As 2017 draws to a close, we have several updates on federal policy issues critical to the industry. For more information, or if you have questions, please email Kenneth Besserman, general counsel.
First off, the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently extended the deadline for covered employers to submit illness and injury reports from November 21 to December 15, 2017.
MENU LABELING: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally released Menu Labeling Draft Guidance last week, which provided additional direction for the restaurant and foodservice industry as we prepare to comply with federal menu labeling requirements that will take effect May 7, 2018. We believe the draft guidance offers additional clarity that will make compliance easier and more manageable for our members, and are pleased that the FDA considered the comments from our industry in this supplemental guidance. Across the next few months, the NRA will continue to work with the FDA to ensure a smooth transition. The FDA is accepting comments on its draft guidance until January 8, 2018, and the NRA is preparing to submit additional feedback.
TAX REFORM UPDATE: With only a few legislative days left in 2017, Congress is racing against the clock to enact a comprehensive tax reform package. The Senate may vote on its version of tax reform as early as this Thursday. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) remains confident that the bill will pass the Senate, but a handful of senators have still not committed to vote for it. If the Senate passes its tax plan the House and Senate are expected to appoint a conference committee to produce a final bill for the President’s signature before Christmas.
Both the House and Senate bills reflect our industry priorities: 1) maintains the 45B FICA Tax Reimbursement Credit, and 2) permanently reduces the corporate tax rate to 20 percent while also lowering the rate for s-corps. (Here’s a comparison of the House and Senate proposals). The rate for s-corps is still being debated, so we will have more information as the Senate debate progresses this week.
ICE MAY TARGET QUICK-SERVICE RESTAURANTS: Last month, a top Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official said that the agency is stepping up worksite enforcement of immigration laws. Recent news reports suggest that ICE may be looking at quick-service restaurants as part of its crackdown on businesses that hire undocumented workers, focusing on both penalizing the business and deporting unauthorized employees. These types of enforcement operations have increased under President Trump, who pledged to strictly enforce the country’s immigration laws to reduce illegal immigration into the United States.
Review the NRA webinar that provides guidance on enforcement actions, including how to properly interact with federal immigration officials, and TRA webinar by national immigration expert, Jacob Monty, of Monty & Ramirez, LLP.