On July 29, 2014, the House of Representatives passed the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Clarification Act. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that workers who are employed in the recreational vessel repair industry have workers’ compensation coverage. It does so by clarifying the definition of a “recreational vessel” under the Act, which thereby makes it easier for employers, and particularly small businesses, to provide Longshore coverage to their employees without incurring the cost of duplicative policies.
Previous regulations complicated the definition of a recreational vessel, making it difficult for employers to determine which employees are covered by the Longshore Act, and which employees require state workers’ compensation coverage. This resulted in employers and small businesses having to purchase duplicative policies, lay off employees, or purchase no insurance coverage at all. The new legislation provides the necessary clarification to make it easier and more affordable for employers to purchase workers’ compensation coverage and protect their employees.
The text of the Act is below:
To amend the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to provide a definition of recreational vessel for purposes of such Act.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Clarification Act of 2014”.
SEC. 2. DEFINITION OF RECREATIONAL VESSEL.
(a) Definition.–Section 2 of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (33 U.S.C. 902) is amended–
(1) by redesignating paragraph (22) as paragraph (23); and
(2) by inserting after paragraph (21) the following:
“(22)(A) The term `recreational vessel’ means a vessel–
“(i) being manufactured or operated primarily for pleasure; or
“(ii) leased, rented, or chartered to another for the latter’s pleasure.
“(B) In applying the definition in subparagraph (A), the following rules apply:
“(i) A vessel being manufactured or built, or being repaired under warranty by its manufacturer or builder, is a recreational vessel if the vessel appears intended, based on its design and construction, to be for ultimate recreational uses. The manufacturer or builder bears the burden of establishing that a vessel is recreational under this standard.
“(ii) A vessel being repaired, dismantled for repair, or dismantled at the end of its life will be treated as recreational at the time of repair, dismantling for repair, or dismantling, provided that such vessel shares elements of design and construction of traditional recreational vessels and is not normally engaged in a military, commercial, or traditionally commercial undertaking.
“(iii) A vessel will be treated as a recreational vessel if it is a public vessel, such as a vessel owned or chartered and operated by the United States, or by a State or political subdivision thereof, at the time of repair, dismantling for repair, or dismantling, provided that such vessel shares elements of design and construction with traditional recreational vessels and is not normally engaged in a military, commercial, or traditionally commercial undertaking.”.
(b) Regulations.–Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Labor shall–
(1) amend the regulations in section 701.501 of title 20, Code of Federal Regulations, by deleting the text of subsections (a) and (b) of such section and replacing it with only the text of the definition of recreational vessel in section 2(22) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, as added by subsection (a); and
(2) make no further modification to such definition in another regulation or any administrative directive.