SHRM Webcast: An Update on COVID-19 Vaccines and the Workplace with the CDC

On Feb. 25, SHRM will host experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who will share an overview and updates on vaccine distribution plans now and through the year, as well as considerations that the business community and employers must weigh in their efforts to create safe workplaces. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases and lead for CDC’s efforts on COVID-19 vaccines, will open the program, followed by Dr. Margaret Kitt, lead for the Essential Workers Team on the CDC’s Vaccine Task Force. They will be introduced by SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP.

To accommodate anticipated high demand for this program, the webcast is being prerecorded and replayed at multiple times. Please register for one program only.

The webcast will be available on-demand through June. SHRM Certification has approved this webcast for 1 PDC toward SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification. A program code will be provided at the end of the webcast.


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Save the Date for SHRM’s Quarterly CLA Webcast

Join the SHRM Government Affairs team for our first quarterly Core Leadership Area (CLA) webcast of the year on Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. ET.

Discussion topics will include the latest policy and regulatory updates, what to expect with the 117th Congress, and other advocacy updates. Click here to register.

SHRM Celebrates Presidents’ Day

As we observed Presidents’ Day, SHRM was reminded that great leaders understand the importance of acting with empathy and unity. Click here to join us in matching the presidents to their famous speeches, and tweet @SHRM and @SHRMAdvocacy or connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn with your favorite quote.

The heart of SHRM’s “policy, not politics” mantra is the belief in our ability to find consensus when we bring all sides to the table for critical discussions of issues impacting work, workers and workplaces. Learn about SHRM’s current policy priorities and how you can elevate the voice of HR by visiting SHRM’s Advocacy website.

Newly Confirmed Cabinet Secretary Insights

The U.S. Senate is busy moving the confirmation process along for President Joe Biden’s cabinet nominations. Of the 23 cabinet seats, the Senate had confirmed seven new cabinet members as of Feb. 15.

Biden is pressing forward on his pledge to construct a cabinet that resembles the U.S. Of note, Janet Yellen has been confirmed as the first female Treasury Secretary and Alejandro Mayorkas has been confirmed as the first Latino and immigrant to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Both agencies have jurisdiction over workplace policies, with Treasury exercising oversight of employer-sponsored benefits and Homeland Security overseeing workplace immigration issues.

The Treasury Department will be critical in creating economic solutions, policies and regulations to help our country recover and move forward. Also, Treasury Secretary Yellen, pictured at left, has a track record for weighing in on diversity, equity and inclusion issues. Under President Bill Clinton, Secretary Yellen oversaw the evaluation of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which concluded “equal pay for equal work” had not yet been achieved and additional policy solutions were needed.

Shortly after her confirmation to the Treasury, Secretary Yellen highlighted the need to address economic inequalities and foster inclusive workplaces. We also expect Secretary Yellen to prioritize a bottom-up recovery to elevate low-wage earners who have been among the hardest hit in the COVID-19 economy.

DHS Secretary Mayorkas, pictured at left, is a Cuban immigrant who migrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1960. He previously served in the Obama administration as the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He then went on to serve as deputy secretary for DHS in 2014.

Secretary Mayorkas has been vocal about the contributions immigrants have made in key sectors of the economy, specifically agriculture and technology. DHS’s guiding principles include promoting citizen engagement and strengthening and expanding trusted partnerships. SHRM is ready to work with Secretary Mayorkas and DHS to continue the progress under our workplace immigration policy pillar: ensuring employers have access to top global talent while protecting workers.

Make Your Voice Heard Before, During and After ‘State of the Union’

President Joe Biden will soon deliver his first State of the Union (SOTU) address. Join SHRM and test your knowledge of top workplace policy issues by watching the SOTU address and participate in our post-SOTU knowledge quiz. Get ready to engage with the HR community and elevate the HR profession as a resource on issues impacting work, workers and the workplace! Stay tuned for more information.

SHRM Foundation Launches HR Registered Apprenticeship Program

On Feb. 10, the SHRM Foundation launched its Human Resource Registered Apprenticeship Program (HR RAP) with support from the U.S. Department of Labor. This new program will empower the next generation of HR professionals and deliver a talent development solution for HR.

