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Things you should know

Federal Minimum Wage effective July 24, 2008. Posters available online.
The federal minimum wage became $6.55 per hour on July 24, 2008.
To comply with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regulations governing the wage increase, all employers that hire workers subject to minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act must display posters explaining the wage increase. The posters are available online and must be hung in a conspicuous place.

New I-9 Forms available
While the form has not changed from last year’s version, the OMB expiration has been updated to June 30, 2009. I-9 inspections are on the rise, with the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) targeting employers suspected of employing unauthorized workers. The law requires that employers retain completed forms for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is later.

Department of Transportation issues final rules aimed at controlling manipulation of commercial driver drug tests
The Department of Transportation published a final rule in the June 25 Federal Register that amends provisions of the department's drug and alcohol testing procedures to require mandatory validity testing for urine specimens. The rule intends to help detect specimens that may have been adulterated, diluted or substituted. The final rule, which goes into effect August 25, also aims to thwart manufacturers of adulterate specimens by no longer disseminating information on which adulterants laboratories are testing for and the scientific cutoff levels at which laboratories are testing them.

New EPA pesticide safety requirements
New EPA safety requirements, intended to protect agricultural workers and others against certain pesticides used in crop fields, affect the soil fumigants methyl bromide, chloropicrin, dazomet, metam sodium and metam potassium.

• Some of the requirements in the new measures are;
• Fumigant users must submit fumigant-management plans.
• Buffer zones must be established around treated fields.
• Information regarding the location and timing of fumigations, and associated buffer zones,
  must be posted.
• All soil fumigants will now be classified as restricted-use pesticides requiring specially
  trained personnel to apply and oversee fumigant operations.

OSHA issues guidance directive on tree trimming, removal
In a guidance directive for its regional and area offices, OSHA clarifies the appropriate application of OSHA general industry standards to tree trimming and tree removal, and includes new definitions and practical examples.

Louisiana restricts employers’ right to limit guns on company property
Effective August 15, a new law will prohibit most Louisiana employers from restricting concealed permit holders from storing a firearm in their vehicle on company property. Earlier this year, Georgia and Florida enacted similar laws.