Superior Staffing Walks For Wishes

October 1st, 2018

The Superior Staffing Team participated in this years Make-A-Wish event!  Great Event!

Walk

Developing Extraordinary Resilience

February 22nd, 2018
Developing Extraordinary Resilience
In both business and your personal life, the ability to “bounce back” helps you recover from setbacks, adapt, learn and move forward. Use these practices to become more resilient in the face of any challenge.

ACA Likely to Change Substantially but Full Repeal Unlikely

November 11th, 2016

Employer mandate and Cadillac tax are among provisions being targeted

By Stephen Miller, CEBS Nov 11, 2016

The day after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the U.S. Senate would move to swiftly try to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “It’s pretty high on our agenda as you know,” the Kentucky Republican told Politico on Nov. 9. “I would be shocked if we didn’t move forward and keep our commitment to the American people.”

But there’s a hitch: advocates of “repeal and replace” of the ACA need 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a Democratic filibuster—and the Nov. 8 election didn’t put that many Republican senators in place (51 Republicans, 48 Democrats, with a runoff election to be held in Louisiana).

“Without a filibuster-proof Republican majority in the Senate, Democrats are sure to make every effort to block any proposal to fully repeal the ACA,” said Chatrane Birbal, senior advisor, government relations at the Society for Human Resource Management.


In light of that challenge, President Trump and GOP congressional leaders are expected to first make a grand gesture of trying to repeal the ACA, and then start negotiating with Democrats on changing the law in ways that can attract enough senators from both parties to pass the 60-vote threshold. Alternatively, Republicans may use the process of budget reconciliation—in which a simple Senate majority is needed to pass measures related to revenues and spending.

Much of the ACA was originally passed by Democrats in 2010 using reconciliation.

“In terms of repeal, even Republicans—including the president-elect—support keeping some parts of the ACA that are popular, such as the insurance market reforms, allowing children to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 and the ban on pre-existing condition limits,” said Steve Wojcik, vice president, public policy at the Washington-D.C.-based National Business Group on Health, which represents employers.

That said, there are several key provisions that are likely to be targeted for elimination in the absence of full ACA repeal.

Employer Mandate

“The employer and the individual mandate are back on the table,” Wojcik said. The employer mandate requires organizations with 50 or more full-time or equivalent employees to provide ACA-compliant health care coverage to their full-time employees (those working on average 30 or more hours per week) or to pay steep penalties. The individual mandate requires all adults without insurance coverage to buy an ACA-compliant policy or pay a tax penalty.

“Philosophically, employers believe that offering benefits should be voluntary. The mandate goes against that philosophy,” Wojcik said. “But the big issue is that all of the reporting, tracking and other administrative burdens associated with implementing the employer mandate would go away without it,” and these have been an enormous and costly compliance burden for many employers.

Short of repealing the mandate, a fallback could be changing the ACA’s definition of a full-time employee entitled to employer-provided coverage—currently an employee who works 30 hours or more per week—to the more traditional definition of an employee who works 40 hours per week. If that happens, “employers will need to think about whether they are going to take away the benefits that were extended to the 30-to-40 hour people,” said Kim Buckey, vice president of compliance communications at Birmingham, Ala.-based DirectPath, a health care compliance firm.

Eliminating the mandate also would let employers choose whether to offer health benefits as they see fit, and allow them to provide a wider range of offerings including “slim-down plans for part-time employees or in industries with high turnover,” Wojcik explained. The ACA eliminated these so-called “skinny” or “lite” plans that provided low-cost coverage for basic health care but failed to insure against substantial in-patient hospitalization, for instance.

J.D. Piro, New York City-based senior vice president of consultancy Aon Hewitt’s health law group, also expects to see “if not a complete overhaul, certainly a significant revision of the individual and employer mandates.”

How likely is this? “Sixty votes could be hard,” Wojcik said. “If they want to make those changes, they’ll probably have to use the reconciliation process. But they could do it. There is a budget implication for eliminating the employer and individual mandates, as well as some of the taxes that were part of the ACA. I think it’s doable as a result of the election.”

