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Phyllis Harden

Legislative & Special Projects, Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel
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Labor & HR

February 23, 2009

There is no doubt that the economy is affecting the construction industry across the board. From highway infrastructure to building, construction companies across the country are feeling the pinch of the recession, so much so that many are seriously considering cut-backs and layoffs.  Caterpillar, Inc., the world's leading maker of heavy equipment used in construction, recently announced job cuts that will ultimately terminate nearly 20,000 positions.  Depending on each company's financial situation, layoffs for some are inevitable, but for many companies there are several ways that employers can cut costs to put off or avoid lay-offs.

February 19, 2009
This week, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  Totaling nearly $790 billion, the stimulus package will have a significant impact on the way employers administer the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), while also implementing a few mandates relative to executive compensation, payroll administration and the recruitment of H-1B visa recipients. 
February 12, 2009

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extends the time period allowed for employees to seek compensation for unequal pay practices was signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 29, 2009.  The act is retroactive to May 28, 2007, and applies to all claims of pay discrimination on or after that date.

February 12, 2009
On February 6, Pres. Obama issued an executive order revoking an executive order issued by Pres. George W. Bush that largely prohibited federal agencies from imposing a project labor agreement on federal and federally assisted construction projects.  The new order encourages agencies to consider imposing a project labor agreement but fall short of requiring agencies to do so.
February 6, 2009
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a final rule eliminating the requirement that contractors covered by the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts include employees' home addresses and Social Security numbers (SSNs) on weekly certified payroll records submitted to contracting agencies or DOL's Wage and Hour Division.  DOL issued the rule "to better protect the personal privacy of laborers and mechanics employed on covered construction projects." 
February 2, 2009
The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has decided to delay the requirement for employers to use a new Form I-9 from February 2, 2009 to at least April 3, 2009.  An official announcement is expected to be published in the Federal Register on Friday, February 6.
January 15, 2009
January marks the start of several changes in federal employment mandates, and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) wants to make sure its members are prepared. ADA Amendment (Effective 1/1/2009)
January 14, 2009

Just as many in the construction industry gain a full understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, changes to the law took effect on January 1, 2009. These changes, known as the ADA Amendments Acts (ADAAA), broaden the definition of "disabled," and potentially expose employers with 15 or more employees to increased financial liabilities.

December 29, 2008
The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has published an interim final rule making changes to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  Beginning on February 2, 2009, employers will be required to use the new form to verify all new hires and to reverify any employee with expiring employment authorization beginning on February 2, 2009.  The new form will be available for download from the USCIS website by February 2, 2009.
October 31, 2008
The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 was signed into law on October 3 as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act financial-market rescue legislation.  The Act amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Public Health Service Act to require health insurance plans that offer mental health coverage to provide the same financial and treatment coverage offered for other illnesses.  It does not mandate that group plans must provide any mental health coverage.


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