Employment Bills Receive Hearings

January 31, 2019

On Tuesday, several pieces of legislation affecting employers were discussed before House and Senate subcommittees. From franchisee/franchisor legislation to prohibiting employers from limiting employee political contributions, all the proposed bills moved forward. Keep reading for a summary of each proposal. 

  • HSB 5 – The bill would bring clarity and certainty to the franchisor/franchisee relationship by declaring they are not joint employers. The National Labor Relations Board upended the traditional definition of the joint employer standard in 2015, which expanded the liability of franchisors. The legislation essentially codifies the traditional definition and provides guidance to state agencies when they’re presented with certain joint employer claims. The bill is expected to advance out of the House Commerce Committee next week. ABI is registered in favor of the bill.  
  • SF 34 – This proposal changes the amount of time to appeal an unemployment claim from 10 days after IWD mails the notice to 10 days after an employer receives notice. The legislation also gives employers an opportunity to receive the notification by certified mail or by electronic mail. ABI is registered undecided on the legislation.
  • SF 53 – This legislation would prevent employers from prohibiting employees from contributing to a committee, receiving approval for contributing or limiting the amount of contributions. There is an exemption if the employee’s political affiliation or viewpoint is an occupational qualification. However, concerns were raised about the provision, and an amendment is expected to be drafted to remove the portion of the bill. Discussion during the committee was that there are some companies required to limit political contributions due to federal contracting rules or financial professions. The state also has some positions and board positions that are not allowed to make political contributions. ABI is currently registered undecided on the legislation.

Another bill, HSB 42, was introduced and is Iowa Workforce Development’s policy bill, but a subcommittee has not yet been scheduled on the legislation. The legislation includes a one-week waiting period before an individual can receive unemployment benefits and allows for receiving claim notice electronically.

In the Senate, SF 99 was introduced by Sen. Carlin to address situations where individuals not qualified for a position apply to meet the work search requirements and receive unemployment. Employers would be able to report them to Iowa Workforce Development, and after three complaints, an investigation by IWD would be launched. A subcommittee on this bill is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m.

In addition to the bills above, there are several “Job Crusher” bills ABI is tracking and working to educate legislators as to the effect they would have on Iowa’s business climate and the administrative and financial burden the proposals could put on small businesses. If any anti-business bills advance, we will provide more information in an upcoming ABI newsletter.