Piro suggest that there may even be enough bipartisan agreement to avoid a nasty fight. “A lot of Democrats have indicated they might be willing to relax the employer mandate,” and some are looking at the individual mandate and whether it has failed to encourage the healthy uninsured to buy health insurance, he noted.

“Whether you have to get to reconciliation in order to beat a filibuster overlooks the fact that there might be some Democrats [in the Senate] who believe there’s a better way to promote coverage than through these mandates,” Piro said. “So we’re a long way from having to make a filibuster or reconciliation determination.”

However, “It’s certainly not too soon for employers to start thinking about the implications that repealing the employer mandate or revising the definition of full-time employees will have on their benefit strategy,” Buckey said. “Once again, there’s going to be a sea-change in employee benefits.”

In the meantime, “the ACA is still the law of the land,” advised Scott Behrens, an ERISA compliance attorney at Lockton Companies, a benefits brokerage and consultancy based in Kansas City, Mo. “Prudent employers will want to continue to comply with the ACA, including the play-or-pay mandate and reporting requirements—Forms 1095-C are due to employees 11 days after Mr. Trump’s inauguration—until formal guidance relieves them of those compliance obligations.”

Cadillac Tax

The 40-percent excise tax on employer-sponsored health coverage that exceeds certain benefit thresholds, set to take effect in 2020, “is perhaps in a category by itself since there is widespread bipartisan support for eliminating it,” Wojcik said. “Employers as well as unions and others oppose this tax as a flawed way to hold down health plan costs. Ultimately, it will just raise the cost of employer-sponsored coverage without attacking the problem, which is the continued growth in health care expenses beyond wage growth and growth of the overall economy.”

“Both Democrats and Republicans have proposed repealing the Cadillac tax,” Piro said.” The upshot: The odds are now greater that the much reviled levy will never be implemented.

But not everyone is certain the tax is dead. “While President-elect Trump expressed support for a repeal of the 40-percent tax on the campaign trail, other legislative priorities including tax reform and the impact of repeal on the federal deficit could result in further delay, modification or replacement of the excise tax,” said SHRM’s Birbal.

For instance, “the tax treatment of employer-sponsored health care benefits could come under scrutiny as lawmakers look to find ways to pay for tax reform and reduce the federal deficit,” Birbal said. Earlier this year, she noted, proposed changes in the tax treatment of employer-provided health coverage were included in the U.S. House Republican’s task force report on health care reform. Trump, however, has not indicated his support for those measures.

Zika Virus: A Proactive Approach

September 13th, 2016

For the first time in 2015, cases of Zika virus infection emerged in the Americas and the Caribbean. In the past, Zika virus historically had only been found in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. The virus, named for its discovery in the Zika Forest in Uganda in 1947, poses an ongoing risk to employers and employees alike.

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can become infected when they bite an infected person and can then spread the virus to other people they subsequently bite. In Zika-affected areas, it’s crucial to protect yourself and others from possible exposure by always taking steps to prevent and avoid mosquito bites. There’s no vaccine to prevent Zika virus and there’s no specific treatment for individuals who become infected.

Global companies, and companies who have boots in the ground internationally, should take special precaution with employees. It’s important to understand that women who are pregnant are at a higher risk with Zika virus. Employers should carefully communicate this specific risk to everyone and be sure to not discriminate. In addition, employers can’t require a medical test to see if employees who recently traveled to affected regions have the virus. Medical tests can only be required if there’s an imposed threat on the workplace – Zika virus has not become a threat at this point.

According to the CDC, people typically infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms.

The most common symptoms of Zika are:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)

Other symptoms include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

Zika is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. Symptoms of Zika are similar to other viruses spread through mosquito bites, like dengue and chikungunya.

