October 26, 2021
IEC Meets with Administration on Vaccine or Test Mandate
On Friday, October 22 IEC met with officials from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to provide its statement on the pending Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) issued by President Biden, through an executive order last month, that would require companies of 100 or more employees to mandate a vaccine or regular testing. IEC explained how Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) specifically stated that construction was a “low-exposure-risk-industry” and therefore, the industry should be excluded from the final rule. IEC also explained how the ETS could further exacerbate current workforce shortages faced by electrical contractors among other issues as also addressed in the Construction Industry Safety Coalition letter. Unlike traditional rulemaking, an ETS does not require a typical notice and comment period, making the OIRA meeting the only formal opportunity to provide feedback. Though OIRA is the concluding step before a rule goes final, the timing of its release remains uncertain.
IEC Requests Delay in Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate
IEC joined coalition partners in a letter to the Biden Administration requesting that it delay the mandate in Executive Order 14042, “Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors,” which requires all federal contractors to have their employees vaccinated by December 8. In addition, IEC asks that the administration consider an option for proof of natural immunity and to clarify guidance as it relates to booster shots.
IEC Opposes IRS Bank Reporting Proposal
IEC recently joined a coalition letteropposing Democrat attempts to require banks to report the inflows and outflows of $10,000 a year to the IRS. This proposal was increased from the initial $600, which IEC also opposed. The proposal under consideration in the massive reconciliation bill does not identify individual transactions, but gross annual inflows or outflows as a way to ensure all taxpayers meet their tax obligations. However, IEC recognizes the obvious privacy concerns and government overreach that come with such a requirement. If you’ve not already done so, visit the IEC Votes Action Center and tell Congress to oppose the reconciliation bill
OSHA to Request Information on Heat Illness Prevention
Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it would be publishing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings in tomorrow’s Federal Register. OSHA does not currently have a specific standard for hazardous heat conditions and this action begins the process to consider a heat-specific workplace rule. While the hazard of exposure to excessive heat is real, the development of a reliable and practical model that can be used to set appropriate permissible exposure limits (PELs) and action levels (ALs) is complicated. The RFI is likely to address at least three issues:
- Identification of the potentially available and validated models for assessing heat stress and determining when conditions should be considered hazardous and supporting data.
- A description of the triggers/models and workplace practices employers have implemented to prevent heat illness.
- A description of how effective those practices have been in preventing heat-related illness.
Federal Contractors to Pay Higher Minimum Wage in 2022
In September the U.S. Department of Labor announced an increase in the minimum wage for all federal contractors. Beginning January 1, 2022, the minimum wage rate will increase from $10.95 to $11.25 per hour. For covered contracts that are entered into on or after January 30, 2022 – or that are renewed or extended (pursuant to an option or otherwise) on or after January 30, 2022 – will be generally subject to a higher minimum wage rate of $15 per hour established by Executive Order 14026, “Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors,” signed by President Biden in April.
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