SHRM’s 2011 Employment Law & Legislative Conference attracted nearly 600 HR professionals to Washington. The program reflected a balance of Republican, Democratic, and non-partisan experts. Attendees heard a rich variety of perspectives on health care reform, workplace flexibility, employment-related immigration issues, the federal deficit and debt, and other policy and political issues that can affect HR.
Among the presenters were Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News, Chuck Todd (pictured above - left with SHRM Board Chair Jose A. Berrios); historian Douglas Brinkley; and a panel of noted Washington economists moderated by Ron Brownstein, editorial director of the National Journal Group. The economists highlighted the challenges and choices that lie ahead in harnessing the growing federal deficit and debt.
Commissioners Victoria Lipnic and Chai Feldblum from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (pictured above - right) discussed the upcoming release of the commission’s final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). [See related story.] Also, Representatives Phil Roe (R-TN), Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus (pictured below, left to right, respectively), addressed attendees who were about to participate in SHRM’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day.
During the conference, SHRM released its updated 2011 public policy handbook. It summarizes the Society’s positions on HR public policy issues likely to be considered by the 112th Congress, You can download a copy of the handbook by clicking HERE. Other conference highlights included:
- Workplace Flexibility – Reflecting its status as a key focus area for SHRM, the issue of workplace flexibility kicked off the conference. SHRM Interim President and CEO Henry G. (Hank) Jackson, CPA, and Ellen Galinsky, CEO of the Families and Work Institute (FWI), talked about the recent SHRM/FWI partnership on. This groundbreaking, multiyear partnership is designed to help employers become more successful by transforming the way they view and adopt workplace flexibility. Already, partnership highlights include:
* The 2011 Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work Work, showcasing innovative workplace strategies from organizations awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility. Be sure to apply today for the coveted 2011 Sloan Awards, a prestigious award recognizing employers of all sizes that are successfully creating effective and flexible workplaces to help their businesses and employees thrive. (Deadline for submittals is May 27, 2011.);
* Offering “Building More Flexible and Effective Workplaces,” a free webcast on March 30, 2:00 p.m. EST. Register HERE for it today!
* Development of the premier work-life thought leader conference, to be held in Washington, D.C., Nov. 8-10, 2011.
- An Address from the Obama Administration – Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls (pictured above - right with Hank Jackson), applauded the Society, saying “For more than 63 years, SHRM has been a place to bring together the best minds around the issues of people management.” Ms. Jarrett went on to thank SHRM “for the leadership you’ve shown on workplace flexibility, particularly your recent partnership with the Families and Work Institute.”
- HR Goes to the Hill – The conference ended on Wednesday, March 16, with the annual Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. Nearly 225 HR professionals from 43 states trekked to more than 200 congressional offices to advocate on health care reform and workplace flexibility. It was the largest group ever for the event. Our members shared their first-hand workplace perspectives with their delegations in both the Senate and House.