As an employer, you should be doing the following to take a proactive approach against Zika virus:

  • Ensure that supervisors, and all potentially exposed workers, are aware of the symptoms of Zika.
  • Train workers to seek medical evaluation if they develop symptoms of Zika.
  • Ensure that workers receive prompt and appropriate medical evaluation and follow-up after suspected exposure to Zika virus. If the exposure falls under OSHA’s BBP standard (29 CFR 1910.1030), employers must comply with medical evaluation and follow-up requirements in the standard.
  • Consider options for granting sick leave during the infectious period. The CDC’s website has a great outline on tips for employers and employees during the first week of Zika virus illness.

Fed: Modest Economic Growth; Shortage of Staffing Talent

September 8th, 2016

Reports from the 12 districts of the Federal Reserve suggest that national economic activity continued to expand at a modest pace from July through late August, according to the Federal Reserve Board’s latest report on regional economies (known as the “beige book”). Most districts reported a modest or moderate pace of overall growth. Manufacturing activity rose slightly in most districts. Labor market conditions remained tight, with moderate payroll growth noted; employment expanded at a moderate pace. In many districts, businesses reported trouble filling job vacancies for high-skilled positions, especially for technology specialists, engineers, and selected construction workers. Staffing services businesses in most districts reported a moderate increase in activity. Contacts across the country expect moderate economic growth in the coming months.

Boston

Economic activity continued to increase in the district, although there were scattered signs of slowing growth. Most manufacturing contacts said sales and revenues had increased from a year ago. Business activity in the district’s staffing services industry was mixed—year-to-year revenues were up for a majority of responding firms, with increases ranging from 3% to 30%, but several contacts reported seasonally slow business in the summer. Respondents observed a tight labor market with short supply and strong demand, the latter evidenced by an unusually high number of job postings. They attributed the lack of labor supply to low unemployment and skills mismatch in the labor market, as well as attractive salaries in permanent positions. Looking forward, most firms remained optimistic, though some cited concern over the upcoming November election. They expect continued labor shortages and strong labor demand in the coming months.

New York

There was little to no economic growth in the district since the previous report. Manufacturers reported that business activity was flat; service-sector businesses said that activity declined. The labor market remained tight. Manufacturers and service firms reported little change in staffing levels; service firms scaled back hiring plans in recent weeks, and manufacturers expect staffing levels to be steady to lower in the months ahead. One major New York City employment firm reported that hiring activity remained brisk during the usually slow summer months. Two other firms in the district reported that demand for workers has been steady, at strong levels.

Philadelphia

Aggregate business activity in the district grew slightly, but a bit slower than the modest pace reported during the previous period. Manufacturing contacts reported that overall activity had changed little. General activity fell and then rose during the period, orders rose and then fell, and shipments increased throughout the six weeks. Along with these offsetting trends, firms reported that the number of employees and the average employee work hours continued to fall. Overall hiring slowed. Staffing firms reported a modest increase in activity, manufacturers continued to report job cuts, and other sectors noted mixed trends. Firms expect moderate growth over the next six months—a little higher than they reported for the previous period.

Cleveland

Aggregate business activity in the district grew at a modest pace. Manufacturing output increased, though at a slow rate. Commercial builders reported some weakening in the industry’s strong pace of growth but said they expect that it will be a short-term event. Payrolls were little changed on balance over the period. Job gains in construction and banking were offset by losses in manufacturing and freight hauling. Staffing firms noted an increase in the number of job openings and placements, especially for temporary positions. Wage pressures were most evident in the construction and retail sectors across skill levels.

Richmond

Economic growth in the district slowed. Manufacturing activity was mixed, but firms’ expectations for the next six months were optimistic, and manufacturing employment continued to rise. Commercial leasing increased moderately. Revenues rose somewhat faster at services firms. In the service sector, more retailers were hiring; other firms indicated steady labor demand. The demand for labor increased modestly for workers across all skill levels since the previous report. Turnover rates increased, particularly in entry-level positions. A staffing services firm in Maryland said that some employers were raising starting wages to attract new entry-level workers and to retain existing employees.

Atlanta

According to reports from businesses across the district, economic activity expanded at a modest pace from July through mid-August. The outlook among contacts remained optimistic, as most expect higher growth over the remainder of the year. Manufacturers noted that activity increased slightly since the previous report. Business contacts continued to describe a tightening labor market, with challenges finding workers to fill open positions, particularly in fields that require high skill levels. As a result, contacts from staffing firms noted that demand for recruitment services remained steady. Across the district, firms reported little evidence of wage pressure, and labor costs were generally well contained.

