The Role and Importance of Individual Retirement Accounts

Source: John G. Kilgour, Compensation & Benefits Review, OnlineFirst, Published February 12, 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
What are now called “traditional IRAs” (Individual Retirement Accounts) were created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Roth IRAs were added in 1997. Employer-sponsored Simplified Employee Pensions–IRAs were added in 1978 and Savings Investment Match Plans for Employees–IRAs (and 401(k)s) in 1996. Together IRAs hold $8.8 trillion in assets, one third of the total $27.1 trillion in all retirement plans. This article examines the role and importance of IRAs in the U.S. retirement system and the development of the different types of IRAs and their interaction with each other.

Uyghurs for sale: ‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang

Source: Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, Danielle Cave, Dr James Leibold, Kelsey Munro & Nathan Ruser, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2020

From the summary:
….This report examines three case studies in which Uyghur workers appear to be employed under forced labour conditions by factories in China that supply major global brands. In the first case study, a factory in eastern China that manufactures shoes for US company Nike is equipped with watchtowers, barbed-wire fences and police guard boxes. The Uyghur workers, unlike their Han counterparts, are reportedly unable to go home for holidays (see page 8). In the second case study of another eastern province factory claiming to supply sportswear multinationals Adidas and Fila, evidence suggests that Uyghur workers were transferred directly from one of Xinjiang’s ‘re-education camps’ (see page 18). In the third case study, we identify several Chinese factories making components for Apple or their suppliers using Uyghur labour. Political indoctrination is a key part of their job assignments (see page 21)…..

In all, ASPI’s research has identified 83 foreign and Chinese companies directly or indirectly benefiting from the use of Uyghur workers outside Xinjiang through potentially abusive labour transfer programs: Abercrombie & Fitch, Acer, Adidas, Alstom, Amazon, Apple, ASUS, BAIC Motor, BMW, Bombardier, Bosch, BYD, Calvin Klein, Candy, Carter’s, Cerruti 1881, Changan Automobile, Cisco, CRRC, Dell, Electrolux, Fila, Founder Group, GAC Group (automobiles), Gap, Geely Auto, General Electric, General Motors, Google, H&M, Haier, Hart Schaffner Marx, Hisense, Hitachi, HP, HTC, Huawei, iFlyTek, Jack & Jones, Jaguar, Japan Display Inc., L.L.Bean, Lacoste, Land Rover, Lenovo, LG, Li-Ning, Marks & Spencer, Mayor, Meizu, Mercedes-Benz, MG, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Mitsumi, Nike, Nintendo, Nokia, The North Face, Oculus, Oppo, Panasonic, Polo Ralph Lauren, Puma, Roewe, SAIC Motor, Samsung, SGMW, Sharp, Siemens, Skechers, Sony, TDK, Tommy Hilfiger, Toshiba, Tsinghua Tongfang, Uniqlo, Victoria’s Secret, Vivo, Volkswagen, Xiaomi, Zara, Zegna, ZTE.

Related:
China Uighurs ‘moved into factory forced labour’ for foreign brands
Source: BBC, March 1, 2020

Thousands of Muslims from China’s Uighur minority group are working under coercive conditions at factories that supply some of the world’s biggest brands, a new report says. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute said this was the next phase in China’s re-education of Uighurs. China has already detained about a million Uighurs at internment camps, punishing and indoctrinating them. Officials say the camps are aimed at countering extremism. The ASPI report comes after a senior Chinese official told reporters in December that members of the minority group being held in the camps had now “graduated”.

Ceasing Dues Checkoff Is Lawful After Expiration

Source: Kimberly Kemper, Employment Alert, Vol. 37 no. 3. February 5, 2020
(subscription required)

