DOL Releases Updated COBRA Model Notices

January 13, 2010 - by: HR Hero 2 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) just released updated COBRA Model Notices that reflect the COBRA subsidy extension that was part of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010. The new COBRA subsidy legislation extends the original federal COBRA subsidy created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and requires employers to provide notice to certain current and future COBRA beneficiaries that details the premium subsidy extension created by the new legislation.

The EBSA’s COBRA page now has several new model notices available, including: read more…

Categories: COBRA / DOL

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Immigration Crackdown: DHS Launches Thousands of H-1B Inspections, I-9 Audits

November 20, 2009 - by: HR Hero 2 COMMENTS

By Christopher L. Thomas

The federal government is making it clear to employers that immigration enforcement is a priority for the Obama administration, and that employers failing to comply with the law face severe consequences.

On November 19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent out a notice that it intends to audit the I-9 forms of 1,000 employers. The audits are in addition to news from July in which 654 employers were informed that their I-9 forms would be scrutinized. Additional waves of audits are also expected.

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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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Congress Members Introduce More Paid Sick Leave Legislation

November 18, 2009 - by: HR Hero 7 COMMENTS

U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) introduced legislation yesterday that would guarantee paid sick leave for employees infected by the H1N1 virus (also known as “swine flu”). The legislation would take effect 15 days after being signed into law but would end after two years.

According to Dodd and DeLauro’s websites, the legislation would allow employees to earn up to seven paid sick days to use: read more…

Congress Expands FMLA’s Military Family Leave Provisions

October 27, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Congress has moved with surprising speed in passing legislation to expand the situations in which an employee may take military caregiver leave and qualifying exigency leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The “Supporting Military Families Act of 2009″ was only introduced in the House and Senate in late July. Now it has been tacked on to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010, which has been approved in both houses of Congress and sent to President Barack Obama. He is expected to sign the legislation.

The Supporting Military Families Act enacts several major changes to the military family leave provisions of the FMLA: read more…

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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New Website from DOL Offers Information on Disabilities

July 30, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has launched a new website – – offering information for people with disabilities, their family members, veterans, caregivers, employers, and others. The new site replaces and features information about disability-related programs and services as well as social media tools to serve the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities.

The website’s social media tools include a Twitter feed, RSS feeds, a blog, and social bookmarking, according to the DOL’s announcement. Additional social media tools are to be added in the months ahead.

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Categories: DOL

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Employing Minors in Dangerous Jobs: A Bad Idea

May 06, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Employers all over the country will soon be hiring summer workers, many of them minors. If you are an employer with jobs that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has listed as hazardous to minors, then take note. One Atlanta employer has learned a hard lesson at the expense of a teenage worker’s life.

The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division has fined Atlanta contractor Demon Demo, Inc., a civil penalty after investigating the death of a teenage worker from a second-floor fall at the company’s Gwinnett Place mall demolition site.

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Categories: DOL / Federal Agencies (List) / WHD

Investigation Accuses Wage and Hour Division of Blunders that Fail Workers

March 26, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

After a nine-month undercover investigation into the Department of Labor’s (DOL) ability to enforce and investigate violations of federal minimum wage, overtime, and child labor laws, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports serious failures.

The report, which was released March 25, was prompted by a request from the House Education and Labor Committee. The investigation used undercover agents posing as workers making complaints about possible wage and hour violations. The GAO found that the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) mishandled nine of the 10 cases investigators reported, according to an account in The New York Times.

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DOL Issues COBRA Model Notices

March 19, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Update Dec. 16: House Passes COBRA Subsidy Extension and Expansion

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued model COBRA continuation coverage notices that reflect the new nine-month, 65 percent subsidy on COBRA premiums. The notices are available online at

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Categories: COBRA / DOL / Federal Laws

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