Local News

Claims Move Labor to Additional Hours

Friday, 25 January 2019

Employees with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development  are working extra hours to process unemployment insurance claims for federal employees affected by the government shutdown.
 
As of Thursday, January 24, the Department of Labor’s Unemployment Security Division's federal unit has received nearly 1,000 unemployment claims from federal employees. This is an increase of approximately 100 claims from the previous week.
 
Federal unit employees are currently working from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and several employees worked this past Saturday to process the influx of federal unemployment claims in a timely manner. Another Saturday schedule is planned this week. 
 
The unit is keeping detailed records of each federal unemployment claim to make the repayment process as smooth as possible when the shutdown ends and the employees receive back pay. Federal law requires they reimburse the state for any unemployment insurance benefits they receive during while furloughed. 
 
The United States Department of Labor (USDOL) has strict requirements claimants must meet to receive benefits, one of which is an unemployed person must be willing and available to work. A federal employee currently not on the job meets this requirement because they are free to work.
 
Federal employees required to work without pay are not eligible for unemployment benefits because they are not available to work. 
 
If the state approves an application for benefits, unemployment claimants must certify online each week they are available to work. The state is deferring the requirement federal claimants conduct weekly online job searches in order to receive benefits because they are part of a temporary layoff.
 
Claimants can complete the application process for Tennessee unemployment insurance on the state's workforce development website, www.Jobs4TN.gov.
 

Governor Issues 3 Executive Orders

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Thursday, Governor Bill Lee issued three executive orders to underscore and improve state government’s approach to ethics, transparency and non-discrimination practices.
 
Executive Order 2 fortifies the ethics policy applied to the governor, members of the governor’s staff, members of the governor’s cabinet and other executive branch employees. It expands the scope of employees required to file ethical disclosures and is designed to ensure that senior members of all departments and all employees regularly interacting with the General Assembly must file such disclosures.
 
Executive Order 3 mandates openness, transparency and accountability within the executive branch. Employees will be required to attend training within the next 120 days to ensure legal requirements relating to the following are met: open meetings, open records, and applicable ethics and disclosure rules. This order requires that training to happen on a specific timetable (within 120 days), while also mandating additional, recurring training.
 
Executive Order 4 directs the Commissioner of Human Resources to review all hiring and employment practices to ensure there is no discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, or any other category protected by state and federal law. The Department of Human Resources, in conjunction with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, is directed to conduct training within 120 days to ensure the executive branch complies with this policy of non-discrimination and equal opportunity in hiring, firing, promoting and other management practices.
 

School Board Appreciation Week

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Front row- L-R: Chairman Nathan Sanders, Vice Chairman Travis Turney, back row: Bruce Daniel, Brian Elrod ,and Javin Fann.

School Board Appreciation Week in Tennessee is underway now thru Saturday. This week helps build awareness and understanding of the vital functions our locally elected boards of education play in our community. Cannon County Schools are joining public school districts from across the state to celebrate School Board Appreciation Week and honor local board members for their commitment to Cannon County and its children.
 
Director of Cannon County Schools, William F. Curtis commented, “Our school system is the backbone of our community, and these men and women devote countless hours to making sure our schools are helping every child. There is no greater honor that can be bestowed upon a citizen than membership on a local board of education. They spend countless hours studying the issues and regulations and make the tough decisions when called upon to ensure the type of accountability people expect.”
 
Director Curtis said the key work of school boards is to:
 
•        Create a vision for what the community wants the school district to be and for making student achievement the top priority;
•        Establish standards for what students will be expected to learn and be able to do;
•        Ensure progress is measured to be sure the district’s goals are achieved and students are learning at expected levels;
•        Create a safe, orderly climate where students can learn and teachers can teach;
•        Form partnerships with others in the community to solve common problems; and
•        Focus attention on the need for continuous improvement by questioning, refining and revising issues related to student achievement.
 
“Our local school board shapes the future of education in Cannon County by influencing the high-quality of education that our children and youth receive. The Cannon County Board of Education shows its commitment to educational excellence and equity – and for that we are very grateful for their attitude of service. They personify the Mission of Cannon County Schools – Preparing ALL Students for Their Future through our VISION – The New E3 – Engaged in Excellence Every Day!”
 

First Focus On Depressed Counties

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Governor Bill Lee issued his first executive order Wednesday, requiring all state executive departments to issue a statement of rural impact and provide recommendations for better serving rural Tennessee.
 
 
“My administration will place a high emphasis on the development and success of our rural areas,” said Lee. “Our first executive order sends a clear message that rural areas will be prioritized across all departments as we work to improve coordination in our efforts.”
 
