HR news you can use

Wednesday, August 31, 2005 at 1:00am

Employer Handbook
Below is a roundup of news and trends in the human resources field over the last quarter.

More visas available this year

On May 11, President Bush signed into law legislation that expands the number of H-2B visas available to U.S. employers. These visas are issued for short-term, nonimmigrant foreign workers. Currently, the number of H-2B visas is capped at 66,000 each fiscal year. The bill increases the number of visas available by exempting from the cap any workers who participated in the H-2B program during the last three years.

Although the bill expands the ability of employers in the tourism industry to use foreign workers to fill jobs on a temporary seasonal basis, it also imposes stricter requirements on employers to first exhaust the U.S. workforce.

The law also:

  • sets aside half of the H-2B visas to be issued in the fall and the other half in the spring to account for the differing needs of seasonal employers in different parts of the country; and
  • increases the number of visas available for foreign nurses, physical therapists and their dependents, engineers, and computer scientists and their dependents.

    The provisions are part of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005, Public Law No. 109-13.

    Employees get extra FSA time

    The IRS has issued a new ruling allowing employers to give employees an additional two and a half months after the end of the plan year to seek reimbursement for medical and dependent-care expenses under a flexible spending arrangement (FSA).

    In the past, employees were required to

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