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By: Kathy Albarado on February 12th, 2009

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Compliance Arena Heats Up in Early 2009

Risk Management

The year is off to a fast start on the compliance front as significant february-2009changes in the employment and benefits arena go into effect. Employers should examine current programs, policies and processes to ensure that they reflect the following:

New Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations that clarified several issues surrounding general application of FMLA as well as extensions of FMLA leave benefits for military families through the National Defense Authorization Act.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), which seeks to address persistent issues with the application of the original ADA. The ADAAA expands and clarifies the definition of a covered "disability" as well as tightens the concept of prohibited discrimination. While the new regulations provide more guidance and clarity for both employers and employees, companies might find that the changes make compliance with the ADA more challenging. (Effective on January 1, 2009.) Click here for clarification and commonly asked questions.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that a new I-9 form must be used to verify work eligibility for all new hires and re-verify for any employee with expiring work authorization. The original effective date to begin using the new form has been moved from February 2 to April 3. The form to be used prior to April 3 contains Form I-9 (Rev. 06/05/07) N in the bottom corner and can be located here. Note that there are civil monetary penalties for using the new form prior to 4/3/09.

The requirement that Federal contractors and subcontractors use E-Verify, an internet-based system designed to verify a potential employee's work eligibility in the U.S. Companies with government contracts for more than $100,000 (with some exceptions) and subcontracts for more than $3,000 will see E-Verify mandates inserted in new contracts. (Effective May 21, 2009.) Information concerning E-Verify may be found here.

As gas prices have fallen, so have mileage rates set by the Internal Revenue Service. Effective January 1, 2009, the mileage rate decreased from 58.5 cents per mile to 55 cents per mile. Employers should ensure they are paying the current mileage rate.  Here is more information regarding the new mileage rates set by the IRS.

Stay tuned for more compliance news as packed 2009 legislative and regulatory calendars promise to bring many changes!