News & Commentary

February 21, 2018

Melissa Greenberg

Melissa Greenberg is a student at Harvard Law School.

An article in Law360 describes the National Labor Relations Board Inspector General’s report on the decision of NLRB Member Bill Emanuel not to recuse himself from Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors Ltd.  This case reversed the joint employer standard established in Browning-Ferris Industries.  Previous to his appointment to the Board, Bill Emanuel worked for Littler Mendelson P.C.  The firm represented Leadpoint Business Services Inc., the contractor for Browning-Ferris Industries, at the time that the case was adjudicated by the NLRB.  While the Inspector General said that Emanuel did not participate in misconduct in his failure to recuse himself, the Inspector General did say that “‘Member Emanuel’s participation in the Hy-Brand decision, when he otherwise should have been recused as outlined above, calls into question the validity of that decision and the confidence that the board is performing its statutory duties.'”  Read more here.

The Upshot explores a Republican-backed proposal to allow parents to access their Social Security benefits after they have a baby as a form of paid leave.  Originating from a group called the Independent Women’s Forum, the proposal would also require that when people retire who have drawn on their Social Security they delay receiving their benefits.  Conservatives have favored the idea of Social Security as an “individual account” and allowing people to draw on their social security before retirement moves the program closer to this idea.  However, opponents of the proposal worry that it will weaken Social Security and reduce benefits for retirees.  Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, stated, “‘[h]ere you have a situation where women live longer, but they tend to live both sicker and poorer because of the caregiving they do… With this proposal, we would be asking them to borrow against the already inadequate support they receive from Social Security.'”  Ivanka Trump is reportedly studying this proposal, and Senators Joni Ernst, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah have all said they support this type of proposal.

The Wall Street Journal highlighted the findings of a recent working paper by two economists, Damon Jones at University of Chicago and Ioana Marinescu at the University of Pennsylvania.  Their study found that Alaska’s yearly oil payments to its residents did not reduce employment levels in the state.  Their findings could have implications for the debate on universal basic income (UBI).  While the payments were smaller than those often proposed in UBI plans, the study supports the idea that UBI will not lead to workers dropping out of the workforce.  Read more here.


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