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James48

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Member since: Sun Jan 3, 2010, 01:16 AM
Number of posts: 2,560

About Me

Was once a republican. long long ago, in a far, far away place. I apologize.

Journal Archives

OPM announces Federal Employees don't have to be paid State Minimum Wages

New Memo out this morning.

Since some localities have enacted higher than Federal Minimum Wage ($7.25), OPM announces that Federal Employees are exempt from any such state minimum wage. Federal employees, even in the largest cities, can now be legally paid as low as $7.25 an hour.

(Thanks Trump).

Here is the memo:

https://www.chcoc.gov/content/inapplicability-state-or-local-minimum-wage-federal-employees

MEMORANDUM FOR: HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTORS

From:
MARK D. REINHOLD, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, EMPLOYEE SERVICES

Subject:
Inapplicability of a State or Local Minimum Wage to Federal Employees


An increasing number of State and local governments are establishing or increasing a jurisdictional minimum wage that is higher than the nationwide Federal minimum wage established under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As a result, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has received inquiries regarding the applicability of minimum wages established by State and local governments to Federal employees stationed in affected locations. This memorandum provides agencies with necessary guidance.

Federal employees are covered by the FLSA, which is a Federal law. (See generally 29 U.S.C. 201, et seq.) The FLSA includes a minimum wage provision. (See 29 U.S.C. 206.) Thus, the FLSA minimum wage is generally applicable to Federal employees unless they are exempt from the minimum wage requirements as provided under the FLSA exemption provisions. (See 29 U.S.C. 213(a) and (f).) Under the exemption provisions of section 213(a), the FLSA minimum wage does not apply inter alia to employees who meet the executive, administrative, or professional exemption criteria; criminal investigators paid availability pay under 5 U.S.C. 5545a; certain computer employees; or border patrol agents, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 5550(a). (See 5 CFR part 551, subpart B, for more information on exemptions.) Under the exemption in section 213(f), the FLSA minimum wage does not apply to employees who perform services during a workweek solely in foreign areas outside the United States. (See also 5 CFR 551.212.)

Under OPM’s FLSA minimum wage regulation at 5 CFR 551.301, an employee’s “hourly regular rate” as defined in 5 CFR 551.511(a) is used to determine compliance with the FLSA minimum wage provisions. The current minimum wage under the FLSA is $7.25 (except in American Samoa, where it is $5.21 for government employees). By operation of Federal law, the FLSA minimum wage would supersede any lower amount of pay that would otherwise be provided under the applicable Federal employee pay system. Since the hourly regular rate reflects an employee’s rate of basic pay (including locality pay) and since the lowest General Schedule (GS) rate (GS-1, step 1) is above $7.25, GS employees generally are already paid in excess of the FLSA minimum wage requirements. (To illustrate, at GS-1, step 1, the base rate is currently $9.13 and the lowest locality rate in the United States is currently $10.56 (expressed as hourly rates).)

State and local government minimum wage laws are not binding on the Federal Government and its component agencies since, under the preemption doctrine which originates from the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, Federal law supersedes conflicting State law. (See U.S. Const. Art. VI. cl. 2.) This is the case when Federal employee pay rates are specifically fixed under Federal law (e.g., GS employees) and when Federal agencies are given discretion in setting rates of pay under Federal law.

In the case of a Federal employee pay system such as the GS pay system in which pay rates are fixed by statute, a statutory change would be needed to allow payment of a State or local minimum wage. There is no administrative authority under which OPM could allow State or local minimum wages to supersede GS statutory rates.

In the case of a Federal employee pay system under which the employing Federal agency has discretion in setting rates of pay, the agency may apply State and local minimum wages to covered employees as a matter of agency policy or through a collective bargaining agreement (where applicable). However, the agency should make it clear that employees are not actually covered by the State or local minimum wage law or any appeal mechanisms established under such a law.

OPM administers the Federal Wage System covering prevailing rate (blue collar) employees in multiple agencies. OPM administratively determines the pay schedules for these employees. OPM has issued regulations (based on a policy choice, not a statutory obligation) requiring payment of applicable State or local minimum wages to Federal Wage System employees. (See 5 CFR 532.205.) Under this regulation, the highest State or local minimum wage in effect in the local wage area is applied in setting wage schedule rates unless there is a higher FLSA minimum wage under Federal law. In other words, if there are multiple State or local minimum wages in effect in different jurisdictions encompassed within the same local wage area, the highest minimum wage will be used in setting wage schedule rates for the entire local wage area, if that minimum wage rate exceeds the FLSA minimum wage rate.

Additional Information

Agency headquarters-level human resources offices may contact OPM at pay-leave-policy@opm.gov. Employees should contact their agency human resources office for further information on this memorandum.

cc: Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs), and Deputy CHCOs

Medicare Tool Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information

The $11 Million Dollar Medicare Tool That Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information

The Trump administration redesigned the online Medicare Cost Finder for seniors to compare complex health insurance options. But consumer advocates have identified instances when the tool has malfunctioned and given inaccurate plan and price data.

