Archive of: Work Force

Title Issue

Minimum wage goes up, jobs go down

As Washington approaches yet another increase in the minimum wage rate on Jan. 1, the Employment Policies Institute released new data showing that last year's hike caused increased job loss in the state, particularly among vulnerable groups.

The 2009 hike to $8.55 marks the 12th straight year the wage has increased, which is a 66 percent hike over that time frame.

December 2008

Does 'snow' = unemployment pay?

Workers who lost pay because their employer closed due to the December snow storms potentially qualify for unemployment benefits, according to the State Employment Security Department.

However, unless the business was closed for more than a week, these employees would not receive an unemployment check, since benefits are not paid for the first week that a person becomes unemployed.

December 2008

Weather forces employers to make payroll decisions

It's what some are calling the storm of the decade and it seems so out of place in the South Sound. Unfortunately, the storm is here and businesses are having to make unfamiliar payroll decisions.

For example, should employees who can't leave their houses due to the snow be docked a day's pay? Must the employer treat salaried and hourly employees differently? Are employees allowed to make up work they missed because of the weather?

Lani Powell, president and founder of Powell Human Resources Consulting LLC, said these are questions that employers should have addressed in company policies and manuals before the first snow even landed here. However, since companies cannot turn back the hands of time, she said there are some things employers should keep in mind when making weather-related payroll decisions.

December 2008

Web scam targets unemployed

There is a consumer scam that preys on unemployed workers by offering to help file their claims for unemployment benefits - for a fee, something the state Web site will do for free.  

The scam works like this:  Unemployed workers must search for job openings as a requirement for receiving unemployment benefits. One of the places they search for openings is through a state Web site.

December 2008

People on the move

Thomas J. Sadler, CPA, of Lakewood, is the new chair of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Sadler was installed during the association's 101st Annual Meeting in Boston. He is a past chair of the Washington State Board of Accountancy, and currently serves the Washington State Board of Accountancy as a strategic adviser. Sadler is also is a past president of Lakewood Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Lakewood and a former member of the Tacoma/Pierce County Economic Development Board.

December 2008

Local economy, wage data online

The state Employment Security Department has created a Number and Trends online tool that makes local work force-related information easy to find. The site includes data about unemployment rates, wages, unemployment claims, and projected growth in various occupations and industries.

"We have a lot of labor-market information available on our Web site, but it can be complicated to find it," said Karen Lee, commissioner of the Employment Security Department. "We created Numbers and Trends to help citizens quickly find the most popular data in one place."

December 2008

Unemployment tax going down for some

For the first time ever, more than half of all Washington employers will be in the lowest unemployment-insurance tax bracket in 2009, with tax savings totaling some $45 million.

"There hasn't been a lot of good news for businesses lately, so it feels good to spread a little holiday cheer," said Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee in announcing the information today.

December 2008

Boeing schedules first Dreamliner flight

Boeing today announced an updated schedule for its all-new 787 Dreamliner program that moves the commercial jet's first flight into the second quarter of 2009 and first delivery into the first quarter of 2010. The new schedule reflects the impact of disruption caused by the recent Machinists' strike along with the need to replace certain fasteners in early production airplanes.

December 2008

People on the move

Beth Johnson has been hired to lead Provider Services for Regence BlueShield. In her role, Johnson will oversee relationships with all provider networks for Regence in Washington. Before joining Regence, Johnson worked 10 years for First Choice Health, most recently as vice president of network management. Before that, she spent four years with MultiCare, first as a practice manager and then as the system manager for plan operations. Earlier in her career, Johnson managed physician clinics. Johnson received her master's degree in Public Health Administration from the University of South Carolina. Her undergraduate degree is from James Madison University in Virginia. A resident of Tacoma, Johnson will be based in Seattle.

Mark Losh
has joined Mills & Mills Funeral Home and Memorial Park in Tumwater as a family service professional and advance planning specialist. Mills & Mills is owned by Service Corp. International.

December 2008

Gates Foundation pushes education

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced grants totaling $69 million to organizations working to improve college enrollment and completion rates in America. The foundation aims to double the number of low-income students who earn a postsecondary degree or credential with genuine value in the workplace by age 26 -- an increase of approximately 250,000 graduates each year.

December 2008
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