On Dec. 21, ABC submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration in support of its proposed rule to allow small and mid-sized businesses to band together and offer 401(k) plans to their employees through association retirement plans.
On Dec. 28, 2018, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the 2015 Browning-Ferris Industries v. National Labor Relations Board case, which greatly expanded joint employer liability under the National Labor Relations Act. The divided court upheld portions of the Obama-era standard for determining “joint employer” status and remanded the case back to the NLRB for further consideration.
The federal government continues to operate under a partial shutdown affecting nine federal departments and a total of about 800,000 federal workers who have been furloughed or are working without pay. Several agencies and programs that serve the construction industry are not affected, including the Departments of Labor, Defense, Education, Energy and Veterans Affairs construction projects.
On Dec. 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps and Engineers jointly issued a proposal to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” to clarify federal authority under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule seeks to provide businesses and landowners with clear definitions of what are and what are not ‘navigable waters.’ ABC President and CEO Michael Bellaman attended the signing ceremony for the rulemaking at the U.S. EPA.
On Nov. 9, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a final rule that updates its standard for cranes and derricks in construction to ensure crane operators are qualified to safely operate equipment. The final rule requires employers to train operators as needed to perform assigned crane activities, evaluate them and document successful completion of the evaluations.