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The National Labor Relations Board said it will extend the public comment period on its proposed joint employer rule by 30 days, but not by the 60 days requested by Democrats, and will not hold the public hearings on the issue they had requested.
The requests were made by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, and Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Virginia, in an Oct. 10 letter to the board.
Sen. Murray is ranking Democratic member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, while Rep. Scott is ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
The new rule proposed by the NLRB in September would revoke a 2015 ruling by a Democratic-controlled NLRB.
In its 2015, 3-2 decision in Browning Ferris Industries of California Inc. the NLRB overturned the standard in place since 1984 that firms must have an “immediate and direct” control over a worker to be considered a joint employer.
It held instead that a company only needs to have indirect control of a worker, and not even exercise that control, to be a joint employer. The proposed new rule would return to that standard.
The public was initially asked to submit comments on the proposal by Nov. 13. In their letter to the NLRB asking for both an extension and public hearings, Sen. Murray and Rep. Scott asked for additional information related to the issue by Oct. 22. It said the agency’s notice of proposed rulemaking “provides scant research or analysis to justify initiating a rulemaking.”
The NLRB statement says also that several labor organizations had collectively also filed a motion similarly requesting the board extend the comment period for an additional 60 days.
The NLRB statement makes no reference to the requested information, nor explains why it is only granting half the extension request by Sen. Murray and Rep. Scott and refusing their request to schedule public hearings.
In response to a query as to whether the NLRB sent Sen. Murray and Rep. Scott the information requested, the NLRB responded in a statement, “Yes, the chairman did reply to Senator Murray and Representative Scott. The Board voted to grant a 30-day extension for comments on the joint-employer rulemakng and against holding public hearings.”
Sen. Murray and Rep. Scott did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.
An Obama-era National Labor Relations Board ruling on the issue of joint employer liability has been restored, at least for now, following a determination that an NLRB board member should have recused himself from another ruling that overturned it.