HRS Quarterly Fast News, Quarter 1 2011

With our compliments please enjoy the following news summary in 5 minutes or less, with value provided in only 30 seconds.  We compile this for you, because you are busy! HRS Answer Desk clients have received timely legal updates ongoing.  

Laws, Laws & More Laws... Compliance Made Simple

Government fundraising is up. Employer audits and fines are on the rise. US government admittedly avoids the "business of educating employers" and has neglected to update online compliance guides since 2009. Periodicals pummel the faint of heart with dry, ambiguous reading, often containing no intelligible answer. Paid subscriptions regurgitate the same info one can find freely on the Internet. Help is here. Read 6 Steps to Easy Compliance

Employee Assessment Soars to #1 Cost Savings Toolset... 

Employer ROI surpasses 100:1, sometimes 1000:1, when the right assessment resource is in place. Getting the right people doing the right things with proper training drives success. Choose assessments with transparency and obvious job task correlation. Most popular assessments this quarter: sales, time management, leadership, communications, problem solving, customer service and change champion. When selecting instruments and partners, please know that while some boast thousands of instruments, we've screened out thousands which do not attain validity and quality. Be choosy, and consider us an informational resource.

Virtual Initiatives Provide Employer Advantage

New videoconference and virtual technology platforms emerge allowing 1) substantial administrative cost savings, 2) increased market access, 3) improved communications and 4) comprehensive risk management and much more.  Recognizing tasks that can be performed virtually is a must.  Assessing and developing employees for that virtualization is another must. Policies, case studies and decision toolsets are at your disposal.  

Legal Compliance Drilldown & Links...

Recent changes include Social Media, ARRA, FLSA Government Crackdown, Expanded Anti-Harassment Definitions, CHIPRA, FMLA, COBRA & UI Updates, Mental Health, GINA, Privacy, I-9 Audits, E-Verify, Recordkeeping, OSHA and much more. Contact us for more information on these prior changes. A few new toolsets follow... 

New Federal Ruling Empowers Employers in Social Media Policies:  Social media can be a great company advantage when handled properly.  A new ruling allows employers to control employee social media activity provided a lawful policy is in place and communicated in advance. Employer screening, anti-harassment, surveillance, intellectual property, and time away from work are minimum policy considerations. Social Media Investigations May Be Essential to Hiring and Can Be Conducted Lawfully. For excerpts from recent webinars and educational deliveries, please visit Policy Tips. Compliance and social media experts comment in this recent Biztimes cover story
Employee OASDI Withholding Reduced to 4.2%: Effective January 2011, employee share of Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance was reduced from 6.2 to 4.2%.  If your payroll team has not yet made this change, adjusted withholding is due, both retroactively and moving forward.  Details at link.
Defense of Marriage Act Shall Not Be Defended:  The federal administration has announced a cease upon DOMA defense. Employers need to keep eyes on this arena. Such a decision implies enhanced scrutiny of domestic partner rights and sexual orientation anti-discrimination practices. New Yorker Article. Get education and compliance in place.  
2011 Changes to HSA/HRA/FSA Qualified Medical Expenses: Beginning January 1, non-prescription medications are no longer HSA, HRA or FSA allowable expenses.  Using these accounts for over-the-counter medications shall be subject to penalty.  Read about 2011 tax changes in IRS ruling.

As a follow up to earlier advice, please know that I-9 Audits are on the rise, and the new "Cat's Paw" ruling holds employers further responsible for discriminatory actions by employees. Be proactive, not reactive. Employer risks of non-compliance.


NLRA & Collective Bargaining Under the Microscope

You can't swing a picket sign without striking a collective bargaining rights battle. While not always the case, employees fighting for collective bargaining rights are sometimes ideologically aligned with employer goals... yet do not know it. We are calling upon employers to reduce the "white noise" of terminology differences as with any organizational conflict. Within employers and throughout this debate, better communication of rationale and endgame goals will reduce conflict. Checkpoint definitions. Be certain solicitation policies do not conflict the NLRA covenants. Use communication and incentives wisely to create teambuilding and unified employee engagement. Where an employer cannot terminate an employee for work abandonment, we have a functional problem. Keep it in check.  

Problems Are Opportunities...

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." ~ Thomas Edison   

Breakthrough Employee Assessment Technology Just Announced

In comprehensive support of technology utilization growing as a job requirement, HRS launches a next generation online platform still rich with facilitation, both on site and virtual. Visit and contact us for complimentary demo user/password. No one beats 3 decades of HRSAC validity supporting millions of employees in hundreds of countries. This catalog of assessments uniquely supports the entire life cycle of talent management: pre-employment, learning needs, trainability, advancement, change management and exit decisions. Paper & pencil, online, verbal/visual presentation, group task and simulated deliveries are available according to job description characteristics.  Open ended job tasks detect creative thinking and safeguard validity.

HRS Cairo Is Up & Running 

Recent meetings with Cairo team at HRS Chicago have provided great insight into recent Egyptian protests and global business concerns. HRS Cairo is up and running, and we have first hand stories to share. Certified facilitators and translators are on site in Egypt and surrounding countries.   


HRS is available to assist with each and every topic mentioned herein. Please consider us for your HR/OD needs.  Time, human capital planning, cost containment and risk management are more important than ever before.


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