 
This executive order is the first step by the administration to accelerate plans to address 15 distressed counties in Tennessee which are all rural. The order requires each executive department to submit a statement of rural impact explaining how the department serves rural Tennesseans no later than May 31, 2019 and recommendations for improving that service by June 30, 2019.
 
 
“Our state has reached historic levels of prosperity and I want to ensure that the 15 distressed counties in our state benefit from a concentrated mission,” said Lee. “Each department has communicated full support as we move forward with putting this plan into motion.”
 
 
There are 22 executive departments that will engage in this review and recommendation process. Distressed counties rank among the 10 percent most economically distressed counties in the nation. Each year, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) prepares an index of county economic status for every county in the United States.
 
 
The 15 distressed counties in Tennessee include: Lake, Lauderdale, Hardeman, McNairy, Perry, Jackson, Clay, Grundy, Van Buren, Bledsoe, Fentress, Morgan, Scott, Hancock and Cocke. More information regarding distressed counties may be viewed here.
 
 

A PAP Test And A Vaccine May Save Your Life

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
 
The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on your health! The Tennessee Department of Health urges women to contact their health care provider or local health department to ask about routine screening for cervical cancer, a silent killer that strikes without symptoms or pain. Cervical cancer can be prevented with recommended vaccination and regular screenings.
 
 
“Cervical cancer is almost 100 percent preventable through routine Pap screenings, living tobacco free and receiving the recommended human papillomavirus vaccination,” said TDH Director of Reproductive and Women’s Health Kelly Luskin, MSN, WHNP-BC. “Women between 21 and 65 years of age should get periodic screening for cervical cancer and talk with their health care providers about ways to prevent and reduce the risk of cervical cancer.”
 
 
In 2015, there were 288 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in Tennessee, and 112 women died of the disease. Human papillomavirus, or HPV is a common infection and is the single greatest risk for cervical cancer and some cancers of the mouth, throat and pharynx. Approximately 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but most don’t know they are infected. The virus is so common that more than half of all sexually active people will be infected by one or more strains of HPV in their lifetime.
 
 
A Vaccine to Prevent Cancer
 
The HPV vaccine can prevent infection with the HPV virus and prevent cervical cancer. HPV vaccination is provided as a two- or three-dose series. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination for both males and females between the ages of 11 and 12. However, the vaccination can be given from age nine to 26 in both males and females.
 
 
The HPV vaccination is very safe and highly effective, and is available from many health care providers and at your local health department. Parents and young adults can find information to better understand the benefits of getting vaccinated and learn about cervical cancer and HPV-related cancers at www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/index.htm.
 
 
Screening and Testing for Women
 
Vaccination, screening and early diagnosis are the best ways to prevent cervical cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends a Pap smear screening for cervical cancer and testing for HPV every three years for women ages 21 through 65, which can be lengthened to every five years with HPV testing for women who wish to be screened less frequently.
 
 
The Tennessee Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program provides screening and diagnostic testing to qualified uninsured and underinsured Tennessee women. For more information on the TBCSP including eligibility requirements, call 615-532-8383, visit www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/fhw/mch-cancer.html or contact the Cannon County Health Department.
 
 

New "Self Audit" Service Available to Employers

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development encourages Tennessee employers to take part in the Payment Audit Independent Determination program or PAID. This United States Department of Labor initiative gives employers the opportunity to avoid costly fines for wage and overtime violations.

 
PAID is a new nationwide program that allows employers to self-audit their compensation practices and, if they discover overtime or minimum wage violations, to self-report those violations.

 
If an employer discovers issues during an audit, they can then work in good faith with Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to correct their mistakes and to quickly provide 100 percent of the back wages due to their affected employees.

 
Kim Jefferson, Assistant Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Labor said the following,  “The PAID program provides Tennessee employers the opportunity to fix these issues before they become major problems. PAID allows employees to receive wages owed to them in a timely manner and it can save employers from paying costly fines.”

 
The program’s primary objectives are to quickly resolve wage violation claims without litigation, to improve employers’ compliance with overtime and minimum wage obligations, and to ensure more employees receive the back wages they are owed, faster.
 

 

 

 

Employers must pay all back wages due by the end of the next full pay period after receiving the summary of unpaid wages, and provide proof of payment to the Wage and Hour Division.

 
To be eligible to participate in PAID an employer must be covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Employees included in the self-audit cannot be subject to prevailing wage requirements.

 
The Tennessee Dept. of Labor encourages all eligible Tennessee employers to visit the United States Dept. Of Labor website to learn more about this program.
 

 

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