SHRM Urges USCIS to Address Visa Processing Delays
On March 22, SHRM joined Compete America and 26 other organizations in submitting a joint letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), asking the agency to address the extraordinary processing delays in initiating and renewing employment authorization documents (EADs) for H-4, L-2 and F-1 nonimmigrants (H-4 and L-2 visas are for the dependents of H-1 and L-1 visas).
Every year, these visa holders are required to apply for an EAD to extend their stay (through the submission of Form I-539) and legally work in the United States. Part of this process includes the collection of biometric data to verify an applicant’s identity. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the collection of biometrics became practically impossible, creating operational challenges and backlogs in processing applications.
This has resulted in thousands of spouses and dependents—of whom more than 66 percent are educated and trained in STEM fields—being pushed out of the workforce due to continued processing delays. The letter urged USCIS to terminate the 2019 policy of requiring new biometrics collection from every EAD applicant and announce automatic work authorization to give USCIS more time to process EAD renewal requests. SHRM will continue to monitor this issue and will advocate policies that modernize the U.S. immigration system and allow employers to access top global talent while protecting U.S. workers.
SHRM Releases Pay Equity Research
March 24 marked Equal Pay Day in the U.S. Although the majority of U.S. workers (81 percent) trust that their employer pays people equally for equal work, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity, 19 percent of U.S. workers disagree. In 2021, 22 percent of organizations plan to conduct a voluntary pay audit to proactively assess any gender-related disparities in compensation.
In a recent SHRM article, Emily M. Dickens, SHRM chief of staff, head of government affairs and corporate secretary, said, “On Equal Pay Day, we are reminded that pay equity benefits everyone. It’s critical that policy proposals allow employers flexibility to reward employees based on business factors such as education, qualifications, skills and relevant experience.”
While progress has been made, there is more work to be done. SHRM believes employees should be compensated equitably and in a nondiscriminatory manner. To that end, we vigorously support equal pay for equal work, with allowable pay differences based on factors not prohibited by law.
For more information on workplace equity, visit advocacy.shrm.org
Join Us at SHRM’s Workplace Policy Conference 2021
Health Care Examination at SHRM’s Workplace Policy Conference
Last week marked the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This historic legislation made health insurance and health care more available and affordable for tens of millions of people.
Now it’s time to ask the big questions: What will Congress and President Joe Biden do about health care, and how will the employer-based system be impacted?
Policymakers are looking to secure coverage and care for the uninsured, make COVID-19 testing and treatment affordable for all, enhance health care quality, and improve our nation’s public health infrastructure. Meanwhile, more than 181 million Americans receive health coverage through employers. Proposals impacting employer-based insurance may be on the table as Congress pursues more health care reforms.
We’ll give you the latest vital signs on all these issues at SHRM’s Workplace Policy Conference 2021! Join us for the session “Let’s Get to the Heart of Workplace Health Care,” where you will hear from:
- Wendell Primus, senior policy advisor for Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Speaker of the House of Representatives.
- Marcie McClintic Coates, deputy corporate secretary to the board of directors of Viatris, a global health care company recently formed through the combination of Mylan and Pfizer’s Upjohn division.
- Katie W. Mahoney, vice president, health policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
- Gary Claxton, senior vice president, Kaiser Family Foundation.
In addition to health care insight, the conference will bring you:
- Insight on more workplace policy trends and implications for the workplace.
- Exclusive meetings with members of Congress and their staffs.
- 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!
Learn more about the program and speakers at https://conferences.shrm.org/workplace-policy. Register a group of three or more and save 20 percent off normal member registration rates.
SHRM Member Highlights Importance of Advocacy
LaTonya Andrews, MLER, manager of business operations for Montgomery County, Md., recently spoke about her SHRM advocacy experiences and why advancing smart workplace policies is critical.
“Advocacy matters to me because many times others are unable to articulate what they are experiencing and why. People can be emotional, and this may present obstacles for them to address the root of the problem. As an advocate, [you have] an opportunity to view the situation from another perspective and assess what’s actually driving the responses from different sources.
