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Informed Employer: March 15, 2017 Informed Employer: March 15, 2017

Informed Employer: March 15, 2017

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Study Finds Parental-Leave Benefits Not Improving
Remember the mad rush to offer employees weeks and weeks of paid leave for all new parents? Turns out that trend was limited to a certain sector of the American economy, and over the last decade many companies have instead reduced their leave offerings.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2017-03-13) Read the full article
U.S. Temporarily Suspending Expedited Processing of H-1B Visas
The U.S. is temporarily suspending expedited processing of H-1B visas, eliminating the option of shorter wait times for the program that helps highly skilled foreigners work at US companies. Under the current system, companies submitting applications for H-1B visas for potential employees can pay extra for expedited processing, which is referred to as premium processing.
(Source:, 2017-03-04) Read the full article
H-1B Spouses Could Face Work Visa Problems Amid Trump Curbs
The visa program used by several industries to bring skilled foreign workers -- many of them Indian citizens -- to the U.S. is facing potential curbs under President Trump, and their partners and children could be next in the line of fire. Since 2015, spouses of H-1B visa holders waiting for green cards have been eligible to work in the U.S. on H-4 dependent visas, thanks to a rule introduced by President Obama, but a group called Save Jobs USA is challenging that rule in court, and the Trump administration has asked for 60 days to think about it.
(Source:, 2017-03-08) Read the full article
Senate Approves Bill Overturning Rule on Labor Law Violations Disclosure
The Senate has voted to reverse an Obama administration rule designed to ensure that government contractors disclose violations of federal labor laws as they seek more work. This time, the Senate voted 49-48 to overturn a rule that required contractors to disclose violations of 14 federal labor laws, including those pertaining to workplace safety, wages and discrimination.
(Source: Los Angeles Times, 2017-03-06) Read the full article
Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Help Workers Pay Off Student Loans
A bipartisan coalition of legislators is making a move on a bill that would enable companies to offer tax-free tuition assistance benefits to their employees in return for tax breaks. The bill would expand the Internal Revenue Code to give employers tax breaks for providing up to $5,250 yearly for student debt repayment; an employee receiving the benefit would not be taxed on those funds.
(Source: WQAD, 2017-03-02) Read the full article
70% of Employers Impacted by Prescription Drug Abuse in Workplace
More than 70 percent of U.S. employers are dealing with the direct impact of prescription drug misuse in their workplaces, according to a new survey of more than 500 companies with 50 or more employees released by the National Safety Council, a nonprofit and nongovernmental agency promoting safety in the workplace. The survey, billed as the first of its kind in the U.S., also found that although a similar percentage of employers agree that prescription drug misuse is a disease that requires treatment, 65 percent feel it is a justifiable reason to fire an employee.
(Source: MarketWatch, 2017-03-13) Read the full article
Economists Use Fake Resumes to Show Age Discrimination in Hiring
In the largest study of its kind, a trio of economists found "compelling evidence" that older workers, especially women, experience age discrimination in hiring, according to a summary of the research published by the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank. The researchers created more than 40,000 fake resumes that were identical except for age and gender and submitted them online for more than 13,000 mostly lower-skilled jobs, and found that response rates went down as age went up, and the disparity was higher for women than men.
(Source: San Francisco Chronicle, 2017-02-27) Read the full article
Firms Lose $4B in Productivity to First March Madness Round
Analysis around the first round in March Madness estimates that employers lose $4B in lost productivity thanks to the games, says SHRM. Employers also have to keep a watchful eye on workplace wagers, as some workers could reveal personal problems with gambling or out-of-control debt.
(Source: HR Dive, 2017-03-12) Read the full article
Ice Miller Labor & Employment Webinars

Ice Miller's Labor, Employment, and Immigration group is proud to host a series of webinars aimed at keeping our clients and industries well-informed of legislation impacting labor and employment. While our webinars are free, they require registration, so please register if you are interested!

Register for Labor and Employment webinars here. Our next webinar, "60 Day Check-in" is on March 29.


Mental Health Issues in the Workplace

Kelly Boggs Lape

Workplace violence. Immigration. PTSD. Gun Control. Two Americas. All of these current stressors in society have forced employers to pay increasing attention to mental health issues in the workplace. It is no surprise then that the EEOC issued guidance and FAQs in December 2016 regarding “Depression, PTSD, & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights.” Although there was scant clarification and certainly no bright-line rules for employers, the EEOC did reiterate that certain reasonable accommodations can be available for individuals with mental health issues, including altered break and work schedules, quiet office space or devices that create a quiet work environment, changes in supervisory methods (e.g. written versus verbal instructions), specific shift assignments and permission to work from home.

Read more here.


Last Call for H-1B Cap Subject Petitions and Suspension of Premium Processing

Jenifer Brown & Christl Glier

With the Fiscal Year 2018 filing window for new H-1B cap subject petitions opening on Monday, April 3, 2017, now is your last chance to seek a new H-1B visa petition. There are only 65,000 new H-1B visas available each fiscal year (with an additional 20,000 reserved for foreign nationals with a U.S. Master's degree or higher). If selected in the annual lottery and approved, H-1B status will become effective no earlier than October 1, 2017.

Last year (for FY2017), USCIS received approximately 236,000 H-1B petitions, and the year before that, 233,000 petitions were received. When demand for new H-1B visa status exceeds the numerical limitation set by Congress, a computer-generated "lottery" is used to select petitions. As in years past, the cap likely will be exhausted in the first week of available filing leaving U.S. employers will few options to hire new foreign workers until the start of the next fiscal year more than eighteen (18) months from now, October 1, 2018.

Read more here.


President Trump’s New Travel Ban

Following the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ nationwide suspension of President Trump’s most controversial Executive Order on immigration, the President has revoked the January 27th Order (Protecting the Nation Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States) and issued a replacement order by the same name. The new order was signed by the President on March 6, 2017 and attempts to address concerns of the 9th Circuit and other district courts across the country. Unlike the original order, the new order has a delayed effective date of March 16, 2017 and identifies each of the affected countries as warranting additional scrutiny as state sponsors of terrorism or as having been “significantly compromised by terrorist organizations,” or containing “active conflict zones.”

See more here.


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