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* Jeffry D. Proul, Registered Representative of LifeMark Securities Corp., 400 West Metro Financial Center, Rochester, NY 14623 (585) 424-5672 Member NASD/SIPC Vital Signs Insurance Services, Inc. is not affiliated with LifeMark Securities Corp. CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: Communications are Confidential Information of LifeMark Securities Corp. and may also be privileged.

HR News

HR Advisor Newsletter

Only Hours Actually Worked Count Toward Overtime

By |June 5th, 2019|

Did You Know?

Only hours actually worked count toward overtime when determining if employees are owed time and a half for hours over 40 in a workweek. For instance, if Monday was a paid holiday observed by the company—meaning no one worked and everyone got paid—a non-exempt employee could still work a full 40 hours in that workweek without being in overtime territory (barring any daily overtime that might be applicable).

In the case of a paid 8-hour holiday and 40 hours of work, the employee would receive 48 hours of straight time; the breakdown of holiday pay and regular pay should be reflected on their paystub to avoid confusion and fend off future wage claims. The same applies to vacation time, sick time, and other non-working leaves—the overtime premium only applies if more than 40 hours of real work are done.

EEO-1 Reporting Requirements Finalized

By |June 4th, 2019|

The hotly contested issue of what exactly needs to be filed for EEO-1 reporting this year has been resolved—at least for now. Pay data for both 2017 and 2018 must be reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by September 30, 2019. The data that has been required in years past was still due by May 31, 2019. An appeal of the latest decision has been filed, so it’s possible that there could be yet another change to the requirements, but employers should plan to comply with these deadlines, as described below.
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Causes of Conflict

By |June 3rd, 2019|

The recipe for workplace conflict is decidedly simple: bring two or more people together and assign them a task. Unless the stars have aligned in your favor, there’s going to be some cause for disagreement between them, and if conflict ensues, their ability to cooperate will suffer.

Regrettably, too often employers tolerate unresolved conflict because it isn’t a legal matter with potential fines, they’re busy with other things, they don’t know how to manage it, or because doing so is sure to be uncomfortable. But unresolved conflict is one of the most dangerous threats to an organization because it prevents people from collaborating and working efficiently, and successful teamwork is essential to your bottom line.

Causes of Conflict
Before we examine strategies for resolving conflict in the workplace, let’s look at the common underlying causes of that conflict. Understanding how conflicts arise will help you determine which strategy to use.
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Can We Give Employees different vacation or PTO

By |May 15th, 2019|

Question:
Can we give employees different amounts of vacation or PTO time?

Jenny, SPHR, SHRM-SCPAnswer from Jenny, SPHR, SHRM-SCP:

If the differing amounts of vacation or PTO are based on a clearly-defined employee groupings, such as seniority, department, or exempt versus non-exempt status, then yes. It’s a common practice, for example, for employers to offer more vacation time to employees who have been with the organization for longer.

Where you can run into trouble is offering different amounts of vacation on an individual basis or without clearly-defined criteria, either of which can lead to discrimination claims. For instance, if Rafik and Anita are hired at the same time for similar jobs in the accounting department at the same rate of pay, but the organization offers Rafik more vacation, Anita could potentially bring a claim under federal or state discrimination or pay equity laws.

Over her 20 years of experience, Jenny has specialized in helping small to mid-sized businesses across a variety of industries reduce their risks and manage employee relationship issues. Jenny holds a Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Human Resources Management from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in Human Resources Management from Georgia State University.

Questions?
Vital Signs Insurance Services, Inc.
PO Box 6360
Folsom, CA 95630
Phone: (916) 496-8750
Email: [email protected]
Fax: (916) 496-8754

Legal Disclaimer: The HR Support Center is not engaged in the practice of law. The content in this article should not be construed as legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions concerning your situation or the information you have obtained, you should consult with a licensed attorney. The HR Support Center cannot be held legally accountable for actions related to its receipt.

Federal Law Alert – EEO-1 Reporting Requirements Finalized

By |May 10th, 2019|

May 9th, 2019

EEO-1 Reporting Requirements Finalized

The hotly contested issue of what exactly needs to be filed for EEO-1 reporting this year has been resolved—at least for now. Pay data for both 2017 and 2018 must be reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by September 30, 2019. The data that has been required in years past is still due by May 31, 2019. An appeal of the latest decision has been filed, so it’s possible that there could be yet another change to the requirements, but employers should plan to comply with these deadlines, as described below.

Does my business even need to file the EEO-1 report?
If you have fewer than 100 employees and no federal contracts, you are not subject to EEO-1 reporting requirements. Only two categories of employers need to submit EEO-1 data:
1. Organizations with 100 or more employees (excluding public primary and secondary schools, institutions of higher education, tribes, and tax-exempt private membership organizations);
2. Federal contractors with 50 or more employees, that also are prime or first-tier subcontractors with a contract worth $50,000 or more; or are a depository for US government funds in any amount; or are an issuing and paying agent for US Savings Bonds and Savings Notes.
What information do I need to report and by when?
The EEOC has divided the information it requires into two categories, referred to as components.

Component 1 data: This is the information that has always been required. It includes data about all employees by job category, race, ethnicity, and sex. Component 1 data for calendar year 2018 is due by May 31, 2019. The online survey application is open and available here. If you have never filed the EEO-1 report before and believe you need to, start here.

