HR POLICY BRIEFING – 6/8/2021

EEOC Updates Guidance on
Workplace Vaccinations

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance and FAQs on workplace COVID-19 vaccination policies on May 28, stating that employers may request proof of vaccination status and offer incentives to encourage employees to receive the vaccine.

Requesting proof that employees received a vaccination on their own is not a disability-related inquiry under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and therefore an employer may offer an incentive to employees to provide such proof, according to the EEOC. However, employers must consider reasonable accommodations for workers who decline to be vaccinated for religious or disability-related reasons.

The EEOC also stated that if an employer administers the vaccination to its employees or contracts with a third party to administer the vaccinations, then any incentive the employer offers with the vaccination must not be so substantial as to be coercive.

SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, encouraged the commission to update its vaccine guidance during testimony in April.

SHRM invites you to join us as we cultivate a new era of civility, respect and policy solutions that support inclusive workplaces.

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Mark Your Calendars: SHRM Government Affairs CLA Webcast, June 29

Join the SHRM Government Affairs (GA) team for our second quarterly Core Leadership Area (CLA) webcast on June 29 at 4 p.m. ET.

Discussion topics will include the latest workplace policy and regulatory updates, upcoming and ongoing SHRM GA campaigns and initiatives, and other important advocacy updates. Register here.

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Research from SHRM and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Explores Employers’ Investment in Training

SHRM and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation presented new research on the current training and development landscape during a virtual event May 26. The study examines the employee training benefits that organizations offer, talent investment and workplace challenges that hinder innovative practices.

Additionally, the report highlights employers’ appetite for further talent investment and employer collaborations, as well as how employers view the role of government in facilitating these investments and relationships.

Key takeaways include:

  • 20 percent of employers plan to increase their investment in skill-based training in 2021, reflecting a growing awareness of the advantages gained by cross-training, upskilling and reskilling.
  • 40 percent of employers indicate a lack of time and budget prevents them from adopting innovative changes to their skill-based training offerings.
  • 80 percent of employers say government grants, loans or tax incentives would encourage them to further invest or innovate in their skill-based training and development.
  • 72 percent of HR professionals say both the public and private sectors have a role to play in facilitating employer collaboration in areas such as skill-based training and development.

“The workplace has undergone tremendous change this year, and now more than ever, employers are recognizing how critical it is to ensure their workforce feels valued and empowered,” said SHRM Chief Knowledge Officer Alex Alonso, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP.

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Removing Barriers to Immigration Services and Benefits

SHRM submitted a comment on May 19 to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), providing input on how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can reduce barriers that prevent both U.S. and foreign citizens from obtaining access to the full assortment of immigration services and benefits.

To address current backlogs at USCIS, SHRM recommended:

  • Establishing a risk-based policy for requiring adjustment interviews.
  • Re-examining USCIS’ evidentiary standards and curriculum.
  • Expanding premium processing availability.

SHRM also encouraged USCIS to consider ways to strengthen stakeholder engagement, including a pilot to establish direct contact between petitioners and adjudicators. SHRM will continue to engage with DHS to modernize and improve the workplace immigration system, giving employers access to top global talent while protecting U.S. workers.

To learn more about workplace immigration trends and policy, watch the SHRM Global Talent Series webcast “The Future of Global Mobility: Beyond the Pandemic” June 15 at noon ET.

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Expanded Federal Unemployment Benefits and
Labor Shortages

Approximately 11.7 million people are currently enrolled in emergency unemployment benefit programs such as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for gig workers and the self-employed and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which offers an additional 24 weeks of benefits.

While the number of unemployment claims are decreasing with the country reaching its lowest level of initial claims since March 2020, employers are reporting labor supply shortages and some states are responding by limiting unemployment benefits.

Read SHRM’s Issue Brief to learn more about this important workforce development issue and access SHRM’s latest interactive tool to view state responses to labor supply concerns.

California Policy Update:
Voluntary Veterans’ Preference

On June 1, SB 665 passed unanimously in the California Senate and has been sent to the California Assembly where it awaits further action. Authored by Sen. Tom Umberg, SB 665 would authorize a private employer to establish and maintain a written veterans’ preference employment policy. This bill addresses the concerns of many employers who expressed an interest in actively recruiting and hiring veterans but had concerns about civil lawsuits. Michael Kalt, SHRM member and CalSHRM legislative director, testified in support of the legislation in April.

