AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fringe Benefit Group, an industry leader in the design, implementation and administration of benefit plans for hourly and part-time workers, today announced The Contractors Plan ICHRA, a flexible, cost-effective, and compliant solution for Service Contract Act (SCA) and Davis-Bacon Act employers who face challenges in providing health benefits to their employees. By offering Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRA) as part of the fringe benefit package, prevailing wage contractors can fulfill their obligations while providing valuable health benefits to their employees. Employees can now choose their own individual health insurance plans based on their needs and not a one-size-fits-all group health plan.
Read the full Press Release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20230522005591/en/Fringe-Benefit-Group-Announces-The-Contractors-Plan-ICHRA-Innovative-New-Program-Solves-Health-Insurance-Challenges-for-Service-Contract-Act-Contractors
The purpose of this quarterly newsletter is to provide a deep dive into retirement topics to help you better prepare for upcoming and important events. We will also cover happenings in the retirement industry that may potentially impact your plan.
Click here to read The Contractors Plan Retirement Newsletter.
The SECURE Act 2.0 can be difficult to navigate. The Contractors Plan has created a PDF with some of the key provisions for your convenience. We are continuing to learn about the impacts and administration of the many provisions of the SECURE Act and will provide updates to the chart as we move forward. Feel free to download and save the current chart document for personal use.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced construction spending for February 2023 was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,844 billion, 0.1% below the revised estimate of $1,845 billion in January. Compared to the same period last year, construction spending was up 5.2 %. For the first two months of the year, spending amounted to $260.8 billion, up 5.9% above that same period in 2022.
While private construction spending in February was $1,453 billion, nearly unchanged from the revised January estimate of $1,453 billion, public construction spending was $391 billion, just 0.2% below the revised January estimate of $391.8 billion. However, compared to last year’s period, public construction spending is up 12.8% from February 2022. As a leading contributor, highway construction was strong in February at $120.6 billion, 0.3% above the previous month, and up 18.8% from last year.
More information may be found at: https://www.census.gov/construction/c30/pdf/release.pdf
The President’s Proposed FY24 budget calls for significant funding of infrastructure and construction efforts. The most substantial investments are within the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Defense (DOD), as well as within Veteran Affairs (VA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The DOT budget provides $76.1 billion for highway safety and transit formula programs. This includes funds for the Federal-Aid Highway program and upgrading the nation’s highways and bridges. DOT continues to focus on strengthening the nation’s transportation system, tackling large infrastructure projects, and expanding the nation’s capacity to move goods quickly. In addition, DOT is concentrating on improvements to the safety and efficiency of the rail network through the expansion of the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program.
Building on prior investments, the DOD FY 2024 budget includes $19.2 billion for facilities sustainment, restoration, and modernization and $16.7 billion in construction and family housing programs and improving critical operational infrastructure. Specific projects include improvements to the facilities that support readiness programs, family housing, construction of quality-of-life and medical facilities, and projects advancing deterrence initiative programs.
The budget also highlights the support of a $5 billion investment to improve critical veteran medical facilities and the construction of state-extended care facilities to deliver high-quality healthcare, benefits, and services for veterans. Additionally, the budget provides $2.4 billion for research infrastructure at NSF to support the construction and procurement of research facilities.
The Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) FY2024 budget requests $15.1 billion, up 3.4% from FY2023, to expand employment pathways and protect workers’ health and safety, wages, and retirement.
Of the funds, DOL has requested, $11.5 billion would go toward the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), an increase of 9.4% from FY 2023. The ETA administers Federal workforce development and worker dislocation programs, Federal grants to states for public employment service programs, and Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Funding supports initiatives that aim to expand and create good jobs and protections for American workers; these include:
Additionally, DOL’s budget calls for $2.3 billion, also up from previous years, to strengthen worker protection agencies. One of those agencies is the Wage and Hour Division (WHD), which enforces labor standards. The increased funding will allow WHD to enforce prevailing wage, minimum wage, and family leave requirements. Funding also increased for the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP), enabling them to enforce anti-discrimination laws and ensure Federal contracting.
The DOL budget can be found at https://www.dol.gov/general/budget
President Biden has announced his $6.9 trillion budget proposal for 2024, which lays out his policy priorities for the next fiscal year. Biden’s budget addresses many of the items he laid out in his most recent State of the Union address.
The budget details the Administration’s plans to lower costs and cut taxes for working families; expand access to childcare, education, housing, and healthcare; and protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security.
Overall, the discretionary portion of the budget promotes non-defense programs. Specifically, the budget seeks $688 billion in non-defense programs, up 7.3% from the current year, and calls for a lesser increase for military and national security, requesting $842 billion for Defense programs, up about 3%. The rest of the spending is for mandatory programs.
Another important aspect of the proposed budget is lowering the deficit by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade by raising trillions of dollars in taxes on corporations and the wealthy, including by instituting a 25% minimum tax on the top 0.01% of the most affluent Americans.
Biden’s proposed budget faces strong opposition and is unlikely to be adopted as is with narrow majorities in both the House and Senate. However, President Biden will need to work with lawmakers to establish some budget agreements before the summer deadline for raising or suspending the nation’s borrowing limit to avoid a potential default.
President Biden has nominated Julie Su to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Labor (DOL). Since 2021, Su has served as the Deputy Secretary of Labor and has been called a “champion for workers” and is expected to advance Biden’s vision of a resilient and inclusive economy with worker well-being at its core. If confirmed, Su will become the first Asian American to join Biden’s cabinet at the rank of Secretary.
Before joining the DOL, Deputy Secretary Su served as the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary. There she worked closely with unions and employers to build partnerships to connect people to union jobs.
The Senate must confirm Su, where she has the backing of the Congressional Asian-Pacific American Caucus and the Congressional black caucus. However, her confirmation could still be contentious as she is facing opposition from republicans who are citing her role in crafting state law AB5 that classifies some contract workers as employees. Critics say AB5 severely restricts businesses’ ability to hire freelancers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that it invites the public and workplace safety stakeholders to share their comments regarding the best way to encourage employers and honor those who commit to workplace safety and health.
By opening the program to public comments, OSHA seeks input from all viewpoints to assist the agency as it modernizes and enhances its Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and continues to promote the use of workplace safety and health management systems.
Through a series of questions to elicit practical responses, OSHA is seeking input regarding such issues as:
The deadline for comments is April 14, 2023. Those interested should submit comments and attachments, identified by Docket No. OSHA-2022-0012, using the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) will be hosting compliance seminars to provide information on the requirements governing payment of prevailing wages on federally funded service and construction contracts. These seminars are a component of WHD’s ongoing efforts to improve compliance and increase awareness concerning the prevailing federal wage requirements.
The seminars are intended for contractors, agencies, unions, workers, and other stakeholders who will have access to training videos on various Davis-Bacon and Service Contract Act (SCA) compliance topics. Additionally, there will be an opportunity to participate in corresponding virtual Question & Answer sessions with WHD staff.
These Q&A Sessions will be offered live on several dates throughout the year to accommodate participants’ schedules. The dates for the Davis-Bacon-specific topic will be March 8, June 27, and September 13, 2023. The SCA-specific Q&A sessions will be on March 9, June 28, and September 14, 2023.
The seminar attendance is free; however, registration is required. Participants may register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2023-department-of-labor-prevailing-wage-seminars-tickets-519169428737?aff=ebdsoporgprofile