This Week in HR Policy

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The Association urged President Trump to consider the positive economic impact of nonimmigrant work visas as the Trump administration suspended many such visas through the end of 2020. HR Policy will continue to work to narrow the ban, especially protecting H-1B visas for highly skilled workers. The Trump administration’s executive order suspends most new H1-B visas for highly skilled workers, L-1 visas for internal company transfers, H-2B visas for seasonal workers, and J-1 visas for work-and-study based exchange visitor programs through the end of 2020. The EO cites high unemployment numbers and the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic ...
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A federal judge has upheld the Trump administration’s policy requiring hospitals to publish previously secret prices for health care services, giving the administration a major win in its quest to increase price transparency. The transparency rule , scheduled to take effect in January 2021, requires hospitals to publicly release the rates they negotiate with insurers for all services or face a penalty of up to $300 per day for violating the policy. The American Hospital Association claimed in a lawsuit that the administration did not have the authority to require publication of privately negotiated prices and in doing so, violated the industry’s ...
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The Trump administration released guidance enabling large employers to offer telehealth benefits to employees who are not eligible for any other health plan and stating insurers are not required to cover COVID-19 tests when employers require them as part of their return to work policies. According to the guidance, in light of the critical need to minimize the risk of exposure to and community spread of COVID-19, for the duration of any plan year beginning before the end of the public health emergency, large employers are allowed to offer telehealth or other remote care services to employees who are not eligible for any other health plan offered by ...
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The U.S. Department of Labor published proposed rules that would prohibit ERISA plan fiduciaries from investing in ESG funds if the “underlying investment strategy of the vehicle is to subordinate return or increase risk for the purpose of non-financial objectives.” “Private employer-sponsored retirement plans are not vehicles for furthering social goals,” said Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia in announcing the proposal. According to the release on the DOL website , the proposal is designed to clear up confusion from previous sub-regulatory guidance and make it clear that plan managers have a duty to prioritize risk and return over non-financial ...
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Both Presidents Obama and Trump have made extensive use of executive orders to achieve goals stymied by congressional gridlock. A recent Wall Street Journal op-ed by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) signals what a new Democratic administration could mean for federal contractors. Presidents can use executive orders to impose conditions on federal contractors, such as President Johnson’s executive order 11246 establishing affirmative action requirements on federal contractors, which is strongly supported by HR Policy member companies. However, in recent years such orders have been used by Presidents to establish additional requirements for federal ...
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State COVID-19 tracing privacy measures are materializing in the absence of a federal law, including a new California bill that would apply requirements to employers’ use of digital COVID-19 tracking and tracing technologies, such as obtaining affirmative consent from employees and providing an opt-out mechanism. The Technology-Assisted Contact Tracing Public Accountability and Consent Terms Act ( AB-1782 ) would require that employers using digital COVID-19 tracking and tracing technology: Obtain affirmative consent from individuals for the collection, use, maintenance, or disclosure of data that pertains to the individual; Allow users ...
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The UK’s proposal for a new migration system will represent a very significant tightening of controls on EU migration, especially for those in lower skilled/paid occupations, compared to the current system of free movement under the EU. Freedom of movement will end on December 31. Thereafter, the UK will introduce a new, points-based immigration system which will apply equally to anyone looking to move to the UK, no matter where in the world they come from. Irish citizens moving to the UK for work will be the only exception to the new system, while EU (and EEA/Swiss) nationals already resident in the UK are able to apply to remain indefinitely ...
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As if it couldn’t get more complex, Mexican employee relations will get even more challenging from 1st July when the USMCA Treaty comes into effect. Let’s list the challenges: Faced with the COVID pandemic, the government aggressively closed all but the most essential operations and introduced a rigid system of audits and the trade unions and lawyer Susana Prieto mobilized at factory gates on worker safety issues. Companies were obliged to maintain pay for those not working—so the most essential of workers were working for nothing. The heroine of the Matamoros 20/32 strikes, Prieto, was arrested and jailed for incitement to protest. As ...
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The Department of Labor announced proposed changes to the self-compliance tool employers use for evaluating compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), which could, if finalized, have a significant impact during DOL audits and litigation. MHPAEA generally requires that the treatment limitations imposed by an employer health plan on mental health and substance use disorder benefits cannot be more restrictive than the predominant financial requirements and limitations that apply to substantially all medical and surgical benefits. The Self-Compliance Tool is intended to help employers determine if their health plan or ...
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Here are a few people, places, and things you might not see on the landing page of your news feed but that could be big news before Labor Day. Congresswoman Val Demings (D-FL): Demings might be Vice President mostly because she represents where presidents are chosen—the heart of the I-4 corridor in Orlando. She was a long shot to be Joe Biden’s VP pick a few months ago. Now her experiences as the first black female police chief of Orlando and leadership in the Trump impeachment may bolster her chances. The Dems’ virtual convention: Broadcasting from “satellite” locations added excitement to the NFL draft, but what about a political convention ...
