President Signs COBRA Subsidy Extension Legislation into Law

December 22, 2009 - by: HR Hero 19 COMMENTS

President Barack Obama signed legislation into law today that would extend the original federal COBRA subsidy created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The legislation was part of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 3326), a bill that appropriates funds for the Department of Defense. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a 395-34 vote and the U.S. Senate by an 88-10 vote last week. The legislation extends: read more…

Final ADAAA Regulations Expected Mid-2010

December 09, 2009 - by: Holly Jones 0 COMMENTS

Update: New Final ADAAA Regs published by EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has now begun reviewing the more than 600 comments that were received in response to its proposed ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) regulations. According to the latest regulatory agenda, the EEOC anticipates the review will be complete — and final ADAAA regulations will be implemented — in July 2010.

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DOL Hires 250 New Wage and Hour Investigators

November 20, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

If a recent news release from U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is any indication, 2010 may prove to be a year of ramped-up enforcement from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In her November 19 statement, Secretary Solis sent a clear message about the enforcement and outreach efforts occurring within the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), announcing the recent hire of an additional 250 wage and hour investigators as well as plans for a public awareness campaign on worker rights, expected to launch in 2010.

The hiring effort at the WHD represents a staff increase of more than one-third, a move that will significantly improve the DOL’s top priority of protecting worker rights by allowing prompter response to complaints of wage violations and more targeted enforcement. Solis’ message is clear: “Failure to comply with these basic labor standards means that workers are not receiving the money they have earned,” and the department “will not rest until the law is followed by every employer, and each worker is treated and compensated fairly.”

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Health Plan Developments: Mental Health Parity, GINA, and Health Risk Assessments

October 23, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

By Michelle Sullivan, Holland & Hart LLP

Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, issued a statement on October 2 indicating that employers awaiting guidance before implementing changes to medical plans required by the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 should not expect regulations to be issued until January 2010 — after the law goes into effect for calendar-year plans. In the absence of regulations, plan sponsors should make a reasonable “good-faith” effort to adhere to the law’s intent.

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H1N1 Swine Flu Information and Resources for Employers

October 21, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS and M. Lee Smith Publishers is making its Pandemics and H1N1 sample policy available to everyone. The policy covers topics such as employee leave, alternative work arrangements, preventing the spread of contagious illnesses in the workplace, and much more.

Download the free Pandemics and H1N1 Sample Policy

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EEOC’s Proposed ADA Regulations Now Available

September 22, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) — which would revise its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations to comply with the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) — is now available at

The NPRM interprets the requirements of the ADAAA, which Congress passed in late 2008 to make it easier for employees and applicants who allege disability discrimination to establish that they are disabled as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The NPRM will be published in the Federal Register this week, after which the EEOC will accept the public’s comments on the proposal for a period of 60 days. It’s unclear at this time when final regulations will be issued, but they are unlikely to come before the end of the year.

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U.S. Senate Approves Several Amendments Dealing with Immigration Enforcement

July 13, 2009 - by: HR Hero 1 COMMENTS

By Hector A. Chichoni

On Wednesday, July 8, 2009, the U.S. Senate approved several amendments dealing with immigration enforcement and benefits that were not included in the 2010 homeland security appropriations bill (H.R. 2892) passed previously by the House of Representatives.

An amendment introduced by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) dealing with E-Verify was passed by a voice vote after a motion by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to table it was rejected 44 to 53.

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Federal Contractors Required to Use E-Verify Starting September 8

July 10, 2009 - by: HR Hero 2 COMMENTS

Beginning Sept. 8, 2009, federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to use the E-Verify system to ensure their employees are legally authorized to work in the United States.The requirement is designed to stop federal contractors and subcontractors from hiring illegal immigrants.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced this week that the Obama administration will require employers that are awarded federal contracts to use E-Verify. The requirement for federal contractors to use E-Verify was originally set to go into place in January 2009, but was postponed so that the new administration could review the new rule.

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FTC, HHS Propose Rules, Seek Comments on Electronic Health Records

April 22, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Does your organization offer or plan to offer employees online or electronic personal health records (PHRs)? Can employees enter their personal health information into online programs that help them evaluate and improve their health, such as weight loss applications?

If you’ve answered yes or if your organization provides electronic PHR programs to others, you should be aware of proposed rules on the topic from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The extent to which employees will embrace new health information technologies and wellness-type applications (and to which your organization may save on health-related expenses) may depend on their faith in the security of sensitive health information.

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EEOC Releases Proposed GINA Regulations

March 03, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On March 2, 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) officially released the proposed regulations under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). GINA is intended to protect employees from discrimination by employers, employment agencies, labor unions, and insurers based on genetic information.

The proposed regulations are designed to implement and provide further guidance on the legal requirements under Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which bars the use of genetic information in the context of employment. The EEOC has requested public comments on the proposed regulations, but must receive all remarks on or before May 1, 2009.

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