The State of Alabama passed an Equal Pay Act in the 2019 legislative session that is set to take effect on September 1, 2019. Employers must begin their preparations to comply with the law now because there are new timekeeping and wage records that will be required of all employers in Alabama as a result.

In this podcast, Littler’s Michael Lotito and Jim Paretti discuss new and expected developments at the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Trump administration released a regulation Monday that could dramatically cut the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter and stay in the US by making it easier to reject green card and visa applications based on their likelihood to use government subsidies and benefits.

Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested nearly 700 immigrants as part of a series of raids at work sites throughout Mississippi.

The raids are part of the Trump administration’s ongoing crackdown on illegal immigration.

What if ICE shows up at your business? Do you know what to do?
I’ve covered this topic previously. Given the recent news, It thought it was worth revisiting. You can read my thoughts here.

The post Do You Know What to Do if ICE Shows Up at Your Business? appeared first on Workforce.

Everyone loves prizes — particularly when those prizes include free housing for a year.

For the past seven years, Vancouver, Washington-based Vesta Hospitality has been running an associate of the month program called “Work Hard Live Free.”

free housing perk; rewards; benefits
In places with more expensive housing markets like New York, housing benefits are a particularly useful tool.

Every month at each property of the hotel-management company, one employee is highlighted. At the end of the year, there’s a companywide party for program, in which one finalist is selected to win free housing for a year. 

Vesta Hospitality Chairman and CEO Rick Takach said the program began after noticing a disparity in the satisfaction between hourly employees and those in management positions.

“[The previous associate of the month program] needed some lift, so we started to think about how we could make it more impactful,” he said. There’s typically no cap on the program, Takach said.

“If somebody moves and their rent or mortgage is higher, we pay it. We’re not trying to penny pinch or anything, we’re trying to take care of everybody,” he said. “If you’re an hourly associate and all of a sudden your rent or mortgage is taken care of for a year, that’s a pretty big deal, and it seems to have gone over really well.”

Takach said the program has boosted morale and employee satisfaction among both hourly associates and those in management positions. 

“Management members are more involved than ever, and hourly employees are working harder than ever,” Takach said. “So the people who win this program are really our best.”

Although Takach said that Vesta does not intend to expand the housing reward as a regular benefit, success of this program is emblematic of a strategy that many organizations are undertaking to recruit and retain employees.

“A lot of employers are looking at housing as something to think about,” said Julie Stitch, vice president of content at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. “Right now we are in a period of such low unemployment. So employers that have open positions are finding it challenging to find someone to fill them and bring the right skill sets, experience, attitude and enthusiasm. Employers are looking at all different types of things to offer other than just strictly wages.”

In places with more expensive housing markets like New York or California, housing benefits are a particularly useful tool. Facebook and Google have proposed building housing for their employees to eliminate the barrier of skyrocketing rents and sometimes hours-long commutes. 

And tech companies aren’t the only organizations that see the opportunities in housing benefits. Hospitals, universities and municipal governments also have programs that provide subsidized housing, forgivable loans and other housing-related perks to employees.

According to Stitch, one of the most useful aspects of providing housing benefits could be in in recruiting and retaining younger employees for a longer period of time.

“In some respects, too, employers are doing this to help younger employees who may not have any credit history and are finding it challenging to get an affordable mortgage or haven’t had the time to amass a downpayment,” Stitch said. “So those employees or even those with poor credit history will benefit.”

Also read: How to Remain Competitive with 4 Low-Cost Perks

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proposed several policy changes that will make it easier for workers to remove a labor union from representing a bargaining unit.

The federal office charged with improving immigration administration concluded that increased filings, technology challenges and insufficient staffing are the primary reasons for the processing delays. But others assert that the Trump administration’s policies and practices have slowed down the immigration benefits process, and USCIS should reverse those policies that are increasing backlogs.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced today its intent to publish a proposed “Election Protection Rule” that would amend regulations governing the filing and processing of petitions for secret ballot union elections. A Board majority explained that the proposed amendments would “better protect employees’ statutory right of free choice on questions concerning representation by removing unnecessary barriers to the fair and expeditious resolution of such questions through the preferred means of a Board-conducted secret ballot election.” To that aim, the Board proposed amendments to its: (1) blocking charge policy; (2) voluntary recognition bar rule; and (3) recognition rules in the construction industry. It should be noted that this represents the first of what may ultimately be several forays into rulemaking to amend the current representation process.

Workers’ sabbaticals hold potential benefits and risks for companies. In the best cases, they allow employees the freedom to grow outside the everyday structure of company life—but they also bring the risk that employees will take their new skills and move on to different opportunities.

An agreement to arbitrate sexual harassment claims is enforceable, according to a recent decision handed down by a federal judge in the Southern District of New York, despite a state law purporting to ban mandatory arbitration of such claims (Latif v. Morgan Stanley & Co., LLC.). The decision clears up confusion that had existed for much of the past year, as employers were caught between a broad new state law and a well-established federal policy permitting arbitration of such claims. What do New York employers need to know about this recent decision?