Quick Hits - September 8, 2021 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

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Quick Hits - September 8, 2021

Return to the office leads to pet anxiety: As millions of employees across the U.S. anticipate a potential return to in-person work, those who are pet parents—including many who participated in the more than 2 million adoptions of dogs and cats from shelters last year — have some additional concerns beyond missing their favorite furry colleague. According to MetLife Pet Insurance’s Pet Parent Pulse Survey, three in four (74%) working pet parents are thinking about pet care costs during this transition, while nearly all (95%) anticipate that a transition back to the office will cause a change in their pet’s routine, or otherwise impact their pet’s overall health.  The survey found working pet parents are concerned about the expenses associated with their pet’s health care should something go wrong (40%) and the cost to prepare their pet for this transition (34%). Younger workers are particularly worried about this—with 85% of Gen Z and 76% of millennial respondents, respectively, having some level of concern over these potential expenses (compared to 37% of baby boomers).  Source:  Metlife 8/24/21

E-Verify enforcement becoming strict:  E-Verify is moving toward tougher enforcement, which can result in a temporary termination from participation in the E-Verify program.  Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, E-Verify relaxed some of its standards regarding Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNCs). But, by November 2020, E-Verify stopped allowing extensions and began enforcing its usual timing requirements. Employers receiving a TNC must notify the affected employee by providing the Further Action Notice explaining they must contact the appropriate government agency within 10 federal government workdays. If the employee does not respond or decides to “not contest” the TNC, the employer must note this choice in E-Verify by closing the case within 10 federal government workdays. When TNC cases remain open in E-Verify for more than 10 federal government workdays, it may be that the employer is not acting in accordance with TNC requirements. The government has stated that such failures may be considered policy violations that can lead to compliance action, up to and including termination of the employer’s E-Verify account.  E-Verify may cut off employers who fail to follow-up within the 10 days.  Source:  Jackson Lewis 8/19/21

When doing I-9 intake, make sure the software is programmed correctly:  Ascension Health Alliance will pay the United States a civil penalty of $84,832 to resolve the Department of Justice’s claims that the Missouri-based health care organization, with more than 2,600 sites in 19 states, violated the INA when it discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens because of their citizenship status by requesting more or different documents than necessary when attempting to reverify continued work authorization. The problem was caused by wrongly programmed software. Based on an investigation, the DOJ determined that Ascension automatically requested that its non-U.S. citizen employees present new documents to prove their continued work authorization, even in situations where it was not required. Ascension used a customized employment eligibility verification software program to electronically complete the Form I-9 and track the expiration dates of non-U.S. citizen employee documents. Ascension did not program the software to send e-mails to U.S. citizens and therefore did not notify U.S. citizens near the expiration of their documents.  For more issues that can arise, attend Ask the Lawyer: Immigration Implications of Remote Work on September 15th. Register here. Source:  CCH 8/30/21

Perception disconnects as to why people are looking for new jobs: The share of workers thinking of calling it quits could be higher than expected. Some 65% of employees are looking for a new job right now, according to an August poll of 1,007 full- and part-time U.S. workers conducted by PwC. That’s nearly double the 35% of workers who said they were seeking new work in May. Workers say their top reason for finding a new job is negotiating for a better salary, followed by expanded benefits, and more workplace flexibility, such as the ability to work remotely full-time or on a hybrid schedule. Among 752 executives surveyed in the same report, just 23% believe workers are leaving because they want better benefits. A majority, 88%, of executives, however, say they’re seeing higher turnover than normal. But the issue of higher pay goes back to pre-pandemic when employees realized the only way to get a promotion was to leave their employer and maybe then boomerang back. Given this environment, employers should focus on opportunities within the organization and growing employees to fill those roles. For more on sourcing internally, see this week’s EPTW article, The Value of Hiring Internal Candidates. Source: CNBC 8/19/21

Survey identifies reasons why people are leaving jobs:  According to a survey  by Digital.com, a Seattle-based review site focused on small businesses, among respondents who had quit their jobs in the last six months, 32% said they had done so to start their own businesses. Of those, 62% percent said their top motivation was to be their own boss.  Despite the challenges of running a business, "by pursuing a passion, work won't feel like work, but will instead give you purpose, which is far more valuable than the dollars earned," said Dennis Consorte, small-business consultant and expert at Digital.com in a company blog post about the survey.   Potential entrepreneurs' other top motivations for starting a business included a greater focus on their health (52%) and better pay and benefits (51%). When considering the best ways to retain your employees, take note: Survey takers gave a variety of reasons for leaving their jobs. The most frequently cited reason was to seek better pay and benefits (44%), followed by health (42%), and finding a job they are more passionate about (41%).  Company culture and employment brand are shaking out to be on top of the priority list for HR. Read this week’s blog for more on this topic.  Source:  Inc. 8/31/21

Federal contractor employees working onsite on federal facilities need vaccination: President Biden on July 29, 2021, announced that federal employees and on-site federal contractor employees would be required to either attest that they are fully vaccinated or be required to wear a mask on the job, physically distance from other employees and visitors, and comply with weekly or twice weekly COVID testing. In the Fact Sheet issued on the same day, President Biden also directed his team to “take steps to apply similar standards to all federal contractors.” Following the President’s July 29, 2021 announcement, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued agency model safety principles. Subsequently, the Task Force has issued FAQs, a model certification of vaccination, as well as other resources, all of which can be found on the Task Force’s website.  Source: Fortney & Scott 8/29/21 

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