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Bo Obama and Pets in the Workplace

I’m going to break with my usual business-oriented notes from the editor this week to write about something near and dear to my heart — dogs. After months of anticipation and speculation, the Obama family finally got their new dog, Bo (pictured on the left), this week and introduced him to the world. While the […]

No Kidding: Labor to Revise Its Proposal Restricting Child Labor on Farms

The Labor Department, in response to strong opposition from farm families, is revising its proposed rule restricting child labor on farms. As part of a package of child labor reforms unveiled Sept. 2, 2011, Labor proposed narrowing the so-called parental exemption that allows children of any age who are employed by their parent, or a […]

News Notes: New Overtime Rules Coming January 1: Are You Ready?

As of January 1, 1998, most private-sector, non-union employees will be entitled to overtime only after 40 hours in a week rather than eight hours in a day. The industries affected are manufacturing; public housekeeping; professional, technical and clerical; mercantile; and transportation. If you’re covered, you need to be prepared. First, if you haven’t yet […]

Sept. 23 Is the Key Date to Know the ABCs of SBCs

In some years, Sept. 23 represents the Autumn Equinox, but in 2012 for health plan sponsors and administrators, it triggers the compliance date for a key disclosure requirement under health reform: the distribution of summaries of benefits and coverage, beginning with open enrollment periods and/or plan years that begin on or after Sept. 23. Here […]

October Corporate Pension Funding Levels Slip but Stay Above Record Low

Funding gains by U.S. corporate pension plans in September were erased in October, according to data Mercer Investment Consulting Inc. released Nov. 5.  Mercer reports that the aggregate deficit in pension plans S&P 1500 companies sponsored increased by $26 billion during the latest month, to $619 billion. This deficit corresponds to an aggregate funded ratio […]

News Notes: Supreme Court Rules On Damages Attorneys’ Fees

In a series of recent rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court has clarified limits on the damages claimants can recover in employment discrimination cases and other lawsuits. The court paved the way for bigger verdicts by ruling that “front pay”—which compensates a victim of workplace harassment or bias until they find another comparable job—isn’t subject to […]

Insurance Commissioner Urges Insurers to Do More to Cut Comp Rates

California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi has announced that workers’ compensation insurers in the state have filed rate reductions averaging 14.6 percent for policies incepting on or after July 1, 2005. These latest cuts bring the cumulative rate reduction to 26.78 percent since the massive workers’ compensation reforms of 2003 and 2004.

Off-Duty Activities: Legislation Creates New Protections For Job Applicants, Broader Remedies For Employees

Gov. Davis has signed a new measure, A.B. 1015, that creates new labor law protections for job applicants’ outside activities and political interests and strengthens remedies employees already have. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2002, and applies to most public and private employees with a few exceptions. We’ll cover the key points.