Mega Group Online

Uber Enacts “Selfie Identification”

On September 23rd, Uber announced a new policy that will require its drivers to take periodic selfies to prove their identity before they can accept a ride request. Using technology from Microsoft’s Cognitive Services, the new feature, called “Real-Time ID Check”, will help to ensure that the driver using the app is the same person Uber has on file.

The goal behind Uber’s new policy is not only to “prevent fraud and protect driver accounts”, Uber wrote in a Blog Post. “It also protects riders by building another layer of accountability into the app to ensure the right person is behind the wheel.”

Uber has been in the news a lot recently, mostly due to the controversy over how they conduct background checks for their drivers.  Multiple women have filed lawsuits against Uber, claiming they were assaulted by their drivers and that the company hasn’t done enough to prevent these attacks.  Some critics argue that Uber should fingerprint their drivers, an argument that forced the ride-share company out of some US cities, but the company believes that its present background checks are sufficient. In addition to an application, potential drivers must provide a copy of their driver’s license, as well as proof of vehicle inspection, registration, and insurance.

Previously, Uber was testing “Real-Time ID Check” in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Atlanta. But the policy was expanded nationwide after the announcement was made.

For more information see this article from The Washington Post 

THE ARGUMENT FOR REGULATING APP-BASED RIDE COMPANIES CONTINUES IN MASSACHUSSETTS

On August 5, 2016 Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts signed a law enacting more regulations for Uber, Lyft, and other Transportation Network Companies (TNCs). This makes Massachusetts the latest state to approve stronger regulations for TNCs and the first to implement a way to help aid the failing taxi industry. Under the new law, TNC drivers will undergo two stages of background checks. The first will be run by the TNCs themselves, and the second will be conducted by the state and will include a look at criminal and sex offender history. The new legislation in Massachusetts also calls for a 20-cent per ride fee that the TNCs will be responsible for. A portion of this new fee will go toward helping taxi companies who have been hurt by the new technology. This fee will not be passed along to the customers. One proposal of the law did call for fingerprinting of TNC drivers (something that taxi drivers are subject too) but it did not make the final draft of the legislation.

You can read a full article about Massachusetts’ new law here: http://www.patriotledger.com/news/20160805/governor-baker-signs-bill-regulating-uber-lyft-others

New regulations for TNC drivers and whether or not they should be fingerprinted is a nationwide topic of discussion right now, with some cities like Austin, Houston, and Chicago taking the matter into their own hands. Currently, the California Public Utilities Commission is discussing this issue and if you would like to weigh in on the matter, you can take an online survey at: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/webform.aspx?ekfrm=11394
(see the results of the survey at: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/fingerprinting/ )

Massachusetts legislation aspires to phase out gender-based discrimination in the workplace.

You know the “employment history” section on most job applications? Of course you do. That’s where you typically wrestle with whether to lie about how much you made in past jobs in the hope of getting a fatter offer for this one.

By July 2018, though, Massachusetts job seekers will become the first in the nation to be free of that ethical and strategic struggle. On Monday, Republican governor Charlie Baker signed a bipartisan bill making it illegal for employers in the state to ask job applicants to disclose their wage or salary history. Among other things, the law also requires companies to pay men and women equally when they do “comparable” work, not just when they hold identical titles and job descriptions.

While the Massachusetts law is ambitious, it doesn’t block every imaginable tactic employers can deploy to hold down labor costs.
It’s an unprecedented step toward closing the gender pay gap—since women typically earn less than men, an employer that bases compensation on a candidate’s earning history is likely to (literally) shortchange her—at a time when states are picking up the slack on the issue from a deadlocked Congress. Most recently, California and New York enacted legislation to promote equal pay and salary transparency.

But while the Massachusetts law is ambitious, it doesn’t block every imaginable tactic employers can deploy to hold down labor costs—even at the disproportionate expense of certain candidates. Here’s what the new measure covers (and what it doesn’t), how employers are responding, and which changes to watch for next.

 
Originally posted by Fast Company. Read the full article at: http://www.fastcompany.com/3062547/the-future-of-work/how-massachusettss-new-pay-law-will-help-close-the-gender-wage-gap-and-ho

NATIONAL SHIFT IN EMPLOYMENT FOR DISABLED CITIZENS IS NOTICED

“Ted Knuck visited Washington, D.C., recently to testify about something that’s causing him great worry: his child’s right to choose where she works.

Knuck, a retired Pima County judge, shared daughter Genna’s story in mid-October on behalf of ACCSES, a public policy group that represents more than 1,200 disability service providers nationwide. That talk, before an advisory committee for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, is part of a national debate: Should the norm for people with disabilities be to work in integrated employment rather than in sheltered settings?

Over the last several years, states such as Vermont, Maine, Washington and New York have started phasing out or closing their sheltered workshops. These work environments, such as Tucson’s Beacon Group, are where people with disabilities work together in a controlled environment.

The advisory committee’s task is to prepare recommendations, over a two-year period that started in January, for the U.S. Labor Department on ways to increase employment opportunities for those with developmental disabilities.

