Harbert College of Business senior Kendal Sides (third from left) had the opportunity to discuss two pieces of human resources-related legislation with members of Congress last spring on Capitol Hill.
Sides, and 13 members of the Alabama Society for Human Resource Management, showed support for the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1147) and Forty Hours is Full-Time Act (S.30), and shared views on the legislation with Alabama Congressmen Mo Brooks, Mike Rogers and Gary Palmer.
“These pieces of legislation will make huge impacts in considering employees as exempt and non-exempt as well as how overtime will be dealt with within corporations,” said Sides, a human resource management major from Birmingham. She was selected by faculty to make the trip, which was funded by the East Alabama Chapter of SHRM. Sides is an officer in Auburn University’s SHRM chapter.
The Legal Workforce Act amends the Immigration and Nationality Act relating to the regimen used to verify the work eligibility of job applicants.
“There are a lot of issues with the current E-Verify System and the I-9,” she said. “I was able to speak with HR professionals who had been exposed to direct problems with employees falsifying I-9 documents such as Social Security cards, but they were unaware and found themselves in trouble. H.R. 1147 will give employers the opportunity to do photo recognition verification and provide some protection for if an employee’s documents are falsified.
The Forty Hours is Full-Time Act (S.30) defines a full-time work-week as 40 hours, not 30.
“It’s extremely important that 40 hours is considered as full-time,” Sides said. “By considering 30 hours as full-time, many employees are losing their hours so that employers do not have to consider them full-time and provide them with benefits. The original Internal Revenue Code was passed to try to help employees receive benefits, but companies just found a way around that and cut a lot of employees’ hours.”
Sides said the trip piqued her interest in HR politics.
“I’ve now taken much more interest in the politics that surround HR and how they impact us in the workforce,” she added. “I’ve even considered moving to D.C. after college and working as an intern under one of the members of Congress.
“I’ve always been interested in business as I’ve grown up with a father who has a degree in Accounting and works for Alabama Power. When I started exploring the different majors in business he suggested Human Resources because I’ve always been an outgoing person who likes hands on work with other people. I researched HR and decided to give it a try and absolutely loved it once I took my first HR class. Since then I’ve been reassured of my choice to pursue HR with every class I take!”