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Informed Employer: September 28, 2016 Informed Employer: September 28, 2016

Informed Employer: September 28, 2016

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States Sue to Block New Department of Labor Overtime Rule
Officials from 21 U.S. states filed a lawsuit claiming an Obama administration rule to extend mandatory overtime pay to more than 4 million workers will place a heavy burden on state budgets. The rule, set to take effect Dec. 1, will require employers to pay overtime to salaried workers earning less than $47,500 a year, double the current threshold of $23,660.
(Source: Reuters, 2016-09-20) Read the full article
Court Says Banning Workers for Wearing Dreadlocks Not Racial Bias
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled against a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, effectively ruling that refusing to hire someone because of their dreadlocks is legal. In their suit, the EEOC claimed that this was a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964's Title VII, arguing that dreadlocks are a "racial characteristic" that have been historically used to stereotype African-Americans as "not team players" and as unfit for the workplace.
(Source:, 2016-09-21) Read the full article
Report Finds Immigrants Not Taking Jobs From Americans
Do immigrants take jobs from Americans and lower their wages by working for less? The answer, according to a report published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, is no. Immigrants do not take American jobs -- but with some caveats.
(Source: The New York Times, 2016-09-21) Read the full article
Census Bureau to Pay $15 Million to Settle Hiring Bias Charges
The U.S. Census Bureau will pay $15 million to a class of "hundreds of thousands" of black and Latino job seekers who claim they were shut out of jobs for the 2010 census because of a flawed criminal history screening process, under a settlement given final approval by a federal judge in New York. The agreement brings renewed attention to an issue targeted by federal civil rights enforcement authorities and the Obama administration -- the difficulty job applicants with criminal records can have finding work.
(Source: BNA, 2016-09-23) Read the full article
Most Employers Don't Offer HSAs to Complement HDHPs
More employers are offering high-deductible health plans, but research suggests several employees lack the knowledge needed to understand their benefits and take full advantage of them. Even though the number of employers offering high-deductible health plans (HDHP) seems to be on the rise, three out of five employers don't offer a health savings account (HSA) alongside these benefits, according to research by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.
(Source: Plan Sponsor, 2016-09-26) Read the full article
Workers Continue to Cover More of Their Medical Bills
The average cost of health coverage offered by employers pushed above $18,000 for a family plan this year, though the growth was slowed by the accelerating shift into high-deductible plans, according to a major survey. Employees paid 30 percent of the premiums for a family plan in 2016, compared with 29 percent last year, according to Kaiser.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 2016-09-14) Read the full article
Competition May Spur Small Businesses to Offer More 401(k) Plans
Only about 14 percent of small businesses have employer-provided plans, according to data from the Government Accountability Office. But changes in technology, an expense war in the mutual fund industry and innovative plan offerings have made smaller companies take a second look. In a tight labor market, benefits like retirement plans are increasingly being viewed as necessities to attract quality, long-term employees.
(Source: The New York Times, 2016-09-21) Read the full article
Employers Finding Workers Want Help Paying Off Student Loans
The movement to make student loan help as common as the 401(k) or vacation days just got a big boost. Social Finance (SoFi), perhaps the best-known name in student loan refinancing, said that it will offer a platform, called SoFi at Work, which employers can use to make contributions to their employees’ student loans.
(Source: MarketWatch, 2016-09-19) Read the full article
More Dads Taking Paternity Leave as Companies Offer Paid Policies
In 2014, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission mandated all leaves be treated the same, beyond the birth of a child qualifying for medical short-term disability. So any "bonding" time has to now be offered equally to birth mothers, fathers and adoptive parents -- or even those caring for other family members.
(Source: Reuters, 2016-09-14) Read the full article
Four Percent of Workers Tested Positive for Illicit Drugs in 2015
The share of U.S. workers testing positive for illicit drug use reached its highest level in a decade, according to data from millions of workplace drug tests administered by Quest Diagnostics Inc., one of the nation's largest medical-screening laboratories. Overall, four percent of worker drug tests were positive in 2015.
(Source: MarketWatch, 2016-09-14) Read the full article
Post-Accident Drug Testing Ends November 1, 2016… Are You Ready?

Paul Sinclair

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it will soon be a violation of OSHA regulations for employers to enforce policies that call for across-the-board drug testing after an employee has a workplace accident or injury. Effective November 1, 2016, "post-incident" drug testing must be limited to "situations in which employee drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident, and for which the drug test can accurately identify impairment caused by drug use." This is a perplexing new development for many employers, especially in a year where record numbers of employees are testing positive for workplace drug use.

Read more here.


Finally! New Proposed Immigration Option for Foreign Entrepreneurs

Jenifer Brown

In the ongoing and increasingly heated debate over immigration reform, one of the most critical and consistently overlooked needs of our immigration system includes options for foreign entrepreneurs. Within the existing structure of U.S. immigration law and policy exists a number of employment-based temporary and permanent visa solutions. However, a quick analysis reveals there are virtually no options for foreign entrepreneurs, even when such entrepreneurs receive substantial private funding and grants here. The limitations and inflexibility of our immigration system has led to an exodus of talent and countless missed opportunities for job creation and economic growth. The seeds of entrepreneurship are often planted during undergraduate and graduate study at U.S. institutions and instead of launching or nurturing such enterprises here, many foreign students are forced to explore more sustainable opportunities for themselves and their ideas abroad.

Read more here.


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