Chicago

Growth in economic activity in the district picked up to a moderate pace, and contacts expect growth to remain moderate over the next six to 12 months. Business spending and manufacturing production grew at a moderate rate. Hiring continued at a modest rate, and contacts said they expected it to strengthen to a moderate pace in the next six to 12 months. Contacts also indicated that competition was growing for lower-skilled workers. Wage pressures were steady overall, with greater pressure for high-skilled occupations than for low-skilled occupations. Nonwage labor costs were little changed. Staffing firms reported no change in billable hours and difficulty filling orders at the wages employers are willing to pay.

St. Louis

Economic conditions in the district improved slightly. Manufacturing activity has been mixed, while activity in the service sector has been positive. Contacts in manufacturing, construction, and wholesale trade continued to report difficulties in finding skilled or qualified candidates to fill job vacancies, either because of a shortage of applicants or because candidates lack the necessary skills. Employers continued to report modest hiring, although with ongoing difficulties finding qualified workers, and wage pressures remain strong. A majority of contacts reported that nominal wages were higher relative to the same time last year, and some reported employment was higher or slightly higher. Contacts expect similar trends to persist over the next quarter. Several firms that provide business support services, information technology services, and education services announced plans to build new facilities and hire new employees.

Minneapolis

The district’s economy grew modestly overall since the previous report. Growth was noted in commercial real estate and professional services. Activity in energy and manufacturing was steady, but commercial construction slowed from high levels. Wage pressures were moderate. Employment grew moderately in spite of tight labor availability—separate call centers in Montana and South Dakota announced plans in late summer to hire new workers over the coming months. However, not all companies have been able to procure needed labor. Hours billed at a Minneapolis-St. Paul staffing firm fell from June through mid-August, which the owner said was “nearly 100% due to lack of available workers.”

Kansas City

Economic activity in the district was largely flat, although expectations remained mostly positive. District manufacturing firms reported modest declines in activity, but expectations for future activity remained positive. Professional and high-tech firms reported moderate increases in activity. Energy activity edged higher from low levels on expectations of higher prices, and the commercial real estate market strengthened slightly. Expectations for the commercial real estate market were for continued moderate expansion. Wages continued to grow modestly in most industries, with some labor shortages reported for selected skilled positions.

Dallas

Economic activity in the district expanded slightly. Manufacturing activity was flat to up. Reports of employment changes were mixed, and prices held steady. Demand for nonfinancial services increased. Staffing services firms said demand picked up, particularly in Dallas, and a slight uptick was seen in Houston as well. Reports of hiring were scattered among service sector companies, with staffing firms adding employees and hiring continuing among leisure and hospitality firms. Several contacts noted a tight labor market for health care professionals, and labor constraints in the construction sector were ongoing. Outlooks were generally positive but cautious, with the upcoming presidential election driving some of the uncertainty.

San Francisco

Economic activity in the district continued to grow at a moderate pace. Overall price inflation remained limited, while upward wage pressures intensified. Manufacturing activity changed little—contacts reported that capacity utilization rates remained slightly low. Activity in the business services sector grew at a moderate pace. Shortages of raw materials and labor somewhat constrained growth in construction activity in some parts of the district. In the broader transportation sector, delivery volumes continued to grow at a brisk pace, particularly for ecommerce. Growing demand for highly skilled workers and technology specialists fueled strong wage growth in the technology, banking, and health care IT sectors. Shortages of physicians and nurses continued to push up wages in the health care industry. Increased demand and the implementation of minimum wage laws in some parts of the district increased wages for lower-skill workers.

