Government Affairs Updates

    Governmental Affairs Director Contact:

    Twyla Hardy 
    Clarus Linen Systems


    Governmental Affairs Mission

    BNHRA Governmental Affairs partners with SHRM Governmental Affairs program to anticipate and address regulations and legislation that could change the way human resource professionals perform their jobs. BNHRA collaborates with NYS SHRM and SHRM to advance the human resource profession in the area of government affairs. BNHRA provides an opportunity for local chapter members to assist in shaping regulation and legislation as the subject matter experts in employment relations in Western New York.   

    Interested in helping out with Government Affairs?

    Contact the Director of Governmental Affairs!

     What's New In Governmental Affairs

    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new version of its Form I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification form. Employers will be able to use this revised version on Sept. 18, employers must use the revised form. 

     The revisions to the form relate to USCIS's List of Acceptable Documents and specifically update List C to reflect the most current version of the certification or report of birth issued by the U.S. State Department. 

     Employers completing the Form I-9 on a computer will be able to select the newly added Consular Report of Birth Abroad Form FS-240, which is issued to certain employees born overseas to a U.S. citizen parent. E-Verify users will also be able to select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for employment eligibility verification.  

     All birth certificates issued by the State Department (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350 and Form FS-240) will be compiled into selection C#2 in List C.

     The new form will also modify the form's instructions by removing "the end of" from the phrase "the first day of employment" in reference to completing Section 1. "While the agency did not specify the reason for this change, it was likely made to ensure consistency with the regulations which indicate that Section 1 must be completed 'at the time of hire,' without any reference to the time of day," SHRM said. "Following this updated guidance, employers may want to revisit their own I-9 policies and procedures to ensure that Section 1 is completed no later than when the employee starts work for pay."

     The last change is a revision of the name of the Department of Justice's Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.

    Currently, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducts over 3,000 I-9 employer audits annually, and immigration enforcement is anticipated to increase during the Trump presidency. 

    Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. 

    On the form, an employee must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9.  

    The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form. Employers must retain Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers.  

    The new version of the Form I-9 includes some clarifications as well as some changes designed to make the form easier to fill out electronically. Form I-9s completed electronically will still need to be printed and signed by the employee and employer agent by hand. One of the changes is in Section 1 which now asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used.” 

    Enhancements for easier completion of the form include drop-down lists and calendars for entering dates, the addition of prompts to help ensure that information is entered properly, on-screen instructions for each field, and easy access to the full instructions. It also includes an option to clear the form and start over. Other changes you’ll find on the new I-9 include:

    • Question regarding whether a preparer or translator was used
    • Space to enter multiple preparers and translators
    • A supplemental page for the preparer/translator
    • Creation of a QR code once the Form I-9 is completed electronically
    • A field to enter additional information such as E-Verify confirmation numbers, termination dates and correction notes
    • Separating the full instructions from the form itself. .

    All U.S. employers should review their I-9 policies and procedures to ensure they are up to date with the changes to the form. Employers that are responsible for the completion of Form I-9 should become familiar with the changes immediately to ensure timely transition to exclusive use of the revised form. Compliance will be critical as Form I-9 enforcement audits are anticipated to increase.  

    For more information or to order copies of the Form I-9 please contact the USCIS, you can call 1-800-870-3676 or go to 

    The Social security standard

    Easily Access Your Social Security Benefit Statement for 2017 (February 2018)

    5 Ways Social Security Protects You and your family planning (December 2017)

    How May We Help You With Your Financial Planning (November 2017)

    13 Fearless Things To Know about Your Social Security Number (October 2017)




    Recent Important Changes at NLRB Promising for Employers (February 2018)

    In 2017, President Trump filled three vacancies at the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”).  These appointees included two new Board Members, Marvin E. Kaplan and William J. Emanuel, as well as new General Counsel Peter B. Robb. 

    As the new Republican-led NLRB begins to take shape, employers have already seen a number of major developments, most of which are aimed at walking back policies established during the Obama administration.  This alert recaps the recent developments at the NLRB and discusses potential next steps for employers.

    Decisions Issued by the Board
    The Boeing Company – Handbook Rules
    In The Boeing Co., 365 NLRB No. 154 (Dec. 14, 2017) the Board overruled Lutheran Heritage, 343 NLRB 646 (2004), crafting a new test for determining whether facially neutral handbook rules interfere with employees’ rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the “Act”). Under the standard from Lutheran Heritage, the Board found that simply maintaining a facially neutral handbook rule violated the Act if the rule would be “reasonably construed” by employees to prohibit activity protected by Section 7 of the Act.





    Workplace Wellness Programs: The Legal Issues (December 2017)

    Does your company offer a workplace wellness program?  Many businesses do as a way to promote employee health, reducing absences and health care costs and boosting employee morale and productivity. Workplace wellness programs can encompass a wide variety of offerings, including smoking cessation programs, lunchtime walking groups or meditation classes. They may also include rewards for getting a health screening, losing weight,
    lowering blood pressure or managing chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or asthma.  