About 13 months after the expiration of parties’ contract, Valley Hospital Medical Center stopped deducting and remitting to the Local Joint Executive Board of Las Vegas employees’ dues. The employer took this action after five days’ notice and without providing the Union an opportunity to bargain. The agreement had contained a dues checkoff agreement to be used by employees requesting dues checkoff. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held that the employer lawfully ceased checking off and remitting employees’ union dues after its contract with the union expired, overruling Lincoln Lutheran of Racine, 362 N.L.R.B. 1655, 204 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 1234, 2014-15 NLRB Dec. (CCH) P 16018, 2015 WL 5047778 (2015), and returning to the longstanding precedent set by Bethlehem Steel Co. (New York, N.Y.), 136 N.L.R.B. 1500, 50 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 1013, 1962 NLRB Dec. (CCH) P 11163, 1962 WL 16787 (1962), enforcement denied and remanded, 320 F.2d 615, 53 L.R.R.M. (BNA) 2878, 47 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P 18409 (3d Cir. 1963)For over half a century, this unilateral action was lawful under NLRB precedent beginning with Bethlehem Steel.

Tax incentives for business leave states worse off

Source: Matt Shipman, Futurity, February 27, 2020

The vast majority of tax incentives aimed at attracting and retaining businesses ultimately leave states worse off than if they had done nothing, researchers report.


For the study, researchers examined data from 32 states from 1990-2015. The researchers evaluated all of the state and local tax incentives available in the 32 states, as well as an array of economic, political, governmental, and demographic data.


A computational model assessed the extent to which the effects of attracting or retaining businesses in a state offset the state’s related tax incentives.


“We found that, in almost all instances, these corporate tax incentives cost states millions of dollars—if not more—and the returns were minimal,” says corresponding author Bruce McDonald, an associate professor of public administration at North Carolina State University.


“In fact, the combination of costly tax incentives and limited returns ultimately left states in worse financial condition than they were to begin with.”


The two exceptions to the finding were job creation tax credits and job training grants.

Related:
You Don’t Always Get What You Want: The Effect of Financial Incentives on State Fiscal Health
Source: Bruce D. McDonald III, J. W. Decker, Brad A. M. Johnson, Public Administration Review, Early View, First published: February 27, 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Governments frequently use financial incentives to encourage the creation, expansion, or relocation of businesses within their borders. Research on financial incentives gives little clarity as to what impact these incentives may have on governments. While incentives may draw in more economic growth, they also pull resources from government coffers, and they may commit governments to future funding for public services that benefit the incentivized businesses. The authors use a panel of 32 states and data from 1990 to 2015 to understand how incentives affect states’ fiscal health. They find that after controlling for the governmental, political, economic, and demographic characteristics of states, incentives draw resources away from states. Ultimately, the results show that financial incentives negatively affect the overall fiscal health of states.

Job Turf or Variety: Task Structure as a Source of Organizational Inequality

Source: Nathan Wilmers, Administrative Science Quarterly, OnlineFirst, Published February 25, 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
What explains pay inequality among coworkers? Theories of organizational influence on inequality emphasize the effects of formal hierarchy. But restructuring, firm flattening, and individualized pay setting have challenged the relevance of these structuralist theories. I propose a new organizational theory of differences in pay, focused on task structure and the horizontal division of labor across jobs. When organizations specialize jobs, they reduce the variety of tasks performed by some workers. In doing so they leave exclusive job turf to other coworkers, who capture the learning and discretion associated with performing a distinct task. The division of labor thus erodes pay premiums for some workers while advantaging others through job turf. I test this theory with linked employer–employee panel data from U.S. labor unions, which include a type of data that is rarely collected: annual reporting on work tasks. Results show that reducing task variety lowers workers’ earnings, while increasing job turf raises earnings. When organizations reduce task variety for some workers, they increase job turf for others. Without assuming fixed job hierarchies and pay rates, interdependencies in organizational task allocation yield unequal pay premiums among coworkers.

From Face Time to Flex Time: The Role of Physical Space in Worker Temporal Flexibility

Source: Leroy Gonsalves, Administrative Science Quarterly, OnlineFirst, Published February 27, 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Despite the great potential for flexible work policies to increase worker temporal flexibility—the extent to which workers control when and where their work tasks are completed—organizational scholars have found that employees rarely use them for fear of career penalties. This study sheds light on this flexibility paradox by drawing attention to the overlooked yet crucial role of physical space. Using 14 months of field research during an office redesign at a large professional sales organization, I find that a reconfiguration of physical space intended to reduce costs had the unintended consequence of disrupting taken-for-granted greeting practices, noticing practices, and evaluative beliefs. Changes to social practices led employees to feel less concern about trait inferences of dependability and commitment arising from their physical presence and to experience greater temporal flexibility. The findings contribute to a model in which the relationship between flexible work policies and temporal flexibility is moderated by the physical space. By identifying the physical space as a novel determinant of temporal flexibility, the study reveals the structural underpinnings of the flexibility paradox and more generally contributes to our understanding of how physical spaces structure social life in organizations.

