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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Federal Tort Claims Act

Federal Tort Claims Act

Date: April 27, 2009
Creator: Cohen, Henry & Cohen, Henry
Description: The Federal Tort Claims Act is the statute by which the United States authorizes tort suits to be brought against itself. With exceptions, it makes the United States liable for injuries caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any federal employee acting within the scope of his employment, in accordance with the law of the state where the act or omission occurred. This report discusses, among other things, the application of the Feres doctrine to suits for injuries caused by medical malpractice in the military, the prohibition of suits by victims of atomic testing, Supreme Court cases interpreting the discretionary function exception, the extent to which federal employees may be held liable for torts they commit in the scope of their employment, and the government contractor defense to products liability design defect suits.
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State and Local Restrictions on Employing, Renting Property to, or Providing Services for Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Issues and Recent Judicial Developments

State and Local Restrictions on Employing, Renting Property to, or Providing Services for Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Issues and Recent Judicial Developments

Date: May 8, 2009
Creator: Kim, Yule; Feder, Jody & Smith, Alison M.
Description: This report discusses the constitutional issues raised in relation to state and local laws intended to deter the presence of unauthorized aliens, along with the implications that federal civil rights statutes might have on the implementation and enforcement of measures restricting such persons' ability to obtain employment, housing, or other state and local benefits or services.
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Leave Benefits in the United States

Leave Benefits in the United States

Date: June 5, 2009
Creator: Levine, Linda
Description: This report begins by reviewing the federal statutes that pertain directly or indirectly to employer provision of leave benefits for any purpose, including a discussion of the California and New Jersey family leave insurance programs. The report than examines the incidence of different types of paid leave that U.S. employers voluntarily provide as part of an employee's total compensation (wages and benefits). The report closes with results from a federal government survey of the average direct cost to business of different types of leave.
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The Labor Market during the Great Depression and the Current Recession

The Labor Market during the Great Depression and the Current Recession

Date: June 19, 2009
Creator: Levine, Linda
Description: This report analyzes the labor market experiences of workers during the 1930s, which encompassed the almost five years of the Great Depression. Because it was a period very distant and different from today, considerable time is devoted to examining the employment and unemployment measures available at that time. The report ends by comparing the labor market conditions of the 1930s with those encountered by workers thus far during the recession that began in December 2007.
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Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Date: July 2, 2009
Creator: Wyler, Liana Sun
Description: Trafficking in persons (TIP) for the purposes of exploitation is both an international and a domestic crime that involves violations of labor, public health, and human rights standards. This report focuses on human trafficking both internationally and within the United States. The report begins with an overview of human trafficking including a discussion of the definition of human trafficking, the scope of the problem globally, and an examination of the victims. It follows with an analysis of global anti-trafficking efforts by the United States and the international community. The report then focuses on trafficking into and within the United States, examining relief for trafficking victims in the United States and discussing U.S. law enforcement efforts to combat domestic trafficking. The report concludes with an overview of anti-trafficking legislation and an analysis of policy issues related to human trafficking.
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Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress

Date: July 2, 2009
Creator: Wyler, Liana Sun; Siskin, Alison & Seelke, Clare Ribando
Description: Trafficking in persons (TIP) for the purposes of exploitation is believed to be one of the most prolific areas of international criminal activity and is of significant concern to the United States and the international community. This report discusses the global and ongoing problem of TIP in detail, as well as anti-TIP programs and U.S. and international efforts to combat TIP.
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The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)

Date: July 9, 2009
Creator: Levine, Linda
Description: Congress has passed legislation to facilitate the reemployment of workers who through no fault of their own are let go by their employers. Among these laws is the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, P.L. 100-379, enacted in 1988. This report discusses the WARN Act in brief, especially as related to Congress's renewed interest in the Act due to the current financial crises and recession.
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401(k) Plans and Retirement Savings: Issues for Congress

401(k) Plans and Retirement Savings: Issues for Congress

Date: July 14, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick & Topoleski, John J.
Description: Over the past 25 years, defined contribution (DC) plans - including 401(k) plans - have become the most prevalent form of employer-sponsored retirement plan in the United States. This report describes seven major policy issues with respect to defined contribution plans: 1) access to employer-sponsored retirement plans; 2) participation in employer-sponsored plans; 3) contribution rates; 4) investment choices; 5) fee disclosure; 6) leakage from retirement savings; and 7) converting retirement savings into income.
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Immigration: Policy Considerations Related to Guest Worker Programs

Immigration: Policy Considerations Related to Guest Worker Programs

Date: July 28, 2009
Creator: Bruno, Andorra
Description: This report discusses guest worker programs. The United States has two main programs for temporarily importing low-skilled workers, or guest workers. Agricultural guest workers enter through the H-2A visa program, and other guest workers enter through the H-2B visa program.
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The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act

The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act

Date: August 13, 2009
Creator: Shimabukuro, Jon O. & Mayer, Gerald
Description: This report reviews the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (PSEECA) and discusses the possible impact of the legislation. The report also identifies existing state laws that recognize collective bargaining rights for public safety employees, and considers the constitutional concerns raised by the measure.
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Unauthorized Aliens' Access to Federal Benefits: Policy and Issues

Unauthorized Aliens' Access to Federal Benefits: Policy and Issues

Date: August 20, 2009
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen
Description: This report focuses on the policy and legislative debate surrounding unauthorized aliens' access to federal benefits.
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Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986

Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986

Date: August 25, 2009
Creator: Wasem, Ruth Ellen
Description: This report discusses a rise in the unauthorized resident ("illegal") alien population from 1986 to 2010. It looks at reasons that illegal aliens stay resort to breaking the law and how illegal aliens affect the workforce in certain industries.
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Older Workers: Employment and Retirement Trends

Older Workers: Employment and Retirement Trends

Date: September 16, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report begins by describing the change in the age distribution of the U.S. population that will occur between 2010 and 2030 and by summarizing the historical data on the labor force participation of older workers. This discussion is followed by an analysis of data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) on employment and receipt of pension income among persons aged 55 and older.
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Job Loss and Infrastructure Job Creation Spending During the Recession

Job Loss and Infrastructure Job Creation Spending During the Recession

Date: October 2, 2009
Creator: Levine, Linda
Description: This report takes an in-depth look at job creation estimates, including the limitations of the methodology often used to derive them and the difficulties associated with developing job estimates for green infrastructure in particular. The report views these topics in the context of the 2007-2008 recession and its aftermath.
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Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean

Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean

Date: October 9, 2009
Creator: Seelke, Clare Ribando
Description: This report describes the nature and scope of the problem of trafficking in persons in Latin America and the Caribbean. It then describes U.S. efforts to deal with trafficking in persons in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as discusses the successes and failures of some recent country and regional anti-trafficking efforts.
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Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean

Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean

Date: October 16, 2009
Creator: Ribando Seelke, Clare
Description: This report discusses the issue of trafficking in persons (TIP) in Latin America, giving background information and examining possible policy solutions.
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Immigration: The Effects on Low-Skilled and High-Skilled Native-Born Workers

Immigration: The Effects on Low-Skilled and High-Skilled Native-Born Workers

Date: November 5, 2009
Creator: Levine, Linda
Description: The report opens with a discussion of how to analyze the impact of immigrants on the pay and job opportunities of native-born workers. It then uses this framework to examine and interpret the empirical literature on the subject. The report concludes with a discussion of policy implications.
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Temporary Extension of Unemployment Benefits: Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08)

Temporary Extension of Unemployment Benefits: Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08)

Date: November 17, 2009
Creator: Whittaker, Julie M. & Shelton, Alison M.
Description: This report discusses the new temporary unemployment benefit, the various tiers of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program, as well as related legislation.
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Unemployment and Economic Recovery

Unemployment and Economic Recovery

Date: November 17, 2009
Creator: Cashell, Brian W.
Description: This report examines the relationship between economic growth and the unemployment rate to anticipate possible future developments.
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Automatic Cost of Living Adjustments: Some Economic and Practical Considerations

Automatic Cost of Living Adjustments: Some Economic and Practical Considerations

Date: January 11, 2010
Creator: Cashell, Brian W.
Description: This report looks at how automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) influence the budget and identifies major programs that have indexing provisions. It also explains what price indexes attempt to measure and discusses some of their weaknesses. Finally, it points out some practical things to keep in mind when establishing an indexing provision.
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The Unemployment Trust Fund (UTF): State Insolvency and Federal Loans to States

The Unemployment Trust Fund (UTF): State Insolvency and Federal Loans to States

Date: January 12, 2010
Creator: Whittaker, Julie M.
Description: This report summarizes how insolvent states may borrow funds from the federal account within the Unemployment Trust Fund (UTF) to meet their unemployment compensation (UC) benefit obligations.
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Job Creation Programs of the Great Depression: the WPA and the CCC

Job Creation Programs of the Great Depression: the WPA and the CCC

Date: January 14, 2010
Creator: Levine, Linda
Description: This report first describes the social policy environment in which the 1930s job creation programs were developed and examines the reasons for their shortcomings then and as models for current-day countercyclical employment measures. It then provides a brief overview of the two job creation programs of the Depression-era that Members of Congress have asked about most frequently: the Works Progress or Projects Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
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Older Displaced Workers in the Context of an Aging and Slowly Growing Population

Older Displaced Workers in the Context of an Aging and Slowly Growing Population

Date: January 15, 2010
Creator: Levine, Linda
Description: This report analyzes the labor market experiences of those older workers who have involuntarily lost long-held jobs for reasons unrelated to their own performance (e.g., veteran factory workers at plants closed because of import competition, experienced information technology workers whose jobs have been outsourced to workers in other countries, and mid-level managers in positions eliminated through corporate restructuring). It examines current policies targeted at the reemployment of older displaced workers which, if successful, might lengthen their stay in the workforce.
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Federal Employees: Pay and Pension Increases Since 1969

Federal Employees: Pay and Pension Increases Since 1969

Date: January 20, 2010
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: Under the terms of the Federal Employees' Pay Comparability Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-509), pay for civilian federal employees is adjusted each year to keep the salaries of federal workers competitive with comparable occupations in the private sector. The annual increases in federal employee pay are based on changes in the cash compensation paid to workers in the private sector, as measured by the ECI. Under certain circumstances, the President may limit the annual increase in federal pay by executive order. Federal law also requires Social Security benefits and the pensions paid to retired federal employees to be adjusted each year. The COLAs for both Social Security and civil service pensions are based on the rate of inflation as measured by the CPI.
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