Knuck says it’s not a realistic goal, or a fair one for those who have already tried integrated work and found it challenging and upsetting.

“In a perfect world, that would be wonderful, but that’s an impossible dream,” he said. “Those of us who are not disabled tend to impose our way of thinking on people who are disabled.”

His daughter, Genna, who is developmentally disabled, gets to work in a safe, supportive environment at Beacon, he said. She enjoys the simple routine and friendships she’s made there, he said, and, if a problem arises, the staff helps her and she gets time to recover.

Before she started at Beacon 12 years ago, Knuck said, Genna tried other jobs but quickly became frustrated and overwhelmed. What’s tricky, he said, is that his daughter’s challenges are not immediately evident and so people expect her to be capable of more than she can deliver.

He does not want to see her pushed to try integrated work again.

People who work at Beacon’s huge warehouse, at 308 W. Glenn St., carry out multiple subcontracts that might involve making airplane rivets, shredding documents or helping with shipping orders — many for wages below or far below the state minimum of $8.05 per hour. Others earn significantly more than that, said Patrick McCarthy, Beacon’s director of development. It depends on their capabilities.

THE OLMSTEAD RULING

Many states are taking action in integrated employment even though regulations haven’t been finalized yet, said Leann Fox, director of government affairs for ACCSES.

The shift is tied to a 1999 Supreme Court decision that people with developmental disabilities have the right to live in the community, not in institutions. That Georgia case, Olmstead vs L.C., led to what’s now called Olmstead Enforcement.

The National Disability Rights Network helped the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division enforce Olmstead in Rhode Island, where an investigation found the state over-relied on segregated employment.

Rhode Island, the first state to reach an Olmstead settlement over employment, is now required to provide job opportunities to more than 3,200 residents with developmental disabilities over the next 10 years.

Jennifer Carusetta, chief legislative liaison for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, that state’s Medicaid program, said there are no plans to cap enrollment for, or close, centers like Beacon.

“We want to ensure that individuals who are able and would like to transition into integrated employment have the tools and opportunity to do so,” she said.

The idea will require that individual be evaluated based on their ability to obtain integrated employment and then set individual goals accordingly.

“We recognize that integrated employment may not be attainable for all people,” she said. “We also recognize that there are people who, with the assistance and training provided in center-based employment, may be able to move in the direction of achieving this goal.”
FLEXIBLE MINIMUM WAGE

Beacon Group, which started here more than 62 years ago, provides supported employment in the community and job placements with more than 20 local employers.

About 715 people work at Beacon, or receive services there through its day program. In addition, about 150 former clients left for regular jobs last year, McCarthy said. About 68 percent of the employees have development disabilities. Each employee had two individual-support planning meetings last year, he said.

Beacon grossed about $16.7 million last year and netted about $400,000, McCarthy said. About $130,000 is restricted grant money that has not been spent on programs yet, he said, and the rest goes into reserves or to pay off debt.

Two pending federal bills would phase out special wages altogether over the next few years, Fox said. New Hampshire has already eliminated its flexible minimum wage, she said, and it’s still unfolding what this will mean to people who are not capable of earning more.

“There’s some hesitation to have a real conversation about those folks who aren’t going to be able to achieve this lovely idea of competitive, integrated employment and what it’s going to mean for their quality of life and the quality of life of their family members,” she said.

Fox said that in some states, the change has resulted in people who were previously employed now staying home all day or doing little in day treatment programs.

“Some of the people are depressed,” she said. “They are having feelings that most people would have when they lose a job.”

 

Originally by the Arizona Daily Star. http://tucson.com/business/local/national-shift-in-employment-for-the-disabled-upsets-some/article_033d87a0-b166-59a2-9dc2-898aef48e334.html

House Approves Bill Defining Work Week as 40 hours Under Obamacare

“The Republican-led House of Representatives took the first swipe at weakening Obamacare Thursday, when it voted 252-to-172 to raise the definition of a full-time workweek to 40 hours.

 The 40-hour workweek bill aims to ease health insurance requirements for employers under the Affordable Care Act, which currently defines full-time as 30 hours per week.

According to MSN, only 12 Democrats joined Republicans in backing the measure, which will allow businesses to offer health insurance to fewer workers by raising the minimum hours worked at which employers are required to provide insurance for workers.

Congressional aides and lobbyists said the 40-hour workweek bill was chosen as the initial assault on the health care law by Republican leaders because they believe they can attract enough support from House and Senate Democrats to pressure the president into signing it.

President Obama, however, has already said that he would veto the bill if it passed.

The “40-hour fix,” which the Inquistr reported has been a goal of Republican leaders for quite some time, has drawn fire from many unions.

The AFL-CIO, in fact, supports lowering the minimum hours required for a full-time workweek to 20 in an attempt to protect full-time workers from seeing their hours reduced.

“There has been frustration with the 30-hour threshold and with people losing hours,” said AFL-CIO health care lobbyist Tom Leibfried. “What labor would like is a stronger set of employer responsibility requirements.”

