NFIB/Tennessee Helps Block Labor Bills

Date: April 04, 2017


As the 2017 legislative session heats up, much of the focus has been on Gov. Haslam’s IMPROVE Act and the fight surrounding its gas tax proposal. But meanwhile, some lawmakers have also been pushing numerous labor bills, which thankfully are unlikely to gain much traction.

Two equal pay measures—House Bill 1246 and House Bill 477—have already failed to pass the House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee, with help from opposing testimony from two NFIB/TN members, Donna Barrett of Barrett Firearms Manufacturers and Susan Mealer of Answering Advantage. These measures would have required employers to allow open discussions about wages among employees and established a new state bureaucracy under the Department of Labor and Workforce Development that would aim to, among other things, supervise the payment of wages to any employee and bring legal action on behalf of employees. NFIB/TN encouraged subcommittee members to vote no, pointing out how the measures would lead to a more contentious work environment as well as increased risk of lawsuits for small businesses.

Additionally, minimum wage (House Bill 80 and House Bill 1060) and paid leave (House Bill 1184) proposals were headed to the House Consumer and Human Resources Subcommittee at this writing. HB 80 would establish a minimum wage of $15 per hour as of July 1, 2017, and HB 1060 would implement a minimum wage that increases each year on July 1. HB 1184 would require all employers, no matter the size of the company, to provide six weeks of paid leave as well as provide pay during the remaining weeks of the four-month period allotted by the Family Medical Leave Act.

NFIB/TN urged ‘no’ votes, citing small business owner concerns about being forced to cut payroll and hire fewer workers, about Tennessee having a competitive disadvantage when compared with neighboring states, and about the workers that are harmed by these well-meaning, but ultimately job-killing bills. NFIB/TN also explained that smaller businesses need significant flexibility to work with employees on flexible schedules and paid time off policies, which they do with regularity in order to stay competitive with other companies.

Finally, NFIB/TN is fighting for a measure that would block local government entities from requiring that employers provide two weeks’ notice for their work schedules. This predictive scheduling mandate is the latest labor issue picking up steam across the nation, and we hope to preemptively block it in Tennessee.

Please stay tuned for more information and action alerts, and be ready to voice your concerns about business-harming proposals!


Related Content: Small Business News | Labor | Tennessee

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