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New changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard are bringing the United States into alignment with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), further improving safety and health protections for America's workers. Building on the success of OSHA's current Hazard Communication Standard, the GHS is expected to prevent injuries and illnesses, save lives and improve trade conditions for chemical manufacturers. The Hazard Communication Standard in 1983 gave the workers the ‘right to know,' but the new Globally Harmonized System gives workers the ‘right to understand.' Employers are required to train employees on the new label elements and SDS format by December 1, 2013. For more information, click here...>
On August 13, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor issued “Fact Sheet #28F: Qualifying Reasons for Leave Under the Family and Medical Leave Act.” For purposes of FMLA leave, the August 13 announcement explained “spouse” would include same-sex spouses for employees who reside in states that recognize same-sex marriages.
The Maine Department of Labor has launched a secure website that allows employers to report information relating to the separation of employees to the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation. SIDES (State Information Data Exchange System) E-Response is a web-based interface that provides employers with secure online reporting of separation and wage information about individuals who may file for unemployment insurance benefits. For more information, click here...>
The Department of Labor continues to focus on independent contractor misclassifications. As an employer, you should evaluate current independent contractor agreements. A recent investigation resulted in more than $1 million in fines to a Kentucky employer.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the launch of the Business Center, a suite of online resources for employers looking to recruit, train and retain a skilled work force through the department's CareerOneStop Web site. For more information, click here...>
Several changes have been made to FMLA regulations, including military caregiver leave for a veteran, qualifying exigency leave for parental care, and the special leave calculation method for flight crew employees, effective March 8, 2013. Employers are required to post the updated poster beginning on March 8, 2013. For more information, click here...> To download the new poster click here...>
On March 8, 2013, a new version of the Form I-9 was released. The Handbook for Employers (M-274) guide to using the Form I-9 is in the process of being updated to correspond to the new form and will be released next week. Please follow the instructions on the new form until the handbook is updated. Click here for the link to the new form...>
Recently released data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) should prompt employers to review harassment and discrimination policies and practices. The EEOC recently announced that it received 99,412 private sector workplace discrimination charges during fiscal year 2012, down slightly from the previous year. The year-end data also show that retaliation (37,836), race (33,512) and sex discrimination (30,356), which includes allegations of sexual harassment and pregnancy were, respectively, the most frequently filed charges. The EEOC's legal staff resolved 254 lawsuits for a total monetary recovery of $44.2 million. For more information, click here...>
Effective January 1, 2013, employers with 15 Employees shall have a Written Safety and Health Program, file a Safety Summary Form one time, update the Written Program biennially, and establish a Joint Loss Management Committee. For more information, click here...>