Proactive advocacy is important because it focuses on the overall analysis pertaining to the matter and provides an opportunity to strategize toward practices that are solution-driven. As human resource professionals, we are responsible to ensure these practices consider how the outcome impacts an organization and the workforce within the organization. We want to establish healthy policies and practices to keep employees engaged and excited about the organization they are employed by.
My conversations with lawmakers center on the need to educate our workforce. We want them to understand the importance of expanding their knowledge base and planning for their next steps. We need to understand that there are some individuals who lack motivation due to different circumstances; however, that does not devalue their ability to progress and contribute positively to the organization. If we present an opportunity that allows for succession with those individuals as well, it’s a win-win for everyone.
Policymaking should not be based primarily on economic growth, but societal stature as well. In other words, pass legislation that encourages organizations to maintain compliance by establishing practices with succession charts that align with their mission and are reachable by the undereducated.”
Women’s History Month: SHRM and NWFL Discuss Women and Policymaking
SHRM’s Emily M. Dickens moderated a panel of elected women hosted by the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) and the State Government Affairs Council. She was joined by fellow NFWL board members state Senator Donna Kim of Hawaii, state Rep. Rena Moran of Minnesota and Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso of New Jersey to talk about the growing influence of women in the state policymaking process, supporting women in the legislative arena and working with male colleagues.
Why it matters: The SHRM Government Affairs team leverages these opportunities to continue elevating the HR profession on the federal, state and local levels. As we navigate a changing workplace, SHRM and our members are important resources for state policy leaders who are developing the workplace policies of today and the future.
SHRM Foundation Celebrates First HR Registred Apprentice Program
Last week, the SHRM Foundation registered Hypertherm as the first employer to participate in the HR Registered Apprenticeship Program (HR RAP).
With support from the U.S. Department of Labor, the SHRM Foundation launched this groundbreaking national program in February to help individuals learn and enter the field of HR, where they will be instrumental in building a more skilled and diverse workforce.
International Labour Organization’s 2021 Report on World Employment and Social Outlook
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has released its 2021 World Employment and Social Outlook: The Role of Digital Labor Platforms in Transforming the World of Work, providing an analysis of the impact of digital labor platforms on enterprises, workers and society.
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. SHRM has asked USCIS to reconsider the implementation of the proposed rule.
The growth of digital labor platforms has created a need for international policy dialogue. The report focuses on two main types of digital labor platforms: Web-based platforms, where tasks are performed online and remotely by workers; and location-based platforms, where tasks are performed at a specified physical location by individuals, such as taxi drivers and delivery workers.
Established in 1919 with 187 member countries, the ILO is the United Nations’ agency that focuses on setting labor standards, developing policies and creating equitable programs that promote decent work at the international level. SHRM frequently collaborates with the ILO to support global workplace issues and to help create environments where everyone thrives.
Visit the ILO website to read the full report.
United Nations COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) recently released its COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker to monitor responses taken by governments worldwide to address the pandemic and its effects on women.
The tracker captures two types of government responses: women’s participation in COVID-19 task forces and national policy measures taken by governments. This unique database compiled by UNDP and UN Women analyzes global policy measures that address women’s economic and social security, including unpaid care work, the labor market and violence against women. Visit the UNDP website to access the COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker.
SHRM Welcomes Chenai Kirkpatrick, Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs
SHRM’s Government Affairs team welcomes Chenai Kirkpatrick as our new director of public policy and government affairs. She brings extensive experience in advocacy, public policy, legislative affairs, law, regulatory issues and compliance to this position.
Prior to joining SHRM, she served as the senior director of government relations and deputy counsel at Melwood. She received her J.D. from Liberty University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State University. Kirkpatrick will complement the Government Affairs team by developing and implementing the strategic direction of the team, in addition to lending her expertise in public policy and government affairs.
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 work environments. 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 that 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.
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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