The new gun control law permits Indiana employees to keep lawful firearms and ammunition in their locked cars on company premises. The guns must be legally owned, and the owner must meet all applicable licensing requirements, and must not be stored in plain sight in the vehicle.
Many employers have prohibited guns anywhere on the property, including in parked cars, in an effort to curb workplace violence. While Indiana employers can still prohibit guns inside the workplace, they no longer have the option of (more…)
The amount of unpaid leave time the relatives of injured soldiers can take to care for them is now substantially expanded under a brand-new law. The NDAA also permits immediate family members to take unpaid time off of work when a soldier is deployed.
Instead of the usual 12 weeks of FMLA leave granted most qualifying employees, this group of employees is now entitled to 26 weeks.
Spouses, parents, sons, or daughters may take the time to care for an injured soldier. The time may also be taken if a family member goes on active duty or will be going shortly. The leave time will typically be taken by spouses of the members of the Reserve or National Guard.
The time may also be taken to care for a sick child, parent, or spouse. It allows for time to care for newborns, newly adopted children, or newly added foster children. That has been with the traditional FMLA leave as well. But the expanded leave also allows relatives of soldiers to take the time to care for healthy children who would otherwise be raised by the parent going on active duty.
The interim regulations allow employers to count any paid leave as part of the 26 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave, provided the employee receives notice that the employer plans to do so.
The new legislation is called the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 (the NDAA). The original bill, which was part of another measure, was vetoed by President Bush in December of 2007. At the time, the President said the FMLA expansion was not the reason for his veto. That remark left the door open for a reprise of the NDAA, and it returned to be approved in January of 2008.
As mentioned, it is effective immediately. The U.S. Labor Department predicts it may be several weeks before it has developed a set of regulations about the bill. Until that time it expects all employers to comply with the law in good faith.
According to the NDAA, the FMLA coverage could allow aunts, uncles, and cousins to use the 26 weeks of unpaid leave under certain conditions. This is because an injured soldier’s “next of kin” can take leave, regardless of the relationship.
Until 1993, employers in Indiana and elsewhere in the U.S. were under no obligation to provide workers with job protected, unpaid leave for an illness. If a worker got a heart attack or had to undergo chemotherapy or major surgery, he or she could be fired for taking 2 or 3 weeks of work off.
That all changed with the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. With the passage of the Act, workers could take as much as 12 weeks of unpaid but job protected leave during any 12-month period if there is a serious illness.
“Job protected” means the employee was now guaranteed his or her job back at the end of the leave. If it was impossible to provide the same job, then one with very similar duties, pay, benefits and conditions must be offered.
FMLA allows workers to take leave also to care for a seriously ill member of the “immediate family,” namely spouses, children, or parents. Some states have expanded that. Hawaii, for example, allows workers to take leave to care for grandparents or in-laws with serious illnesses.
FMLA is also a maternity/paternity leave. It allows workers to take the time to bond with a newborn child, a newly adopted child, or a new foster child under age 18.
The Act applies only to companies with 50 workers or more within a radius of 75 miles. Again, some states have expanded coverage to include smaller firms.
While no state or federal law says workers must be paid for FMLA leave, some companies will count paid time off, including sick time, toward the employee’s 12 weeks of leave. Employers must notify the worker in writing of this before the leave begins, however.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 (the NDAA) is the first significant enlargement of the FMLA since it was passed in 1993. It covers relatives of soldiers, but the U.S. Labor Department has not yet developed regulations based on the legislation, so details are still sketchy.
The competition is heating up, but a recent announcement by the U.S. Dept. of Labor has raised hopes that a proposed Indiana unemployment grant might soon be a reality. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao announced the competition is open for the third generation of WIRED grants. According to Chao, “Investing in area workforces through this collaborative approach will boost entire regions’ economic vitality.”
The US Department of Labor oversees these grants through the Employment and Training Administration. The grants are intended to help areas in the country that have high unemployment. The WIRED program works to create jobs in specific repressed areas of the country. These jobs and employment opportunities will help the nation stay competitive in a global economy and job market.
