Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Aliens in the United States; Modernizing the Labor Certification Process and Enforcement
The Department of Labor (the Department or DOL) is proposing to amend its regulations regarding the certification of temporary employment of nonimmigrant workers employed in temporary or seasonal agricultural employment and the enforcement of the contractual obligations applicable to employers of such nonimmigrant workers. This notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM or proposed rule) would re-engineer the process by which employers may obtain a temporary labor certification from the Department for use in petitioning the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to employ a nonimmigrant worker in H-2A (agricultural temporary worker) status. Re-engineering measures focus on the utilization of an attestation-based application process after an employer conducts pre-filing recruitment and the elimination of duplicative activities currently performed by the State Workforce Agencies (SWAs). In concert with these changes, the Department proposes to amend the wage and hour regulations to provide for enhanced enforcement, including more rigorous penalties, under the H-2A program to complement the modernized certification process so that workers are appropriately protected should an employer fail to meet the requirements of the H-2A program.
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
The Department of Labor's Employment Standards Administration/ Wage and Hour Division proposes to revise certain regulations implementing the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (``FMLA''), the law that provides eligible workers with important rights to job protection for absences due to the birth or adoption of a child or for a serious health condition of the worker or a qualifying family member. The proposed changes are based on the Department's experience of nearly fifteen years administering the law, two previous Department of Labor studies of the FMLA in 1996 and 2001, several U.S. Supreme Court and lower court rulings, and the public comments received in response to a Request for Information (``RFI'') published in the Federal Register in December 2006 requesting information about experiences with the FMLA and comments on the effectiveness of these regulations. The Department is also seeking public comment on issues to be addressed in final regulations regarding military family leave. Section 585(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 amends the FMLA to provide leave to eligible employees of covered employers to care for injured servicemembers and because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a covered family member is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call to active duty status in support of a contingency operation (collectively referred to herein as military family leave). The provisions of this amendment providing FMLA leave to care for a covered servicemember became effective on January 28, 2008, when the law was enacted. The provisions of this amendment providing for FMLA leave due to a qualifying exigency arising out of a covered family member's active duty (or call to active duty) status are not effective until the Secretary of Labor issues regulations defining ``qualifying exigencies.'' Because of the need to issue regulations under the military family leave provisions of the amendment as soon as possible, the Department is including in this Notice a description of the relevant military family leave statutory provisions, a discussion of issues the Department has identified, and a series of questions seeking comment on subjects and issues that may be considered in the final regulations.
Proposed Extension of the Approval of Information Collection Requirements
The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA95) [44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)]. This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. Currently, the Employment Standards Administration is soliciting comments concerning its proposal to extend OMB approval of the information collection: Worker InformationTerms and Conditions of Employment (WH-516 English and WH-516 Espanol). A copy of the information collection request can be obtained by contacting the office listed below in the addresses section of this Notice.
Family and Medical Leave Act Regulations: A Report on the Department of Labor's Request for Information
The Department of Labor's Employment Standards Administration/ Wage and Hour Division undertook a review of the Family and Medical Leave Act (``FMLA'' or the ``Act'') and its regulations, and published a Request for Information (``RFI'') in the Federal Register on December 1, 2006 (71 FR 69504). The RFI asked the public to assist the Department by furnishing information about their experiences with the Act and comments on the effectiveness of the FMLA regulations. More than 15,000 comments were submitted in response to the RFI. The following report summarizes comments the Department received from its RFI.
Child Labor Regulations, Orders and Statements of Interpretation
The Department of Labor (Department or DOL) is proposing to revise the child labor regulations in order to implement an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act's child labor provisions, contained in the Department of Labor Appropriations Act, 2004 (Pub. L. 108-199), which authorizes under specified conditions the employment of certain youth between the ages of 14 and 18 years inside and outside of places of business that use machinery to process wood products. The Department is proposing to revise Child Labor Regulation No. 3, subpart C of 29 CFR part 570, which governs the employment of 14- and 15-year-olds in nonagricultural occupations by revising the lists of occupations and industries in which such youth may and may not be employed. The Department is also proposing to clarify, but not change, the standards addressing the permitted periods and conditions under which such youth may be employed and to create a limited exemption from those standards for certain academically motivated youth enrolled in work-study programs. The Department is also proposing to revise several of the nonagricultural Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs) to implement specific recommendations made by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in its 2002 report entitled National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommendations to the U.S. Department of Labor for Changes to Hazardous Orders. The HOs affected by this proposal concern occupations involved with logging and sawmilling; meat processing; and the operation of power-driven hoisting equipment, bakery equipment, compacting and baling equipment, and certain cutting, shearing, and guillotining equipment. In addition, the Department is proposing to provide clarity by incorporating into the regulations three long-standing enforcement positions regarding the cleaning of power-driven meat processing equipment, the operation of certain power-driven pizza-dough rollers, and the definition of high-lift trucks. The Department is also proposing to expand the HO that prohibits youth from operating power- driven circular saws, band saws, and guillotine shears to include prohibitions concerning the operation of power-driven chain saws, wood chippers, and reciprocating saws. Finally, the Department proposes to revise subpart G of the child labor regulations, which is entitled General Statements of Interpretation of the Child Labor Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as Amended. The proposal would incorporate into this subpart all the regulatory changes made since this subpart was last revised in 1971.
