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Working Knowledge

Attorneys General Push Back on Non-Competes

Mar 30, 2020 2:32:24 PM

A coalition of attorneys general from 16 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico again called on the Federal Trade Commission to stop the excessive use of noncompete agreements in the workplace. This is the third request since July 2019. Nearly 25% of US workers are covered by non-competes that limits employees from taking a new job or starting their business in the same industry within a geographic area for a certain period of time after leaving their current position, and 53% of those are low-wage workers. Justifications for such agreements — such as protecting trade secrets and ensuring return on investment in training — are not persuasive, particularly in regard to low-wage workers, the attorneys general argue. Noncompete agreements are already unenforceable in California.

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U.S. Employees Willing to Sacrifice Pay for Better Benefits

Mar 30, 2020 2:31:28 PM

Research recently published by Willis Towers Watson of 8,000 workers indicates that a growing number of U.S. employees are willing to sacrifice additional pay in exchange for more generous retirement and health care benefits. Two-thirds of respondents (67%) are willing to pay a higher amount each month for more comprehensive retirement benefits, an increase from 55% in 2011. More than four in 10 workers (42%) would sacrifice additional pay each month for a more expansive health benefit plan, a dramatic increase from 27% in 2013.

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Pre-employment Marijuana Testing Banned in NYC as of May 10th

Mar 30, 2020 2:30:32 PM

Beginning May 10, a New York City law will prohibit employers from conducting pre-employment marijuana tests. This is a step further than Nevada legislation that took effect January 1st in which it became illegal to reject a candidate from employment based on the results of a marijuana drug test. Both laws cite exceptions for safety-sensitive positions and jobs regulated by federal programs that require drug testing.

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Gig platforms are being tailored to specific industries

Mar 30, 2020 2:29:36 PM

Developers of gig platforms are pursuing strategies that combine the finding and hiring of talent with solutions tailored to specific industries or business needs.

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Cybersecurity for Remote Workers

Mar 30, 2020 2:28:06 PM

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has warned that malicious parties will gain control of telework client devices and attempt to capture sensitive data or leverage the devices to gain access to the enterprise network. As the number of people logging in remotely or connecting to cloud-based SAAS [software-as-a-service] applications rises, organizations have an exponential increase in the number of endpoints. This combined with an influx of workers who are new to working remotely increases the opportunities and odds of success for cyberattacks. Organizations should focus on these areas to increase remote-work cybersecurity:

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States are Enacting Salary History Bans

Mar 30, 2020 2:25:39 PM

As part of a nationwide effort to reduce pay inequity for women and minorities, three dozen U.S. state and local governments are enacting laws that limit employers’ ability to ask about or consider job applicants’ salary history. In California, employers are prohibited from seeking, directly or indirectly, salary history information or in using voluntarily disclosed information when determining whether to offer employment. However, employers can consider and rely on voluntarily disclosed information in setting the applicant’s salary. Most laws forbid employers (or third parties directed by employers) from seeking, requesting, or asking applicants about their wage and salary history, and many also prohibit employers from reaching out to current or past employers. Some states specifically prohibit employers from “screening” applicants based on their compensation histories, most prohibit retaliation against applicants who refuse to voluntarily disclose salary history information, and several jurisdictions provide exceptions for discussions about salary or compensation “expectations.”

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DHS Announces Flexibility in Requirements Related to Form I-9 Compliance

Mar 30, 2020 2:24:33 PM

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has deferred the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. However, employers must inspect required documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents, within three business days for purposes of completing Section 2. Employers also should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Section 2 Additional Information field once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume.

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Pandemic is redefining hiring practices

Mar 30, 2020 2:22:50 PM

With health and safety concerns altering the traditional recruiting process, the pandemic could ultimately be the tipping point that breaks organizations’ predisposition toward in-person hiring, whether for individual positions or at scale. For years, recruiting platforms have been using Artificial Intelligence to identify candidates, usher them through the recruiting process, conduct automated interviews and background checks, and assemble a shortlist of candidates for hiring managers to review. Current conditions are compressing the time frames needed for organizations to be ready to make an offer, get paperwork signed, and onboard candidates.

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FLSA Seeks Greater Compliance with Exempt/Non-exempt Status

Mar 30, 2020 2:21:32 PM

Effective January 1st, the FLSA salary threshold increased to $35,568 annually, or $684 weekly. The FLSA also clarified the standards for determining exemption status. Employers are required to analyze and determine the FLSA exemption status of each position. In the case of W-2 temporary workers, the employer is determined to be the staffing agency or the payrolling agent acting as Employer of Record. Positions are designated as either exempt or nonexempt based on three factors:

  • salary level
  • salary basis
  • primary job duties performed

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Congress grapples with complexities of “Future of Work”.

Jan 30, 2020 4:01:56 PM

The U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Future of Work Caucus is working to devise plans to address concerns emerging from the rapidly change nature of how work is conducted. The agenda of this 19-member committee includes the rights of gig workers, the impact of automation such as robotics and artificial intelligence in replacing traditional jobs, and the possible disruptions and opportunities presented by technology in the U.S. economy.

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