Employers Warned Not to Use Drug Tests to Deter Injury Reporting

June 17th, 2016

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration could cite employers who use post-incident drug testing policies to retaliate against employees reporting injuries and illnesses under the agency’s electronic record-keeping rule, according to an agency official.OSHA’s Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule does not ban employee incentive programs or drug testing of employees, but it does prohibit employers from using drug testing or the threat of it as a form of adverse action against employees who report injuries or illnesses, according to the final rule, published in May. The rule takes full effect Jan. 1, 2017, but its anti-retaliation provisions, which establish a new, citation-based pathway for employee complaints, go into effect on Aug. 10. “It does not ban specific programs,” Amanda Edens, deputy director, OSHA’s Directorate of Standards and Guidance, told members of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety & Health in Washington, on Wednesday. But if employers are using post-incident drug testing policies as a “distinct pre-text for retaliating” against employees reporting injuries and illnesses, those are the types of situations the agency would “take a careful look at in terms of whether or not we would issue a citation, but in general we are not banning drug testing programs.”Stakeholders objecting to the rule have speculated that the agency will attempt to cite employers who mandate post-accident drug testing without a compelling reason, such as a federal or state law or regulation that requires such testing.

Job Fair a Success!!!

May 16th, 2016

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Thanks for everyone who participated in our Melrose Park Job Fair this Saturday.  We had a great turnout and will be having one in our Addison office in June.  More details to follow.  If you missed us on Saturday you can still call for open positions.  708-345-8463

 

Thank you

 

Illinois unemployment drops to six-year low

August 14th, 2014

Craig Hinz – Crains Chicago News

August 14, 2014

In news with clear political implications, state officials today announced that the Illinois unemployment rate has dropped for the fifth month in a row, to 6.8 percent — roughly where it was when the great subprime mortgage recession began.

And even better, the decline now is being propelled not by people leaving the job force but by the creation of new jobs, with 11,200 positions added just in July.

Look for the announcement to draw a strong reaction from both Gov. Pat Quinn and his re-election foe, Bruce Rauner. I’ll post their comments a bit later. Meanwhile, here’s the news.

The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 7.1 percent in June to 6.8 percent in July, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The state rate is still somewhat above the national figure of 6.2 percent, but the 0.6 difference is just a fraction of what it was a year ago.

Since July 2013, the Illinois rate has dropped an enormous 2.4 percentage points, from 9.2 percent to 6.8 percent, according to the federal data released by the state. That’s the biggest year-over-year decline since 1984, putting the unemployment rate just above the 6.8 percent level of August 2008.

Arguably the better news is that state employers again are adding jobs.

According to the figures, derived from a different survey than the unemployment data, the state added 11,200 private sectors in the past month, and 35,600 over the past 12 months.

The July gains were widespread across various sectors, with professional and business services up 5,900, manufacturers adding 3,900 positions and construction 1,900 slots. Leisure and hospitality dropped 3,800 in the month.

Like the unemployment data, the job figures trail national growth. But they are much, much better than a few months ago.

“The falling unemployment rate seems to be picking up momentum with the warmer weather,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said in a statement. “That is encouraging even though we know there is still room for improvement.”

Look for Mr. Quinn to emphasize the improvement, and Mr. Rauner the need for more.

Illinois Passes Ban-the-Box Legislation Limiting Employers’ Criminal Background Checks on Applicants

July 23rd, 2014

Article By:
Kathryn Montgomery Moran

Paul Patten

Susan M. Corcoran

Richard Greenberg

Jackson Lewis P.C.

A new Illinois law prohibits employers from inquiring into a prospective employee’s criminal background on its application or during the early stages of application review.

The “Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act” (House Bill 5701), signed by Governor Pat Quinn on July 19, 2014, prohibits employers, or any agent of an employer, from considering or inquiring into a job applicant’s criminal record or history until the individual has been determined qualified for the position and notified of an impending interview, or, if the applicant will not be interviewed, until after a conditional offer of employment is made. The Act explicitly excludes three categories of job applicants from this restriction. Applicants for all other positions will be entitled to the protections of the Act.

Alleged violations of the Act will be investigated by the Illinois Department of Labor and violations will result in progressively substantial civil penalties. The Act becomes effective on January 1, 2015.

