Wednesday, April 23, 2008

US DOL Announces 125 Million Grants for Workers

According to the U. S. Department of Labor, 69 community colleges and community-based institutions that competed successfully under the President’s Community-Based Job Training Grants Initiative in 36 states have been awarded $125 million in grants within the past few weeks to support training programs for high-growth job sectors.

The grants, known as Community-Based Job Training Grants, are intended to build the capacity of such institutions to train workers to develop the skills for local industries and occupations that are expected to see strong growth, as well as for industries where the demand for qualified workers is already exceeding the supply.

The institutions chosen will use the funds to prepare students for careers in high-growth industries. Awardees were chosen from among 341 applications received in response to a competition announced August 8, 2007. The program was established in 2005 and awarded 72 grants in its first year. The second round of awards, made in 2006, totaled 70 grants.

Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said, “Community colleges are in a unique position to prepare local workers for careers in high-growth industries. The $125 million awarded today will expand enrollment in education and training programs and provide more workers with the skills they need to succeed.”

The focus of the Community-Based Job Training Grants is to build community colleges’ capacity to equip workers with the skills required to succeed in local industries and to fortify the role that community colleges play in advancing the potential of America’s workforce.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Texas Child Labor Law

The Texas Labor Code states that “the purpose of the Texas Child Labor Law is to ensure that a child is not employed in an occupation or manner that is detrimental to the child's safety, health, or well-being.”

The code defines a “Child” as any individual under 18 years of age. However, except as specifically authorized by the statute, it is illegal to employ a child under 14 years of age.

The Texas State Law also states that a child of 14 or 15 years of age may not work more than eight hours per day or more than 48 hours each week. If a child of 14 or 15 is enrolled in a public or private school, he may not work between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. If a child of 14 or 15 is not enrolled in summer school, he may not work between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. on any day that school is in recess for the summer.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Elaws Advisor—a Poster Advisor to help in your business

Every business must display a variety of posters to comply with the poster requirements of several labor laws administered by the state and federal government; posters required for different businesses are also different. This is where elaws Advisors can help.

The elaws Advisor is a kind of interactive e-tool that can simulate the interaction you might have with an employment law expert. It will ask you a series of questions, evaluate your responses and provide a list of posters that you should display.

Each Advisor will also provide links to more detailed information you may find useful, and to DOL contact information for each poster in case of you wish to speak with a DOL representative about a particular issue or case that can’t be determined by the Advisor.

Advisor only provides information about Federal DOL poster requirements; you can contact your State Department of Labor to get information about the requirements for your state.

In addition, the Advisor does not provide posters that may be required for certain businesses. Certain types of posters can only be obtained from the DOL's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP), including notices to employees that the employer is insured or self-insured to provide compensation benefits to its employees or eligible survivors in the case of work-related injury, illness or death.

Employers covered by the following statutes must obtain this insurance:
--Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
--Defense Base Act (covers employees on overseas military, air, or naval bases under a public works contract performed by contractors with agencies of the U.S. Government)
--Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (covers employees of firms working on the outer continental shelf of the U. S. engaged in exploration for and development of natural resources)
--Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities Act (covers civilian employees in post exchanges, service clubs, etc. of the Armed Forces)

You may contact the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs if you are not sure about whether you are covered under one of the above statutes.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Texas Workers’ Compensation Law

In Texas, workers’ compensation is not a mandatory state program that requires business employers to have insurance policies covering employees for job-related injuries.

However, employers who choose not to accept the provisions of this program will lose the right to assert certain defenses if they are accused. So, employers must give notice to their employees whether they are covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

Texas is the only state in which the employer may optionally purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Employers may choose between providing worker’s compensation coverage, or being subject to a civil suit in the case of worker injury. Worker's compensation insurance may be provided by a private insurance carrier, a competitive state fund, or the business employers may self-insure. In any case, the Texas Workers Compensation law will protect injured workers from any unlawful acts by their employers following an injury.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ohio Military Status Updated

The state of Ohio has updated their Fair Employment law, adding “Military Status” as a new protective category effective March 23, 2008.

Ohio Governer Ted Strichland has signed into law the Ohio Veterans Package, Substitute House Bill 372. Ohio’s Anti Discrimination law now includes “military status” as a protected class for purposes of employment, housing, and public accommodations. Already included as protected classes under Ohio law are race, color, sex, disability, national origin, age (40& older), ancestry and religion.

“Military status” refers to a person’s status in “service in the uniformed services.” “Service in the uniformed services” means the performance of duty in a uniformed service under competent authority, including active duty, active duty for training, initial active duty for training, inactive duty for training, full-time national guard duty and performance of duty or training by a member of the Ohio organized militia in accordance with the Revised Code.

The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) already protects military service, but the new Ohio amendments broaden this protection. Ohio employers will now need to include “military status” as a protected category on their Fair Employment labor law postings; the state is in the process of updating and releasing new fair employment law postings as of this writing, on 4/7/08.