Workplace Flexibility and Leave

June 12, 2019: SHRM provided the Department of Labor (DOL) with comments  on its proposal to update the regular rate regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). You can find SHRM’s full comments here.

In general, SHRM’s comment letter supports the Department’s the Department’s proposal, which will benefit employers and employees alike on key issues such as pay for leave and reimbursed expenses. 

SHRM’s Take on the proposed rule:  

  • Supports the Department’s efforts to modernize the regular rate regulations, excluding a wide-array of benefits from the regular rate calculation and providing much-needed clarity to the regulated community.  
  • Supports the Department’s efforts to ensure that wellness benefits are not adversely impacted by the possibility that they might need to be included in the regular rate of pay.  
  • Supports the Department’s proposal to provide a provision expressly excluding tuition programs from the regular rate of pay.  
  • SHRM also suggests some additions and modifications to increase the clarity of when and which benefits should be excluded from calculations of regular rate. 

May 21, 2019: SHRM provided the Department of Labor (DOL) with comments on its proposed revisions to the Overtime Rule. SHRM’s comments are joined by 51 affiliated state councils. You can find SHRM's full comments here

SHRM’s Take: 

  • Supports the DOL’s proposed update to the overtime rules, which allows employers to craft policies regarding compensation and flexibility that drive employee engagement.  
  • Agrees with the DOL’s decision to adjust the nationwide salary level using the same methodology used in previous rulemakings—without regional variation.
  • Urges the DOL to retain the process for updating the salary level through notice and comment rulemaking. 
  • SHRM opposed the 2016 Final Rule on overtime exemptions which would have fundamentally changed the rules for employee classification. Through various forms of advocacy, including SHRM members attending SBA listening sessions, SHRM helped the Department of Labor to understand the proposal’s impact on the workplace leading to the changes that are now included in the proposed rule. 

Workplace Equity

On February 27, 2020, SHRM sent a letter to Congressional leaders in support of H.R. 2694, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. SHRM believes H.R. 2694 provides important workplace protections for pregnant workers, while ensuring employers have flexibility and clarity regarding how best to ensure pregnant employees can remain in the workplace.   


November 19, 2019: The U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation last week encouraging employers to include directors on corporate boards from all protected classes. 

SHRM’s Take:  SHRM offered its support in a letter arguing that “that inclusion plays an integral role in the development of social and economic change in the workplace and the more inclusive an organization is, through its corporate governance and workforce, the more opportunity exists to foster mutually beneficial work environments that serve both businesses and employees.”  

May 17, 2019: The House of Representatives passed the Equality Act. The following is an excerpt from SHRM's position letter on the legislation.

SHRM’s Take:

SHRM supports the spirit and intent expressed in the Equality Act. We support public policy efforts to bar workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. As the Equality Act continues to move through the legislative process, SHRM does want to ensure that it addresses specific issues like accommodation requirements and eliminated disparate impact liability – important issues that are not clearly addressed in the Equality Act. We will continue to monitor the Equality Act when it is considered in the Senate and will continue to support measures to address workplace discrimination.

Workplace Immigration

March 20, 2020: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS announced on Friday that it will ease certain requirement for employers as they attempt to manage COVID-19. The announcement came  after SHRM sent a letter to the leaders of The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) asking for relief for employers on COVID-19 and related I-9 verification and visa issues. 

DHS will defer the requirements for employers to review Form I-9 documents in-person with new employees. Meanwhile USCIS announced that it will accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures, including the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, for submissions dated March 21, 2020, and beyond.   

July 10, 2019: The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1044, the bipartisan Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act. SHRM has supported this initiative since 2011 and reiterated that support in a letter to congressional leaders in February.

SHRM’s Take:

Eliminating employment per country caps will create a first-come, first-serve green card system, putting talent and skills first so we can meet the current and future workforce needs of this country.  SHRM strongly encourages the Senate to consider and pass this legislation in the same bipartisan fashion. You can find SHRM's statement here. 

June 4, 2019: The American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (HR 6) passed the House of Representatives. SHRM advocates for a bipartisan legislative solution for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients. An excerpt from SHRM’s release on the bill’s passage can be found below.

SHRM’s Take:

We applaud the House for passage of bipartisan legislation that provides Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients and Dreamers legal status, work authorization and the opportunity to contribute permanently to the U.S. workforce. As the country faces a growing skills gaps, we must ensure that all workers educated and trained in the United States can contribute their talents to the American economy.

May 16, 2019: SHRM issued a statement as the Trump administration announced its immigration proposal.

SHRM’s Take:

We appreciate the administration’s efforts in bringing forward a proposal that includes reforms to our outdated workplace immigration system. As America faces a growing skills gap, employers need a modern workplace immigration system that provides greater access to top talent and acknowledges that employers are best positioned to determine their skills and workforce needs.

SHRM will work with both parties in Congress and the White House to fashion bipartisan solutions that provide work-authorized talent, while protecting American workers.

Workplace Health Care

December 18, 2019: SHRM helps repeal the “Cadillac Tax”

At the end of 2019 Congress repealed the Cadillac Tax with the help of SHRM support. SHRM has long- advocated for full repeal and or delay of the tax because it could lead to employers restructuring or reducing employee health benefits and higher out-of-pocket copays and deductibles for workers. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President and CEO of SHRM said in a letter to Congress that if the Cadillac Tax went into effect that "modest plans will also be impacted, meaning millions of Americans and their families could face higher co-pays and deductibles, causing some to decline employer-provided health care.” 

November 21, 2019: Urge Senate Leadership to Repeal the “Cadillac Tax”

Earlier this year the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill to repeal the Cadillac Tax. SHRM has long-advocated for full repeal and or delay of the tax because it could lead to employers restructuring or reducing employee health benefits and higher out-of-pocket copays and deductibles for workers. The bill is currently in the Senate and SHRM sent a letter to Congress this summer urging swift action.

SHRM’s Take:

Congress has an opportunity to take action to repeal the Cadillac Tax by including the proposal in a year-end tax package. SHRM members can support advocacy efforts by signing on to a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer urging them to take action to repeal the Cadillac Tax before it goes into effect in January 2022. More information and sign on to the letter HERE.

Now is the time for employers and HR to advocate on all matters work.

What do policymakers need to focus on to create better workplaces for 

a better world?

Let us know: #WeAreWork

Contact Us | 800.283.SHRM (7476)

© 2021 SHRM. All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Site Map

SHRM provides content as a service to its readers and members. It does not offer legal advice, and cannot guarantee the accuracy or suitability of its content for a particular purpose.