Immigration and Leave Policy Top Agenda for Human Resource Leaders Lobbying Congress Today



For Immediate Release

Mar 12, 2008
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World’s Largest HR Group to Survey Presidential Candidates on Key Workforce Issues

Alexandria, Va. – With national employment issues immigration and employee medical leave leading their agenda, nearly 250 human resource professionals will be on Capitol Hill today lobbying their representatives as part of the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) annual legislative conference. SHRM is the world’s largest association of HR professionals with more than 235,000 members.

The key issue SHRM’s members from all over the country will be talking about today is the “New Employee Verification Act” (NEVA, H.R. 5515). SHRM has called on Congress to enact this legislation, which would institute a new more accurate and equitable system for checking a potential employee’s legal work eligibility. The Federal government’s current E-Verify system, which SHRM and other business groups believe is inadequate and unreliable, is scheduled to expire at the end of 2008.

“Human resource professionals are on the frontlines of employment verification, and they know E-Verify is seriously flawed,” said Susan R. Meisinger, President and CEO, SHRM. “HR wants to do its part to prevent illegal immigration, but we need tools that work,” she said.

SHRM and other organizations have found that E-Verify is prone to errors and susceptible to fraud because it relies on paper documents and an incomplete database. As a result, employers can be subject to sever penalties for the system’s mistakes, and legal employees may be denied employment.

“The Society for Human Resource Management feels very strongly about this issue and is leading the HR Initiative for a Legal Workforce coalition, which worked closely with Congress to develop the NEVA,” said Meisinger. “This bill now gives Congress a clear choice: enact a system that can end document fraud and illegal employment, or continue to fund the flawed E-Verify system,” she added.

Under the NEVA, a new paperless Electronic Employment Verification System (EEVS) would be created, which employers would access through their state’s “new hire” reporting process, currently used for child support enforcement. This would allow employers to confirm the work eligibility of U.S. citizens through the Social Security Administration database. The Department of Homeland Security database would be used to confirm the work eligibility of non-citizens.

In addition, the bill also would create a voluntary biometrics option that employers could choose to use in the verification process. This system would include a standard background check and the collection of a “biometric” characteristic — such as a thumbprint — to secure an employee’s identity and prevent the illegal use of a Social Security number, stolen or fraudulently-obtained drivers’ license, or other altered identification documents.

“We believe that if this new electronic verification system could eliminate virtually all unauthorized employment,” Meisinger stated. “It would provide certainty for employers and employees, while also protecting the identity and personal information of legal workers, and preventing discrimination in the employment verification process,” she said.

Another important issue the SHRM members will be discussing on Capitol Hill today is the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed regulations to update the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). SHRM is urging members of Congress to support the revisions because they will make FMLA implementation more equitable for all employees, particularly with regard to the medical leave provisions.

In other medical and health news, Dr. Mark B. McClellan, former administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), addressed the SHRM conference yesterday. Dr. McClellan’s forecast for the American health care system aligns with SHRM’s advocacy efforts to support the growth of Health IT and promote increased transparency within the system to reverse the trends of rising healthcare costs and limited availability to beneficial healthcare.

SHRM is currently developing a set of detailed principles to guide health care reform legislation next year.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 235,000 individual members, the Society’s mission is both to serve human resource management professionals and to advance the profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM currently has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and members in more than 130 countries, including offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org

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