Based on the feds’ recently released Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, agencies like the DOL and the EEOC have some big plans for the remainder of 2014 — plans that could potentially have a major impact on HR.

So what can you expect before the end of 2014? Here are the highlights of the Spring Agenda:

DOL’s minimum wage, OT and FMLA plans

Wage and Hour Division (WHD). All in all, the DOL listed 91 regulatory items in the agenda, with five of those items specific to the WHD. Of those five, two items were listed as long-term actions — meaning the agency doesn’t have a projected date for when it may issue a proposed rule.

The good news is one of those long-term items is the “Right to Know” rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If you remember, the Right to Know rule would require employers to perform a written classification analysis for every exempt employee — and share that info with all affected workers. This would add a significant administrative burden on HR pros. While it’s too soon to say the feds are abandoning the rule altogether, many benefits experts feel it’s headed in that direction.

The other long-term action item involves the Child Labor Hazardous Occupations Order, No. 7.

In terms of the action items on the WHD’s priority to-do list, the agency listed three main items:

  • Obama’s overtime reg overhaul: This was listed as “Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees.” President Obama made national news when he used his authority to order the DOL to amend the current overtime regs under the FLSA. And the DOL has prioritized these rule changes as “Economically Significant” and assigned a tentative date for when the proposed rules will be issued: November of this year.
  • Revised definition of “spouse” under the FMLA: Following the Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) decision, the agency promised to amend this definition to reflect the slew of federal benefits same-sex married couples are now entitled to receive. The WHD listed this proposed rule as “imminent.”
  • Executive Order 13658: Back in February, President Obama issued a proposed rule on raising the minimum wage for certain federal contractors — and the WHD needs to scramble to complete this rule by the Executive Order’s deadline of Oct. 1, 2014.

Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). The main item on the EBSA’s agenda continues to be an expanded definition of fiduciary status under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). However, this has already been delayed several times and action may not be taken until after the November elections.

The EBSA also has plans to refine the existing fee-disclosure regs under ERISA. Specifically, it’ll focus on drafting enhanced disclosure requirements for target-date funds. Finally, the DOL’s benefits division will focus on the fiduciary implications of self-direct investment (aka, “window”) accounts for the remainder of 2014 and into 2015.

Big news from the EEOC coming

Although the EEOC has nine items on its list, there is just one new action item: Wellness programs offered through company-sponsored health plans.

The agency is looking to draft a proposed rule on how wellness incentives given to employees should be treated under federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). According to the EEOC, HR pros should prepare to see the ADA amended to address whether, and to what extend, the law allows employers to incentivize or penalize employees via wellness programs.

The EEOC also says it’ll make changes to the current GINA regs to: “resolve the frequently-asked question of whether employers may offer inducement to employees’ spouses or other family members who answer questions about their current medical conditions” on health risk assessments, which are sometimes included in wellness plans.

For more detailed info on the EEOC’s upcoming agenda on wellness incentives, check out HR Morning’s recent post.

This post initially ran on our sister site, HR Benefits Alert.

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