Karen E. Ford, Esq

News and Resources


 In August 2009, the percentage of people with disabilities in the labor force was 22.2 compared with 71.2 for persons with no disability. The unemployment rate for those with disabilities was 16.9 percent, compared with 9.3 percent for persons with no disability, not seasonally adjusted.


 On Labor Day 1974, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was signed into law. Now, 35 years later it remains one of the most significant pieces of legislation ever adopted on behalf of American workers.

 The law ensures retirement and health benefits provided to American workers of private sector employers are available when needed. The law contains, among other things, provisions relating to vesting, accrual of benefits, funding of benefits, fiduciary conduct for those who manage plans, and a pension insurance system for defined benefit plans. Many of these key protections are administered by the Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA).

 When enacted, there were over 30 million Americans in private sector retirement plans that held more than $150 billion in retirement assets. Today, more than 150 million Americans are enrolled in almost 700,000 pension plans and over 2.5 million health benefit plans. Pension assets have reached nearly $5 trillion.

 America certainly has changed in the past 35 years and so has ERISA, although gradually. Approximately half of the population does not have access to a job-based retirement. In addition, more than 43 million people lack adequate health insurance. Both types of benefits are essential components of employee compensation. Working to ensure that all Americans have adequate retirement and health benefits is central to achieving the Secretary's vision of "Good Jobs for All Americans" and an integral part of EBSA's activities.

US Department of Labor News

Department of Labor News
May 01, 2016 12:15PM

jforrester on Apr 29, 2016 06:04AM

US Labor Department, Invesco Trust in Atlanta reach settlement to compensate investors for undisclosed losses

US Labor Department, Invesco Trust in Atlanta reach settlement to compensate investors for undisclosed losses
Settlement restores more than $10.2M to investors

WASHINGTON ? The U.S. Department of Labor?s Employee Benefits Security Administration has reached a settlement agreement with a subsidiary of Invesco Ltd., an Atlanta-based investment management firm.

Invesco Trust Company agreed to pay a total of $10.27 million to settle the department's claims that they violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Invesco operated the Invesco Short-Term Investment Fund, a multi-billion dollar collective fund composed of ERISA plan assets. The department contended that Invesco violated ERISA when it undertook a series of measures to ensure that the ISTIF continued to trade at $1 although the fund?s net asset value had fallen below $1 due to losses in the value of the fund?s securities holdings.  

One measure Invesco took was having an affiliate enter into a series of support agreements to provide contingent financial support to the ISTIF without adequately informing the fund?s investors. Invesco also retained a portion of the income earned by the ISTIF to increase the fund?s net asset value instead of distributing that income to investors. Retaining a portion of the ISTIF?s income in the fund not only reduced the distributions to plan investors in the ISTIF, but also reduced the obligations of Invesco?s affiliate under the support agreements. 

The department concluded that Invesco did not adequately disclose these measures to ERISA plan investors, and that Invesco?s actions resulted in losses to ERISA plan clients. The settlement agreement addresses both of these findings by requiring Invesco to regularly disclose to ERISA plan investors the ISTIF?s holdings, its actual market value, and the existence of any supporting measures used to bolster the ISTIF?s net asset value. Additionally, Invesco must restore client losses that resulted from the ISTIF's retention of income.

?This settlement is another example of the department holding accountable those who do not adequately disclose to their investors information that is relevant to their investment decisions,? said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security, Phyllis C. Borzi. ?Invesco Trust stepped up to the plate by agreeing to compensate their ERISA plan clients.?

The settlement resulted from an investigation conducted by EBSA?s Atlanta Regional Office. Employers and workers may contact that office at 404-302-3900 or toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems relating to private sector pension and health plans. The Office of the Solicitor in Washington and Atlanta handled the settlement.

For information about ERISA enforcement, visit

Ed. Note: The name of the company was changed and a description of the transaction has been revised in this corrected version.

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emccarthy on Apr 28, 2016 05:13AM

Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report

In the week ending April 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 257,000, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 1,000 from 247,000 to 248,000. The 4-week moving average was 256,000, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 8, 1973 when it was 252,250. The previous week's average was revised up by 250 from 260,500 to 260,750.

