News You Can Use

Federal Contractors Get a Small Minimum Wage Increase in 2017

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 00:09
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently announced that the minimum wage rate for federal contractors will increase by five cents per hour, effective January 1, 2017. This article reveals the new minimum wage rate, and lists what non-federal contractor employers must pay staff members and tipped employees in various states.

Keep Heated Political Debate in Check in the Workplace

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 00:09
The emotionally charged 2016 presidential election has the potential to disrupt your workplace, especially as voting day draws nearer. What steps can you take to encourage workers to keep calm and carry on without strife? Read on for some answers.

Making the Most of Staff Meetings

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 00:09
Some work events and tasks become so routine that it's easy to forget their purpose, or to think about how to make them more effective. Prime example: routine staff meetings. Here's a fresh look at how to make this workplace fixture more worthwhile.

Got Questions about the New Overtime Rule?

Mon, 10/17/2016 - 00:18
Time is running out for employers to understand what will be expected of them on December 1, when the new federal overtime rule kicks in. The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division recently released some Q&As about the new rule and how it affects employers in certain industries and in special situations. Here are some highlights.

Your Company May Benefit from a PTO Bank

Mon, 10/17/2016 - 00:18
Do you really want to be in the business of determining whether an employee's paid sick leave or personal day is legitimate? Many companies are switching to a plan that combines sick leave, vacation and personal leave into a "paid time off" bank or allowance. Here are the latest trends.

Are You Ready for the New Overtime Rules?

Mon, 10/10/2016 - 00:10
In May, the U.S. Department of Labor released a new final overtime rule, and it recently published additional guidance to flesh out certain details. The new guidance, which goes into effect on December 1, 2016, is expected to significantly reduce cash flow in many industries, including retail, manufacturing and not-for-profits. Here are the highlights, including possible implementation strategies to consider.

The PIP: A Powerful Tool to Improve Employee Performance

Mon, 10/10/2016 - 00:10
Performance improvement plans aren't new. But all too often they're used more as a warning to nonperforming workers than as a sincere effort to help them improve. In the end, that can be counterproductive. When, on the other hand, a PIP is effectively executed, the employer might not only get the nonperforming employee on track but also reap other benefits. Here's more.

Retaliation Rule and Other Changes Coming from OSHA

Mon, 10/03/2016 - 00:05
The definition of "retaliation" has been confusing for employers at times. That's why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking to clarify its meaning by issuing an anti-retaliation provision that will take effect in November (instead of August, as planned). Other changes are also on the way that employers need to prepare for. This article gives an overview of what's ahead from OSHA.

Avoid Inadvertent Hiring Discrimination

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 00:14
Seemingly innocent hiring practices can lead to discrimination charges and costly settlements for the unwary. Some employers haven't changed the way they hire in many years and without realizing it, may have held onto practices that now are considered discriminatory. A recent case, involving a chemical company selling products to the U.S. Government, highlights the issues involved.

Employer Complaints Pour in as EEOC Wants More Data

Mon, 09/19/2016 - 00:17
Next year, many employers could face a substantial jump in the effort that will be required to complete the EEO-1, the half-century old annual survey of workplace demographics. But the matter isn't settled yet. Employers have flooded the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with concerns about its proposed requirement that pay data be added to the form. Here's more.

Onboarding Employees: Do It Right and Reap the Rewards

Sun, 09/11/2016 - 23:26
The first few weeks on the job with your organization could be crucial to a new employee's ultimate success or lack of it. Busy employers sometimes adopt a sink-or-swim approach, but often that's a prescription for high turnover, if not worse problems. Here's a look at the elements of a successful onboarding program.

Avoid Giving Birth to a Pregnancy Discrimination Charge

Sun, 09/04/2016 - 23:32
It's a good news/bad news story: The nation's birth rate has rebounded after a drop that followed the 2008 financial crisis. The bad news is pregnancy discrimination charges are also on the rise. This is a touchy area and one that employers need to keep a close eye on. This article describes new standards that clarify what's discriminatory, and what isn't.

Overtime Pay Rules: Avoid Making Costly Wrong Assumptions

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 00:05
Overtime pay has been in the news a lot lately because of upcoming changes in the income threshold for exempt status. Those changes take effect in December. But even as employers are gearing up for that development, many are getting tripped up by long-standing overtime pay rules. This article discusses some recent examples.

Employer Proved COBRA Notice WAS Mailed to Employee

Sun, 08/14/2016 - 23:47
Certain employers must offer continued health coverage to participants who leave their jobs in "qualifying events." This is required under COBRA. Employers are also required to notify employees about coverage. In a recent court case, an employer proved it sent required notices even though a participant said she didn't receive them. Here are the details of the case and the basics of COBRA.

EEOC Penalties Rise Effective July 2016

Sun, 08/14/2016 - 23:47
As of July 1, the maximum fine employers could face if they fail to possess and properly display required posters has jumped from $210 to $525. The posters explain employee rights under federal law regarding workplace discrimination, and they must be posted conspicuously. The significant increase of fines suggests it might be time for a refresher course on posting rules.

DOL Announces Increased Civil Penalties for Violations of Federal Laws

Sun, 08/14/2016 - 23:47
The Department of Labor recently issued final rules that will increase the civil penalties assessed to employers for violating various federal laws. The higher penalties are part of a law passed last year and are scheduled to begin with those assessed after August 1, 2016. This article explains why the penalties are increasing and some of the new amounts.

New OSHA Rules Spotlight Workplace Injuries, Illnesses

Sun, 08/07/2016 - 23:46
With the goal of improving workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is giving employers what they call a "nudge." The nudge takes the form of requiring some companies to publish worker injury reports online. New rules ratifying that policy will kick in for affected employers generally beginning in 2017. Here are the highlights.

Summer Weather Brings Dress Code Challenges for Businesses

Mon, 08/01/2016 - 12:41
Summertime prompts some employees to dress too casually, especially in locations that aren't warm year-round. That is, they take casual dress to the point of distracting other workers, causing unsafe working conditions or conveying a lack of professionalism in the workplace. However, before an employer takes disciplinary action, it's important to establish a formal dress code policy. Here are some best practices to consider.

Non-Compete Agreements: Finding the Right Balance

Mon, 07/25/2016 - 00:09
Employees with access to sensitive information about your operations may be valuable, but they can also be damaging to your business. Suppose one of them leaves to work for your competitor, and uses that information against you. If the purpose of your non-compete agreement is to prevent that from happening, be sure to draft it carefully, or it may be unenforceable. Here are some points to consider.

Social Media: A Growing Tool for Employee Recruitment

Sun, 07/17/2016 - 23:55
Some social media sites may seem frivolous in the business world, less about commerce than a place to post selfies and endless personal opinions. But social media is also becoming a standard tool for employee recruiting. Employers just need to be aware that, while powerful, using social media sites for recruiting also has legal risks. This article looks at some pitfalls involved as well as several advantages.