By AKILAH JOHNSON,PROPUBLICA ( in Govexec.com)

The federal government recently redesigned a digital tool that helps seniors navigate complicated Medicare choices, but consumer advocates say it’s malfunctioning with alarming frequency, offering inaccurate cost estimates and creating chaos in some states during the open enrollment period.

Diane Omdahl, a Medicare consultant in Wisconsin, said she used the tool Friday to research three prescription drug plans for a client. The comparison page, which summarizes total costs, showed all but one of her client’s medications would be covered. When Omdahl clicked on “plan details” to find out which medicine was left out, the plan finder then said all of them were covered.

So she started checking the plans’ websites, and it turns out there are two versions of the same high blood pressure medication. One is covered. The other is not. The difference in price: $2,700 a month.

In Nebraska, miscalculations offered through the new Medicare Plan Finder were so worrisome that the state in late October temporarily shut down a network of about 350 volunteer Medicare advisers for a day because without the tool, narrowing the numerous choices — more than 4,000 Medicare plans are available nationwide — down to three top selections would be nearly impossible.

Days later, EnvisionRxPlus, a prescription drug plan, sent an email to independent insurance brokers nationwide recommending they not use the Medicare Plan Finder because of incorrect estimates on drug prices and patient deductibles. (It’s a warning they had yet to retract some two weeks later.)

Minnesota’s Association of Area Agencies on Aging said in a news release on Nov. 14 that the Medicare Plan Finder “continues to produce flawed results,” including inaccurate premium estimates, incorrect prescription drug costs and inaccurate costs with extra help subsidies.

MORE:

https://www.govexec.com/technology/2019/11/11-million-dollar-medicare-tool-gives-seniors-wrong-insurance-information/161542/

FDA/CDC Warns- DO NOT EAT Romaine from Salinas, CA

FDA/ CDC issues new warning: DO NOT EAT ROMAINE from Salinas, California.


November 26, 2019

Recommendation

FDA, CDC, and state health authorities are investigating an outbreak of illnesses caused by E. coli O157:H7 in the United States. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicates that romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California growing region is a likely source of this outbreak. The CDC is reporting an increase in the case count to 67 and that the most recent illness onset date is November 14, 2019.

Romaine from Salinas, California Label Enjoy By December 2, 2019


Romaine from Salinas, California Label Use By November 29, 2019

Consumers: Consumers should not eat romaine lettuce harvested from Salinas, California. Additionally, consumers should not eat products identified in the recall announced by the USDA on November 21, 2019.

Romaine lettuce may be voluntarily labeled with a harvest region. If this voluntary label indicates that the romaine lettuce was grown in “Salinas” (whether alone or with the name of another location) do not eat it. Throw it away or return it to the place of purchase. If romaine lettuce does not have information about harvest region or does not indicate that it has been grown indoors (i.e., hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown), throw it away or return it to the place of purchase. Consumers ordering salad containing romaine at a restaurant or at a salad bar should ask the staff whether the romaine came from Salinas. If it did, or they do not know, do not eat it.

At this time, romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the Salinas region has not been implicated in this outbreak investigation. Hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine, which is voluntarily labeled as “indoor grown,” from any region does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. There is no recommendation for consumers to avoid using romaine harvested from these other sources.

Restaurants and Retailers: Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell romaine harvested from Salinas, California. If you do not know the source of your romaine lettuce, and if you cannot obtain that information from your supplier, you should not serve, nor sell it.

Suppliers and Distributors: Suppliers, distributors and others in the supply chain should not ship or sell romaine harvested in Salinas, California. If the source of the romaine lettuce is unknown, you should not ship, nor sell the product.

For Restaurants, Retailers, Suppliers and Distributors: Currently, the FDA does not have enough traceback information to identify the specific source of the contamination that would allow us to request a targeted recall from specific growers. At this stage in the investigation, the most efficient way to ensure that contaminated romaine is off the market would be for industry to voluntarily withdraw product grown in Salinas, and to withhold distribution of Salinas romaine for the remainder of the growing season in Salinas. FDA has made this request of industry.

At this time, romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the Salinas region has not been implicated in this outbreak investigation. Hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine, which is voluntarily labeled as “indoor grown,” from any region does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. There is no recommendation for consumers or retailers to avoid using romaine harvested from these other sources.

Background
According to the CDC, as of November 25, 2019, 67 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 19 states. The case patients report that illnesses started on dates ranging from September 24,


More information at: https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/investigation-e-coli-o157h7-outbreak-linked-romaine-salinas-california-november-2019

GQ magazine makes a correction:

GQ corrects story to say Lt. Col. Vindman was hit by IED, not an IUD.

GQ Magazine has issued a correction to an Oct. 29 story about Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, assuring its readers that the soldier earned a Purple Heart for wounds he received from an IED, not an IUD, which is something quite different.

"This story has been updated," a note at the end of the article reads. "Alexander Vindman received a Purple Heart after being wounded by an IED, or improvised explosive device, not an IUD, or intrauterine device. We regret the error."


Oops.

(And thank you for your cervix)


https://taskandpurpose.com/typo-ied-iud-vindman
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