U.S. Hikes Visa Fees, Changes Validity Periods for Dutch Citizens

Visa issuance fees and validity periods are set based on reciprocity. If a country charges U.S. citizens $50 to receive a visa, then the U.S. will charge citizens of that country a similar amount for a U.S. visa. In 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13780, which requires that the U.S. State Department undertake a worldwide review of reciprocity arrangements with a view to updating any discrepancies.

Reciprocity Updates

Without notice, and effective immediately on January 31, 2020, the U.S. State Department’s visa reciprocity chart was updated to reflect new visa issuance fees for Dutch citizens applying for Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) nonimmigrant visas. Additionally, E-1 and E-2 visa validity periods have been significantly shortened — from five to three years. The chart below highlights the most significant changes to routinely used visa categories:
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Part 25 of “The Restricting Covenant” Series: Disintermediation and Noncompetes

The most recent installment of the Restricting Covenant Series was inspired by the Jeopardy! tournament “The Greatest of All Time,” where champion Ken Jennings edged out two other competitors to win the million-dollar prize. So, for the crossword and quiz show enthusiasts, here is the clue in the form of an answer (and the subject of this article): This 17-letter word means to cut out the middleman in connection with a transaction.  Correct response: What is “disintermediation”?  What does disintermediation have to do with noncompete agreements?  Read on.

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New Amendment to the PA Background Check Requirements for Employees Who Have Contact with Children

Effective December 31, 2019, Pennsylvania amended section 6344(m) of the Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), which pertains to background checks for employees who have contact with children. Specifically, the amendment prohibits employers, administrators, supervisors or other persons responsible for employment decisions from employing applicants on a provisional basis absent a waiver from the department. Child day-care centers, group day-care homes or family child-care homes may apply for a one-time extension not to exceed 45 days only if the following conditions are met.

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Retaining Independent Contractors in New Jersey Just Got Even Riskier

On January 21, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law three bills that increase the potential pitfalls for businesses that rely on independent contractors. One new law adds to the penalties for misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Another new law imposes liability on businesses ─ including potential liability on individual managers ─ that use staffing companies that misclassify workers. The third new law adopts new posting requirements and anti-retaliation provisions.

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Restructuring the Analysis: New Jersey Now Mandates Severance Pay for Mass Layoffs

On January 21, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Senate Bill 3170 into law, amending the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act, New Jersey’s mini-WARN Act (NJ WARN Act), in several significant ways and further deviating from the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (federal WARN Act). The amended NJ WARN Act is set to take effect on July 19, 2020.

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Uncertainty Remains for Texas Paid Sick Leave Ordinances

Over the past two years, city councils in three of the four largest cities in Texas — Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas — each have passed ordinances requiring local employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave. In each instance, the new proposed ordinance was met with fierce resistance from local businesses, staffing agencies and professional associations. Those aligned against the ordinances promised that their adoption would be followed swiftly by lawsuits. What’s more, the opposition was supported by none other than Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who took a hardline stance that such ordinances violate the Texas Minimum Wage Act. The purpose of the Minimum Wage Act, Paxton argued, was to set a uniform statewide policy with respect to wage requirements that municipal governments had no right to circumvent. Despite all of this pushback, the city council in each city overwhelmingly voted to adopt the ordinance.

The ordinances in all three cities are similar and contain some of the same key features but each also has its own distinguishing characteristics:

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