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BUSINESS
November 15, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Late payments, glitch-prone computers and swamped call centers aren't the only problems bedeviling California's unemployment insurance program. The insurance fund that pays state jobless benefits - run by the Employment Development Department - owes nearly $10 billion to the federal government. That's because the state has been paying far more in jobless benefits than it receives in employer-paid taxes, and the feds make up the difference. "The whole system is really whacked out right now and needs a fix," said Assemblyman Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills)
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BUSINESS
November 8, 2013 | By Don Lee
WASHINGTON -- The American job market showed a burst of life in October as employers added a healthy 204,000 jobs over the month, far exceeding analysts' expectations that had been lowered in part by the partial federal government shutdown. The Labor Department said Friday, however, that the unemployment rate last month edged up to 7.3% from a five-year low of 7.2% in September. Officials said there was an unusually large drop in the so-called labor force, those working or actively looking for jobs.
NATIONAL
November 7, 2013 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - A bill to extend historic new protections to gays in the workplace won easy Senate approval Thursday, bolstered by rare bipartisan support that illustrated the dramatic shift in the politics around gay rights amid growing public acceptance for same-sex marriage. Seventeen years after a similar proposal failed by a single vote in the Senate, 10 Republicans joined a unanimous Democratic bloc to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA, which would prohibit public and private employers, employment agencies and labor unions from using sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for decisions about employment, promotion or compensation.
BUSINESS
November 6, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Officials in charge of California's troubled unemployment insurance program said they underestimated the gravity of a computer meltdown that has left thousands of jobless workers scrambling to pay bills and feed their families. Testifying in front of state lawmakers at a hearing in the Capitol on Wednesday, top brass from the Employment Development Department said it took two weeks for them to grasp the problem's severity following the troubled launch of a systems upgrade over Labor Day weekend.
BUSINESS
November 5, 2013 | David Lazarus
Suzanne Dinatale lost her job as sales manager for a biotech company in July. She applied almost immediately for unemployment benefits to help cushion the blow. Dinatale, 41, of Manhattan Beach, said she had no problem receiving the forms she needed to get the ball rolling with California's Employment Development Department. "After that, nothing," she told me. "I called them and got hung up on. I sent emails that got no responses. " Dinatale is now dipping into her retirement savings to get by. "This is the first time I've ever needed unemployment," she said.
BUSINESS
November 5, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez and Marc Lifsher
Panicked Californians inundated the state's unemployment agency with 20 times the normal volume of phone calls after a botched computer upgrade delayed jobless checks and crippled parts of the department's website. Call attempts surged after the Labor Day launch of a new system to process ongoing benefits claims. At its peak, nearly 6 million calls were made in just one week. The crush of calls was so heavy that people had to dial an average of 40 times just to get through to a recorded message.
BUSINESS
November 3, 2013 | By Lisa Zamosky
Obamacare may be in the spotlight, but an estimated 16 million California employees are facing healthcare decisions of their own - at work. Like most other Americans, a majority of Californians get their insurance through their employers. Although they may be among the least affected by the Affordable Care Act, a flood of news about the new law has left many workers befuddled about their own coverage. Adding to the confusion is that this is the season when employers are asking workers to re-enroll in company health plans for 2014 and to pick among a variety of healthcare options.
BUSINESS
November 1, 2013 | Chad Terhune
Workers faced with forfeiting unused money in their flexible spending accounts for healthcare expenses may be getting some relief under a new federal rule. The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service changed the use-it-or-lose-it rule for flexible spending arrangements, or FSAs, to allow account holders to carry over as much as $500 from one year to the next without penalty. Many workers have been reluctant to put money into the plans for fear of losing whatever they don't use, resulting in long-standing complaints about how the pretax FSAs work.
NEWS
October 31, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
Workers faced with forfeiting unused money in their flexible spending accounts for healthcare expenses may be getting some relief under a new federal rule. The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service changed the use-it-or-lose-it rule for flexible spending arrangements, or FSAs, to allow account holders to carry over as much as $500 from one year to the next without penalty. Many workers have been reluctant to put money into the plans for fear of losing whatever they don't use, resulting in long-standing complaints about how the pretax FSAs work.
BUSINESS
October 31, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
In response to longstanding complaints, federal officials said they will allow workers to carry over some unused money held in flexible spending accounts for healthcare expenses. The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced the change Thursday on the "use-or-lose" rule for these flexible spending arrangements, or FSAs. The agencies said this move permits employers to allow people to carry over up to $500 of their unused healthcare balances remaining at the end of a plan year, which is usually Dec. 31. It's up to employers whether they make the change and when they take advantage of the new policy.
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