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February 29, 2012

Headline News

Legal Watch

Trends and Research

ASA for You

Headline News


Smart-Tek Solutions Inc. Exceeds Quarterly Projections and Realizes 13.4% Increase in Staffed Nurses
PRNewswire (02/28/12)

Solvis Medical Staffing, a staffing firm in Southern California, was acquired by Smart-Tek Solutions Inc. in October. Solvis recently announced that its nursing business surpassed projections for the fourth quarter. According to Smart-Tek chief executive Brian Bonar, staffed nurses rose 13.4% in the fourth quarter of 2011 from the same period in 2010.

GDP Revised Up to 3% in Fourth Quarter
Reuters (02/29/12)

The U.S. economy grew 3% in the fourth quarter, faster than originally reported, mainly because of increased commercial construction and consumer spending and lower imports, the U.S. Commerce Department reported today. Economists polled by Reuters had expected fourth-quarter GDP would be unrevised at a 2.8% pace. The economy grew at a 1.8% pace in the third quarter. While the build-up in business inventories still accounted for much of rise in output in the last quarter, the revisions to GDP unveiled an improved tone for the first-quarter growth outlook. Businesses were not as aggressive in their restocking efforts, which should help to allay fears of a sharper slowdown in output this quarter.

Consumer Confidence at One-year High in February
CNBC.com (02/28/12)

Consumer confidence hit a one-year high this month as optimism about the labor market offset concerns over rising gasoline prices, the Conference Board reports. The organization’s index of consumer attitudes increased to 70.8 in February—the highest reading since February last year—from an upwardly revised 61.5 in January. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index rising to 63.0 from a previously reported reading of 61.1 in January.

“Consumers are considerably less pessimistic about current business and labor market conditions than they were in January,” says Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, adding that “despite further increases in gas prices, they are more optimistic about the short-term outlook for the economy, job prospects, and their financial situation.”

Company to Add 200 Jobs in Next Five Years
Middletown Journal (Ohio) (02/28/12) Justin McClelland

Consulting, training, and staffing firm Top Gun Performance announced Feb. 28 a $4 million expansion of its headquarters, a move that could eventually result in more than 200 additional jobs in Ohio. The company, which serves Fortune 500 clients, is expected to increase its employment from 28 to more than 200 over the next five years, with an average salary of $60,000, according to company president Steve Osborne.


Legal Watch


ASA Urges Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner to End Unfair Workers’ Compensation Rates
American Staffing Association (02/29/12) Ed Lenz

ASA has been waging a two-year battle with the state workers’ compensation rating agency in Pennsylvania to allow staffing firms that operate in the state to use their clients’ classification codes to determine workers’ compensation insurance rates.

Yesterday, ASA and the Mid-Atlantic Staffing Association, an ASA-affiliated chapter, filed an appeal with the state insurance commissioner on behalf of the staffing industry and two individually named Pennsylvania staffing firms. The appeal urges the commissioner to direct the agency to change the system and requests a hearing for the purpose of presenting the industry’s arguments.

Pennsylvania and Delaware are the only states that don’t allow temporary staffing firms, in some manner, to use their clients’ individual codes to determine workers’ compensation rates. ASA members can read the association’s letter, which summarizes the industry’s arguments made to the insurance commissioner.

With Revamped Program, Feds Reach Out to Businesses on Hiring Issues
Las Vegas Sun (02/29/12) Tovin Lapan

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is trying to foster more collaboration between employers and the federal government by sponsoring seminars to introduce businesses to a program that aims to eliminate the hiring of workers without a legal status. The ICE Mutual Agreement Between Government and Employers (IMAGE) enables employers to enter into an agreement with ICE to follow certain procedures, including using the federal E-Verify system and conducting an annual internal audit of employment eligibility documents, while ICE provides one-on-one training, a local liaison to work with the employer, and a guarantee that program participants will not be audited for at least two years.

EEOC Issues New Guidelines on Veteran Employment
Shreveport Times (Louisiana) (02/28/12)

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has released two updated publications addressing matters related to veterans with disabilities and the Americans With Disabilities Act. The publications reflect changes to the law stemming from the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which make it easier for veterans with a broad range of disabilities to obtain reasonable accommodations that will allow them to work successfully.

The Guide for Employers shows how protections for veterans with service-connected disabilities differ under the ADA and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and how companies can prevent discrimination toward the disabled and provide reasonable accommodations. The Guide for Wounded Veterans answers questions that disabled veterans may have about the protections they are afforded when they want to return to their previous jobs or look for civilian jobs.

Michigan Amends Its UI Law on Numerous Topics
CCH (02/29/12)

Michigan recently made several changes to its Employment Security Act dealing with unemployment insurance. Among other things, the act now requires those seeking unemployment benefits to be actively seeking work and details how they must report the progress of their employment search. It also touches upon seasonal employment, indicating that seasonal workers can receive unemployment benefits payable only for weeks of employment occurring during the normal seasonal work period. The amendment updates the definition of a seasonal worker and states that employers can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Agency to be designated a seasonal employer.


Trends and Research


Small Firms, Start-Ups Drive Crowdsourcing Growth
Wall Street Journal Online (02/28/12) Angus Loten

An increasing number of start-ups and small firms are turning to the strategy of crowdsourcing for a variety of one-off jobs such as simple data entry, software testing, Web site design, advertising, and marketing. Crowdsourced labor usually involves breaking a project into smaller component tasks and outsourcing those tasks out to the general public by posting the requests on a Web site.

Crowdsourcing providers reported a 75% increase in revenue last year to $376 million, up from $215 million in 2010 and $141 million in 2009, according to a report by Crowdsourcing.org. Start-ups and small firms accounted for more than 60% of the sector’s total revenue last year. The number of crowdsourcing workers has grown by more 100% each year, reaching 6.3 million last year, according to the report.

Crowdsourcing can cost companies less than half as much as more traditional outsourcing firms. However, a major concern is that crowdsourced labor risks creating what Harvard Law School professor Jonathan Zittrain has called “digital sweatshops,” where workers who may be underage work long hours on mind-numbing tasks for very little or even no money. Another drawback is that in some cases, crowdsourced workers assigned to short tasks are not likely to feel any real engagement with a business, says Michael Alter, the president of small-business payroll firm SurePayroll.


ASA for You


ASAPro Webinars—Employee Safety Today; Legal Updates Tomorrow

This afternoon, attend the ASAPro Webinar “Safety Best Practices: Successful Incentive Programs.” This is the second in a series of ASAPro Webinars that examine the components of safety best practices. This Webinar is sponsored by People 2.0.

Tomorrow, March 1, don’t miss the ASAPro Webinar “Ask the ASA Experts—Current Legal and Legislative Updates.” ASA legal experts will discuss current industry legal and legislative issues.

All Webinars take place from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern time. They’re free for ASA members ($295 for nonmembers) and qualify for continuing education hours toward ASA certification renewal. Register online at americanstaffing.net.
Learn the Implications of the Paperless Office at the 2012 ASA Staffing Law Conference

Technology is continually changing. Paperless record keeping can reduce document overload, but it also can present your firm with additional responsibilities.

The 2012 ASA Staffing Law Conference—April 17–18 in Washington, DC—will feature the session “Paperless HR—The Do’s and Don’ts of Electronic Recordkeeping,” which will address how to go paperless and explain the correct way to complete and store electronic Forms I-9 and other personnel records.

Learn more about the conference and find out what Charlie Cook, the pre-eminent authority on U.S. elections and political trends, will say at the fourth annual conference devoted to legal and regulatory issues facing staffing firms.