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Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be celebrated on Monday, January 20th this year. Also commonly called Martin Luther King Day, or MLK Day for short, this federal and state holiday celebrates the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of America’s most influential civil rights leaders.  During the turbulent 1960’s that witnessed great civil and social unrest, Dr. King adopted Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent methods to win civil rights for African Americans. Dr. King is perhaps most famous for his “I Have a Dream” speech, given in the front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1963. That speech is regarded, along with Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and Franklin Roosevelt’s Infamy Speech, as one of the best examples in the history of American oratory.

Ten states have filed applications with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to set up state-based health insurance exchange markets under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Ten U.S. states began 2013 with a minimum wage increase. The increases went into effect on Tuesday, January 1, 2013 in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

The Christmas tree is down, credit card bills are coming in and it’s cold and gray outside. Welcome to winter with shorter daylight, cold, snow, ice, rain and everything that goes with it including delayed flights due to snow, late arrivals to work, trying to get home during a storm, car not starting, etc.

Although the tax package was passed by Congress on New Year’s Day to protect most Americans from income tax increases, a majority of Americans will still end up paying more federal taxes in 2013. In general, the package passed this past Tuesday extends most of the Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making less than $400,000 and married couples making less than $450,000. What it didn’t do was to extend a 2 percent social security tax reduction that was in place for 2011 and 2012. In 2012, the 2
percent cut in the payroll tax was worth $1,000 to a worker making $50,000 a year.

The U.S. Labor Department released its November job report today showing that the U.S. economy added 146,000 last month and the unemployment rate dropped from the previous rate of 7.9% to 7.7% which is the lowest unemployment has been since December 2008.

HRM Partners would like to announce its new office in the Chicago, IL area.  Information for our new office is as follows:

Happy New Year from HRM Partners, Inc.

With Christmas and New Year’s falling on Tuesdays in 2012-2013, the year-end holiday calendar will be much kinder to employees than in the previous two years, according to Bloomberg BNA’s survey of employers’ year-end holiday plans.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recovered a record-high $365.4 million for private-sector discrimination claimants through its administrative enforcement program in fiscal year 2012, the agency said in announcing its latest performance and accountability report. The total includes amounts recovered through mediation, settlements, withdrawals with benefits, and conciliation, EEOC said. Roughly $36 million, or 10 percent, came from “systemic discrimination” cases involving allegations of companywide or industry-wide practices affecting a large number of employees. EEOC also reported that it received 99,412 private-sector discrimination charges in fiscal 2012, just shy of the previous year’s record 99,947 charges.  12.05.2012