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ASA Explains Proposed Employer Rules Under Affordable Care Act

As reported in the Feb. 10 issue of Staffing Today, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued answers to frequently asked questions outlining the guidance expected to be issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of the Treasury for defining who is a “full-time employee” for purposes of an employer’s obligation to offer health coverage or pay penalties under the Affordable Care Act.

The FAQs also address a proposal to provide a “safe harbor” that would allow employers to determine whether the health plans offered are “affordable,” as well as the automatic-enrollment requirements applicable to employers with more than 200 employees. ASA members can read an analysis of the FAQs that the association’s legal staff prepared to determine the likely effect of the guidance on staffing firms.

No Big Pickup in Job Growth in 2012, Forecasters Say

Los Angeles Times (02/27/12) Don Lee

Forecasters at the National Association for Business Economics expect job growth to average 170,000 a month in 2012, up from the 127,000 that the group’s panel projected for 2012 in November. The new forecast, to be released today, predicts moderate growth ahead for jobs and the economy, despite the 203,000 net new jobs added in December and 243,000 in January. The economists surveyed foresee U.S. gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, expanding 2.3% this year after growing at a sluggish 1.7% rate in 2011.

One reason job growth is not likely to sustain the pace of the last two months is that the recent hiring spurt is seen as having been inflated by unseasonably warm weather, says Richard DeKaser, deputy chief economist at the Parthenon Group and an analyst for the association’s survey. Productivity also is expected to pick up from very low levels in the fourth quarter, he adds, meaning employers will be able to satisfy more of the demand for goods and services by increasing output from existing employees and machines.

ASAPro Webinars This Week—Social Media, Employee Safety, Legal Updates

Don’t miss this week’s ASAPro Webinars on hot topics that can help your staffing firm.

Tomorrow is the ASAPro Webinar “Social Media—Get Beyond the Hype and Find Out the True Business Value.” You’ll learn how staffing and recruiting firms are leveraging social networks in their sales and recruiting efforts.

Wednesday, Feb. 29, it’s “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.

Thursday, March 1, attend 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

Who Owns Your Twitter Followers or LinkedIn Connections?

JDSupra (02/22/2012) Travis Crabtree

Companies should make contractually clear who owns the social media followings developed by their employees. If ownership is not covered in a contract, then employees and companies should be logical about how they create and use the account. People tweeting as individuals, for example, should not put their company’s brand in their Twitter name. And companies that are paying people to bring in followers or connections should make them use a branded handle. Until more court cases crop up, the answer of who owns the account will be very fact specific; the most important facts will be whether the followers are there because of the brand or because of the individual.

Proposal to Ban Unemployment Discrimination Heats Up

JDSupra (02/24/2012)

In Connecticut, two bills are under consideration to prevent employers from discriminating against the unemployed when making hiring decisions. Section 8 of Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 79 would govern almost every employer in the state. They would amend Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 46a-60(a)(6) so that employers could not discriminate against the unemployed in job ads and would add Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 46a-60(a)(12) to make refusing to offer someone a job or refusing to refer someone for employment solely because they are unemployed a discriminatory practice.

DOL’s ‘Updated’ FMLA Forms List New 2015 Expiration Date

Lexology (02/20/12) Kerry W. Langan

Updated Family and Medical Leave Act model notices and medical certification forms have been released by the U.S. Department of Labor with an expiration date of Feb. 28, 2015. The previous notices and forms expired at the end of last year. The following forms have been updated: Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition (WH-380-E), Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition (WH-380-F), Notice of Eligibility and Rights & Responsibilities (WH-381), Designation Notice (WH-382), Certification of Qualifying Exigency For Military Family Leave (WH-384), and Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Servicemember—for Military Family Leave (WH-385).

The forms do not reflect changes in the FMLA since it was amended in November 2008 or 2010 amendments regarding military family leave; only the forms’ expiration date was modified. However, since DOL published proposed changes to the FMLA on Feb. 15, experts say the model forms could undergo significant changes before the new expiration date.

Digital Help for Law Firms: E-Docs Lead to Hiring

TechFlash (02/24/12) Brad Broberg

The demand for litigation support personnel—an emerging field where the law and technology overlap—has prompted increased hiring in the legal field. Litigation support hiring among recruiting firm Robert Half Legal clients increased “well in excess of double digits” in terms of percentage growth between 2010 and 2011, says Diane Domeyer of Robert Half Legal, where Domeyer oversees West Coast operations.

A national survey released by the litigation support staffing firm the Cowen Group found that 57% of law firms nationally anticipate hiring litigation support staff in 2012 with an average growth rate of 13.7%. While firms are not eliminating outside suppliers, the growing demand for litigation support makes it cost-effective for firms to bring more work in-house, creating additional billable hours while saving clients money by eliminating the middleman. The biggest driver in the litigation support boom is the proliferation of digital documents and communication. “Technology is playing a larger and larger role (in litigation) and a lot of firms are trying to beef that up,” says Shelly Langley, owner of Langley Recruiting, a Seattle legal staffing firm. “I’m seeing more paralegals being hired with database and e-discovery experience.”

Will Manufacturing Hiring Demand Turn Around in 2012?

Wanted Analytics (02/24/12) Abby Lombardi

After several unsteady years, hiring among manufacturers began improving in 2011, but declined drastically during the last several months of the year. However, in January 2012, there were 52,000 job ads posted online, an uptick from December. The most demanded field by manufacturers during January was engineering, accounting for more than 9,600 of the jobs advertised in the manufacturing sector. Industrial engineer was the single most advertised occupation in January, with more than 4,200 job openings, with mechanical engineers and electrical engineers also highly in demand.

Analysis: U.S. Factory Jobs Rebound Seen Destined to Fizzle

Chicago Tribune (02/26/12) Jason Lange

U.S. manufacturers are hiring at the fastest rate in more than 10 years, but technological advances could put an end to that trend in the coming years. In 2011, factories added 237,000 jobs, and that rate is likely to continue this year. Over the long term, however, factory job creation will likely stagnate as technology advances, and manufacturers’ role in the labor market is expected to decline. According to a U.S. Department of Labor report published Feb. 1, factory employment will fall to 11.5 million employees by 2020, down from 11.9 million in January 2012.

Freelancers Multiply as Economy Struggles

Southgate News Herald (Michigan) (02/24/12)

As the economy continues to struggle, freelancers are in great demand as companies trim payrolls and turn to part-time and contract workers. According to data from Kelly Services, approximately 44% of the active work force in 2011 were freelancers, a 70% increase since 2008. By 2020, more than 50% of the private work force will comprise freelancers, independent contractors, and solo entrepreneurs, according to MBO Partners.

Fabio Rosati, the chief executive officer of Elance, says there has been a “structural change in traditional employment” as companies increasingly adopt online and contingent work as a key business strategy. The jobs in greatest demand include software development, mobile technology, graphic design, content writing, Internet marketing, and specialists in WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter.