Today’s News & Commentary — April 14, 2017

Leora Smith

Leora Smith is a student at Harvard Law School.

The New York Times reports that rules for immigrant detainees are likely  to change soon. Over the last 15 years, the federal government has instituted some protections for immigrant detainees including requirements to “[n]otify immigration officials if a detainee spends two weeks or longer in solitary confinement. Check on suicidal inmates every 15 minutes, and evaluate their mental health every day. Inform detainees, in languages they can understand, how to obtain medical care. [And] [i]n disciplinary hearings, provide a staff member who can advocate in English on the detainee’s behalf.” A leak from Department of Homeland security officials suggests that the office in charge of promulgating these regulations will be eliminated, and that among other changes, detainees will no longer be guaranteed translation services or access to healthcare professionals within 24 hours of a request.  The changes come in the wake of reports that President Trump is building a “deportation force”, and allegations of widespread forced labor in privately-owned immigrant detention facilities.

The government of Maine intends to create a work requirement for adults without dependents who want to access Medicaid. About 20% of the state’s population uses the program. In 2014, Maine created a work requirement for food stamps for the same population group, which saw their enrolment drop 90%.

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice, an industry group, will be lobbying the federal government to reverse a rule that extended FLSA coverage to homecare employees. In 2013, the Obama administration said that FLSA exemptions for “companionship services” and “in-home” caregivers only apply when caregivers work directly for a client. Caregivers who work for agencies are entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay, under the Obama-era rule. Industry groups unsuccessfully challenged the rule in court, and will now push the new labor secretary to reverse it.

A new book examines Harvard Business School’s influence on corporate culture, politics and economic inequality. A large number of Fortune 500 Executives hold degrees from HBS – three times more than from Wharton School, the next most popular school. The book’s author says in The New York Times“[W]hen students enter business school, they believe that the purpose of a corporation is to produce goods and services for the benefit of society…When they graduate…they believe that it is to maximize shareholder value.”

And in international news, starting this month in England companies employing over 250 people must report publicly on their gender pay gap. Companies will need to reveal pay disparity between men and women’s salaries, as well as the number of men and women who received bonuses, and any disparities in the average size of bonuses. The government has stated that the average pay gap in English workplaces is 18.1%.


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