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March 1, 2012

Headline News

Legal Watch

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Headline News


Adecco Reports Double-Digit Revenue Growth for 2011
Adecco Group News Release (03/01/12)

Adecco Group today announced results for the full year and the fourth quarter of 2011. Revenues in 2011 were EUR 20.5 billion, an increase of 10% on an organic basis. Permanent placement revenues amounted to EUR 344 million, an increase of 20% in constant currency (+18% organically). Gross profit for 2011 was EUR 3.6 billion, an increase of 7% compared with 2010.

Adecco revenues in the fourth quarter were EUR 5.2 billion, an increase of 4% in EUR and in constant currency compared with Q4 2010. Organically, revenues were up 3%. Permanent placement revenues increased 7% in constant currency to EUR 82 million. Gross profit for the fourth quarter amounted to EUR 930 million, flat compared with the fourth quarter of 2010.

In North America in the fourth quarter of 2011, Adecco generated revenues of EUR 917 million, flat in constant currency compared with Q4 2010. General staffing revenues grew by 2% in constant currency. Professional staffing revenues declined by 2% year-on-year, held back by the information technology staffing business and with the engineering and technical segment comparing against very strong growth in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Fed’s Beige Book Largely Reiterates Bernanke’s Comments
Wall Street Journal Online (02/29/12) Steven Russolillo

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s beige book report largely reiterates what Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said in his Feb. 29 testimony before Congress. The economy is growing at a “modest to moderate” pace, which is in line with many of the economic assessments that have been issued in recent weeks. The beige book report also indicates that the Philadelphia- and Atlanta-area economies are expanding faster than the economies in other areas of the U.S. The Fed says labor markets are slightly improving, as are banking conditions and housing. Bernanke warned that higher gasoline prices in the short term could boost inflation temporarily, but long-term expectations for inflation “remain subdued,” he said.
ASA: U.S. Economy Enters 2012 With Continued Growth

Hiring activity was up around the country, despite several contacts in a variety of industries expressing difficulty with finding skilled workers. Read more at americanstaffing.net.

Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Lowest Since March 2008
Bloomberg (03/01/12) Alex Kowalski

New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits edged down last week, matching four-year lows, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report on Thursday that suggested the labor market was gaining momentum. Applications for unemployment insurance decreased 2,000 in the week ended Feb. 25 to 351,000. Economists forecast 355,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls fell, while those getting extended payments also declined. Firing is on a downward trend as employers gain confidence in the outlook for economic growth. A smaller number of layoffs also puts those companies in place to hire additional employees as demand picks up.

Growth Spurt Drives Hiring, Wages Outlook
Associated Press (03/01/12) Christopher S. Rugaber

With the U.S. Commerce Department reporting an increase in economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2011, experts say the economy will experience modest growth associated with more robust hiring, rising incomes, and increases in consumer spending and business investment. The government also revised its estimate of income growth to reflect a 1.4% gain in inflation-adjusted income during the fourth quarter, and it indicates that incomes grew 0.7% in the third quarter instead of posting a 1.9% decline.

Unemployed? South Dakota Has a Job for You
CBS News (02/29/12) Kristi Eaton

Unemployment in South Dakota is about half the U.S. average, and businesses there are expanding. As a result, the state is facing a worker shortage. To help remedy the problem, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard will sign legislation authorizing the state to hire ManpowerGroup to bring in 1,000 out-of-state workers and convince former South Dakota residents who left the state to return. ManpowerGroup will begin recruiting workers starting April 1, says Robert Meyer, the staffing firm’s branch manager in Sioux Falls. The staffing firm will concentrate on recruiting a broad array of workers in manufacturing, engineering, and informational technology—from unskilled workers at the production level to highly skilled welders and machinists and professionals.


Legal Watch


New Round of Immigration Battles Set in the South
Los Angeles Times (03/01/12) Richard Fausset

The South will see more action on the illegal immigration front in the coming days, with Mississippi considering an Alabama-style immigration crackdown bill and a federal appeals court set to consider whether the Alabama law, and a similar one in Georgia, are constitutional.

The legislation and the courtroom battle will serve as a prelude to April 25, when the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments over Arizona’s controversial 2010 law that triggered a wave of state-level efforts nationwide to get tough on illegal immigrants. A ruling from the high court will likely give some guidance on how vigorous states can be in tackling immigration, a realm of policy that has traditionally been the responsibility of the federal government.

Sick-Time Rules Re-Emerge
Wall Street Journal Online (02/29/12) Sarah E. Needleman

Some cities and states are imposing paid sick leave mandates, with Connecticut doing so in January but exempting employers with fewer than 50 workers and Seattle slated to do so in September for employers of all sizes. The Society for Human Resource Management says the number of businesses with fewer than 50 workers that offered paid sick time fell to 32% in 2011 from 39% in 2009. Small firms insist they cannot afford to offer paid sick time. A 2010 survey of 473 employers by Mercer found that direct costs tied to incidental absences amounted to just 2% of payroll, but indirect costs, such as locating replacement workers, paying overtime, and disruptions that affect customer service, accounted for 3.8% of payroll.

FMLA: Flare-Ups Every Friday? Check It Out
Business Management Daily (02/29/12)

Companies that suspect employees are abusing Family and Medical Leave Act leave should carefully document their suspicions. For example, if an employee claims to have a flare-up every Friday or Monday or near a holiday, make note of his or her requests and when they coincide with other time off. Then conduct an investigation.

Court rulings have supported companies that call and check on their em­­ployees to make sure they’re resting at home during FMLA leave. Companies also can require employees to check in if they leave the house during sick leave. Companies may want to consider creating penalties for employees who violate the call-in rules.

According to a survey by ASA corporate partner CareerBuilder, employees are most likely to call in sick during the first quarter of the year, followed by the third quarter, the fourth quarter, and the second quarter. CareerBuilder says 28% of human resource professionals and managers surveyed have checked up on allegedly sick employees.

How Much Could Each Unauthorized Worker Cost You in Fines? $7,435
Lexology (02/23/12) Jared Leung

In January 2012, two U.S. employers settled charges by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of violations and hiring of unauthorized immigrants, for $2 million each. Criminal penalties in this field can be assessed—up to $3,000 or imprisonment for six months for each unauthorized immigrant. Civil penalties are divided into two categories: “paperwork” violations—generally innocent mistakes on the I-9 forms; and “hiring” violations—where the employer is suspected of knowing that the workers were without authorization and still hired them.

A paperwork violation carries a fine of $100 to $1,100 per incident, and that figure increases based on the percentage of incorrect forms. These are severe consequences for carelessness and inattention to the process, and even more severe consequences for deliberate disobedience. Employers should get their Forms I-9 in order by conducting a thorough audit. The only protection against the hiring of unauthorized workers is diligence with respect to verification of work authorization.


ASA for You


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