Employers await effects of Executive Order on immigration

November 21, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

While political wrangling over President Barack Obama’s newest Executive Order rages, employers need to understand the impact the immigration order will have on their workplaces.

Obama announced what he’s calling the Immigration Accountability Executive Actions in an address November 20. A fact sheet from the White House says the order will “crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.”

Obama’s plan includes three main elements: (1) increased border security, (2) an emphasis on deporting people deemed a threat to national security and public safety, such as suspected terrorists, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers, and (3) an expansion of a program allowing undocumented immigrants to temporarily stay in the United States if they register, pass background checks, and pay taxes.

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New circuit ruling complicates same-sex marriage issue

November 07, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The issue of how employers should handle same-sex marriage got a bit murkier November 6 as a divided appeals court panel broke with rulings from four other U.S. circuit courts of appeals by upholding state bans on same-sex marriage.

A three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the 2-1 decision, which allows bans on same-sex marriage in four states to stand. The court’s decision—affecting Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee—differs from other jurisdictions that have recently struck down similar state bans.

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New Massachusetts law requires paid sick leave

Voters in Massachusetts approved a law in the November 4 election that requires certain employers to provide paid sick leave. The law takes effect July 1, 2015.

Under the law, Massachusetts employers with at least 11 employees must provide paid sick leave. Employees will accrue paid sick leave beginning July 1, 2015, at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked for a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year. Employees won’t be eligible to take paid leave unless and until they have worked for the employer for 90 days.

In addition to paid leave, the new law means employers with fewer than 11 employees must allow employees to accrue and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per calendar year.

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Voters to decide on Anchorage collective bargaining ordinance

by Tom Daniel

When voters in Anchorage go to the polls in November, they will decide the fate of a local ordinance that reins in the collective bargaining rights of municipal employees.

A referendum to repeal the local ordinance known as the Responsible Labor Act will be part of the November 4 ballot. The ordinance, proposed by Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan and approved by the Anchorage Assembly in a 6-5 vote in 2013, imposes limitations on the collective bargaining rights of municipal employees. The ordinance restricts the rights of municipal unions by:

  • Limiting union employees’ pay raises to one percent over the five-year average of the Alaska inflation rate;
  • Prohibiting strikes;
  • Eliminating binding arbitration when the city and a union reach an impasse over the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), thus giving the city the authority to unilaterally implement its last offer;
  • Eliminating bonuses based on seniority or performance;
  • Introducing ‘”managed competition” by allowing the city to outsource some union jobs to private contractors; and
  • Limiting CBAs to a maximum of three years.

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Colorado employers have new official employment verification form

September 23, 2014 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

Colorado employers now have an official form from the state Division of Labor that should be used to verify that all employees hired after October 1 are legally eligible for employment.

Colorado law already requires all public and private employers to verify and document the legal employment status of all employees hired after January 1, 2007. That requirement must be completed within 20 days of hire and is in addition to the federal requirement of verification using Form I-9.

Employers can obtain the form and instructions at www.colorado.gov/cdle/evr.

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New Hampshire social media privacy law takes effect September 30

by Jeanine Poole

New Hampshire employers need to be reviewing their policies regarding employee use of social media and electronic equipment now that a new law protecting employee privacy is set to take effect September 30.

The new law prohibits New Hampshire employers from requesting or requiring current or prospective employees to disclose some information related to their personal social media accounts. The law defines “personal account” as “an account, service, or profile on a social networking website that is used by a current or prospective employee primarily for personal communications unrelated to any business purpose of the employer.”

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New Massachusetts law provides leave for domestic violence victims

by Susan Fentin

Employers in Massachusetts with at least 50 employees are now required to allow employees who are victims of domestic violence to take up to 15 days of unpaid leave within a 12-month period to deal with the violence.

The law, which went into effect August 8, also allows leave for covered family members of domestic violence victims. Covered family members include husbands; wives; those in a “substantive” dating or engagement relationship and who live together; persons having a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; a parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild; and guardians.

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Maryland transgender rights law takes effect October 1

by Kevin C. McCormick

Maryland’s new law prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in areas of employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations goes into effect October 1.

The Fairness for All Marylanders Act passed the legislature in March and was signed by Governor Martin O’Malley in May. It adds “gender identity” to Maryland’s existing laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and other characteristics. The law is designed to protect any person who has or is perceived by others to have a gender identity or expression that might be considered different or inconsistent with his assigned sex at birth, regardless of whether he self-identifies as transgender.

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Delay on immigration reform sparks questions, complaints

September 08, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

by Tammy Binford

President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will delay taking executive action on immigration reform means employers won’t get quick answers on when or if changes to the country’s immigration system will come.

On June 30, Obama promised he would use his executive power to make changes since Congress wasn’t making progress on passing an immigration reform bill. Speaking in the Rose Garden, he said then, “I’m beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.”

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Nebraskans to vote on minimum wage hike

by Bonnie Boryca

After an attempt to pass a minimum wage increase in Nebraska came up short in this year’s legislative session, the issue is set to go to voters in the November election.

The Nebraska secretary of state’s office has announced that it has verified enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot. The proposal calls for the minimum wage to go from $7.25 per hour to $8 per hour on January 1, 2015, and then hit $9 per hour on January 1, 2016.

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