On January 29, President Obama announced an executive action that will require companies with 100 employees or more to report to the federal government how much they pay their employees, broken down by gender, race and ethnicity. The action is part of a larger effort to close the pay gap between men and women.

The Act encourages local workforce investment boards to implement pay-for-performance contract strategy incentives for training services as an alternative model to traditional programs. The Act also authorizes local workforce investment boards to allocate funds to the extent permissible under §§ 128(b) and 133(b) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-128) for pay-for-performance partnerships.

Under the Act, covered employers will be required to provide reasonable accommodation to employees or applicants for employment for limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The Act allows employees to request modified duties and other accommodations as long as they do not place undue hardship on employers. It allows such accommodations as bathroom breaks and assistance with manual labor. The Act also requires employers to provide nursing women time to express breast milk. It bars employers from turning away a qualified job applicant out of concern she might be asked to provide some accommodations for her pregnancy.

This past weekend, Winter Storm Jonas pummeled the East Coast covering the ground in feet of snow. According to The Weather Channel, snowfall records have been set at Baltimore, JFK Airport in New York City and in other cities and towns across the Northeast. 

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Following on the heels of an active December that saw Congress avoid a government shutdown, extend tax breaks for Americans and pass education reform, there is hope that President Obama and Congress will carry this unexpected span of bipartisanship into 2016. Although impossible to know with certainty which issues will be tackled, criminal justice reform could be on the list.  

Public pensions continue to be one of the biggest fiscal challenges confronting state and local governments. Even before the onset of the Great Recession, many state and local government plans were struggling to meet their pension and retirement health care obligations. While the run-up in the equity markets in recent years might have alleviated some of the fiscal pressures faced by public sector pension plans, there continue to be major challenges ahead on this front. This webinar from the Southern Legislative Conference provides an overview of the latest state pension trends alongside presentations from two SLC states on the specific measures initiated to bolster the funding positions of their plans.

CSG Director of Education Policy Elizabeth Whitehouse outlines the top five issues in workforce development policy for 2016, including Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act implementation, employment issues for people with criminal records, engaging people with disabilities in the workforce, veterans' employment issues, and career pathways for students.

CSG Director of Fiscal and Economic Development Policy Jennifer Burnett outlines the top five issues for 2016, including strategic decisions following modest revenue growth, workforce development, public pensions, federal instability, and health care costs. 

Top 5 Issues in Workforce Development

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Implementation

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, also known as WIOA, became effective on July 1, 2015. However, the act includes several provisions that become effective on other dates. On March 1, 2016, governors must submit a Unified or Combined State Plan pertaining to workforce...

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments requests that the Congress and the Executive Branch work with the States to promote the quality of life for all men and women of the armed forces and improve state-federal coordination in the provision of and greater access to programs, services, and benefits that support veterans’ employment, education, job training, health, and housing needs.

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