Today’s News & Commentary — September 30, 2015
Hilary Rodham Clinton plans to speak out against the “Cadillac tax,” which imposes taxes on certain employer-based health coverage plans, writes the New York Times. Under current proposals, employers can avoid paying the tax if they reduce health care benefits to their workers, in hopes of limiting overall health care costs. Members of the American Federation of Teachers, which endorsed Clinton earlier this year, are likely to be affected by the tax. Clinton’s opposition to the Cadillac tax may garner support from other unions as well.
The United Arab Emirates announced it will introduce reforms to strengthen oversight of employment agreements for temporary migrant workers. Al Jazeera reports that the reforms focus on improving transparency of job terms, clarifying how contracts can be broken, and easing the process for workers who want to switch employers. The government aims to ensure that the millions of temporary migrant workers in the UAE voluntarily enter and stay in their employment relationships.
The Labor Department is granting $1.55 million to eight state and local governments to explore paid leave policies. Under an order from President Obama, federal employees receive six weeks of paid leave after the birth, adoption or placement of a foster child in their family, but only “12 percent of private sector workers have access to similar paid leave polices,” according to The Hill. The paid leave grants are part of a larger Obama administration strategy to implement paid leave policies for all workers.
The New York Times discusses an ironic twist for immigrant workers hired by U.S. firms through temporary work visas. Companies like Toys “R” Us and the New York Life Insurance Company have hired foreign workers, who then closely study those businesses’ employees in the United States—to replicate their jobs in other countries and ultimately replace the American workers. The companies see the outsourcing as a key part of reducing costs; critics say that outsourcing removes jobs from the U.S., even in industries where the labor supply can meet corporate demands.