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On our recent calls, we spent considerable time talking about the impact of the election on the legislative agenda, but we didn’t talk much about the executive branch. In addition to enforcement and interpretation of existing laws by the agencies, a very significant area is the use of executive orders, which has stepped up considerably in recent years under both parties. As we have seen on DACA, executive orders have become a vehicle for achieving goals stymied by a gridlocked Congress. In the Obama presidency, executive orders were used to impose conditions on federal contracts—such as paid sick leave—as a substitute for stalled employment legislation. ...
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HR Policy Association pledged to listen, learn, and educate in a statement released this week that condemned racism, hatred and injustice in the world and bias in the workplace. Listening as the First Step Toward Change The statement says driving change must start "by listening to our Black employees to start with, to deepen our awareness of their perspectives and experiences. This input will guide us in taking tangible, measurable, transparent and comprehensive actions in our workplaces." The Association commits to helping members in four areas: Economic Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Well-Being, and Political Empowerment. ...
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While the U.S. Supreme Court decision this week in Bostock v. Clayton County resolves the issue of whether Title VII employment protections include sexual orientation and gender identity, Congress may still have to resolve a number of issues with new legislation. The decision explicitly did not “address bathrooms, locker rooms, [dress codes,] or anything else of the kind” while declining “to say anything about other statutes whose terms mirror Title VII’s,” some of which may have implications for employers. Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia provide statutory protections for sexual orientation and 22 states do so for gender ...
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HR Policy Online is now live and members can access the exclusive online hub to ask questions and share information with peers and the HR Policy Team—but how do you use it? Bookmark HR Policy Online: Access to HR Policy Online can be found at https://community.hrpolicy.org/home and on the main page of www.hrpolicy.org by clicking the “Online Communities” link in the center of the screen or the top menu. Update your profile, picture, and privacy settings: Login with your HR Policy credentials and scroll down and click “Update Profile Information” – add your picture and update your privacy settings under “My Account” to choose what ...
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The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program survives to see another day, but so does the Trump administration’s legal basis for ending it, as the Supreme Court’s decision focused on the procedural requirements to which the Department of Homeland Security failed to adhere. “The dispute before the Court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so,” Chief Justice Robert writes in the majority opinion . In a dissenting opinion, Justice Kavanagh observes, “The Court’s resolution of this narrow APA issue of course cannot eliminate the broader ...
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New guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission clarifies that the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from using COVID-19 serology tests for determining which employees can enter the workplace. According to the EEOC, an antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA and in light of CDC’s Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace,” an antibody test at this time does not meet the ADA’s “job related and consistent with business necessity” standard for medical examinations for current employees. Therefore, requiring antibody testing ...
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The role of the Compensation Committee already has expanded beyond executive compensation to cover talent development programs including succession planning, leadership development, performance management and talent acquisition, but should it be expanded further? A recent Bloomberg opinion piece by a noted governance expert calls on Compensation Committee's to oversee the full HR policy of a company in order to address increasing income inequality. Current compensation standards tying executive pay to shareholder returns has driven income inequality, according to the authors, the Honorable Leo Strine, the former Chief Justice of the Delaware ...
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COVID-19 has taken a toll on third quarter 2020 global hiring intentions, with employers in 35 of the 43 countries surveyed by ManpowerGroup expected to reduce payrolls in the period, while payroll gains are expected in the U.S. despite falling job openings and stubbornly high unemployment. The latest ManpowerGroup global report finds the strongest hiring pace is anticipated in Japan, India, the United States, China and Taiwan, while employers in Singapore, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, and South Africa forecast the weakest labor markets. Just 17% of U.S. businesses surveyed expect to grow payrolls during the third quarter of 2020, while ...
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Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) Work Safe Act would provide tax credits to businesses that provide bi-weekly COVID-19 tests to employees in states where the infection rates are above the national average. One in four adult workers are vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis determined that over 90 million adults are at a greater risk of severe illness due to risk factors like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. As employers reopen, keeping workers healthy is top of mind. The Act provides direct incentives to employers to implement testing programs as state and local governments continue to loosen ...
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French Labor Minister Muriel Pénicaud has announced that the country will extend its “temporary unemployment” scheme established in response to the coronavirus crisis for up to an additional two years. Under the program, France pays subsidies to companies to fund the salaries of those prevented from working by the crisis. At the end of April, about 8.6 million employees were benefiting from the scheme. Minister Pénicaud did not say what share of wages the French government would continue to pay—currently 84-100 % of net salary for the lower-paid—but that it was under discussion with employers and trade unions. Although France’s public sector deficit ...
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