News & Commentary

May 27, 2015

A federal court of appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling to halt the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Legal Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, according to the Los Angeles Times. DAPA would “grant three-year work permits and temporary protection from deportation to about 4 million” qualifying adults. The judicial decisions have suspended enforcement of the program, which was scheduled to start in May. Immigrant rights advocates think this case will likely go before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Illinois, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is at odds with the Democratic legislature over funding for pension plans, the New York Times reports. Pension costs are estimated to constitution up to a quarter of the state budget, for the fiscal year beginning in July; Chicago alone faces $20 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. Earlier this month, the State Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a 2013 landmark bill to cut worker and retiree benefits, but the governor is looking for alternate ways to limit pension benefits for workers.

A study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that Chile’s child-care law has led to the unintended consequence of a decline in women’s starting salaries. According to the New York Times, several studies have revealed that, in countries with laws to protect women employees who have children, women ultimately earn less, are employed at a lower rate, and are in jobs without benefits or managerial responsibilities. Reporter Claire Cain Miller suggested that gender-neutral parental leave policies might reduce unintended negative effects for working women.

The Guardian reports that British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a new proposal to reduce net migration in the country: creating a “criminal offense of illegal working that allows police to seize the wages of anyone employed unlawfully.” In 2014, immigration to the United Kingdom increased, while emigration remained stable. Cameron’s proposals include cracking down on landlords and employers of undocumented immigrants, checking bank accounts more closely, treating wages earned by undocumented immigrants as proceeds of a crime, and requiring businesses to advertise in the United Kingdom before recruiting abroad.

Al Jazeera published the final piece in its series, “The Other Silicon Valley” on how California’s tech boom affects the working class. Reporter Ned Resnikoff writes about the Bay Area’s tech worker cooperatives.

Employers have shifted from paying employees incremental salary increases to one-shot rewards, according to the New York Times. Aon Hewitt’s annual survey showed that short-term rewards and bonuses constituted a record percentage of payroll budgets, while straight salary increases remained relatively low. The trend toward one-shot payments began during the Great Recession and has continued even as the labor market improves.

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