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August 31, 2009

EEO-1 Reports and Vets 100 Reminder

Filed under: Employment Law — Tags: , 1:48 pm

Don’t forget, if you are an employer required to file an EEO-1 and VETS 100 you must do so on or before September 30, 2009.

Private employers with 100 or more employees and federal government contractors with at least one government contract of $50,000 or more and 50 or more employees, must file an EEO-1 Report form annually.

The report requires that an organization place its workforce in job categories and to analyze it by gender and race/ethnicity. Certain federal contractors must file a VETS 100 or VETS 100A Report which tracks the hiring and employment of protected veterans.


August 28, 2009

HR Fact Friday: 45% of Employers Use Social Networking Sites to Research Job Candidates

Career Expert Provides DOs and DON’Ts for Job Seekers on Social Networking 

As social networking grows increasingly pervasive, more employers are utilizing these sites to screen potential employees. Forty-five percent of employers reported in a recent CareerBuilder survey that they use social networking sites to research job candidates, a big jump from 22 percent last year. Another 11 percent plan to start using social networking sites for screening. More than 2,600 hiring managers participated in the survey, which was completed in June 2009.

Of those who conduct online searches/background checks of job candidates, 29 percent use Facebook, 26 percent use LinkedIn and 21 percent use MySpace. One-in-ten (11 percent) search blogs while 7 percent follow candidates on Twitter.



August 26, 2009

Around the States – 08/2009

Nevada has expanded its law requiring parental leave for school-related activities. As of  August 15, 2009, employers with 50 or more employees must give each employee who is a parent, guardian or custodian of a child in a public or private school up to four hours of leave each school year for each child.

A new Arizona “Parking Lot” law, effective September 30th will expand the rights of gun owners to bring weapons on to employers’ property.

Colorado has passed the Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors Act. The law creates a complaints process for individuals who believe they have been misclassified as independent contractors.

New York recently passed an amendment to its Human Rights Law that prohibits discrimination against victims of domestic violence.


August 21, 2009

HR Fact Friday: COBRA Enrollment Doubles After Launch of Subsidy Program

Filed under: COBRA — Tags: , , , , , 6:54 am

Enrollments in COBRA (health continuation coverage) rose from less than 20% to nearly 40%  since the U.S. government enacted a new subsidy program, according to a report by Hewitt Associates, a consulting firm.

Signed into law in February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides for a 65% subsidy for COBRA continuation premiums for up to 9 months for workers who have been involuntarily terminated. To qualify for the subsidy, individuals must have a qualifying event for COBRA coverage that is the employee’s involuntary termination during the period beginning September 1, 2008 and ending December 31, 2009.

Hewitt looked at COBRA enrollment activity for 200 large employers both before and after the enactment of the program. From March 2009 to June 2009, monthly COBRA enrollment rates for Americans eligible for the subsidy averaged 38%, up from 19% for the period of September 2008 through February 2009.

Hewitt estimates that without the subsidy, the average worker would spend $8,800 a year in COBRA healthcare costs. With the subsidy, the average worker would spend about $3,000 a year.

Source: 8/19/2009


August 17, 2009

Would You Like Overtime With That Sandwich?

Filed under: Salaries & Pay — Tags: , 1:44 pm

State and federal wage and hour law is difficult for even the best HR people to correctly administer.  All of us are faced with ensuring that rest and meal break rules are understood and adhered to.  While the rules aren’t terribly complex they can be tricky.  They certainly can be sensitive as they involve two things highly valued by employees-   breaks and pay.  Therefore they deserve periodic attention. Serious and costly consequences can result if something as seemingly simple as the law surrounding rest breaks isn’t followed.



Raises, Bonuses on Opposite Trajectories

Filed under: General HR Buzz11:27 am

A survey of more than 1,000 large companies says raises are at a new low, but bonuses are at a new high. Some see it as a way to save jobs.

U.S. companies in 2009 doled out the lowest salary raises in the 33 years since consulting firm Hewitt Associates first started surveying companies on their pay practices. At the same time, companies devoted the largest portion yet of their payrolls to employee bonuses.