The SHRM Foundation’s HR RAP will leverage SHRM’s signature educational programming, aligned to its competency model and credentials, to cultivate HR leaders who will be equipped to manage and lead with innovation and insight. Upon completion of the program, apprentices will be eligible to take the exam for the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) credential. For more information and resources on the SHRM Foundation’s HR RAP, visit

Love Policy? Join Us at SHRM’s Workplace Policy Conference 2021

Do you love workplace public policy? As a strategic HR leader, your voice is needed to help forge a future for better workplaces and a better world.

With a new Congress and administration in place, this is your moment to be an HR professional who helps shape the future of workplace policy. Invest today in a can’t-miss opportunity to become an even more powerful advocate for your company, your career and the HR profession: The SHRM Workplace Policy Conference 2021.

The Workplace Policy Conference 2021, taking place April 19-21, will be hosted entirely online. Your comprehensive virtual experience features:

  • Exclusive meetings with members of Congress;
  • Insights from policymakers on workplace issues on the horizon and how HR can be a resource;
  • Updates on workplace policy trends and implications for the workplace;
  • Opportunities for strategic relationship-building with HR peers, professionals and policymakers;
  • Persuasive communication tools and strategies crucial to making your voice heard;
  • And much more!

SHRM Foundation Launches 2021 Scholarships, Grants & Awards

Applications are now being accepted for the SHRM Foundation’s 2021 scholarships, grants and awards offerings, including several new awards focused on promoting equity and representation in the HR field.

The SHRM Foundation offers vital educational opportunities, training and resources to equip the next generation of HR leaders with the skills they need to take their career to the next level and make impactful changes in the workplace.

By offering certification, academic and professional development scholarships and grants to HR professionals and students, the program aims to position the HR field as a rewarding profession full of opportunity through different student and career experiences.

Awards such as the Workplace Policy Conference grant, undergraduate HR Exploration grant and Student Membership award are also open to nonmembers to draw awareness to the field of HR and solidify SHRM as the organization that can support them throughout their career.

In total, the SHRM Foundation offers more than $500,000 in awards that will support over 300 recipients, helping them achieve career success. If you have questions, contact Dr. Vernon Williams or visit the SHRM Foundation Scholarships, Grants and Awards website.

Department of Labor Publishes Revised Wage Rule

On Jan. 14, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a revised final rule that significantly increases prevailing wage increases at all wage levels for H-1B, E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrant cases. Under the revised rule, the DOL Occupational Employment Statistics prevailing wage minimums will increase for foreign workers at all four levels of skill and experience.

The rule also provides a multiyear transition period, which is intended to give employers time to meet the wage increases and make certain accommodations for H-1B workers who are pursuing employment-based permanent residence. The final rule has an effective date of March 15, 2021, with initial wage increases set to begin on July 1, 2021.

Victory for F-1 Visa/OPT Program Community

On Jan. 29, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of defendants representing the F-1 visa/Optional Practical Training (OPT) community. The case challenged the legality and statutory authority of the OPT program, which provides international students under F-1 visa status with 12-24 months of temporary employment, upon completion of their academic studies.

The court ruled in favor of the defendants by concluding that the DHS did not exceed its statutory authority in implementing the OPT Program, because Congress delegated to DHS the authority to regulate the duration of a nonimmigrant’s stay.

SHRM supports the OPT program, as it ensures that employers have access to visas to recruit and hire top talent on a temporary basis. This decision was a victory for SHRM and the pro-employment-based immigration community; however, the plaintiff has already appealed the district court’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

President Biden Issues Immigration Executive Orders

On Feb. 2, President Biden signed three immigration executive orders addressing the reunification of families, causes of migration in North America and the protection of asylum seekers at U.S. borders, and the inclusion of new Americans. The executive order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans highlights the contributions of over 40 million foreign-born individuals living in the U.S. and seeks to ensure the U.S. continues to serve as a nation of opportunity.

Delay of H-1B Selection Final Rule

On Jan. 7, USCIS announced the H-1B selection final rule, which amended the regulations governing the process by which USCIS selects H-1B registrations for the filing of H-1B cap-subject petitions. The proposed H-1B selection rule would change the current process from a lottery system to a wage level, where the highest paid would get first preference. However, the Biden administration has announced it is delaying implementation of the new rule and is continuing with a lottery system until Dec. 31, 2021.

