On October 6,  the one-year anniversary of the D.C. Council’s introduction of a “Universal Paid Leave” Bill, a coalition of D.C. employer groups presented to the Mayor and the D.C. Council an alternative that would benefit both employers and employees: an employer mandate model. 

A letter to the Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) from the coalition stated, “Although well intentioned, the paid leave legislation currently being considered by the Council has significant flaws.” The letter expressed concerns that a 1% tax on employers will result in slowed growth and employers moving outside of the District. No other paid leave program in the country is funded this way.

Chairman Mendelson indicates he is moving forward on his legislation. His current bill creates a new bureaucracy to administer this program. In this model employees would go to the DC government to have leave approved and to secure a portion of their paycheck. While Mendelson is expected to revise his legislation he still indicates he plans to move the bill this year. “My commitment is that the Council will vote on the package this year,” Mendelson said.

The alternate Employer Mandate plan put forth by the coalition includes full wage replacement for eight weeks for employees who have been employed for at least one-year and have worked at least 1250 hours. Like the Council’s plan, the Employer Mandate will be phased in beginning with large employers. Employers with 50 or more employees will have one year to comply.

Small and medium organizations will have two years to implement the benefit. A shared risk insurance pool will be created through a private insurance market as an option for small organizations (with fewer than 20 employees) and medium organizations (with between 20-49 employees). The $20 million already put forth by the Council would be redirected to subsidize insurance premiums for small and medium organizations

 

INSURANCE ASSOCIATES ANNOUNCES OUR LATEST NEW HIRE AND TWO PROMOTIONS

Insurance Associates is excited to announce the hire of our newest associate, Karen Garceau, and the promotion of two employees:  Lexi Stock and BJ Westner.

Karen was hired to Insurance Associates in May 2016.  Her career started early in high school working for her father’s property and casualty insurance firm in Maine. For twenty years after this she specialized in construction at an independent insurance agency in Florida. Karen was responsible for account management, risk management, client services, marketing, sales, and agency operations. She brings her greatest strengths to IA that consists of understanding the unique insurance needs of the construction industry and her ability to solve problems. In her spare time, Karen enjoys spending time with her four children and four grandchildren, camping, hiking, and going to the gym.

Karen graduated from Florida State College at Jacksonville and also earner her Certified Insurance Counselor designation in 2003 and Certified Risk Manager Designation in 2009.

We are pleased to announce the promotion of Lexi Stock to Director of Marketing and Communications for the agency. Lexi has been with IA since 2012 and is proud to have developed their strategic marketing plan from the ground up. Her marketing responsibilities include increasing brand awareness, agency newsletters, social media, e-blast campaigns, and the company website. In addition to marketing responsibilities she also demonstrates our interactive portal to clients and manages all public relations activities for the agency. In her spare time she represents IA as Chairman for Associated Builders and Contractors of Metro Washington (ABC)’s Young Professionals Group, ABC.XYZ.

Lexi received both her BBA and MBA from Loyola University Maryland.

We are also pleased to announce the promotion of BJ Westner to Senior Claims Consultant. BJ has been a significant part of our claims team for over four years and has made a huge impact in our ability to provide top notch, value-added service to our clients. With over sixteen years of claims experience, his technical skills, education, and eye for detail, BJ has been an aggressive advocate for our clients. Since joining the agency, BJ has assisted clients with large and complex claims as well as helped clients lower their experience mod and implement proactive back to work programs. Whether he’s using case law to get a claim paid or using his wealth of multi-lines claims knowledge to answer many “what if” scenarios, BJ is always available to help a client with their claims needs.

BJ graduated from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Metro Washington’s Leadership Development Program in 2015.

Founded in 1956, Insurance Associates is an independent insurance agency serving the Mid-Atlantic region with offices in Rockville, Fairfax, Laurel, and Towson.  We are a locally owned company that prides itself on having one of the most competent, experienced, and tenured workforces of any agency in the area.  We advocate for our clients across a diverse range of products and services including Surety Bonding, Commercial Insurance, Employee Benefit Plans, Personal Insurance and Life Insurance.

For more information about our passion and the rest of our team at Insurance Associates, please visit us at www.insassoc.com, follow us on LinkedIn and like us on Facebook.

 

Before adjourning for election season, the House passed a bill that would postpone the December 1 effective date of the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule until the middle of next year. Senate action, if any, won’t come till after election day.

A possible delay in the implementation of a controversial new rule governing eligibility for overtime pay drew a step closer this week, though it’s unclear whether it will be stopped before the effective date of December 1.

Late Wednesday night, the House passed bill H.R. 6094, which would delay implementation until June 1, 2017.

The bill passed on a mostly party-line vote of 246-177, though five Democrats did vote in favor of the bill. The Senate adjourned the same night after passing a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown, meaning the Senate will not vote on the overtime bill until after the November elections at the earliest.

The final overtime rule, announced by the Department of Labor in May, raises the threshold for employees who are exempt from overtime pay to $47,476—more than double the current salary threshold of $23,660.

“We all agree we need to modernize our nation’s overtime rules, but small businesses, nonprofits, and colleges and universities should not be hurt in the process,” Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), who introduced the bill said. “The department needs to abandon this flawed rule and pursue the balanced approach we’ve been fighting for from the start. Instead, they are forcing those who have to deal with the real-world consequences to make significant changes before an arbitrary December deadline.”

Without further congressional action, the overtime rule will take effect December 1. And with Congress adjourned until November 14 so that lawmakers can campaign for reelection, there will be little time for the Senate to act before the rule becomes effective. In addition, the White House threatened to veto Walberg’s bill earlier this week.

While continuing to press for a legislative solution, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and numerous other organizations have joined together in a lawsuit to block the rule from taking effect on December 1.

The lawsuit, filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, argues that the Labor Department exceeded its authority under the Fair Labor Standards Act by drastically altering the minimum salary requirements for exemption and by establishing an automatic salary threshold increase every three years, to take place without notice or public comment.

“The costs of compliance will force many smaller employers and nonprofits operating on fixed budgets to cut critical programming, staffing, and services to the public,” the complaint says. “Many employers will lose the ability to effectively and flexibly manage their workforces upon losing the exemption for frontline executives, administrators, and professionals.”

After finalizing an agreement in July to buy the 66-acre former Walter Reed medical campus, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has just announced the site will have a school up and running by September 2017. The District will expedite construction on the District of Columbia International School so that 775 students can use the facility by the start of next school year.
“The US Army has worked with my office to ensure that we diligently progress with the redevelopment of the Walter Reed campus to benefit the community to the greatest extent possible,” Bowser said in a release. “We appreciate the urgency and diligence of the US Army, the District of Columbia International School and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to bring DCI students to their new home on the Walter Reed campus by 2017.” The school will move into Delano Hall on the campus.  Construction is expected to begin next month.
The final transfer of the campus to allow the full project to begin will occur around Oct. 31, the release said. A development team of Hines, Urban Atlantic, Toll Brothers and Triden Development won the bid in 2013 and plan to build 2,000 housing units, 250k SF of retail, offices anchored by George Washington University, MIT and bioscience/pharmaceutical companies and a Hyatt hotel and conference center. It won’t be, however, anchored by a Wegmans, as many hoped.