Child Labor Regulations, Orders and Statements of Interpretation
The Department of Labor (Department or DOL) is considering proposing revisions to the child labor regulations issued pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 CFR part 570, which set forth the criteria for the permissible employment of minors under 18 years of age. In particular, subpart E of these regulations is under review. Subpart E identifies occupations deemed particularly hazardous for or detrimental to the health or well-being of employees under 18 years of age. This advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeks the views of the public on the need for changes to these regulations.
Request for Information on the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993; Extension of Comment Period
This notice extends the period for comments to be submitted on the request for information (``RFI'') published on December 1, 2006 (71 FR 69504) related to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (the ``FMLA'' or the ``Act''). That request for information invites the public to provide information to the Department of Labor (``Department'') to assist in its consideration and review of the Department's administration of the Act and the implementing regulations. The Department has received inquiries regarding the possibility of extending the comment period, particularly since the RFI was published in December and part of the comment period fell over the holidays. The comment period, which was to expire on February 2, 2007, is hereby extended 14 days to February 16, 2007 at 5 p.m. (EST).
Request for Information on the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
This notice requests comments related to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (the ``FMLA'' or the ``Act''). The Employment Standards Administration, Wage and Hour Division, of the Department of Labor (the ``Department'') seeks information for its consideration and review of the Department's administration of the Act and implementing regulations. The Department held stakeholder meetings regarding the FMLA with more than 20 groups from December 2002-February 2003. Many of the subject matter areas in this request are derived from comments at those stakeholder meetings and also from (1) rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States and other federal courts over the past twelve years; (2) the Department's experience in administering the law; and (3) public input presented in numerous Congressional hearings and public comments filed with the Office of Management and Budget (``OMB'') in connection with three annual reports to Congress regarding the Costs and Benefits of Federal regulations in 2001, 2002, 2004. In addition, the Department has reviewed numerous source materials about issues associated with the FMLA. During this process, the Department has heard a variety of concerns expressed about the FMLA. Some of those concerns, however, are beyond the Department's statutory authority to address. Some are not. In this regard, the Department invites interested parties having knowledge of, or experience with, the FMLA to submit comments and welcomes any pertinent information that will provide a basis for ascertaining the effectiveness of the current implementing regulations and the Department's administration of the Act. The questions posed are not meant to be an exclusive list of issues for which the Department seeks commentary and information.
Department of Labor Regulatory Review and Update
The Department of Labor (DOL) is amending existing regulations to update obsolete non-substantive or nomenclature references in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This action is intended to improve the accuracy of the agency's regulations and does not impose any new regulatory or technical requirements. DOL is also publishing concurrently a separate rule amending existing Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations to update obsolete non-substantive references.
Industries in American Samoa; Wage Order
The Department of Labor (DOL) is amending regulations to implement changes in the minimum wage rates applicable to various industry classifications in American Samoa under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA provides for a special industry committee appointed by the Secretary of Labor to determine minimum wage rates in American Samoa. Industry Committee for All Industries in American Samoa No. 26 (the Committee) met in public and executive session in Pago Pago, American Samoa during the week of June 20, 2005.
Service Contract Act Wage Determination OnLine Request Process
The Department of Labor (DOL) is amending two regulations to allow for full implementation of the Wage Determinations OnLine (WDOL) Internet Web site (http://www.wdol.gov) as the source for federal contracting agencies to use when obtaining wage determinations issued by the DOL for service contracts subject to the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) and for construction contracts subject to the Davis- Bacon Act and Related Acts (DBRA).
Special Industry Committee for All Industries in American Samoa; Appointment; Convention; Hearing
This document re-opens and extends the period for filing a pre-hearing statement in order to participate as a party in Industry Committee No. 26 for American Samoa.