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Employment Relations

 

Employer input in the adoption of laws and regulations that affect labor policy is critical. Too often, laws passed with good intentions have proven to be confusing and costly to the employer and do a little for the employees the laws were meant to serve.

The voice of business was heard at the capital last session, which made a significant impact on the Texas economy today. Texas passed legislation that will allow the Texas Workforce Commission to drug test unemployment insurance (UI) applicants and certain job areas. The Department of Labor has issued preliminary rules so we hope this will be implemented soon.

TAB will be speaking at the Texas Legislature to adopt legislation for the UI system that includes changing the waiting week eligibility while also building upon the drug testing legislation passed during the 83rd regular session.

Texas Association of Business also supports the following employment relations measures:

EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS

Arbitration. Oppose any effort to modify the Halliburton Case where the Supreme Court upheld an employer’s right to establish a mandatory arbitration program applicable to at-will employees.
 
Devolution of federal programs to the states. Support transferring control over federally mandated programs like unemployment insurance to states, thereby reducing employers’ tax burdens and increasing local control over workforce-related programs.

Duration of Benefits. Limit UI benefits to 20 weeks if the state’s average unemployment rate for the year preceding the calendar year in which the claim takes effect is below 5 percent.
Drug testing. Oppose attempts to restrict the rights of employers to conduct random and/or universal drug testing of employees.

Drug testing for UI beneficiaries. Support legislation that provides that a claimant who fails or refuses to submit to an employer-required drug test that is a condition of the job offer or refuses the offer of work without good cause would disqualify the claimant from receiving unemployment benefits.

Employer control over work environment. Support efforts to maintain employers’ prerogative to control the workplace, thereby creating a safe, satisfying and harmonious working environment.

Employment-at-will. Oppose legislation that would erode employment-at-will as a right for all Texas employers and employees.

Ergonomics. Oppose legislation and regulations on a federal level that would increase the already-considerable burden on employers regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements.

Fair Labor Standards Act reform. Support efforts to reform the wage and hour laws by allowing more flexibility for employers and employees in hours worked during a pay period before mandating overtime pay. Provide more freedom and flexibility to classify workers as exempt from overtime requirements.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Oppose efforts to modify the FMLA, and oppose any initiatives to require employers to pay for FMLA leave with unemployment insurance taxes.

Fraud control. Support legislation to allow the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to hire outside contractors on a pay-for-performance basis to assist in efforts to detect and remedy unemployment benefits fraud.

Human Rights Act. Oppose expansion of the current coverage of the Texas Human Rights Act that may cause additional litigation.

Living-wage ordinances. Oppose piecemeal mandates that vary from city to city requiring employers to pay a wage level higher than the federally required minimum wage.

Minimum wage. Oppose arbitrary increases in minimum wage that cannot be supported by improvements in productivity and that deprive many entry-level workers of job opportunities.

Pay equity. Strongly support the current law on pay equity.

Payday Law reform. Support reform of the Payday Law to achieve greater consistency with provisions of federal law and follows DOL guidelines or federal court decisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Support legislation to eliminate the Payday Law’s applicability to non-wage benefits including vacation pay, sick pay, etc... and issues relating to employee classification under wage and hour law. Support capping the amount of wages that may be claimed under the statute.

Public collective bargaining rights. Oppose any expansion of collective bargaining rights in the public sector since the current system adequately provides for employee participation without the potential for disruption of services.
Property rights of business owners. Oppose the expansion of legislation previously passed that allows legally-owned firearms to be stored on company-maintained parking lots.

Right-to-work.
Support efforts to keep Texas a right-to-work state and oppose agency shop legislation.

Subsidized training wage. Support legislation to allow employers to apply part of their unemployment insurance taxes toward the cost of training workers for their businesses.
Unemployment insurance reform. Strengthen overpayment recovery statutes to prohibit waiver of overpayments. Revise the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act’s (TUCA) definitions of “able and available” to meet the revised standards in federal law.

Unemployment savings accounts. Support fundamental changes in the unemployment insurance system that would abolish traditional federally controlled unemployment insurance programs in favor of establishing individual Unemployment Savings Accounts (USAs) for employees. These would be available if needed for unemployment, training, or as a supplement to retirement income.

Union dues check-off. Oppose efforts to allow public employees, or to require private employers, to subsidize or promote labor unions or similar organizations through payroll collection of dues and contributions.

Waiting Week. Support changes to Texas law that ties the waiting week payment to finding employment or exhausting benefits rather than automatically receiving it after the third week of unemployment.