Legislative Update for the Week of May 23, 2011

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgSupreme Court Upholds Arizona Immigration Law
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that an Arizona law imposing sanctions on employers that hire unauthorized workers and requiring employers to use E-Verify is not preempted by federal law, and therefore valid. Read the full post here. (May 27)

Bill Would Significantly Increase Employer Penalties for Hiring Illegal Workers
Rep. Sue Wilkins Myrick (R-NC) has reintroduced legislation that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to substantially increase employer penalties for violations. Read the full post here. (May 26)

SEC Issues Final Whistleblower Protection Rule
The SEC has issued its final rule implementing the securities whistleblower incentives and protection program contained in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Read the full post here. (May 26)

Image credit: JuDesigns

Legislative Update for the Week of May 16, 2011

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgArbitration Fairness Act Reintroduced
The Arbitration Fairness Act of 2011 would amend the Federal Arbitration Act to invalidate all predispute arbitration agreements that require the arbitration of any employment or consumer dispute, or of any conflict arising under any statute intended to protect civil rights. Read the full post here. (May 18)

Healthy Families Act Reintroduced in Both Chambers
A bill that would require employers to provide paid sick leave to employees has been reintroduced in both the House and Senate. Read the full post here. (May 17)

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Plans for Flexible Parental Leave Unveiled

By James Walters

Family with a Baby.jpgThe UK Government's latest employment law consultation paper, Consultation on Modern Workplaces (PDF), sets out plans to introduce a new system of flexible, shared parental leave. This would build upon the Government's decision earlier this year to implement the previous Labour administration's legislation on additional paternity leave with effect from April 2011.

Other proposals covered by the consultation include:

  • Extending the right to request flexible working to all employees.
  • Amendments to the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) relating to annual leave entitlement and its interplay with sickness absence.
  • Mandatory equal pay audits for employers who are found by an Employment Tribunal to have discriminated on grounds of sex in relation to pay.
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Business Trips Abroad: New Flat Rate Allowances

With the ministerial decision of 28 April the new list of flat rate daily allowances, which the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs grants to its employees who undertake "short business trips" abroad, is approved. In this regard, short business trips are those not lasting longer than 30 calendar days.

These daily allowances cover costs for meals and other small expenses for which it is not always possible for the employee or for the manager who is on a business trip abroad to obtain receipts.

The costs for staying overnight and the travel costs to and from abroad do not fall within the scope of the allowances.

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New Maryland Statute Further Complicates Patchwork of Credit Privacy Laws

  Credit History II.jpgWhen Maryland enacted its law restricting the use of credit history for employment purposes on April 12, 2011, it became the fifth state - joining Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, and Washington - to enact a credit privacy law. Maryland's law transforms what was a mildly complicated compliance challenge for multi-state employers into an expanding morass. With credit privacy bills currently pending in more than twenty states, multi-state employers should expect that it will become increasingly difficult to establish company-wide policies on the use of credit history for employment purposes. To learn more about this development and its implications for employers, please continue reading at Littler's Workplace Privacy Counsel blog.

Photo credit: contour99

Government Signals New Employment Law Reforms

By Richard Lister

Parliament & Big BenThe UK's Coalition Government has announced that it will be extending its review of employment law to cover three new areas. This forms part of a broader strategy to simplify legislation, improve efficiency and reduce business red tape. The latest announcement follows a recent major consultation on proposals to reform employment tribunal and resolution of workplace disputes, including extending the qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal from one year to two years.

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Legislative Update for the Week of May 2, 2011

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgOSHA to Hold Forum on Regulating Combustible Dust
On May 13, 2011, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will hold an expert forum to identify the agency's regulatory options for protecting workers from combustible dust hazards. Read the full post here. (May 2)

Image credit: JuDesigns

Obesity's Impact on Workforce Productivity & Healthcare Costs

Concern over obesity in America has grown to such an extent that the campaign to combat it now rivals the anti-smoking war that has been waged for the last decade. In much the same way that epidemiological studies linking smoking to health concerns spurred the campaign against smoking, new studies on the cost of obesity are fueling action against the obesity epidemic. The cost of the obesity epidemic is twofold: (1) it leads to a number of recognized health problems for individuals; and (2) it poses a heavy financial burden on society. Employers, in particular, are directly affected by the crisis because obesity is dramatically raising the cost of health care, decreasing employees' productivity while at work, and causing increases in absenteeism. To learn more about this issue and its implications for employers, please continuing reading at Littler's Healthcare Employment Counsel blog.  

