"Experts Predict Record-Breaking H-1B Visa Demand" and other #HR News for February 23, 2015

News Updates


Updated daily, the HR News home page is your one-stop shop for the latest news and featured articles. This page compiles top staff-written and external news of general interest to HR, plus major stories in the HR Disciplines. 

Experts Predict Record-Breaking H-1B Visa Demand

Visa lottery odds likely to be less than 50 percent

By Roy Maurer  2/20/2015

Employers should be well on their way to initiating and preparing their H-1B cap-subject visa petitions for the 2016 fiscal year (FY) deadline, which is now less than two months away. “I cannot stress [enough] that time is of the essence here,” said Shannon Napier Barnes, partner at Mehlman Barnes LLP, based in San Diego. With the demand for H-1B cap-subject visas exceeding the supply in recent years, employers must initiate these petitions early in order to ensure that the petition can be fully prepared and filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by April 1, 2015, she said.

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Premium Payment Plans Nixed for Small Employers, IRS Says

Transition relief offered to small employers currently reimbursing exchange-plan premiums

By Stephen Miller, CEBS  2/20/2015

Even small employers not subject to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) coverage mandate can’t reimburse employees for nongroup health insurance coverage purchased on a public exchange, the Internal Revenue Service confirmed. But small employers providing premium reimbursement in 2014 are being offered transition relief through mid-2015.

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Layoffs: Employers Refresh Their Memory on WARN, OWBPA

By Allen Smith  2/20/2015

With the economic recovery, many employers “are out of practice” with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA), according to Stephen Roppolo, an attorney with Fisher & Phillips in Houston and San Antonio.

But some HR departments are now clearing the dust off reduction-in-force requirements as many oil and gas businesses in Texas undergo layoffs.

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Don’t Get Trapped Using the ‘Bogus RIF’ Strategy

By Robin E. Shea  2/20/2015

What’s the “bogus RIF” strategy? That’s when you’re really firing an employee but don’t want to admit it, so you call it a reduction in force (RIF) or a layoff, or a job elimination.

This is a terrible idea, but employers often want to do it—partly out of a desire to be kind to the employee being terminated, and partly out of an understandable desire to avoid conflict.

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Why Social Recognition Matters

Research reveals noncash awards are still most effective

By Dave Zielinski  2/20/2015

With the workforce becoming more global, social, mobile and multigenerational, a new strategy for employee recognition is needed, the authors argue. Social recognition capitalizes on employees’ behavioral habits and new social technologies to give more people a voice in saying “thanks,” adding an important tool to an organization's rewards strategy.

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Wage Growth Varied Markedly by Industry in 2014

By Stephen Miller, CEBS  2/20/2015

Growth in wages and employment were keys to a strong fourth quarter of 2014, according to the ADP Workforce Vitality Index, which measures the total wages paid to the U.S. private-sector workforce, along with hours worked, employment growth and job turnover.

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USW: Refinery Explosion Highlights Strike’s Safety Concerns

By Allen Smith  2/20/2015

An explosion and fire at a refinery in southern California underscores the United Steelworkers’ (USW) recent demands for improved safety to protect workers and communities, the union asserted.

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Wash: Seattle Employers Must Prepare for April 1 Minimum Wage Increase

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