Archive | November, 2014

What Does Presidents Exec Order on Undocumented Individuals Mean for Your Organization?

22 Nov

President Barack Obama’s announcement of executive action to expand the population of currently undocumented individuals who will be allowed to remain and work legally in the U.S. will take time and many details to fully understand.
In the President’s November 20, 2014, televised address to the nation, key initiatives of the President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions include:
• Expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Currently, certain individuals who arrived in the United States as children are eligible for DACA protection and corresponding employment authorization. The announced executive action will expand the pool of individuals eligible for the DACA program and extend the period of DACA status and corresponding employment authorization from two years to three years.
• Creation of Deferred Action for Parents (DAP): This new program will allow parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (of any age) who have been continuously present in the United States since January 1, 2010, and who pass background checks and pay taxes, to be eligible to apply for deferred action and corresponding employment authorization. DAP status and employment authorization will be for a three-year period.
Estimates are that up to five million currently undocumented individuals may be eligible for Deferred Action. While individuals granted Deferred Action will be eligible for work authorization, employers must be particularly cautious in addressing current employees who may come forward under these initiatives. Until employees actually present such official documentation, if they come forward to you, that will be evidence of their being unlawfully employed and you must terminate them under current Federal law or be liable for knowing employment of undocumented aliens.
The President also announced new efforts to increase the responsiveness of the employment-based legal immigration system to the needs of employers, some of which may affect your organization. These efforts include:
• Employment Authorization for H-1B Dependents: Currently, H-4 dependents of holders of H-1B non-immigration visas are precluded from employment. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will finalize and promulgate a rule to provide work authorization to the spouses of certain H-1B visa holders who are on the path to lawful permanent resident status.
• Expansion of Optional Practical Training (OPT) for Foreign Students and Graduates from U.S. Universities: Currently, students enrolled in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) academic degree program may gain practical training work authorization for 17 months in addition to the 12-month period typically available for post-graduate practical training employment. New regulations will expand and extend the use of OPT for foreign students, consistent with existing law.
• Greater Consistency in the L-1B Visa Program: For years, employers have sought guidance and clarity regarding the definition of “specialized knowledge” employees under the L-1B non-immigration program to better assess their prospective employees’ qualifications and prepare petitions accordingly. USCIS has stated that it will issue clear, consolidated guidance on the meaning of “specialized knowledge” as early as this year or the beginning of 2015.
• Increasing Worker Portability: USCIS will issue guidance with respect to the types of job changes that constitute “same or similar” jobs under current law. It also will remove unnecessary restrictions on natural career progression and general job mobility to provide relief to workers facing lengthy adjustment delays. Similarly, the adjustment process for individuals who are the beneficiaries of approved I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker will be amended by regulation so the sponsored worker is eligible to file for adjustment of status sooner.
While it will be months before many of the initiatives will be fully implemented, employers should begin preparing for these changes now, including inquiries from employees regarding the impact of this far-reaching executive action.
Thanks to Jackson Lewis p.c. for information for this article.

New California Law for 2015- You May Be Liable for Someone Else’s Employees

3 Nov

Many organizations regularly use staffing firms, temporary help agencies and even PEOs (Professional Employer Organizations) for the people who carry out activities important to their operations. Now, in most instances, even if such workers are on the payroll and even if they are supervised by some other employer, your company may legally be liable for wage and hour law violations and failure to provide workers’ compensation for such workers. (AB 1897) This new law imposes liability regardless of the amount of direction or control you exert over these these workers.
There are some protections for employers and some limits to the application of this new law:
• Businesses with fewer than 25 employees are exempt
• The law only applies if you use 5 or more temporary or supplied workers at one time
• Salaried administrative, executive or professional personnel are not covered by the law
• You can include in contracts with the agencies or firms supplying you such workers that they will indemnify you and hold you harmless for any wage violations or workers’ compensation violations, and defend you from any law suits or claims for such violation (except for OSHA violations.)
Since this law takes effect January 1, 2015, you should carefully review any contracts with staffing firms, temporary agencies, PEO firms or labor contractors
.  If you have questions, contact us at Don Dressler Consulting. Our email is: