EEOC Develops Best Practices Against Caregiver Discrimination

April 22, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

On April 22, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offered employers new guidance and best practices on avoiding discrimination against workers with caregiving responsibilities. The best practices document is available online at www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/caregiver-best-practices.html and illustrates proactive measures employers can take that go beyond federal non-discrimination requirements.

It supplements a 2007 EEOC guidance document on unlawful disparate treatment of employees/caregivers. The new guidance suggests language for a written policy addressing caregiver protection and offers best practices in recruitment, hiring, promotion, and terms and conditions of employment.

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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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Federal Contractors’ Deadline on E-Verify Moved to June 30

April 17, 2009 - by: HR Hero 1 COMMENTS

Update: E-verify deadline moved to September 2009

The deadline for federal contractors and subcontractors to begin using the E-Verify system has once again been delayed –- this time to June 30.

The rule requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to agree to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees went into effect in January, but the applicability date of the final rule has been delayed three times: It originally was to take effect on January 15, then it was delayed to February 20, then to May 21, and now the latest delay pushes the date out six more weeks to June 30.

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H-1B Visas Still Available for 2010

April 08, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

In a remarkable about-face from the past few years, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced today that after a week of receiving petitions for H-1B nonimmigrant visas, the 65,000 cap for the coming fiscal year hasn’t been reached. For the past several years, the USCIS has received far more petitions for H-1B visas on the first day applications were accepted for the coming year than it could issue.

Also, the 20,000 cap on petitions for visas for applicants with a U.S. master’s degree or higher has not been reached.  As a result, the USCIS continues to accept FY 2010 H-1B petitions. The agency stated on its website that it will continue to monitor the number of H-1B petitions received and issue an update announcing that the H-1B visa caps have been met.

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Categories: USCIS

IRS Issues New COBRA Guidance for Employers

April 02, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

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

The IRS has issued guidance on the COBRA premium assistance or subsidy provisions of the economic stimulus bill recently passed in Congress. Under the provisions, eligible employees who were involuntarily terminated from their jobs between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009, and their qualified beneficiaries are entitled to up to nine months of COBRA health insurance coverage at a 65% reduction over what they would normally pay. The 27-page guidance (IRS Notice 2009-27) was issued late on March 31.

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Categories: COBRA / Federal Laws / HR Hero Alerts / IRS

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EEOC Violated the FLSA? Oops

March 31, 2009 - by: HR Hero 1 COMMENTS

An arbitrator has ruled that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) practice of giving comp time to employees who worked extra hours didn’t meet the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The ruling stems from a 2006 grievance protesting the EEOC’s reclassification of certain investigators and mediators as exempt from overtime under the FLSA.

The arbitrator had issued an earlier, interim decision returning all but one group of employees to non-exempt status. The issue in this decision was whether the EEOC had “suffered and permitted” employees in non-exempt positions to work overtime without offering them a choice between extra pay or comp time.

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Categories: EEOC

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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New I-9 form effective April 3; H-1B visa deadline

March 20, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Two important deadlines are approaching for HR. On April 3, employers must start using the new I-9 form. Initially the change was set to happen in February, but the Obama administration delayed it and other unimplemented regulations to allow time for further agency review.

April 1 marks the beginning of the annual race for the H-1B visa lottery. In past years, the USCIS has gotten significantly more requests than it has H-1B visas to allow. Employers who want to apply for the visas must submit their requests on April 1 to have a chance at the lottery.

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Categories: HR Hero Line / USCIS

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 www.dol.gov/ebsa/COBRAmodelnotice.html.

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Categories: COBRA / DOL / Federal Laws

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EEOC Seeking Comment on Proposed GINA Regulations

February 26, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is in the process of finalizing regulations implementing the employment provisions of the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA).

The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, signed into law in May 2008, prohibits discrimination by health insurers and employers based on people’s genetic information. The EEOC is to issue regulations by May 21, 2009, implementing Title II of GINA, the part that prohibits the use of genetic information in employment, prohibits the intentional acquisition of genetic information about applicants and employees, and imposes strict confidentiality requirements.

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