The WIRED grants focus on providing training for workers in areas that have higher unemployment rates. Last year, 13 WIRED grants totaling $26 million were announced.
“This regional economic development strategy transcends political boundaries to better leverage a region’s assets to help workers succeed in the 21st century worldwide economy,” said Secretary Chao at a news conference discussing the prestigious awards.
In the past, northern Indiana, the Mississippi/Arkansas Delta, northern Indiana, and northern California are areas of the country that have benefited from WIRED grants. These grants bring out a lot of competition. Secretary Chao sent each governor a letter about the grant competition since the grant proposals have to have the approval of the governor of the state affected.
Each state may submit up to two proposals, as was explained in a letter Secretary Chao sent to the governors. These proposals may result in grants of up to $5 million each. All WIRED grant proposals require the approval of the governor of that state. The Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development looks for approaches to economic and workforce development that are innovative. WIRED grants look for new ways to foster economic growth that aren’t traditional.
The Society of Human Resource Managers, generally known as SHRM was founded in 1948. It is an international organization with 550 chapters in more than 100 countries. Its members number more than 200,000 individuals. The SHRM’s mission is “to serve the needs of human resource professionals by proving the most essential and comprehensive resources available.”
Recently, an alliance between SHRM and the United States office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has been announced. This alliance between ODEP and SHRM will focus on improving the disabled workers’ access to resources, conducting research, providing cross-agency cooperation and guidance, assisting the state agencies with resources and facilitating communication between different agencies concerned with human resource. This new partnership will emphasize on training, education, outreach, communication and technical assistance for workers with disabilities. It will also attempt to promote a national dialogue on the employment of persons with disabilities.
Till 2001, supervising the progress of workers with disabilities in the job market was one of the numerous responsibilities of the United States Department of Labor. According to research, workers with disabilities have never been utilized to their maximum potential. The Dept. of Labor did all that it could to improve the situation, but there was a need for a governing body which would have this as its sole purpose. Under the current administration the US Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao, started ODEP.
According to Assistant Secretary Roy Grizzard, “This alliance formalizes the relationship we have had with SHRM, benefiting SHRM as it serves its membership with the resources ODEP brings to the table and offering ODEP the opportunity for broader contact with human resource professionals.”
Indiana workers with disabilities will still have to access to a number of services through the Indiana Dept. of Labor. However, this new alliance will ultimately provide additional resources and opportunities for the state’s disabled workers.
WIRED or Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development, is an initiative that operates with the backing of the Employment and Training Administration within the US Department of Labor. Previously, areas that benefited from WIRED grants have included northern Indiana, the Mississippi/Arkansas Delta area, Alabama, the Delaware Valley, and northern California.
Recently the US Dept. of Labor announced a third generation of these highly competitive WIRED grants, and as with previous grants, competition has been intense, with each state governor receiving a letter from Secretary Chao to clarify procedure. Governors may submit one or two proposals (no more), for grants of up to $5 million each. Competing regions must identify other sources of funding to complement the investment from the Department of Labor. The funding sources might include state, private or regional funding.
A Indiana unemployment grant would be good news. This would be particularly welcomed from areas that traditionally experience high unemployment.
Speaking about this third generation of WIRED grants, Emily Stover DeRocco, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training said, “The Third Generation of WIRED is designed to position local Workforce Investment Boards as leaders of a strategic regional partnership.”
Stover DeRocco added, “Through talent development strategies and integration with regional economic development, this partnership can drive economic transformation in regions across the country and improve employment and advancement opportunities for workers.”
The aim of WIRED initiative is to support innovative approaches to workforce and economic development. These, according to the Dept. of Labor, go further than other strategies, preparing workers to succeed and compete.
The department has invested $260 million through the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development initiative. This has been distributed through 26 regions throughout the United States. The program has seen the cooperation between 10 federal agencies, resulting in high wage job opportunities for American workers in regional economies have been created.