Component 2 data: This is the newly required information. It includes data about all employees, including W-2 wages, total hours worked, race, ethnicity, and sex. This year employers will need to report Component 2 data for calendar years 2017 and 2018. Component 2 data is due by September 30, 2019. The online filing portal is not yet open, but expected to be available mid-July.

For both types of data, the preferred method of reporting is through the EEO-1 Survey Application, which generates a table for employers to provide the required information. Employers do not need to worry about creating and formatting a complicated report.

Additional Information
The EEOC has provided answers to Frequently Asked Questions and also created an Instruction Booklet.

Questions?
Vital Signs Insurance Services, Inc.
PO Box 6360
Folsom, CA 95630
Phone: (916) 496-8750
Email: [email protected]
Fax: (916) 496-8754

Legal Disclaimer: The HR Support Center is not engaged in the practice of law. The content in this article should not be construed as legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions concerning your situation or the information you have obtained, you should consult with a licensed attorney. The HR Support center cannot be held legally accountable for actions related to its receipt.

12 FMLA weeks

By |May 3rd, 2019|

Question:
A pregnant employee has gone on leave 4 weeks before the baby is going to be born. Do I have to give her all 12 FMLA weeks after it’s born, too? Sixteen weeks is a lot!

MeganAnswer from Megan, PHR, JD:

Eligible employees are entitled to take up to 12 workweeks of FMLA leave in a benefit year for qualifying reasons, regardless of any other leave they have taken during the year. An employee may take FMLA leave for their own serious health condition as well as to bond with a newborn baby. Being unable to work because of a pregnancy qualifies as a serious health condition.

If the pregnant employee is starting her leave now because she is unable to work, then her 12 weeks of FMLA starts now. Using 4 weeks of FMLA before the birth will reduce the amount of FMLA she has available for bonding purposes after the baby is born. In other words, she will have 4 weeks of FMLA before the birth and 8 weeks of FMLA after the birth, for a total of 12 weeks.

If you have a policy or promised to grant pregnancy leave without counting it against the employee’s 12-week FMLA entitlement, then you should follow that policy or promise. Keep in mind that employers are responsible for providing timely notices regarding an employee’s FMLA leave and the failure to do so might result in needing to extend the amount of FMLA leave.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to check state law. It’s possible she will have additional leaves available to her if she experiences a pregnancy-related disability.

Megan graduated from the University of Maryland, magna cum laude, and from Lewis and Clark Law School, cum laude. She has extensive work experience in a variety of industries, which she draws on to help clients with their HR questions.

Questions?
Vital Signs Insurance Services, Inc.
PO Box 6360
Folsom, CA 95630
Phone: (916) 496-8750
Email: [email protected]
Fax: (916) 496-8754

Legal Disclaimer: The HR Support Center is not engaged in the practice of law. The content in this article should not be construed as legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions concerning your situation or the information you have obtained, you should consult with a licensed attorney. The HR Support Center cannot be held legally accountable for actions related to its receipt.

HR Tip of the Month

By |May 3rd, 2019|

HR Tip of the Month

Even if you don’t need to update your employee handbook because of new laws or changes to company policy, it doesn’t hurt to review it occasionally for clarity and tone. Many employers are working off a template they found online, perhaps many, many years ago. These old templates are often packed with legalese and stuffy language. Said handbooks should henceforth be banished! Eschew obfuscation!

If you’ve got the time and inclination (or someone on staff who does), you can really polish up your handbook and make it reflect who you are as an organization. But even if you’re relatively low on time, you can start updating policies to make your handbook sound more like it belongs in 2019. You can update your master copy of the handbook throughout the year as you have time and unveil all the freshened-up policies at once whenever you’re ready to release a new version to employees.

Check out the Policy Library in the HR Support Center—which has been completely updated since last year—to see if there are more up-to-date and concise policies that could improve your handbook.

DOL Adopts New Unpaid Intern Test

By |May 3rd, 2019|

DOL Adopts New Unpaid Intern Test

Did you know that the Department of Labor (DOL) has a relatively new test for unpaid interns. Employers should use this test—called the primary beneficiary test—when determining if a worker can be properly classified as an unpaid intern or if they need to be classified as an employee and paid minimum wage and overtime. The test adopted by the DOL has already been in use in four federal appellate courts, most recently the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The DOL’s switch to the primary beneficiary test creates a nationwide standard.

Read more…

What Is the Interactive Process

By |May 3rd, 2019|

What Is the Interactive Process, Anyway?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to reasonably accommodate the disabilities of their employees and to engage in an interactive process when a request for accommodation is made. What is the interactive process?

 

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Know Before Disciplining or Terminating an Employee

By |May 3rd, 2019|

What You Need to Know Before Disciplining or Terminating an Employee

The prospect of corrective action or termination makes a lot of managers nervous. That’s understandable. For employees, being disciplined or losing their job can be anything from moderately embarrassing to financially devastating, but it’s rarely a happy occasion. For the employers, these actions always come with some risk, and there are plenty of legal danger zones an employer can end up in if corrective action isn’t done properly.

Here are some tips from our HR Pros to help you avoid these pitfalls and make corrective action productive for everyone.

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