HR POLICY BRIEFING – 4/13/2021

Happening Next Week: SHRM’s Workplace Policy Conference

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It’s not too late! Register for the SHRM Workplace Policy Conference, to be held April 19-21, where you’ll hear from the top workplace policy decision-makers and public opinion insiders listed above, plus:

  • U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh
  • Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.
  • Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., ranking member, Committee on Education and Labor
  • Gov. Ralph Northam, D-Va.

In addition, WPC21 will bring you:

  • Insights 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!

Together we can create better workplaces and a better world. Learn more about how you can make an impact and be part of the solution.

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Register a group of three or more and save 20% on regular member registration rates.

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SHRM Participates in CEO Commission for Disability Employment’s Virtual Hill Day

SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, and Emily M. Dickens, SHRM chief of staff, head of government affairs and corporate secretary, participated in the CEO Commission for Disability Employment’s Virtual Hill Day last week. The Virtual Hill Day consisted of meetings with Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott, D-Va., chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee.

SHRM was joined by fellow CEO Commission founders Rodney O. Martin Jr., chairman and CEO of Voya Financial, and Kandi Pickard, president and CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society.

Scott, Suozzi and the commission founders discussed policy solutions and ways the CEO Commission can work with Congress to improve disability employment policies, through both the phasing out and elimination of subminimum wages for people with disabilities and the introduction of legislation to strengthen the use of ABLE accounts.

SHRM is committed to promoting the employment of people with disabilities and equipping employers with adequate resources to recruit, hire and retain them through its role as a founding member of the CEO Commission, as well as through the SHRM Foundation’s Employing Abilities @Work initiatives.

SHRM Submits Comments to U.S. Department of Labor

On April 12, SHRM submitted two regulatory comments to the U.S. Department of Labor. The first comment supports the current joint-employer rule, which clarifies the distinction between “vertical” and “horizontal” joint employment and provides greater clarity to businesses and HR professionals about franchise and contractor relationships.

SHRM submitted a second comment opposing the agency’s recent notice to withdraw the independent-contractor rule that went through the formal rulemaking process and was slated to take effect March 8. SHRM will continue to advocate uniform, clear workplace standards that benefit employers and employees.

SHRM Provides Input to U.S. Senate on Workforce Development Policy

On April 9, SHRM provided comments to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions regarding workforce development policy. Chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Ranking Member Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., announced the committee’s intention to develop bipartisan policy solutions to update and expand workforce training programs, support and expand the National Apprenticeship Act, and encourage workplace innovation.

SHRM’s comment focused on the importance of investing in workforce development opportunities to meet the challenges of a post-pandemic economy; supporting employers in rebounding from the COVID-19 crisis; creating new opportunities for collaboration between HR professionals and workforce boards; developing, modernizing and diversifying the national apprenticeship system; and encouraging innovation to address worker and industry needs.

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SHRM Members Testify in Support of Two Bills in California Legislature

SHRM was asked by two California state senators to provide the lead testimony in support of two pieces of legislation last week. On April 5, Jennifer Suberlak, SHRM member and legislative director for the San Diego SHRM chapter, provided testimony on behalf of SHRM and CalSHRM in support of SB 657, sponsored by Sen. Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, R-Calif., in the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement.

The bill allows an employee working from home to receive all required notices and postings electronically. It also allows an employee to use an electronic signature or electronic acknowledgment for any employment-related documents that require an acknowledgement of receipt or attestation.

SHRM’s testimony outlined the increase in telecommuting requests HR professionals have received during the pandemic and why this bill is a smart policy option that benefits workers and employers. Additionally, SB 657 aligns with and supports SHRM’s workplace flexibility and leave policy priorities. The bill passed out of the committee by a unanimous vote of 5-0. It will now be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 20.

On April 6, Michael Kalt, SHRM member and CalSHRM legislative director, testified in support of SB 665, sponsored by Sen. Tom Umberg, D-Calif., in the California Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 665 authorizes a private employer to establish a written veterans’ preference employment policy to express a voluntary preference for hiring or retaining a veteran over another qualified applicant or employee. SHRM’s testimony emphasized that many employers have expressed an interest in actively recruiting and hiring veterans, but they are concerned about civil lawsuits.

SB 665 would enable employers who wish to provide a voluntary hiring preference to do so provided they adhere to SB 665’s requirements to ensure the preference is not used improperly. The bill also aligns with and supports SHRM’s workforce development policy priorities. SB 665 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with eight committee members voting for the bill, two voting against it and one member abstaining. The bill is now set to be heard in the California Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on April 14.

If you would like more information on these bills or any other pending legislation in California, please contact SHRM’s director of state affairs for California, Jason Gabhart, at Jason.Gabhart@shrm.org.

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April is Second Chance Month

One in 3 U.S. adults has a criminal record and often faces overwhelming barriers to employment. Creating employment opportunities for people with criminal records benefits employers, individuals and communities.

The SHRM Foundation is committed to reducing barriers to employment and building inclusive workplaces for people with criminal records. SHRM’s Getting Talent Back to Work initiative provides resources, tools and case studies to help HR professionals and employers learn more about second-chance employment and drive positive change in the workplace.

Talented and eager to work, this untapped pool of workers can bring great value to employers and communities when given the opportunity to thrive and succeed in the workplace. But too often, they are denied the opportunity they need to put their skills to work due to deeply rooted biases and harmful misperceptions. Visit https://www.gettingtalentbacktowork.org/ for more information.

State of the State Addresses Highlight Workplace Policy

Yesterday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards delivered his State of the State address, outlining his priorities on such topics as workforce development; diversity, equity and inclusion; and education initiatives. He currently serves as the board chair for Jobs for America’s Graduates, a strategic partner to SHRM on education-focused initiatives and where SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, serves on the board of directors.

The address in Louisiana officially marks the end of the 2021 State of the State season, when governors typically deliver an address to both houses of the state legislature. Common themes across State of the State addresses included small-business relief, equity and anti-discrimination initiatives, and workforce development—including reskilling and upskilling workforces for future opportunities. Similar themes were incorporated in the American Jobs Plan, recently released by the Biden administration.

These priorities are connected to changes in our workplaces, and HR professionals are helping organizations navigate workplace policy issues every day. Now more than ever, HR is a key resource and partner to public policymakers as the nation works toward economic recovery and the safe return of workers to physical worksites. HR professionals are encouraged to engage policymakers in their state to further position themselves as a resource as legislators prioritize workplace issues.

State of the State addresses provide insights on how governors’ agendas will impact workplace policy. Listen to this year’s addresses here.

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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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