New I-9 Form Available

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a 2013 revised Employment Eligibility Verification I-9 Form, in both English and Spanish versions, for employers. The Department of Homeland Security has also issued a Notice about the new I-9 Form in the Federal Register. 

According to USCIS, effective March 8, 2013, employers should begin using the new I-9 Form (Rev. 03/08/13)N for all new-hires and reverifications, however, the previously accepted revisions (Rev.02/02/09)N and (Rev. 08/07/09)Y may continue to be used until May 7, 2013. After May 7, 2013, however, employers must only use Form I-9 (Rev. 03/08/13)N.

The I-9 Form is required to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States and the 2013 I-9 Form contains many improvements including new fields, reformatting, and clearer instructions.

Download the 2013 I-9 Form

Source: USCIS

Workplace Culture: What It Is, Why It Matters, & How to Define It

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Workplace Culture: What It Is, Why It Matters, & How to Define It

Culture is the character and personality of your organization. It's what makes your organization unique and is the sum of its values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviors, and attitudes. Here's an overview of why workplace culture is important, what affects it, and how to define it.

Why is workplace culture important?

Culture is as important, if not more important, than your business strategy because it either strengthens or undermines your business and the objectives it is trying to achieve. Culture is significant, especially because…
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Court: Random Alcohol Tests Not in Violation of ADA

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The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) case against U.S. Steel Corp., ruled that random tests for alcohol can be performed on probationary employees who work in safety sensitive positions, and that doing so does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In the 2013 case, the EEOC argued that the company's policy of conducting breath alcohol testing at random on probationary employees could be considered a medical examination and that ADA restricts employers from requiring such exams unless it meets the standard of being "job related and consistent with business necessity."

Meanwhile, U.S. Steel held that its policy was lawful on several conditions, including that it was job related and consistent with business necessity, that it was part of a voluntary health and safety program negotiated and agreed upon with its union, and necessitated by the company's obligations under federal safety and environmental laws and regulations (Source: SHRM).

The court decision affirms that employers can take reasonable steps, including random alcohol tests, to keep workers safe on the job. Although, employers should proceed cautiously and still heed the EEOC's guidance regarding medical examinations under ADA.

Please note that by providing you with research information that may be contained in this article, ERC is not providing a qualified legal opinion. As such, research information that ERC provides to its members should not be relied upon or considered a substitute for legal advice. The information that we provide is for general employer use and not necessarily for individual application.

ADA/FMLA Training Course

Top 5 Trends in Training & Developing Talent

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Training and development is a critical aspect of an organization's talent management strategy. Every organization needs to invest in it to attract and retain talent and grow their employees' knowledge base and capabilities. Here are five current trends influencing training and development.

Trend #1: Training is a means of keeping, developing, and rewarding talent.

Training has evolved into not only a means of developing employees’ skills, but also a strategy to retain, develop, and reward key talent. In ERC's 2012 Talent Management Practices Survey, the majority (57%) of organizations say they use training and development opportunities as a strategy to retain top or key talent and 61% use it as a way to reward and recognize employees.
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Telecommuting: Should You Allow It?

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Telecommuting

Yahoo's ban on telecommuting and work-from-home arrangements has sparked an interesting debate in the workplace. Should your organization follow suit?

The issue of whether or not to allow telecommuting or work-from-home options in the workplace is hardly a new problem. In fact, organizations have been questioning whether or not to offer it and the pros and cons of such arrangements for the past few years as this flexible work practice has become more common.

Before you change your policy, here are some important considerations.

1. Telecommuting can be attractive and beneficial as a flexible work option.

Offering telecommuting or work-from-home options can help attract talent, especially employees in segments of the workforce that traditionally need or want more flexible arrangements (i.e. women, disabled workers, Millenials, etc.). Allowing telecommuting to be used as an option for the following can be advantageous.
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Compensation Rising for Recent Graduates

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With graduation day only a few months away, the pressure is on for many soon to be college graduates in need of full time employment. This flood of new job seekers on the market come May offers employers a great opportunity to take on these highly educated, enthusiastic potential new employees- and, even better, in most cases, these new employees can be brought on board at entry level compensation levels.

Benefits of Recent Grads

In fact, ERC/NOCHE’s 2012 Intern & Recent Graduate Survey reports that 42% of employers make their entry level hires directly from this pool of new college graduates. Their reasons for doing so are fairly consistent from year to year with the vast majority of employers recognizing new graduates not only as a great value (strong educational background, again for entry level compensation levels), but also as an opportunity for their organization to develop a talent pipeline, infuse the workforce with new energy, and boost the level of tech savvy among their employees.
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How Healthcare Reform Will Affect Your Wellness Program

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Healthcare reform is bringing several changes to how employers administer healthcare benefits as well as their wellness programs in 2013. Here are a couple key items you need to know about how healthcare reform affects your wellness program.

Larger wellness incentives

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates new incentives for employers to build wellness programs in their workplace and encourage healthier habits.

The Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Treasury Department released proposed rules for employer-based wellness program incentives, which apply to plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014.
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Skilled Manufacturing Salaries Gain Ground

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Despite multiple reports of optimism about Northeast Ohio’s manufacturing sector growth rate, the widely publicized quarterly economic indicator report published by Team NEO for the fourth quarter of 2012, further analysis offered by the report’s research team concedes that growth does not translate directly into job growth. The quarterly report cites data from Moody’s, placing the region above the national average for manufacturing sector growth rates. But, the researchers point out that increased production does not guarantee job creation at those same levels.

At least in the short term, manufacturing job growth here in Northeast Ohio does seem to be accompanied by slightly more competitive salaries when compared to national averages (2013 EAA National Wage & Salary Survey). Although the increases are small, only a few percentage points each year, skilled manufacturing positions such as welders and CNC machine center operators are among those that are consistently gaining ground and ultimately becoming more competitive when compared to national averages.
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Managing Workplace Romance...Or Not?

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Managing Workplace Romance...Or Not?

In the spirit of romance on this Valentine’s Day, now might be a good time for your organization to take a good hard look at your policy on “workplace romance”. Do you have a policy in place? How does it define the limits to relationships between employees? Has this issue come up recently among your employees? Should you consider implementing one?

With several surveys pointing towards a change in employee’s attitudes towards dating in the workplace and romance in the air this week, let’s take a look at how employees feel about this potentially charged issue and what that might mean for employers.
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