workers and employers.

The bill is expected to pass in the House, but its fate in the Senate is uncertain.

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