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Policy Watch


Compensation has long been a key driver in recruiting, attracting and retaining employees. Human resource professionals are integral to creating a compensation model that attracts talent, enhances engagement and retains employees—all while adhering to appropriate regulations and disclosure rules.

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Employment Rights

The workplace has long been central to the goal of fully including people of all backgrounds into our society. Although federal laws protect employees from discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, national origin, sex, religion, disability, pregnancy and age, employers are often the leaders in putting policies in place that create a welcoming and inclusive environment that embraces a multi-faceted and diverse workforce. 

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Health Care

An affordable, innovative and efficient health care system is essential to ensuring a productive and competitive U.S. workforce, as well as a better quality of life for all Americans. As the providers of health care coverage to more than 177 million Americans, employers and the plans they provide to employees and their families are the bedrock of the U.S. health care system.

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Building the workforce of today and tomorrow means being able to hire, train and retain the employees who have the skills to get the job done no matter where they were born or where they are in the world. From temporary, low-skilled workers to foreign graduates of local universities to globetrotting senior executives, employers need efficient, predictable and flexible immigration policies that enable them to effectively manage talent and compete in a global economy.

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Labor Management Relations

Private sector unionization rates continue to decline. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 6.7 percent of people working in the private sector in 2015 were members of a union. Furthermore, the overall U.S. workforce union membership rate was 11.1 percent in 2015, down from 20.1 percent in 1983, with global union membership rates mirroring this trend.


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Retirement Security

Every American worker should have financial security in retirement. Employer-sponsored benefits are a key component to accomplishing this goal. Ninety percent of employers surveyed in the 2015 SHRM Benefits Survey offered a defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k), to their employees, while 25 percent offered a defined benefit pension plan.

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Wage and Hour

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 are the two primary federal statutes shaping workplace policies in this country. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Office enforces both FLSA and FMLA. Among other things, FLSA establishes the minimum wage, overtime pay and recordkeeping requirements for employees in the private sector and in federal, state and local governments.   

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Workforce Planning

Beyond being a key human resource competency, workforce planning—aligning strategies for building workforce capabilities to meet desired business outcomes—is a key element of an overall talent management strategy. Across the United States and globally, employers are struggling to find enough qualified workers to fill their available job openings. 

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