States can improve supports for infants and toddlers who are in or at risk of entering foster care

Source: Megan Fischer, Kristina Rosinsky, Elizabeth Jordan, Maggie Haas, Deborah Seok, Child Trends, February 2020

From the summary:
To understand what policies and services are already in place for infants and toddlers in care and at risk of entering care, as well as where the child welfare field can leverage the opportunities provided by the Family First Act, Child Trends fielded the 2019 Survey of Child Welfare Agency Policies and Practices for Infants and Toddlers in, or who are Candidates for, Foster Care. The survey, supported by ZERO TO THREE (ZTT) and the Health and Human Services Administration (HRSA), aimed to understand the current array of policies and practices intended to serve this population, and how this array may have shifted since the initial fielding of the survey in 2013. The goal of the survey and report were to identify and share innovations in policy and practice and highlight key challenges that child welfare agencies face in meeting the needs of very young children who have experienced maltreatment. By collecting and sharing such information, we hope to support agencies in strengthening their approaches to serving this population.

With the Family First Act, states have a new opportunity to use federal funds to support children who are at risk of entering foster care (also known as candidates for foster care) and their families. Healthy early development requires stable, nurturing relationships with caregivers (Center on the Developing Child, 2007). For young children who are safe and supported, staying with their families rather than entering foster care is particularly beneficial.

Although the 2019 survey was fielded early in the implementation of the Family First Act, its findings show where states have existing strengths and infrastructure to provide prevention services to families with infants and toddlers. Findings also shed light on where states need to increase their capacity to provide a robust array of services for infants and toddlers who are candidates for foster care, as well as their families.

The United States Prosperity Index 2019

Source: Legatum Institute, 2019

From the introduction:
A new United States Prosperity Index (USPI), published by the Legatum Institute, reveals that prosperity has increased across America over the last 10 years and the gap between the most and least prosperous states is narrowing.

The USPI is the first comprehensive assessment of all aspects of prosperity across America, allowing comparison between the different states and regions. It measures the extent to which all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. have open economies, inclusive societies and empowered people.

The research shows that Washington, D.C. saw the greatest increase in prosperity in the last decade, followed by California and South Carolina. Only four states – Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota and South Dakota – saw a decline in prosperity. Improvements in health, education and living conditions all contributed to the increase in prosperity. In addition, the majority of states have enhanced the quality of their economy as they have recovered from the financial crisis. While Mississippi is the least prosperous state, its prosperity has improved more than that of top-ranked Massachusetts in the last 10 years.

Disability revealed during termination talk—should the employee stay or go?

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Vol. 37 no. 3. February 5, 2020
(subscription required)


Sarah, a marketing manager, is chronically late. She also leaves early and her coworkers complain that she doesn’t respond to emails, calls, or texts even when she is in the office. You place her on a 60-day performance improvement plan and she promises to do better. Two months later, when nothing has changed, you schedule a termination meeting. When you tell her she is fired, she suddenly claims she has a disabling condition that is causing her performance problems. Do you have to rescind the termination and look for accommodations to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Preventing Suicide Within Your Workforce: Five Steps to Take

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Vol. 37 no. 3. February 5, 2020
(subscription required)

The suicide statistics in the United States are alarming. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 45,000 lives have been lost to suicide since 2016. In the past two decades, suicide rates have risen by 30% or more in 23 states, with North Dakota (58%), Vermont (49%), New Hampshire (48%) and Utah (47%), experiencing the highest increases. The CDC says employers have a role to play in reducing suicide rates by promoting employee health and well-being, supporting employees at risk, and putting plans in place to respond to people showing warning signs. ….