Legislative Update for the Week of July 18, 2011

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgBill That Would Remove NLRB's Authority to Order Employers to Relocate or Close Their Facilities is Introduced
A bill that would prevent the National Labor Relations Board from ordering an employer to close, relocate, or transfer its operations under any circumstances is being fast-tracked in the House of Representatives. Read the full post here. (July 21)

Speakers List Grievances About Proposed NLRB Election Rule Changes
Littler's David Kadela, one of the final speakers during two days of public meetings on the NLRB's proposed changes to its election procedures, stated that the proposed changes "would unduly and severely cut into the time that employers have to communicate with employees during election campaigns, and establish unnecessary procedural requirements that would stack the deck against and increase the burdens upon employers." Read the full post here. (July 20)

EBSA Conducts Web Chat to Discuss Upcoming Regulations, Priorities
During a web chat to discuss the Employee Benefits Security Administration's extensive regulatory agenda, EBSA Assistant Secretary Phyllis Borzi fielded a number of questions about the agency's plan to broaden the definition of "fiduciary," and issue a final rule on fiduciary-level fee disclosures under section 408(b)(2) of ERISA, among other topics. Read the full post here. (July 18)

Image credit: JuDesigns

Legislative Update for the Week of July 11, 2011

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgEBSA Extends and Aligns Applicability Dates for Retirement Plan Fee Disclosure Rules
The Employee Benefits Security Administration has issued a final rule that extends the compliance dates for two of its rules related to retirement plan fee disclosures. Read the full post here. (July 15)

Congressional Hearing Examines Problems with Fair Labor Standards Act
During a hearing conducted by the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, lawmakers and panelists questioned whether the FLSA has kept pace with modern industry. Read the full post here. (July 14)

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Legislative Update for the Week of July 4, 2011

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgDOL and EEOC Release Semiannual Regulatory Agendas
According to the Department of Labor's and Equal Opportunity Commission's Spring 2011 Semiannual Regulatory Agendas, employers can expect significant new and continued rulemaking activity in the coming months. Read the full post here. (July 8)

NLRB Proposed Election Rule Scrutinized at Congressional Hearing
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing during which the National Labor Relations Board's proposed changes to pre- and post-representation election case procedures came under fire. Read the full post here. (July 7)

Image credit: JuDesigns

Location, Location, Location: Recent Developments in "GeoPrivacy" and the Impact on the Use of GPS in the U.S. Workplace

GPSTrackingII.jpgEver since revelations in May that smartphones track the location of their users, location privacy has been a red hot issue in virtually every forum -- except the U.S. workplace. In June, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a federal circuit court decision holding that the federal government's warrantless use of 24/7 location tracking for more than a month violated the Fourth Amendment rights of a criminal suspect. The Wall Street Journal dubbed June 15, 2011, "location privacy day on Capitol Hill" after two bills were introduced to limit the use of location data by industry and by law enforcement. And, in the European Union, the Article 29 Working Party, which is responsible for providing guidance on the application of the European Union Data Protection Directive, recently published its "Opinion 13/2011 on Geolocation Services on smart mobile devices." While none of these developments directly implicate the U.S. workplace, U.S. employers should closely monitor the location privacy debate, particularly given their increasingly common reliance on GPS-enabled smartphones and vehicles to track employees. To learn more about recent developments in location privacy and implications for multinational employers, please continue reading at Littler's Workplace Privacy Counsel blog.

Photo credit: binabina

Legislative Update for the Week of June 27, 2011

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgSenate Bill Would Provide Employers with Tax Credit for Hiring Unemployed Workers
The Job Creation Tax Credit Act of 2011 would give employers refundable tax credits of 15% of wages paid in 2011 and 10% of wages paid in 2012 for qualified new hires. Read the full post here. (July 1)

OSHA Meetings on Limiting Occupational Exposure to Infectious Diseases
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will hold a series of stakeholder meetings on July 29, 2011, to gather information on how best to limit occupational exposure to infectious diseases. Read the full post here. (July 1)

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Immigration Update for the Week of July 11, 2011

Imm Roundup Image 134 by 131.jpgUnited States: President Obama Comments on E-Verify
During a recent press conference, Obama acknowledged that the E-Verify system's accuracy needs improvement. Read the full post here. (July 14)

United States: Prevailing Wage Determination Data for 2011-2012 Now Available
The Foreign Labor Certification Data Center has announced that prevailing wage determination data for the July 2011 to June 2012 program year are now available. Read the full post here. (July 13)

Image credit: CDH Design

Tags: Migration

Recession's Impact on Employee Benefits Lingers

A recent study of the types of benefits U.S. employers offer to their employees, Examining Employee Benefits Amidst Uncertainty, found that the recession has significantly impacted employee benefits. The study, conducted annually by the Society of Human Resources Management, found that as companies struggle to remain competitive in recruiting and retaining top talent, employees have been bearing greater financial responsibility for benefits such as retirement and health care plans. Key findings of the 2011 study include:

  • Nearly 75% of surveyed human resources practitioners report a negative impact on benefits due to the economy, up from 70% in 2010.
  • Ninety-three percent of respondents' employers offer defined contribution pension plans, compared with only 22% that offer defined benefit pension plans.
  • Health savings accounts are becoming more prevalent while HMO plans continue to decline in popularity.
  • In the past five years, 25% of employers have offered housing and relocation programs (e.g., assistance selling previous home, cost-of-living differential, spouse relocation assistance), a decrease from 42% in 2007.
  • Though employers may see a $6 gain on a $1 investment in wellness programs, the number of companies offering such programs has remained flat, at around 59%.

One offering showing a gain in popularity is workplace flexibility benefits: More than 50% of respondents' companies offer flex time (up from 45% in 2010), and 20% offer full-time telecommuting, up from 17 % in 2010.

Photo credit: fstop123

Immigration Update for the Week of June 27

Imm Roundup Image 134 by 131.jpgAustralia: Updates to Skilled Occupation List
Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship announced that, as of July 1, 2011, thirteen occupations will be added to its Skilled Occupation List, while four will be removed. Read the full post here. (June 29)

United States: USCIS Publishes Revised Employer Handbook on Form I-9
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has published a revised employer handbook on Form I-9 completion. Read the full post here. (June 29)

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Tags: Migration