Informed Employer: Work Permission for H-4 Visa Holders: Long Awaited Employment Authorization has F Informed Employer: Work Permission for H-4 Visa Holders: Long Awaited Employment Authorization has F

Informed Employer: Work Permission for H-4 Visa Holders: Long Awaited Employment Authorization has Finally Arrived for Certain Dependent Spouses of H-1B Workers

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High Court Questions Religious Dress in Abercrombie Case
Questions arose in a vigorous Supreme Court argument that explored religious stereotypes, employment discrimination and the symbolism of the Muslim head scarf known as the hijab, all arising from a 2008 encounter at Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
(Source: The New York Times, 2015-02-25) Read the full article
Supreme Court Revives DOL Mortgage Broker Overtime Interpretation
The Supreme Court has sided with the Obama administration in upholding a rule making mortgage brokers eligible for overtime pay under federal labor law. The justices unanimously agreed to throw out a lower court ruling that faulted the administration for trying to change overtime rules without following proper procedures.
(Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2015-03-09) Read the full article
Courts Making EEOC Credit Check Position Tough to Defend
Employers may be aware that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated that credit checks by employers can be potentially dangerous land mines. The courts, however, seem to be making the EEOC work hard to assert its position about background checks.
(Source: HR.BLR.com, 2015-02-25) Read the full article
Ruling on Employment Dates Impacts Health Care Whistleblowers
Health care industry whistleblowers alleging False Claims Act violations may get more wind in their sails thanks to a recent ruling in federal district court. After a series of amended complaints, attorneys for a former Novartis sales executive convinced a Pennsylvania District Court judge that allegations of fraud that extend past a whistleblower's employment with the defendant remain valid if the individual had direct knowledge of the ongoing fraudulent scheme at the end of his or her tenure.
(Source: McKnights, 2015-03-05) Read the full article
DOL Issues Rule Giving All Same-Sex Couples Unpaid Time Off
Starting March 27, legally married same-sex couples will be able to take unpaid time off to care for a spouse or sick family members even if they live in a state that doesn't recognize their marriage. The final rule issued by the Department of Labor revises the definition of "spouse" in the Family and Medical Leave Act to recognize legally married same-sex couples regardless of where they live.
(Source: Kaiser Health News, 2015-03-06) Read the full article
Wisconsin Governor Signs 'Right-to-Work' Legislation
After a wave of Republican victories across the region in 2010, Indiana and then Michigan enacted right-to-work laws that supporters said strengthened those states economically, but that labor leaders asserted left behind a trail of weakened unions, and now it is Wisconsin's turn. Gov. Scott Walker -- who in 2011 succeeded in slashing collective bargaining rights for most public sector workers -- signed a private-sector right-to-work bill that makes his state the 25th to adopt the policy and has given new momentum to the business-led movement, its supporters say.
(Source: The New York Times, 2015-03-09) Read the full article
Restaurant Owners Mull How to Provide Benefits to Employees
Debate has been swirling nationwide about how restaurant owners can provide benefits to employees, or if they should even provide them, particularly as the Affordable Care Act takes effect. The issue at hand is that health insurance remains an unaffordable luxury for restaurant workers whose pay hovers near minimum wage.
(Source: The Greenville News, 2015-03-09) Read the full article
IRS Begins Process of Implementing 'Cadillac Plan' Tax
The Internal Revenue Service has begun the process of implementing the looming Obamacare excise tax on employer-sponsored health plans that, according to one recent analysis, could cost large companies subject to the tax $2.1 million per year from 2018 to 2024. The so-called "Cadillac plan" tax, which will start in 2018, targets overly generous employer-provided health care plans, imposing a 40 percent levy if the aggregate cost of "applicable employer-sponsored coverage" provided to an employee exceeds $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for families.
(Source: CFO.com, 2015-02-26) Read the full article
Having Multiple Jobs Can Raise Workers' Injury Risk
Researchers with the Liberty Mutual Research Institute's Center for Injury Epidemiology have concluded that individuals who work multiple jobs -- approximately 14 million U.S. residents -- have a greater likelihood of injury than those holding a single job. According to the findings published in the American Journal of Public Health, those working multiple jobs have a 27 percent higher rate of work-related injury and a 34 percent higher rate of non-work-related injury compared to single job holders.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2015-03-06) Read the full article
Most Employers Turning Blind Eye to Internal Fraud
Even when employers have good cases against internal fraud, they often don't refer them to law enforcement. Many companies handle instances of such fraud internally and very quietly make the employee "go away."
(Source: CFO.com, 2015-03-02) Read the full article
 
 
 
Headlines
Work Permission for H-4 Visa Holders: Long Awaited Employment Authorization has Finally Arrived for Certain Dependent Spouses of H-1B Workers 

In the midst of the controversy surrounding portions of the President's Executive Action on immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has made an important announcement confirming certain H-4 dependent spouses will be eligible to apply for employment authorization beginning May 26, 2015.

The final rule applies only to H-4 dependent spouses whose H-1B non-immigrant spouses are at a certain stage of the Lawful Permanent Resident (or "green card") process. More specifically, for an H-4 spouse to qualify for employment authorization, his or her H-1B non-immigrant spouse must be the beneficiary of an approved I-140 immigrant petition or have been granted H-1B status beyond the normal six (6) year maximum.

As noted in the press release from USCIS, finalizing the rule on H-4 employment eligibility was an important element of President Obama's Executive Action, announced in November 2014. The intent of the rule is to take financial pressure off of H-1B non-immigrants and their families as they remain in the United States in H-1B status for numerous years awaiting final processing of their green-card applications.

To apply for employment authorization, eligible H-4 dependent spouses must file an I-765 application with the requisite supporting evidence and the $380 filing fee. USCIS will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015. Once USCIS approves the I-765 application and the H-4 dependent spouse receives an approved Employment Authorization Document (EAD), he or she is authorized for employment in the United States.

If you have questions related to H-4 employment authorization eligibility, requirements or other immigration matters, please feel free to contact Jenifer M. Brown, Christl Glier, Lindsay Ramsey or another member of the firm's immigration practice.

 

Medicare News: CMS Issued Final Rule Related to Conditional Payment Appeals for Applicable Plans

On Friday, February 27, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published its Final Rule implementing provisions related to appeal rights being granted to Applicable Plans [defined as liability insurance (including self-insurance), no-fault insurance, or a workers’ compensation law or plan] by the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers (SMART) Act. The SMART Act amended the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) Act in 2013 in several ways. One way was to grant Applicable Plans a right to appeal final determinations from CMS when CMS pursued the Applicable Plan for reimbursement.

This Final Rule is a significant step by CMS in implementing the SMART Act provisions. In short, CMS intends to provide Applicable Plans the same appeal rights as it currently provides Medicare beneficiaries. Those rights include the ability to access a multi-level process including a redetermination by the contractor issuing the recovery demand, a reconsideration by a Qualified Independent Contractor, an Administrative Law Judge hearing, a review by the Departmental Appeals Board’s Medicare Appeals Council, and eventual judicial review once the beneficiary has standing to pursue such action.

This Final Rule becomes effective April 28, 2015.

To learn more, please contact Ann Stewart or any attorney in Ice Miller’s Workers Compensation Practice.

 

 
 
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