Legislative Update for the Week of April 25, 2011

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgSupreme Court Issues Pro-Arbitration Decision
In an opinion favorable to employers that use arbitration agreements, the U.S. Supreme Court in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion has held that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts a California state supreme court decision that conditioned the enforceability of a consumer arbitration agreement on the availability of class-wide arbitration. Read the full post here. (April 27)

OFCCP to Strengthen Federal Contractors' Affirmative Action Obligations Towards Veterans
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs proposes to amend its regulations regarding a contractor's and subcontractor's affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations towards protected veterans under the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. Read the full post here. (April 25)

Image credit: JuDesigns

Managing Employees' Use of Personal SmartPhones and Tablets for Work

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal aptly identified several challenges that employers face when they allow employees to use their personal smartphones and tablets for work. The article, entitled "So You Want To Use Your iPhone For Work? Uh-Oh. How The Smartest Companies Are Letting Employees Use Their Personal Gadgets To Do Their Jobs," notes several steps employers are taking to reduce privacy and information security risks. These steps include the following: (a) requiring that employees enable passwords, (b) sending a "kill command" to wipe business information from a lost or stolen device, and (c) walling off sensitive data into an "encrypted container." While these steps are all useful, they comprise only a partial list of critical issues employers should consider before permitting employees to use a personal device for work. To learn more about what actions employers should consider taking before allowing employees to use a personal device for work, please continue reading at Littler's Workplace Privacy Counsel blog.

Immigration Update for the Week of May 23, 2011

Imm Roundup Image 134 by 131.jpgUnited States: ICE Expands List of Degree Programs Warranting Visa Extension
The list of qualifying science, technology, engineering, and math degree programs under the Optional Practical Training program has been expanded. Read the full post here. (May 23)

United States: State Department Releases June 2011 Visa Bulletin
The June 2011 Visa Bulletin, which summarizes visa availability, has been released. Read the full post here. (May 23)

Image credit: CDH Design

Tags: Migration

Immigration Update for the Week of May 16, 2011

Imm Roundup Image 134 by 131.jpgUnited States: Georgia Enacts Sweeping Immigration Enforcement Measure
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law House Bill 87, a sweeping, Arizona-style immigration enforcement bill that, among other provisions, requires employers to use E-Verify. Read the full post here. (May 20)

United States: USCIS Launches Website Focused on I-9 Compliance
USCIS announced the launch of I-9 Central, a website dedicated to providing resources, tips and guidance on proper completion of Form I-9. Read the full post here. (May 17)

Image credit: CDH Design

Tags: Migration

Survey: Talented Workers in Short Supply Globally

The Global Talent Index, which analyzes 60 countries' "capacity for developing, attracting and retaining talent," was recently issued by leadership advisory firm Heidrick & Struggles in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit. The examined indicators (e.g., education, demographics, openness of labor market) and business executives' survey responses indicate that demand for talented workers exceeds supply, both in the current market and also as projected for 2015.

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Immigration Update for the Week of April 25, 2011

Imm Roundup Image 134 by 131.jpgPresident Obama Holds Meeting on Immigration Reform
President Obama assembled a bipartisan group of current and former government officials, law enforcement representatives, and business, faith and civic leaders, to gather their input regarding possibilities for immigration reform. Read the full post here. (April 26)

USCIS Issues Final Rule on Form I-9 Documents
On April 15, 2011, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services published a final rule, effective May 16, 2011, governing the types of acceptable identity and employment authorization documents and receipts that an employee may present to an employer when completing Form I-9. Read the full post here. (April 25)

Florida House Committee Approves E-Verify Measure
The Florida House of Representatives' Economic Affairs Committee recently approved a bill that would require all employers in the state to use E-Verify to authenticate newly hired employees' legal work status. Read the full post here. (April 25)

Image credit: CDH Design

Tags: Migration