Workplace Issues Today
Daily News for Thursday, December 12, 2013
Selected by the Catherwood Library Reference Staff each Monday through Friday, excluding University holidays, WIT is a free alert service, providing abstracts and links to workplace-related news stories covered in the major media. Subscribe to WIT »
Established in 1999, this service also includes a searchable archive.
Major Apple suppliers reform under scrutiny of third party
The Fair Labor Association released its most recent audit of Foxconn’s labor and employment practices. While previous reports show Foxconn as managing inhumane sweatshops, the new report shows progress toward improving labor standards and reducing the excessive hours it requires employees to work. Many of the factories in China have reached the labor standards goals that were set out over a year ago, but are still over the legal limit of a 49-hour maximum work week. The FLA report mentions that even as some Apple contractors get better, new violations are being uncovered at others, specifically citing Pegatron Corp’s recent woes.
See “Labor Group Sees Progress at Major Apple suppliers,” ABC News, The Associated Press, Dec 12 2013 (BCS)
Head of Spanish business federation pushes tougher labor laws
The head of Spain’s Confederation of Employers Organizations, Joan Rosell, is calling for tougher labor and pension laws which he believes will foster economic recovery. In an interview with Reuters, Mr. Rosell called on the government to not only slow spending cuts, but to make reforms modeled after the German approach. In Germany it is easier for businesses to obtain temporary workers and, if business slows, place workers in joint government-business run training programs. Mr. Rosell simultaneously calls for stronger enforcement of the right to strike and a more flexible labor market, both of which he says will help lower the country’s unemployment rate, which is the second highest in the Eurozone. Mr. Rosell sees a major problem in Spain’s unemployed working off the books and the lack of governmental requirements on receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
See “Spain business head urges tougher labor, pension laws,” Reuters, Dec 12 2013 (BCS)
More small businesses dropping health insurance altogether
This year, because of the Affordable Care Act, it is anticipated that many employers with fewer than 50 employees will be dropping the health insurance they had traditionally provided. The act of “dumping” employees onto the state and federal healthcare exchanges is not limited to small employers, but Obama care exempts employers with less than 50 employees from having to contribute to their employees’ health insurance at all. The number of small businesses that provided health insurance coverage has steadily declined from 47% in 2001 to less than 38% today. Many small business owners are also finding that almost all of their employees, those earning up to four times the federal poverty level, are eligible for some kind of health insurance subsidy if they do not offer a plan through work. Employees may not reap all the benefits that managers project because health insurance plans paid for through the exchanges are paid with after-tax dollars, unlike the premiums paid through an employer-sponsored plan.
See “Dropping Health Plans, to Pick Better Coverage,” by Stacy Cowley, The New York Times, Dec 12 2013 (BCS)