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More News From the World of HR

Compiled by SHRM Online Staff  11/21/2014
Employers Watching Health Insurance Costs Closely
Despite years of rising medical costs and pressure from the health care overhaul, employers consider employee health insurance a priority. But new surveys suggest coverage may grow skimpier in the coming years. A poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that companies that offer health insurance see it as a key tool to attract workers and keep them on the job.
ABC News

Falling Wages at Factories Squeeze the Middle Class
For nearly 20 years, Darrell Eberhardt worked in an Ohio factory putting together wheelchairs, earning $18.50 an hour, enough to gain a toehold in the middle class and feel respected at work. He is still working with his hands, assembling seats for Chevrolet Cruze cars at the Camaco auto parts factory in Lorain, Ohio.
New York Times

America’s Part-Time Economy
The West Coast isn’t a dreamy place for many workers. Millions of Americans are languishing there in part-time jobs with no other options. In California alone, 1.2 million people are "underemployed." That equals the entire population of San Francisco and Oakland.

High-Skilled Immigration Fixes Are Just a Band-Aid
President Obama gave more than a nod to the tech community in his highly anticipated speech on immigration Thursday evening. As expected, the bulk of the address was related to unauthorized immigrants. But he promised to make it "easier and faster" for high-skilled immigrants, graduates and entrepreneurs to work in the U.S. after graduation.

Obama’s Immigration Action: Is It About People, or Process?
To President Obama, the sweeping immigration overhaul he announced in a speech to the nation on Thursday night is focused on people. It’s about helping the people who pick our fruit, build our bridges, and clean our houses come out from the shadows. It’s about allowing mothers and fathers to stay with their children.
Christian Science Monitor

Skilled Immigrants: The Workers the U.S. Wants
When some Americans talk about immigration, they picture those they want to keep out: undocumented people sneaking across the southern border. But when some U.S. businesses talk about immigration, they picture people they’d like to bring in: ones with science, math or technology skills, notable artists or those willing to pick tomatoes. The U.S. wants these workers.
Bloomberg News

Obamacare Penalty for Being Uninsured Is Set for a Steep Rise
Obamacare requires that most everyone have health insurance or pay a penalty—and the levy is set for a steep increase in 2015. The 2014 penalty is just $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is larger. In 2015, those without insurance will pay the larger of $325 or 2 percent of income.

The FedEx Driver Who Sued and Won
Reggie Gray thought working for FedEx was his ticket to a better life. It turned out to be anything but: His years as a driver for FedEx Ground ended with him filing for bankruptcy and taking the company to court. Gray is one of the thousands of FedEx drivers who have sued the company for classifying them as contractors, rather than employees.

My Part-Time Job Is a Dead End
Meghan would love to be a music teacher or play full-time in an orchestra. She studied music at Loyola University in New Orleans and plays the flute. Instead, Meghan works a slew of part-time jobs and receives no benefits.

Walmart Employee Defends Food Donation Campaign for Co-Workers
A group calling for better working conditions at Walmart is criticizing a food donation campaign for employees in need, saying it's symptomatic of wages being too low. But Dawnne Sulaitis, the Walmart department manager who started the campaign for her store in Midwest City, Oklahoma, said it's "about showing compassion for others."
ABC News

Undocumented Workers, Meet the IRS
Undocumented workers aspiring to be part of the new White House immigration program are about to meet the Internal Revenue Service under President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan unveiled Thursday night. But anyone expecting a windfall from—or big drain on—the Treasury should think again.

OSHA Expands Injury and Illness Reporting Requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued a final rule that makes significant changes to its Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting regulation, effective Jan. 1, 2015. Although the revisions bring increased financial and administrative costs, the new requirements may also provide an opportunity for employers to be more aware of workplace hazards.
HR Hero

Amid Crackdown, Some Firms Rethink ESOP Sale Practices
Some business owners are rethinking how—and on what terms—they will sell their firms to employee-stock-ownership plans in the wake of a Labor Department crackdown on inflated valuations that could jeopardize worker savings. The plans, known as ESOPs, often serve as a source of retirement savings for the nearly 13.8 million workers who participate in them.
Wall Street Journal

Lady Boss Blues: Top Women More Prone to Depression, Study Finds
Power can be a downer for women in the workplace, but men tend to feel happier when they’re in charge, claims a study released Thursday. Women with the ability to hire, fire and influence pay seem more prone to depression symptoms — and their mood drops aren't fueled by male-female salary disparities, researchers found.
NBC News

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