Average salary increases this year dropped well below 3% for the first time since Hewitt started tracking the data in 1976.

Meanwhile, the portion of companies’ compensation budgets devoted to performance-based bonuses rose to about 12% of payroll on average for some salaried workers, up from about 6% a decade ago. (This survey counts executive bonuses only to the extent executives are eligible for all-employee bonuses; most executive bonuses are not counted here.) (more…)


August 14, 2009

HR Fact Friday: Americans Working Much Harder – For Less Pay

Source: Reposted from an online article by John W. Schoen, Senior Producer,, 8/11/09

Feel like you’re working a lot harder these days, putting in longer hours for the same pay — or even less? The latest round of government data on worker productivity indicates that you probably are.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the American work force produced, at an annual rate, 6.4 percent more of the goods they made and services they provided in the second quarter of this year compared to a year ago. At the same time, “unit labor costs” — the amount employers paid for all that extra work — fell by 5.8 percent. The jump in productivity was higher than expected; the cut in labor costs more than double expectations. 



August 12, 2009

Unemployment Rate at 26 Year High

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: 7:21 am

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate increased from 8.9% in April to 9.4% in May.   That’s the highest rate since 1983.  Extensive job losses were found in manufacturing (vehicles and parts), machinery, and fabricated metal.   Significant losses also occurred in financial and business services.  Health care was a bright spot, as employment in this sector continues to increase.

Unemployment rates reported for various groups include:   adult men (9.8%) vs. adult women (7.5%), Asians (6.7%), whites (8.6%), Hispanics (12.7%), and blacks (14.9%).  Teen unemployment was 22.7%.


The “Do More With Less” Overtime Peril


Whether you call it down-sizing, right-sizing, reduction in force, or lay-off, for many employees it means getting more work done in the same amount of time.  And since nobody wants to be seen as the one who can’t finish their work, some employees find themselves working longer, without being paid — or even asking — for overtime. 

Clearly, this could be a serious problem for employers.

“Companies that have established a culture of not paying for off-the-clock work will surely save money in the short-term, but those savings could be dwarfed by class-action lawsuits down the line.” says Charles Wilson, a labor-and-employment attorney in the Houston law office of Epstein Becker Green.

Wilson says that the situation is even more complex in companies that now have salaried employees, such as managers, doing a lot of the work that had previously been done by hourly employees.

“That can be used to challenge the exemption of the managerial employee and say that the manager is no longer a manager and is working as an hourly employee, so all the hours worked, including overtime, must be paid to that manager,” he says.

Communication, enforcement and training are key to handling this problem, experts say.

Read the complete article here

Source: Human Resource Executive Online


August 11, 2009

Credit Checks in Limbo?

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Hiring & Jobs7:16 am


According to SHRM, approximately 40% of employers use credit checks as part of the background check process.  Although the checks are often conducted on candidates who will be handling money, many employers use credit checks to gauge a prospective employee’s reliability and responsibility.

Joseph Nai of West Springfield, MA, doesn’t think the practice is fair. “I don’t think it’s right, I think your credit shouldn’t have anything to do about going out and getting a job. Some people fall into hard times and their credit goes bad, does that mean they don’t deserve a job?”

Some states agree with Joseph:

  • New York State requires that any background check be directly related to the job being sought.
  • Legislators in Ohio and Michigan — a state especially hard-hit by unemployment — are weighing bills that bar credit checks altogether from being used as a basis for hiring.
  • In July, Hawaii approved a measure that allows employers in that state to review a credit history only after making an offer and requires the credit check to be “directly related” to job qualifications.
  • Similarly, in Washington State, there’s been a law on the books since 2007 that mandates credit checks can be done and used only when they are “substantially related” to the job.

The house is currently considering a bill called ‘The Equal Employment for All Act’ that would prohibit the use of consumer credit checks against prospective and current employees for the purposes of making adverse employment decisions.


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