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jforrester on Apr 28, 2016 06:37AM

Statement of US Labor Secretary Perez on Workers? Memorial Day

Statement of US Labor Secretary Perez on Workers? Memorial Day

WASHINGTON ? U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez today issued the following statement on Workers? Memorial Day:

?Every day, millions of Americans leave their homes and report to jobs that provide for their families, strengthen our communities and grow our economy. Too many of them ? on average, 13 workers a day ? don?t make it back at the end of their shift. On Workers? Memorial Day, we honor our fallen workers, and we renew our commitment to unwavering vigilance on workplace safety.

?Over the last half century, we have made great strides on occupational safety and health, most recently with the completion of a groundbreaking standard to improve protections for millions of workers exposed to respirable silica dust, which can cause death and disabling lung diseases. But, notwithstanding significant progress, more than 4,500 workers still die from preventable workplace incidents every year, with 50,000 more succumbing to work-related illnesses.  

?A nation built on the dignity of work must provide safe working conditions for its people. For everything they do to drive American prosperity, for all their heroic efforts to pull us out of the worst economic crisis in generations, our workers deserve nothing less than rigorous adherence to essential safety standards.

?Ensuring that everyone can make it home safely after a hard day?s work ? that no one has to give their life to make a living ? is our unfinished business.?

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jforrester on Apr 27, 2016 12:36PM

US Labor Department awards $112M in grants for reemployment services, eligibility assessments in 50 states, territories

US Labor Department awards $112M in grants for reemployment services, eligibility assessments in 50 states, territories
Funds improve job searches, maintain integrity of unemployment insurance programs

WASHINGTON ? The U.S. Department of Labor today awarded $112 million to 50 state and territorial workforce agencies, including those in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia, to operate reemployment services and eligibility assessments programs for those receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Estimates based on the budgets in the past 10 years show that the program has reduced individual use of UI services by approximately one-and-a-half weeks, saving on average $3 for every dollar spent in costs.

This is the 12th year that the department has awarded grants through this initiative. Recipients prioritize RESEA services to transitioning, honorably discharged veterans and individuals likely to exhaust their UI benefits. 

?As our nation continues to enjoy a period of sustained economic growth, with 14.4 million jobs added in the past 73 months, the U.S. Department of Labor remains focused on modernizing and improving the UI system, and helping those who are still looking for jobs to support themselves and their families,? said Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Portia Wu. ?Today?s grant awards will ensure unemployed individuals have a wide array of workforce services available and can continue to be eligible for UI services.?      

The funds will be used to connect participants with in-person assessments and re-employment services  through their local their local American Job Centers including developing an individual re-employment plan; providing relevant and timely labor market information, identifying job skills and employment prospects; and reviewing claimant?s continued eligibility for UI benefits.

2016 Re-employment Services and Eligibility Assessment Grants


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For more information on the effectiveness of these services, visit

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jforrester on Apr 26, 2016 09:48AM

US Mine Safety and Health Administration announces results of special impact inspections in March 2016

US Mine Safety and Health Administration announces results of special impact inspections in March 2016

Who: U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration

What: The Mine Safety and Health Administration announced today that federal inspectors issued 157 citations, one order and two safeguards during special impact inspections conducted at 10 coal mines and six metal and nonmetal mines in March.

Where: MSHA conducted special impact inspections at mines in Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Background:  Monthly impact inspections began in force in April 2010 at mines that merit increased agency attention and enforcement due to their poor compliance history or particular compliance concerns. Since then, MSHA inspectors have conducted 1,129 impact inspections and issued 16,136 citations, 1,310 orders and 60 safeguards.

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Editor?s Note: MSHA?s Monthly Impact Inspection List for March 2016 is available here.

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National Compensation Survey Latest Numbers
Dec 07, 2016 08:07AM

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Dec 07, 2016 08:07AM

National Compensation Survey Latest Numbers

Civilian Workers, Compensation

3-Month % Change (SA)
0.6% in 3rd Qtr of 2016
Historical Data

12-Month % Change (NSA)
2.3% in 3rd Qtr of 2016
Historical Data

Private Industry, Compensation

3-Month % Change (SA)
0.5% in 3rd Qtr of 2016
Historical Data

12-Month % Change (NSA)
2.3% in 3rd Qtr of 2016
Historical Data

State and Local Government, Compensation

3-Month % Change (SA)
0.9% in 3rd Qtr of 2016
Historical Data

12-Month % Change (NSA)
2.6% in 3rd Qtr of 2016
Historical Data

  • SA- Seasonally Adjusted
  • NSA- Not Seasonally Adjusted

p- preliminary