The delay is designed to give USCIS more time to develop, test and implement the modifications to the H-1B registration system and selection process. The delay will also provide more time for USCIS to train staff and perform public outreach as well as give stakeholders time to adjust to the new rule. For the upcoming H-1B cap season, USCIS will apply the current regulations (random selection) to any registration period that takes place before Dec. 31, 2021.

SHRM submitted a comment in December opposing the proposed rule and will provide an update on new developments.

Schedule a J-1 Visa Consultation with SHRM

Did you know SHRM is a J-1 designated sponsor organization? The Exchange Visitor/J-1 Visa Program helps American employers bring foreign professionals into the U.S. for training and cultural exchange.

Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the J-1 training and internship programs are still available.

While the Trump presidential proclamation 10052 suspending J-1 visa programs was extended through March 31, 2021, SHRM is exempt, and we are currently accepting and processing J-1 visa applications. Travel restrictions, including from the Jan. 25, 2021, presidential proclamation, affect visitors from the Schengen zone, U.K. and Ireland, South Africa and Brazil. However, travelers from Asia, most of Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America can enter the U.S. unrestricted, permitted they follow COVID-19 safety guidelines established by the CDC.

As SHRM resumes sponsorship of new J-1 trainee and intern programs, we encourage host organizations to start planning their 2021 programs now. If you are an Exchange Visitor Program host or would like to become one, please schedule a consultation with us.

February’s Tune in Tuesday Episode Highlights

Workforce Development, Rebuilding the Economy and COVID-19 Vaccine Updates

SHRM’s Tune in Tuesdays offers fresh perspectives from leading experts, curated news and solutions-based insights focused on all things work. On Feb. 9, Emily M. Dickens, chief of staff, head of government affairs and corporate secretary, joined Asha Srikantiah, vice president of product and head of student debt program at Fidelity, for a critical conversation on the important role benefits programs, specifically student debt repayment, have in workforce development and rebuilding the economy.

Dickens also provided an update on the new administration, shared workplace policy updates and led a discussion with SHRM Knowledge Center Director Amber Clayton on the COVID-19 vaccine and what it means for the workplace. Catch up on the full episode.

HR Resiliency: Equity in the Workplace

As we continue to elevate work, workers and workplaces, we cannot overlook the important role HR professionals play in building diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces. Last year, SHRM launched Together Forward @Work, a call to action to address racial equity in the workplace. In addition to providing tools and resources, we are compiling examples of organizations and leaders who are leading with innovation to create inclusive cultures that provide opportunity for all.

We want to hear how you are championing change in order to create better workplaces. Share your story about how you and your organization have taken steps to create equitable and inclusive workplace cultures.


Have You Updated Your Employee Handbook Recently? Your handbook is your organization’s compass—keep it easily updated with SHRM’s Employee Handbook Builder. It’s critical for employees to know your organization’s requirements for new or changed policies like flexible workplaces, employee benefits, in-person meetings and temperature checks.
Download a free sample handbook today!

SHRM to Sponsor Virtual Selma Bridge Crossing

This year, SHRM is a sponsor of the 56th Annual Selma Bridge Crossing Jubilee. The events will be held virtually March 5-7. SHRM is the title sponsor of the gospel concert on March 7 at 3 p.m.  Registration for the event is free.

SHRM Hosts Webcast on Immigration Landscape and Retaining Top Talent

On Feb. 4, as the chair of the North American Human Resource Management Association, SHRM hosted a webinar on the evolving immigration landscape in North America and how HR professionals can navigate changing policies. This discussion delved into ways HR leaders can maneuver policy changes to recruit and retain top global talent. Watch the replay here.

Advancing Workplace Issues in 2021

SHRM is proud to be working with several organizations to highlight workplace issues in 2021. They include Fratelli Group, NAICU, Palladian Hill Strategies, Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Viatris.

As the Voice of All Things Work, SHRM pursues nonpartisan public policy to promote flexible, inclusive and equitable workplaces that help business thrive as talent is tapped, trained and empowered to reach its full potential. Policy not politics.

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