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Administration Delays Federal SHOP Exchange

On November 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that online enrollment in the federal Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchange would not be available until the 2015 open enrollment period in November 2014. In lieu of online enrollment, affected employers will need to enroll through an agent, broker, or insurer. HHS also released a series of FAQs regarding how the federal SHOP exchange would function over the next year.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not require small employers with fewer than 50 full-time or full-time-equivalent employees to offer health coverage to their workers. However, the ACA does provide small employers with access to a SHOP exchange in every state, offering coverage through qualified health plans that may take effect as early as January 1, 2014.  If a state has not elected to operate its own SHOP exchange, HHS operates an exchange on behalf of the state through the federal SHOP exchange. There are currently 37 states in the federal SHOP exchange.

Read the HHS Announcement
Read the FAQs

USCIS Announces New E-Verify Enhancements

On November 18, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an enhancement to the E-Verify program that will help combat identity fraud by identifying and deterring fraudulent use of Social Security numbers (SSNs) for employment eligibility verification.

This enhancement provides a critical safeguard to the E-Verify system by detecting and preventing potential fraudulent use of SSNs to gain work authorization. An employer, for example, may enter information into E-Verify that appears valid – such as a matching name, date of birth, and SSN – but was in fact stolen, borrowed or purchased from another individual. This new safeguard now enables USCIS to lock a SSN that appears to have been misused, protecting it from further potential misuse in E-Verify.

Read the New Release

DOL Posts New FAQs on VEVRAA and Section 503

On November 14, 2013, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) posted new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) answering several of the questions the agency received from contractors and the general public about its recently published final rules to revise the OFCCP’s regulations that implement the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 503).  These new FAQs, published on the OFCCP Web site, are the first in a series of FAQs, and other guidance materials and resources that OFCCP is providing to contractors and the public between now and the March 24, 2014, effective date of the revised rules.

View the VEVRAA FAQs
View the Section 503 FAQs

DOL Announces Short-Term Compensation Program Tool

On November 14, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of a new online resource that will provide guidance and information to states interested in developing or improving short-time compensation (STC) programs, also known as work-sharing. The STC program is designed to avert employee layoffs for businesses faced with a temporary slowdown in business activity.

The online resources, which will be available to state workforce agencies, state policymakers, and the general public, are located at

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