Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued an extensive fact sheet on the application of federal anti-discrimination laws to employer tests and other selection procedures to screen applicants for hire and employees for promotion. The fact sheet describes common types of employer administered tests and selection procedures used in the 21st century workplace, including cognitive tests, personality tests, medical examinations, credit checks, and criminal background checks. The document also focuses on “best practices” for employers to follow when using employment tests and other screening devices, and cites recent EEOC enforcement actions. Discriminatory employment tests and selection procedures are prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act — which are all enforced by the EEOC.
Employment Tests and Selection Procedures
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
In recent years, premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance have risen dramatically. However, premium costs are only one of several factors that determine costs of health care for enrollees. Other factors, such as whether an enrollee has a co-pay and the size of co-pays and coinsurance percentages, also contribute to differences in cost of care.
This Statistical Brief examines what percentage of enrollees had a co-pay and the amount of such co-pays and coinsurance percentages. Using private sector estimates from the Insurance Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, data for 2002 are compared to those for 2005. Estimates for small firms (fewer than 50 employees) and large firms (50 or more employees) are analyzed.
+ Full Document (PDF; 90 KB)
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
In recent years, premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance have risen dramatically. However, premium costs are only one of several factors that determine costs of health care for enrollees. Other factors, such as whether an enrollee has a deductible and its amount, also contribute to differences in cost of care.
This Statistical Brief examines what percentage of enrollees had a deductible and the amount of such deductibles. Using private sector estimates from the Insurance Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, data for 2002 are compared to those for 2005. Estimates for small firms (fewer than 50 employees) and large firms (50 or more employees) are analyzed.
+ Full Document (PDF; 196 KB)
Source: CCH Employee Benefits Management Directions
November 6, 2007
Two-thirds of U.S. workers who call in sick at the last minute do so for reason other than physical illness, according to the findings of the 17th annual CCH Unscheduled Absence Survey. Consistent with survey findings dating back to 2001, personal illness is the most frequent reason given for unscheduled absences with 34 percent of respondents pointing to it as being the cause of employees’ last minute “no-shows.” However, that leaves 66 percent of all unscheduled absences to be the result of something other than personal illness. According to the 2007 survey, those reasons include family issues (22 percent), personal needs (18 percent), an entitlement mentality (13 percent) and stress and burnout 913 percent). The average absenteeism rate is 2.3 percent in 2007, down slightly from 2.5 percent last year.
It’s one thing to attract young people to government jobs. It’s another to keep them there.
Source: KATHERINE BARRETT & RICHARD GREENE
There’s been a lot of emphasis in states, counties and cities on hiring the new generation of the “best and the brightest.” Toward that end, some have spruced up their Web sites so that applying for a job is as simple as buying a book online. They’ve set up booths at job fairs, run newspaper ads and gone on hiring forays in neighboring cities. A number of governments send cadres of recruiters to college campuses.
Here’s the sad news: Many of these efforts aren’t dissimilar to turning on the spigots in your bathtub — while the drain is wide open.
“Our members talk about how young people aren’t staying in their public-sector jobs,” says Leslie Scott, association manager of the National Association of State Personnel Executives. “They can attract them, but they may not stay.” In Texas last year, for example, there was a 36.9 percent turnover among those who were under 30, compared with 9.4 percent in the 40- to 49-year-old group.
Many public finance officials worry that a series of new accounting rules will burst their budgets.
Source: PENELOPE LEMOV
When public finance officers met this summer in Anaheim, their association’s outgoing president kicked off the convention with an all-out assault on an accounting board. Thomas J. Glaser spent the lion’s share of his opening-day address ticking off the follies of the Government Accounting Standards Board’s recent rules and what the Government Finance Officers Association intended to do about them. GASB’s “time has come and gone,” Glaser told the 3,000 or so members in attendance, some of whom interrupted the speech with their applause.
The attack on GASB was more than a little ironic, given that when the organization came into being in 1984, the finance officers’ group played a major role in persuading the Financial Accounting Foundation, which oversees financial reporting standards for the private and nonprofit sectors, to set up a special branch for government accounting. In subsequent years — especially in the early years when it really mattered — GFOA worked to build its membership’s respect for and acceptance of GASB and the standards it set.
