Back in March, construction industry group members and leaders strongly opposed a final rule issued by OSHA that requires greater protections for workers against silica dust, citing high costs versus minimal safety improvements. This month has pitted the Department of Labor (DOL) against the construction groups.
On May 18, 2016, the DOL issued a final rule that raises the minimum salary an employee has to make in order to not qualify for overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. That means that any salaried worker that makes under $47,476 annually must be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 per week. The overtime exemption have not been updated since 2004 and the lawmakers have not only brought the salary amounts up significantly to more accurately reflect current market conditions, but they have also included a provision that requires the salary threshold be updated every 3 years. The rule also increased the threshold for highly compensated employees (HCE) to receive overtime protection from $100,000 to $134,004. This rule will go into effect on December 1, 2016.
This rule has been in process since at least August of last year and based upon thousands of comments received, many of the stipulations have changed slightly. The DOLs overall goal and the reason behind these changes is to either put more money in the pockets of more middle class Americans or to allow for more free time, if companies are not willing to pay extra overtime costs.
These changes haven’t given several leading construction industry groups a warm, fuzzy feeling though. Many have submitted comments throughout the course of the approval process and others have made their feelings about the approval of the final rule very clear.
In a news release, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs Kristen Swearingen said, “DOL’s overtime rule will rob employers of needed flexibility and employees of career advancement avenues, and it will have a disruptive effect on the construction industry as a whole. The unprecedented increase in the salary threshold may force some contractors to consider switching certain employees from salaried positions to hourly. This change may deprive employees of autonomy in their work schedules and may be perceived as a demotion to employees.”
National Association of Home Builders chairman Ed Brady also released this official statement on the rule, “The sheer arrogance displayed by the Department of Labor in failing to heed the concerns of the nation’s small business community will result in severe repercussions that will harm workers, small businesses, housing affordability, job growth and the economy.”
Which side of this fight do you fall on? Tell us in the comments below.
The earth can be a sort of an unmarked time capsule in many areas. It holds secrets of the past, some of which were hoped to never be found, but others that people dream of finding. Almost every project requires excavation or demolition in some way, so keep your eyes peeled for the next great discovery!
Jobsite pressures, such as time crunches and monetary issues can quickly tempt otherwise good people into making some pretty poor decisions. There are also others who use their construction business as a front for other illegal activities. Many people were arrested for a variety of reasons in 2016 and the list below should serve as both a reminder and a warning for those considering making bad decisions.
In general, we don’t celebrate the good deeds and accomplishments of our friends, family, and co-workers enough. The fact is, there are plenty of people in this world who spend plenty of their hard earned time, money, blood, sweat, and tears making a difference in peoples’ lives. Many of those people happen to be construction workers and this 2016 countdown will hopefully serve as inspiration to our reader’s to go above and beyond and use your skills to enrich someone else’s life.
Many construction projects involve clearing heavily wooded and untouched areas, which can cause many complications, including interaction with unknown wildlife. It’s important for all companies to understand the impact their construction work can have on wildlife, not only to avoid costly issues with government regulations, but also be good stewards of the environment. Below are 12 stories from 2016 where construction projects interacted with wildlife and how each situation was handled.
Last year, a devastating crane collapse killed more than 100 people and injured more than 200 others in Mecca, located in Saudi Arabia. Reports indicated that, at the time of the collapse, the boom was erected approximately 620 feet (190m).
If you were out looking for elves, the first logical place you’d look would be the North Pole, but that may not actually be the easiest place to find them. According to a couple news stories from this year, elves can wreak some serious havoc on construction projects in Iceland, if they’re unhappy.
As the construction labor shortage rages on throughout the industry, there have been concerns of how overworked employees or undertrained staff may affect job site safety. Although there’s no definitive proof that this problem is causing an increase in construction deaths and injuries, recently released Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows trends pointing in the wrong direction.
2016 has been a tough year for people that live in ocean-near luxury high rise condos. The Millennium Tower in San Francisco, California, which is home to many of the city’s rich and famous residents, has found itself in the middle of several lawsuits after it was determined to have sunk around 16 inches since its opening in 2008. Now, it appears that it’s not the only luxury tower in America with foundation issues.
You did it again...you waited too long to start Christmas shopping. Have no fear, Construction Junkie's got you covered with more great gift ideas for the hard working person in your life. Better yet, if you're in the construction industry yourself, here's some gear you could use no matter what time of year!
Construction document control is the hot item right now with regards to industry technology. With several leading tech companies working tirelessly to convert all contractors from hard copy drawings to digital, the race is on to see who will emerge victorious. Not only are technology companies seeing opportunity in plan management, their also seeing opportunity with the new Windows platform. The Surface Pro tablets and Surface Book laptops have given Apple products a run for their money recently for jobsite use, after jumping 20% in use in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to a new construction technology survey.