Under the current health care law, businesses with more than 50 full-time employees are required to provide health insurance benefits to those who work 30 or more hours a week. Republicans claim that the current law is…”

 

Originally posted by Inquisitr. Full article at http://www.inquisitr.com/1740681/40-hour-full-time-workweek-bill-passes-as-congress-starts-war-against-obamacare/

2014: The Best Year for Job Growth in 15 Years!

“2014 was the best year for job growth since 1999 — and nearly every industry shared in the gains.

A good year for hiring — finally.

Not only has overall job growth been strong this year, but the types of jobs added have been spread across almost every industry.

In November, the Labor Department’s diffusion index, which measures the breadth of industries expanding their payrolls, reached its highest level since January 1998, signaling that the labor market recovery is broadening, and isn’t restricted to certain sectors of the economy.

The strongest showing came from the business and professional services sector, which added a total of 680,000 jobs through November this year (December numbers won’t be released until Jan. 9.) This sector includes a range of positions, such as marketing associates, secretaries and lawyers.

Take, for example, the online reviews company Yelp  YELP 0.77% , which hired about 300 salespeople over two quarters this year, adding to its almost 2,000-person staff. CFO Robert Krolik said that the company is preparing for the future now “by hiring so many folks now and making sure that they are productive.” If business does slow down, all Yelp has to do “is slow down the hiring process,” he added.

2014 was the best year for job growth since 1999 — and nearly every industry shared in the gains.

A good year for hiring — finally.

Not only has overall job growth been strong this year, but the types of jobs added have been spread across almost every industry.

In November, the Labor Department’s diffusion index, which measures the breadth of industries expanding their payrolls, reached its highest level since January 1998, signaling that the labor market recovery is broadening, and isn’t restricted to certain sectors of the economy.

The strongest showing came from the business and professional services sector, which added a total of 680,000 jobs through November this year (December numbers won’t be released until Jan. 9.) This sector includes a range of positions, such as marketing associates, secretaries and lawyers.

Take, for example, the online reviews company Yelp  YELP 0.77% , which hired about 300 salespeople over two quarters this year, adding to its almost 2,000-person staff. CFO Robert Krolik said that the company is preparing for the future now “by hiring so many folks now and making sure that they are productive.” If business does slow down, all Yelp has to do “is slow down the hiring process,” he added.

 That sentiment seems to have been shared across industries, from healthcare to construction and manufacturing — sectors that were buoyed by the nation’s strong GDP gains in recent quarters. The economy added jobs at a strong clip this year — an average of 241,000 a month — and has finally made up for all the jobs lost during the Great Recession. From January to November, a total of 2.65 million jobs were added and the unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from 6.7% when we rang in the start of 2014.
The pickup in job growth also helped boost wages, although gains have been…”
Originally posted by Fortune. Full article can be found at:  http://fortune.com/2014/12/31/employment-year-job-gains/

Happy New Year from all of us at MGO!

How Millennial Employees Can Embrace Older Colleagues

“The presence of millennials in the U.S. workforce is set to rapidly  increase, according to a 2012 study from the University of North  Carolina. Next year, millennials, usually defined as those born between the early 1980s and 2001, will comprise 34 percent of workers. By 2020,   that number will jump to 46 percent.

Working  alongside millennials will be baby boomers (people born between 1946  and 1964) and Generation Xers (usually defined as those born between the  mid-60s to early 80s). While relations between the older and younger  generations in some areas are healthy, in others, there’s a real rift.  For example, a recent study by The Hartford, a financial services group,  showed that millennials resent some baby boomers for not retiring  earlier, thus preventing millennials from getting hired or promoted.  Meanwhile, the same survey showed 74 percent of Gen Xers agreed that the  “entitlement generation” is an appropriate nickname for millennials.

While  some resentment may last, there are ways millennials, also known as  Generation Y, can grow from having a quality relationship with their  senior co-workers. We’ve detailed some below.

Be a good listener. Lending  your ear can pay dividends, especially if you’ve run into a problem  that your knowledge can’t resolve. Also, don’t perceive seeking advice  as an admission of weakness or inexperience. “It doesn’t mean that  you’re not fully capable of executing on your own, but getting diverse  perspectives at any age is always going to be valuable to your success,”  says Lindsey Pollak, a millennial generation expert and author of  “Getting from College to Career.”

Strike up a mentorship. Your  company may have a mentorship program that matches up employees from  different generations. Or you can take a less formal route and find one  or two senior co-workers to regularly chat with over coffee or lunch.  Through these interactions, millennials can get “a leg up in terms of  the ability to learn about the culture of the company, the ins and outs  of the politics that are going on [and] general business etiquette,”  says Lisa Orrell, a California-based consultant who specializes in  generational dynamics in the workforce. Fortunately, many millennials  like the idea of a mentor. MTV’s 2012 “No Collar Workers” survey showed that three-fourths of millennials would like to have a mentor and eight   out of 10 want feedback from their boss.”

Originally posted by US News and can be found at: http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2013/11/07/how-millennial-employees-can-embrace-older-colleagues

“Monday Monday, can’t trust that day”

“Do Lipton employees take coffee breaks?” Steven Wright