Today, GASB is a powerful entity. Its financial-reporting rules have the potential to bring a government’s budget to crisis. Refusal to follow its accounting precepts could lead to a downgrade in a credit rating or a shunning by the financial community.
But it is also an agency under pressure — and not just from GFOA. There is a threat to its financial-reporting hegemony: At least one state and several of its localities are set to defy a major GASB accounting rule. What’s more, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission has suggested that the SEC participate in the selection of some GASB board members. Such a move could impinge on the organization’s independence and bring it, along with state and local accounting rules, closer to federal purview.
States are poised to spend billions on fixing infrastructure. They might want to fix the construction industry first.
Source: ZACH PATTON, Governing, November 2007
…That’s a big problem because in the aftermath of the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, states are poised to make some big infrastructure investments. As that calamity made clear, many of America’s roadways, bridges and tunnels are in critical condition after decades of deferred maintenance. In some places, the needs are especially pressing. Massachusetts needs to spend $17 billion on repairs, according to one report. In Pennsylvania, the tab for bridge maintenance is $11 billion. In New Jersey, it’s more than $13.5 billion. Overall, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation’s infrastructure system a grade of “D,” and the group says that fixing the country’s existing problems is a job with a $1.6 trillion price tag.
As states redouble their efforts on maintenance, the trick will be to produce more successful projects such as the MacArthur Maze and fewer tarnished ones along the lines of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge. It won’t be easy. Issues of cost overruns and missed deadlines have plagued construction projects for years. And transportation departments will continue to deal with a construction industry that is, in many ways, antiquated, inefficient and wasteful. Minnesota, still shaking off the shock of seeing a key transportation asset crumble into the Mississippi River, is now grappling with its replacement cost soaring toward $400 million. That’s 57 percent higher than the amount the federal government set aside for the bridge. And construction hasn’t even begun yet.
Source: Matt Sundeen, State Legislatures, October/November 2007
The catastrophic collapse of the I-35 bridge over the Mississippi River in August sent shockwaves that reverberated well beyond the immediate vicinity of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The deteriorating condition of the country’s network of highways, bridges and rail lines is a problem that has long concerned transportation experts. For most, the bridge collapse was a call-to-action to fund overdue improvements and fix the nation’s aging transportation infrastructure. Although many federal, state and local lawmakers agree repairs are needed, what the appropriate response should be continues to be a matter for debate.
Source: Alan Howard
Last November in Vienna, fifteen years after the demise of the Soviet Union and well into the third decade of corporate-driven globalization, the international trade union movement was reorganized to eliminate its debilitating cold war political divisions and to enhance coordination across industrial lines made obsolete by globalization. The founding of this new organization, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which represents 168 million workers in 153 countries, was hailed as historic by the few dozen people who follow these things, which it may well be, though you probably missed the coverage in your local newspaper.
Earlier this year AFL-CIO president John Sweeney met with Iraqi trade unionists in Jordan (there being no place secure enough in Iraq to hold such a meeting) to support Iraqi union resistance to an array of Bush administration policies, particularly on the privatization and denationalization of the oil industry; Teamster president James Hoffa and Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern were in China with a delegation of Change to Win (CTW) unions, the group that split from the AFL-CIO, meeting with communists and capitalists to exchange views on worker rights in the global economy. In Ottawa, Steelworker president Leo Gerard announced a merger that would bring together nearly three million American, Canadian, British and Irish workers in one union, and Communication Workers president Larry Cohen was in Athens to raise the visibility of an organizing campaign aimed at the world’s largest cell phone service company, which operates in twenty-five countries on four continents.
These events reflect the realization at the highest levels of organized labor that unions have no future if they do not become truly global institutions. What is not said publicly, but known only too well, is that unions may have lost so much ground on the international playing field and have been so weakened over the past half century that they will no longer be able to provide an effective counterweight to the inequities of capitalism.
Source: Eileen Boris and Jennifer Klein
“There’s no place like home”–unless you’re one of the 1.4 million home aides who assist elderly and disabled people but whom the Supreme Court last June abandoned to the feudal manors of the past. In Long Island Care at Home v. Evelyn Coke, the justices unanimously determined that the Department of Labor had the authority to place providers of home care outside the labor law. For seventy years, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has guaranteed minimum wage and overtime compensation to the nation’s workers, but somehow one of the fastest growing occupations of the twenty-first century doesn’t deserve the status and protection of formal employment.