Employers Covered

The Act applies to any employer that is considering an applicant. An “employer” is any person or private entity that has at least 15 employees in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such a person or entity. An “applicant” is any person pursuing employment with an employer or with or through an employment agency. “Employment” means any occupation or vocation.

The Act does not apply in the following situations:

•If the employer is required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions from employment under federal or state law;
•If a standard fidelity bond or an equivalent bond is required and a conviction of certain criminal offenses would disqualify the applicant from obtaining such a bond, the employer may inquire whether the applicant has ever been convicted of those offenses prior to determining whether the individual is qualified for the position; and
•If the employer hires individuals licensed under the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act.
The Act does not preclude an employer from notifying applicants in writing of specific offenses that will disqualify an applicant from employment in a particular position due to federal or state law or the employer’s policy.

Enforcement

The Act grants the Illinois Department of Labor investigatory power over alleged violations. If the Department finds that a violation has occurred, the Director of Labor may impose civil penalties as follows:
1. A written warning on the first offense with notice regarding penalties for subsequent violations. The employer has 30 days to remedy the violation.
2. A civil penalty of up to $500 on the second offense OR if the first offense is not corrected within 30 days of notice.
3. A civil penalty of up to $1,500 on the third offense OR if the first offense is not corrected within 60 days of notice.
4. Additional civil penalties of up to $1,500 for every subsequent violation OR if the first violation is not remedied within 90 days of notice, additional penalties of up to $1,500 for every 30 days that passes without correction.

The Attorney General will represent the Department in any suit brought in any circuit court or in any administrative adjudicative proceeding under the Act. Any money recovered will be deposited into the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Enforcement Fund, which will be used to enforce employer violations of the Act.

Recommendations

As many employment applications ask about prior convictions, the new law will significantly affect the application process. Covered employers should review their employment application materials and make any necessary revisions before January 1, 2015. They should not conduct a criminal background check or ask about an applicant’s criminal background prior to scheduling an interview or, if the applicant will not be interviewed, before making a conditional offer of employment. Employers also should review job descriptions and requirements carefully to determine whether any positions fall under one of the listed exceptions. Finally, they should remove all questions about criminal convictions from applications used in Illinois for positions that are not exempt from the Act.

Criminal status is not a protected class under federal law. However, employers will be liable under state law for misuse of criminal history information about an applicant or employee. Illinois employers may not request information about or make adverse employment decisions based on arrest records or convictions that have been impounded, sealed, or expunged. 775 ILCS 5/2-103, also 20 ILCS 2630/12. Nothing in the “Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act” should be read to contradict these requirements or the requirements of any other federal or state regulations regarding the use of employee criminal history records.

OSHA Issues Recordkeeping Guidance for Temporary Staffing Firms

April 10th, 2014

As part of the previously announced temporary worker initiative, the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) will be releasing guidance documents pertinent to issues in the temporary staffing industry. Recently, the first of these documents was released and focused specifically on recordkeeping requirements. OSHA requires all employers to maintain an OSHA 300 log. This log is used to record all injuries and illnesses that have medical treatment above and beyond first aid, need modified duty or require days away from work. At the end of each year, the number of injuries is totaled and the number of hours worked is added onto the OSHA 300A form, which is posted from February 1–April 30 of the following year. The OSHA 300 log and 300A form are used to calculate incident rates, which are often used for bids or internal loss trending. Who’s responsible for recording temporary worker injuries? The OSHA standards state that whoever is providing the day-to-day supervision is the employer that needs to record those injuries. Day-to-day supervision occurs when the “employer controls conditions presenting potential hazards and directs the worker’s activities around, and exposure to, those hazards.” In most cases, this is the host employer. Even in cases where the temporary staffing agency has an on-site supervisor, since the host client controls the conditions, the responsibility of recordkeeping would still fall on the host client. Continuing with OSHA’s previous statements, the guidance document reminds temporary staffing agencies that while they’re generally not responsible for the actual recordkeeping, it’s still their responsibility to ensure injuries are being properly reported and recorded. The full document issued by OSHA can be found here. – https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=25737