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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.

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Amount of Time Exempt Employee Must Work

By |October 19th, 2018|

Question:
What is the minimum amount of time that an exempt employee must work to be credited for the entire day?

Kara, JD, EPHRAnswer from Kara, JD, SPHR:

If an exempt employee does any work, they must be paid for the full day—there is no minimum. For instance, if the employee came to the office for the first 15 minutes of their usual 8-hour day, then went home sick, they would be entitled to their full pay for that day.

The only exceptions to the Full-Pay-for-Partial-Day rule is during the employee’s first or last week of employment, when the employer is offsetting amounts received for civil service like jury duty or military leave, or when the employee is taking unpaid leave under FMLA.

Employers can, however, use an employee’s paid time off to fill in the gaps. So, if that employee had paid time off available in their PTO bank, the employer could use a partial day of that time to cover their absence. But if the employee was out of paid time off (or was never offered any), the employer would still owe them for the full day.

Kara practiced employment law for five years before joining us, and worked in Human Resources for several years prior to that. As an attorney, she worked on many wage and hour and discrimination claims in both state and federal court. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oregon State University and earned her law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School.

Questions?
Vital Signs Insurance Services, Inc.
PO Box 6360
Folsom, CA 95630
Phone: (916) 496-8750
Email: info@vitalsignsinsurance.com
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 |September 5th, 2018|

Documenting Performance Problems

The importance of documenting performance problems as they occur cannot be overstated. Although this requires meeting with the employee and discussing the issue, which will almost certainly be uncomfortable, it’s your best defense to a wrongful termination claim should the employee feel litigious after termination.

Too many employers rely on the concept of employment at-will to protect them, when the reach of this concept is actually quite limited. The problem is that if an employer has little to no documentation and relies on at-will employment—and the theory that legally no reason is required—the terminated employee, their attorney, and possibly a jury of their peers will fill the blank with an illegal reason. Although you may be within your rights to terminate “for no reason,” it’s a dangerous position to take.

But if the threat of litigation isn’t compelling enough, there are other reasons to deal with performance and behavioral issues promptly and with documentation. Addressing performance and behavioral issues as they arise will improve performance and behavior! There are a few basic principles working in your favor when you commit to the manta of “don’t delay, manage today.” Here are just a few:

  1. If they don’t know they’re doing something wrong, they can’t fix it. A huge number of employees don’t realize their performance or behavior is a problem—or that it’s as bad as it is—until they are being handed their pink slip. Talking to them about it will likely lead to you having a better employee and reduce hefty turnover costs.
  2. No one likes being in trouble. If you talk to an employee about an issue and they understand that failure to improve will result in another talking to, they are likely to shape up. If they are impervious to discipline, then addressing issues early and often will help you shepherd them out the door more quickly, so you can replace them with someone better.
  3. Documentation makes it real for the employee. It’s easy to brush off a quick, oral scolding time and again, but when employees know something is “going in the file,” they are likely to take it much more seriously.
  4. Other employees will catch on. If you are consistent in addressing performance and behavioral issues, your employees will know it. But consistency is key. If you only haul employees in sporadically for failing to meet expectations, you won’t reap the benefits of a culture of accountability.

Ultimately, talking to employees and making a paper trail will serve you both during employment, by encouraging better performance and reducing turnover costs, and after, should they threaten to sue. You can find dozens of resources on the HR Support Center by searching for discipline, performance, or coaching.

 

Legal Disclaimer: This message does not and is not intended to contain legal advice,
and its contents do not constitute the practice of law or provision of legal counsel.
The sender cannot be held legally accountable for actions related to its receipt.

An Employee Injured Off The Job

By |July 25th, 2018|

Question:
An employee injured off the job would like to return to work, but we’re concerned about her safety and her ability to do the job. How should we proceed? We’re a small employer and not subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Answer from Aimee, GPHR, SHRM-SCP:

In your case, if you have a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence (such as her own description of the injury and what it will take to recover), that the employee’s ability to perform essential job functions will be impaired by the injury or that the employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition, you may consider requiring a doctor’s release prior to allowing the employee to return to work. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability-related inquiries or medical examinations may only be made when they are “job-related and consistent with business necessity.” It’s important to ensure that you’re considering the specific job the employee has. For example, where an employee has a safety sensitive role or one that requires physical labor, there would typically be more justification in requesting a doctor’s release than where the employee sits at a desk for the entire day.

If you’ve determined that legitimate concerns about the employee’s ability to do her job exist, I would recommend that you let her know that you will need a doctor’s release for her to come back to work. You can explain your concerns about her ability to do the job and the potential for additional harm caused by her returning to work too soon.

Aimee is a recognized leader in the field of Human Resources. Aimee was previously the Global Director for the Board of Directors of the local chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. Previously, she was the HR Director and Global HR and Organizational Effectiveness Adviser for an international humanitarian relief and development organization, and worked as an HR consultant to small and mid-sized companies.

Questions?
Vital Signs Insurance Services, Inc.
PO Box 6360
Folsom, CA 95630
Phone: (916) 496-8750
Email: info@vitalsignsinsurance.com
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.

Do we have to pay for time related to workers’ compensation?

By |June 27th, 2018|

Q. Do we have to pay for time spent at appointments related to workers’ compensation?

Answer from Monica, SPHR, SHRM-CP:

In general, an employer is only obligated to pay an employee if they are seeking medical attention during work time at your direction. According to Department of Labor regulations, “time spent by an employee in waiting for and receiving medical attention on the premises or at the direction of the employer during the employee’s normal working hours on days when he is working constitutes hours worked.”

In workers’ compensation cases, this requirement would typically apply to medical attention received at the time of an injury. Employers should not try to get around this requirement by having employees wait until their shift is over to seek medical attention unless it’s very clear that the issue is non-urgent and will not be exacerbated by continuing to work.

Follow-up appointments, on the other hand, do not need to be paid. Such appointments would be treated the same as other doctor appointments and may be unpaid time off for a non-exempt (overtime-eligible) employee. If the employee has time off available (e.g., PTO, sick leave, vacation), I recommend allowing them to use that time to cover the absence. If your state has sick leave, the employee must be allowed to use any accrued time for this kind of appointment.

You’ll also want to report any time away related to the injury to the workers’ compensation carrier, as the employee may be eligible for wage-loss benefits. And, remind the employee that they must keep all appointments and follow the prescribed treatment plan, or their benefits can be terminated.

Monica has held roles as an HR Generalist and Payroll and Benefits manager at a large ski resort, providing HR guidance to more than 500 employees. She also has HR experience in the healthcare field and the non-profit world. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Linfield College.

Questions?
Vital Signs Insurance Services, Inc.
PO Box 6360
Folsom, CA 95630
Phone: (916) 496-8750
Email: info@vitalsignsinsurance.com

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.

What is an out-of-pocket maximum?

By |September 13th, 2017|

How An Out-Of-Pocket Maximum Works For You


What is an out-of-pocket maximumOur legal team wants us to remind you that we’re not giving you medical advice here. That’s a special conversation between you and your doctor! Our goal is to help you get the most from your health plan. Curious what’s covered? Log in to our website to see your personalized benefits.