The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

DOL Announces Final Rule Raising Prevailing Wage Minimums for H-1B Visas

by CUPA-HR

On January 12, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule which will raise government prevailing wage minimums for foreign professional workers under the H-1B and other visa programs. The rule revises a previously released Interim Final Rule that took effect on October 8, 2020 but was subsequently struck down by three federal district courts. While the rule is scheduled to take effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register, President-Elect Biden has promised to issue a memo on his first day in office that will halt or pause for at least 60 days any Trump administration regulations that have not taken effect by inauguration.

New COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Extends Unemployment Insurance and Small Business Assistance Programs

by CUPA-HR

On December 27, President Trump signed an additional round of COVID-19 relief legislation into law. The bill was part of a larger legislative package that funded the government through September 30, 2021 and is the first COVID-19 bill enacted since the March 2020 CARES Act. Many provisions in the new bill extend and modify unemployment insurance and small business assistance programs that were created by the CARES Act and other laws previously passed in response to the pandemic. More information on the new bill’s key HR-related provisions are highlighted in this blog post.

Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard Implements COVID-19 Workplace Safety Protocols

by CUPA-HR

On November 30, the California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) issued a final Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) implementing COVID-19 workplace safety protocols that went into effect immediately and apply to all employees and places of employment within the state, including universities and colleges, regardless of size or industry sector. The standard currently only applies to California, but there is speculation that this ETS could be the framework for a federal OSHA ETS that will apply nationally once President-Elect Joe Biden assumes office.

COVID-19-Related Emergency Relief Provisions Set to Expire in 2020

by CUPA-HR

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed by Congress in the spring of 2020 to provide temporary economic and regulatory relief to individuals and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are due to expire by the end of this year. As congressional lawmakers furiously negotiate a proposal to fund the government beyond a December 18 deadline, there are hopes that additional COVID-19 relief could be attached to that legislation, including an extension of deadlines. Here are the expiring provisions that are of significant importance to higher education.

HR and the Courts

by CUPA-HR

CUPA-HR General Counsel Ira Shepard highlights the U.S. Court of Appeals considering reinstatement for fired transgender professor after favorable Supreme Court decision protecting LGBT workers from discrimination, the EEOC collecting a record amount in monetary damages for charging-party employees while number of actual litigated cases drops, a surge in national-security-related enforcement actions filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against professors at U.S. universities who have ties with China, and more.

Summaries of November and December CUPA-HR Letters and Advocacy Efforts

by CUPA-HR

In late November and early December, CUPA-HR joined the American Council on Education (ACE) and other higher education associations in sending letters to Congress and federal agencies regarding policies that significantly impact institutions of higher education. Here are summaries of the letters CUPA-HR has recently signed onto.

Why Leadership Development Is Increasingly Critical in Higher Education

by CUPA-HR

Cornerstone OnDemand, a CUPA-HR Mary Ann Wersch Premier Partner, shares why great leadership is critical in higher education and some tips on how you can build, develop and grow the impactful leaders within the ranks of your faculty and staff. They also share a case study from Davenport University to illustrate a few key leadership development techniques that you can put into action today and useful advice on how to empower your current leaders, keep staff motivated and engaged, and inspire the next generation of leadership — all at the same time.

Great CUPA-HR Reads of 2020

by Jill Thompson

Between pivoting with the COVID-19 pandemic, confronting racial issues, making strides toward more equitable workplaces, and managing already hectic workloads, higher ed HR has had its hands full this year. Yet in the middle of it all, resilient HR pros continue to find ways to positively impact the higher education landscape. As 2020 comes to a close and you take time to rest and recharge, we encourage you to read about some of the great work your HR colleagues are doing at colleges and universities around the country, as well as ways CUPA-HR is contributing to the conversations on today’s most pressing issues.

Will the Pandemic Accelerate or Postpone Retirement?

by CUPA-HR

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on higher education institutions. Employees’ financial outlook have been especially affected as they’ve either experienced a worst case scenario or realized that bad outcomes can actually happen. Past experience tells us that after a significant financial crisis people tend to postpone retirement. However, the unique nature of this pandemic could affect expected retirement behaviors differently for certain higher education employees.

HR and the Courts

by CUPA-HR

CUPA-HR General Counsel Ira Shepard highlights recent rulings around a Pennsylvania university employee who was terminated after sending an email to alert employees that a coworker’s spouse was diagnosed with COVID-19, a second lawsuit against the Trump administration’s Executive Order attempting to limit race and sex stereotyping and implicit bias training by government contractor employers, and more.