SB 665 would enable employers who wish to provide a voluntary hiring preference to do so, provided they adhere to the bill’s requirements to ensure the preference is not used improperly. The bill also aligns with and supports SHRM’s workforce development policy priorities.

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

SHRM Joined HR Professionals Around the World to Celebrate International HR Day

On May 20, SHRM celebrated International HR Day, marking the occasion’s second annual celebration. International HR Day recognizes hardworking HR professionals around the world and was commemorated by World Federation of People Management Association (WFPMA) members worldwide.

This year’s theme was “HR Shaping the New Future,” describing the role of the HR profession in leading change to improve working lives and avoid slipping back into “traditional” ways of thinking and working. The theme implies that HR is leading a future that will be more inclusive, flexible and participatory and will benefit workers, organizations and society.

At SHRM, we’re proud to hold the WFPMA North America delegate board seat through our president and chief executive officer, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, who also serves as president of the North American Human Resource Management Association (NAHRMA). Our chief of staff, head of Government Affairs and corporate secretary, Emily M. Dickens, will serve as the WFPMA secretary general and NAHRMA delegate, and our chief knowledge officer, Alex Alonso, will serve as a NAHRMA delegate.

To celebrate International HR Day, SHRM hosted a luncheon for staff members featuring international cuisine. How did you celebrate International HR Day in your organization? Share your pictures to global.outreach@shrm.org.

If you have questions regarding SHRM’s global affairs work, please contact Karen E. Mitchell, director of global affairs.

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The SHRM Blue Ribbon Commission Report on Racial Equity

With the release of the Blue Ribbon Commission Report on Racial Equity, May 24 was a milestone for SHRM’s Together Forward @Work initiative. The report provides tangible actions and strategies that businesses and HR professionals can employ immediately to create more equitable workplaces for all. Members can also access actionable insights and solutions to address racial inequity in SHRM’s DE&I Action-to-Change Toolbox

Additionally, the report previews SHRM’s new Empathy Index—a resource that will help organizations identify empathy gaps in their workplaces and create cultures where inclusion and equity are consistently at the forefront. SHRM also released Empathy: DE&I’s Missing Piece, a new SHRM research report that makes the business case for empathetic workplaces.

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.

SHRM Board of Directors Ballots Available
Sept. 10

The 2022 SHRM Board of Directors election will be held this fall, with ballots going out via e-mail to all eligible SHRM members on Sept. 10. The ballots will be sent from shrmhelp@mg.electionservicescorp.com

The following notice will also appear in the Summer edition of HR Magazine, which will be delivered the second week of June:


NOTICE OF ELECTION OF THE 2022 SHRM BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Ballots for the coming election of new members to SHRM’s Board of Directors for 2022 will be e-mailed to all eligible voting SHRM members on Sept. 10, 2021, followed by two reminders.

The voting deadline is Oct. 10.

The election results will be announced Nov. 11, during SHRM’s Annual Business Meeting.

Categories of eligible voting members include professional, general, special expertise, retired, and professional life and past chair.

E-mail information must be current. To update your e-mail address:

  • Visit MySHRM at https://www.shrm.org/my/account. You may also be prompted to enter your SHRM credentials.
  • Under the “My Account” section, locate “E-mail & Password.”
  • Click “Edit” to update your e-mail address.
  • Enter your new e-mail address and password to confirm the change.
  • Click “Save.”

You may also call the SHRM Customer Experience Team at 800.283.7476, option 3 (U.S. only), +1.703.548.3440, option 3 (Int’l), TTY/TDD +1.703.548.699, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET, or you may e-mail shrm@shrm.org.

SHRM Member Advocacy Spotlight: Share with SHRM Why Advocacy Matters!

HR professionals sit at the intersection of work, workers and the workplace. As an advocate on behalf of the HR profession, you have a unique and valuable perspective on the changing world of work and how advocacy can make a positive impact.

SHRM Government Affairs wants to showcase your advocacy experiences and how you are championing change to advance smart workplace policies. Please complete this short survey

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Policy, Not Politics Apparel and Accessories Available at SHRMStore

SHRM has an unwavering commitment to focus on policy, not politics. We believe in our ability to find consensus when we bring all sides to the table for critical discussions of issues impacting work, workers and workplaces.

Together, we are championing policies that will help organizations and people thrive to create better workplaces and a better world.

Showcase your commitment to Policy, Not Politics, with a brand-new line of apparel and merchandise available for order at the SHRMStore. Get FREE SHIPPING on apparel and accessories when you shop at the SHRMStore through May 31.

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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