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Informed Employer: March 28, 2018 Informed Employer: March 28, 2018

Informed Employer: March 28, 2018

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Premium Processing of H-1B Visas Temporarily Stopped
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced another limitation on the H1-B visa program, less than two weeks before the government begins accepting applications for fiscal year 2019. The agency said that expedited processing for H-1B visa applications will be temporarily suspended until September 10.
(Source: Newsweek, 2018-03-21) Read the full article
Trump Administration Backs Off Regulation Allowing Tip-Sharing
The Trump administration has backed away from a proposed regulation that would have allowed restaurant owners and managers to pocket the tips of their workers. Under the compromise, inserted into the congressional spending bill that won final approval, federal law would be revised to make clear that employers cannot, under any circumstances, keep any portion of the tips earned by their workers.
(Source: The New York Times, 2018-03-23) Read the full article
More Smaller Employers Offering Workers Self-Insured Health Plans
More smaller employers are offering self-insured health plans to their staffers, but the number of large firms doing the same is on the decline, according to a new report. The Employee Benefit Research Institute tracked trends in self-insured health plans between 1996 and 2016 and found that enrollment in self-insured plans decreased from 60 percent to 57.8 percent between 2015 and 2016, largely on the back of a drop in the number of large employers offering such plans.
(Source: Fierce Healthcare, 2018-03-13) Read the full article
Loud Noise May Be Harming Workers' Health, Report Finds
Loud noise at work doesn't just threaten your hearing, it might also boost your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, a new U.S. government report suggests. Loud noise is one of the most common workplace hazards in the United States, with one in four Americans reporting a history of exposure to high levels of noise while at work, the researchers said.
(Source: WebMD, 2018-03-22) Read the full article
Survey Finds Soft Perks Have Huge Impact on Employee Satisfaction
Think soft perks don't matter much when it comes to talent retention and acquisition? Turns out that perks like flexible work schedules and professional development opportunities have a greater impact on employee satisfaction than many other types of benefit offerings.
(Source: Employee Benefit Adviser, 2018-03-23) Read the full article
More Gig Workers May Soon Be Paid in Cryptocurrencies
Workers who make money on digital apps and work on their own schedules, can live very different lives than their traditional employee counterparts, and soon they might not even be paid the same kind of money. A number of companies are designing payment platforms and cryptocurrencies specifically for the sharing economy, which they say is in need of a more fair and efficient path to compensation.
(Source: CNBC, 2018-03-13) Read the full article
More Companies Offering Employees Pet Benefits to Retain Workers
From free food for lunch and dinner to oil changes and car washes, companies are going above and beyond to attract and keep the best and brightest employees. The latest trend in employee benefits provides paid time off to bond with a new four-legged member of the family, or the death of a beloved pet.
(Source: Cleburne Times-Review, 2018-03-16) Read the full article
Many Office Workplaces Moving Toward Open Spaces, Outdoors
The outdoors are making their way into office workspaces. Cubicles and more defined work areas are going away and being replaced with open spaces, more vegetation and easy access to the outdoors.
(Source:, 2018-03-20) Read the full article
March Madness Provides Employees Opportunity to Bond
While some companies may worry about March Madness because of productivity concerns, others choose to embrace it as an employee engagement tool. The average employee spends six work hours on sports-related activities during the tournament, according to an OfficeTeam survey of 1,000 U.S. workers.
(Source: Workforce, 2018-03-19) Read the full article
Job References and the True Risks of Remaining Silent

Michael Blickman

How ironic that we live in an information-overload world, yet we know so little about newly hired employees.
Most companies follow this hiring sequence: Review resumes, hold interviews, and make the selection. But as a business owner, how much time do you spend with the selected candidates before their first day of work? Do you spend more time researching and buying a new car (or a new TV) than in selecting new employees?
All business owners should want to know as much as possible about a person before making a job offer. After all, the investment you are making is enormous. Consider, too, the huge costs in losing an employee when you factor in the impact of dealing with poor performance, termination risks, finding a replacement, training and trying to reach an acceptable performance level.

Read more here.


Make Safety a Priority to Help Reduce Workplace Injuries

Jennifer McDaniel

Safety is the best way to reduce your workers’ compensation costs.  Here are a few tips to make your workplace a safer environment:

  • Provide training: A comprehensive safety education and training program should be provided to new employees. Safety training should be an ongoing and regular part of your business’ education practices.
  • Make safety a priority: Institute consequences for failure to follow safety measures, and recognize or reward employees who correctly follow safety procedures.
  • Frequently assess work facilities: Conduct regular evaluations of work facilities, machinery and workstations. Encourage employees to report anything that looks broken or unsafe. Be sure to correct any hazards such as dim lighting, poor air quality/temperature and unsafe machinery. Clearly mark any hazard areas with the proper signage.  
  • Provide proper safety gear: Be sure to provide employees with the right safety gear and require them to use it.  
  • Review your business practices: Some common work practices may lead to work injuries. For example, in industries that require strenuous or repetitive work, adding overtime hours may increase overuse injury claims. By hiring additional staff or part-time staff, you may be able to reduce overuse or overexertion injuries.  
  • Develop a wellness program: Employees who are healthy and fit will be more likely to avoid injury. They can also recover more quickly if an accident does occur.


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