HR Legal Outlook: Hottest bills

Last week, HR professionals came together to hear the Society for Human Resource Management’s analysis of the hottest bills before Congress at SHRM’s 2008 Employment Law and Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. (Read the full article).

The key issues to watch, according to Michael P. Aitken, SHRM Director of Governement Affairs, are:
  • Employment eligibility verification
  • FMLA military leave
  • Proposed FMLA regulations
  • ADA restoration
A brief overview of the issues:

Employment eligibility verification - A new bill would make the current electronic verification system for employment, E-Verify, the permanent system for use by employers. If passed, employers would have to check each new employee’s work eligibility using E-Verify within three days of hire. Employers would have to verify work eligibility of previously hired employees within four years of the bill’s enactment.

Another bill on the same topic would create a new electronic verification system for employment within three years of enactment.

FMLA military leave - Signed into law in January, The National Defense Authorization Act expanded the FMLA act, allowing eligible employees to use leave when an immediate family member is called for active duty in the military or is injured in the line duty. (Read a previous HR Forum post on this topic)

Proposed FMLA regulations
- The proposed regulations address questions regarding notice requirements for employers and employees, medical certification requirements, privacy interest in health information, intermittent leave, medical certification, and what constitutes a "serious health condition" under the FMLA.

ADA restoration - the ADA Restoration Act of 2007 aims to redefine the term “disability” in the ADA to eliminate the requirement of “substantial limitation” of a major life activity. Under the proposed amendment, an ADA-qualifying “disability” would simply be a “mental or physical impairment.” Any impairment, regardless of how temporary, intermittent, or minor would be covered - including health conditions not previously covered. The proposed changes to the ADA would impact not just hiring, but all terms and conditions of employment, including healthcare plans.

(Read the full article here for more detail)

We'll keep watching these topics as they move through legislation. Visit the HR Forum often for updates.

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