New Index Measures Unretirement

March 20, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The changing attitudes and expectations of American workers regarding retirement have been measured in Sun Life Financial Inc.’s first “Unretirement Index.” Unretirement is defined as working at least 20 hours per week after reaching the age when one is eligible to receive full social security benefits.

The Unretirement Index measures consumer opinions toward five factors that impact retirement: the economy, personal finance, health, government benefits, and employer benefits. Sun Life’s research shows how attitudes are changing as the median age of Americans rises and more Baby Boomers prepare for decisions such as when to take social security and when to exit the workplace.

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Categories: HR Hero Line

The Time for Bold Action

March 20, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

In difficult times such as these, with the economy in disarray and unemployment at a 20-year high, the natural reaction for many is to pull back. We want to do the safe thing. Recessions are a time to make cuts, reduce risk and weather the storm. Whether you’re talking about individuals or organizations, this is the conventional wisdom.

Let me suggest an alternative. This is a time for bold action. When everyone else is pulling back it’s time to step forward and set yourself apart. I think the English writer Charles Caleb Colton captured it well when he wrote, “Times of great calamity and confusion have been productive for the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace. The brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm.”

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Categories: Commentary


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

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Categories: COBRA / DOL / Federal Laws

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SEIU, Nurses Union Boost the Employee Free Choice Act

March 19, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Two large and powerful health care labor unions have signed a pact that is expected to provide a shot in the arm for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).

Under the pact announced on March 19, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CAN/NNOC) will work together to bring union representation to all nonunion registered nurses and other health care employees while stepping up efforts to enact the Employee Free Choice Act. The two groups are the largest unions in the nation representing health care workers and registered nurses, according to a statement from both organizations.

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Categories: Federal Laws / HR Hero Alerts

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Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

March 13, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

Sorry for the sports cliché, but it fits. There are a lot of distractions in life — now more than ever.  The recession (I’m surprised someone hasn’t come up with a four letter word for it) has everyone distracted. Admit it, you come to work and you’re distracted. You log on to the Internet to check what the stock market is doing. How far has it fallen already today and it’s not even noon?  You check back two or three more times before that final one late in the day to get the closing number.

What’s the company stock price doing today? Is it up or down? What does that mean for those rumored layoffs, not to mention your pension? You’re worried about your job. You’re worried about your retirement account. You’re worried about making your mortgage payment. You’re just plain ol’ worried. Now you’re not only distracted, you’re despondent. Who has time for work? Based on the financial results being reported daily, nobody does. We’re sitting on our collective hands as the economy and our companies crater.

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Categories: Commentary

Democrats Introduce the Employee Free Choice Act

March 10, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

The Democrats blazed ahead into battle today (March 10) by introducing the much-anticipated Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) in both houses of Congress. EFCA, which has been the subject of countless debates, is a controversial bill that would allow a majority of employees to form a union by signing card-check petitions. Under the Employee Free Choice Act, employees could still choose to have a secret-ballot election, but employers would no longer be able to dispute the card-check process through such an election if a majority of employees signed card-check petitions.

Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Representative George Miller (D- California) held a press conference on the Employee Free Choice Act shortly after noon today following a Senate hearing on rebuilding our nation’s middle class by restoring Americans’ rights in the workplace.

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Utah Supreme Court Issues Major Workers’ Comp Ruling

March 06, 2009 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

In a very recent decision handed down by the Utah Supreme Court, the court has substantially limited the protections afforded to employers under the workers’ compensation statute.

This decision involved an industrial accident at a Chevron refinery near Salt Lake City. According to the facts of the written opinion, Chevron tried a new, less expensive method of neutralizing spent toxic sludge that backfired, causing a number of workers in the vicinity to fall ill.

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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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Republicans Race to Preempt EFCA with the Secret Ballot Protection Act

February 26, 2009 - by: HR Hero 1 COMMENTS

Republicans renewed the fight to preserve secret-ballot elections in union organization campaigns on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 by introducing the Secret Ballot Protection Act (SBPA) in both houses of Congress. The SBPA is a counter to the proposed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).

The Employee Free Choice Act has recently been the subject of many debates, especially during the presidential campaign. EFCA would drastically change current labor laws and enable a majority of employees to form a union by signing petition cards (the “card-check” process). Under EFCA, an employer would no longer be able dispute the card-check process through a secret-ballot election.

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