    Because workplace wellness programs may ask employees to provide health information or to perform certain tasks, they risk running afoul of laws protecting the equal treatment and privacy of employees with disabilities and genetic conditions. As such, workplace wellness plans must be carefully designed, including close consideration of each potentially relevant statute.





    New York’s Paid Family Leave Program Will Require Employers to Update Their Leave Policies (September 2017)

    In 2016, Governor Cuomo signed the Paid Family Leave program (“PFL”), to take effect on January 1, 2018. The law shares several broad similarities with the federal government’s Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”); some of the distinctions, however, will require employers to update their policies regarding leave.

    The PFL and FMLA (collectively, “Acts”) are similar in that they both provide a leave of absence for eligible employees as a result of a family member’s “serious health condition,” the birth or adoption of a child, or military service. The Acts protect employees against termination for taking this leave and require that employers maintain employees’ health insurance benefits, though they do not mandate that either seniority or other benefits accrue during the leave period. Both Acts require that employees give their employers notice and adequate medical certification. The Acts both require that they run concurrently, unless the employer allows for an alternative arrangement, or one of the requirements for either the FMLA or PFL is not met.


    Labor & Employment

    New York State Paid Family Leave (August 2017)

    On January 1, 2018, New York State’s Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) program will take effect. Accordingly, employers should be informed about the law’s requirements, ensuring that they are prepared for the law’s implementation.

    PFL: The Basics
    The PFL program has been described by the State Workers’ Compensation Board as the “most robust” program in the country. PFL provides paid time off to employees for bonding with a child, family care and family issues arising from military service. The bonding with a child provision provides time off for both parents to bond with a child from birth, adoption or foster care.  The family care provision provides time off for an employee to care for a family member with a serious health condition. This applies to care for an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild. These family members may live outside of New York State or the United States. The military service provision provides time off for an
    employee to provide assistance to his or her family when a family member goes into active military service. The family member may be an employee’s spouse, child, domestic partner or parent.
    How PFL is Funded
    Employees will fully fund the program through a premium payment which employers may deduct from employees’ paychecks as early as July 1, 2017.  PFL will be included in New York State Disability Benefit insurance policies that employers purchase from a private carrier or the State insurance fund, although employers will have the option of purchasing a separate PFL plan.

    phillips lytle llp alert for BNHRA Members:
    data security & privacy

    Managing the Human Element of Cybersecurity: an Employee Lifecycle Control Structure (July 2017)

    Cybersecurity threats are not limited to only cyberspace; a human component exists that must be mitigated. What division of a firm’s organization understands its employees better than Human Resources (“HR”)?

    HR has the skills necessary to detect and control two potential insider threats to an organization’s cybersecurity.  First, the well-intentioned employee who makes a mistake
    (e.g., sending confidential information to a personal email address rather than a work-related email address). Second, a disgruntled employee who has ill will towards the organization (e.g., a former employee who was recently fired and seeks retaliation).

    Employees need to be acutely aware of the organization’s cybersecurity policies and procedures, trained in the proper application of the policies and procedures, and understand (and accept) their personal responsibilities and accountabilities. This alert provides an employee lifecycle control structure that HR professionals can implement to improve cybersecurity within their organization.  Read more...

    Labor and Employment Law Under the Trump Administration

    By James D. Donathen and Christine Donovan Bub, Phillips Lytlle LLP (May 2017)

    Many employers enthusiastically greeted the election results and hoped that President Trump would “Make America Great Again” in the employment area. Now that the first 100 days have passed, some may be disappointed and ask if this is just more “fake news.” As in politics, the truth may lie somewhere in the middle.
    Although broad policy changes were expected, many employment law issues may be largely unaffected by the new administration. This is particularly true in New York State where progressive policies and agenda may trump any changes at the federal level. A short sampling of significant issues follows.  Read more...

    Fiduciary Article provided to BNHRA Members by Westminster Consulting (March 2017)

    We apologize for the bad news
    Many of our readers are fiduciary trustees for large pools of money: pension funds, charitable foundations, employee welfare & retirement plans, and so on. You, the fiduciaries, should be applauded for adopting this burden, for it is often an under-appreciated duty. As fiduciaries, you are responsible for a great deal and the scope of your responsibilities is ever increasing.

    At Westminster Consulting, we sometimes are bearers of bad news. It would be easier to tell investment committees all the ways that their attention wasn’t required and how much more leisure time everyone gets. In reality, we are obligated to explain where your fiduciary duties are.  Read more....


    Fiduciary Article provided to BNHRA Members by Westminster Consulting (February 2017)

    “There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know.

    There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know.

    But there are also unknown unknowns.  There are things we do not know we don’t know.”

    -US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld 


    The mistake we see far too often is this:  employers have tasked non-fiduciary advisors with fiduciary duties and vice-versa.


    The laws that govern institutional investing are constantly in flux.  The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), having started in 1974, is relatively mature but the application and expansion of these legal constructs are ongoing.  For example, Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) and the Pension Protection Act (PPA) circulated in a wave of reform in 2006 through 2007.  Read More....

    For more information contact: David Bard at 716-445-4518