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MA is latest of 19 states to pass laws protecting pregnant and nursing mothers

Dive Brief:

  • Nineteen states now have laws protecting pregnant women and nursing mothers, Engineering News-Record (ENR) reports.
  • The Massachusetts House passed a bill on May 10 requiring employers to provide nursing mothers with a private, non-bathroom area. The bill also requires employers to provide mothers with reasonable accommodations, such as a lighter workload, unless the employer would face undue hardship. The state’s Senate is expected to approve the bill.
  • According to ENR, the states’ laws extend protections for pregnant and nursing mothers beyond federal law, and most of them — 13 out of the 19 — were passed within the last four years.

Dive Insight:

Legal protection for pregnant women and nursing mothers is yet another area of employment law in which states have taken their own measures. That growing list includes paid family leave, “ban the box” and pay equity laws.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers in traditionally male-dominated jobs, such as construction or architecture, might require private areas to take care of maternal issues, like pumping breast milk. They will almost certainly need to be given less strenuous tasks and assignments in addition to more frequent breaks.

Kathleen Dobson, safety director at Alberici Constructors, told ENR that some employers don’t understand the federal rules; employers might not even know that pregnant workers are considered disabled under the law and therefore entitled to reasonable accommodations. Wal-Mart employees recently sued the company for denying pregnant workers the same reasonable accommodations as other disabled workers.

With 13 out of 19 states passing laws protecting pregnant women and nursing mothers within a relatively short time, more states will likely follow. Employers must monitor possible changes in their own state’s laws, which often are more extensive than federal law.

Source: HR Dive

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35% of Millennials Turned Down Job Offers Due to Inadequate Benefits

Anthem, Inc., one of the largest health benefits companies in the U.S., conducted a survey where they discovered that 35% of millennials, ages 18 to 34, have turned down job offers because they were dissatisfied with the benefits. The turn-down rate for all other groups was 27%.

The survey results also shows that employers might also offer highly desirable benefits such as fitness classes, in-office massages, or extra time off to help employees manage stress, but money seems to be the number one reason why employers are hesitant. As a result, Anthem aid that this is why millennials were more persuaded to be involved in long-term financial planning than older workers ages 35 to 54 during the past year.

It’s a good idea that employers should offer workers benefits that help protect their income, such as disability insurance, if they become disabled and also financial planning in a health care plan.

The study also shows that millennials are more careful about financial planning and saving for retirement than previous generations. Millennials make up the largest section of today’s workforce, therefore employers that can provide a 401(k) plan, financial planning advice, health care, and other benefits that protect employees against income losses are far more competitive in attracting and retaining top talent.

Employers who are offering benefits might want to review their benefits offerings to find out how well they’re fitting employees’ needs, especially with millennials turning down more jobs because they don’t like the benefits.

Bolden-Barrett, Valerie. “Anthem: 35% of millennials turned down job offers due to inadequate benefits.” HR Dive. N.p., 22 May 2017. Web. 22 May 2017. <http://www.hrdive.com/news/anthem-35-of-millennials-turned-down-job-offers-due-to-inadequate-benefit/443208/&gt;.

Tuesday Tax Tip

Taxable or Not – What You Need to Know about Income

IRS Tax Tip 2015-24, February 23, 2015

All income is taxable unless the law excludes it. Here are some basic rules you should know to help you file an accurate tax return:

  • Taxed income.  Taxable income includes money you earn, like wages and tips. It also includes bartering, an exchange of property or services. The fair market value of property or services received is taxable.

Some types of income are not taxable except under certain conditions, including:

  • Life insurance.  Proceeds paid to you because of the death of the insured person are usually not taxable. However, if you redeem a life insurance policy for cash, any amount that you get that is more than the cost of the policy is taxable.
  • Qualified scholarship.  In most cases, income from this type of scholarship is not taxable. This means that amounts you use for certain costs, such as tuition and required books, are not taxable. On the other hand, amounts you use for room and board are taxable.
  • State income tax refund.  If you got a state or local income tax refund, the amount may be taxable. You should have received a 2014 Form 1099-G from the agency that made the payment to you. If you didn’t get it by mail, the agency may have provided the form electronically. Contact them to find out how to get the form. Report any taxable refund you got even if you did not receive Form 1099-G.

tax helpHere are some types of income that are usually not taxable:

  • Gifts and inheritances
  • Child support payments
  • Welfare benefits
  • Damage awards for physical injury or sickness
  • Cash rebates from a dealer or manufacturer for an item you buy
  • Reimbursements for qualified adoption expenses

Employer Policies & Handbooks

This month, as 2014 comes to a close,  we are taking a look back at some of the most important blog topics we have covered both in case you missed them, and to help you prepare for 2015!

How’s Your Handbook?

Employment doesn’t just mean the hiring, paying, and perhaps the eventual termination of an employee. Employment means everything in the life cycle of an employee with your company.

As an employer you rely on your employees to get the job done, and to get it done well in an efficient and profitable manner. Just as you rely on them, they rely on you to manage them well, and to meet their needs. The relationship between employer and employee is a complex one, with both needing things from the other. On top of that an employer must make sure that they are meeting government guidelines on employment practices. These are just a few of the many complex issues that are a part of Human Resources.

A good employee handbook is an important tool in documenting your company policies, benefit programs, and expectations of the company – including acceptable and inacceptable behaviors and disciplinary measures.  Businesses need to make sure that the policies, procedures, and other material listed within their employee handbooks are not only consistent, but also in line with the many Federal and State rules and regulations regarding employment.

Employment laws are continuously evolving and becoming more complex, and the many agencies that oversee them are continuing to crack down on employers who are in violation of the laws. Not only are the agencies continually cracking down on the employers, litigation is also on the rise by employee’s, and their representing layers, who feel they have been “wronged” by an employer for a myriad of employment law related issues. It is imperative that employers continue to review their employee handbooks for policies that need to be revised or added.

HR Strategies human resources department is here to assist with all of the employee lifecycle. We are able to not only aide you in developing customized employee handbooks, but in developing the employee policies and procedures that go into the handbook. We are proud to act as your partner in the human resource of your business.

What Have You Missed in 2014?

This month, as 2014 comes to a close, we are taking a look back at some of the most important blog topics we have covered both in case you missed them, and to help you prepare for 2015!

Some of the topics of greatest interest and importance have covered the rise in regulatory compliance and employment laws, and the crack down of various government agencies to make sure your company is in compliance. Beyond that we have also been able to provide you with insight into taxable and non-taxable income, employee relations, and employer policies. Be sure to check back throughout the month as we highlight the following topics, through our Best of the Best Blog Topics for 2014!

Best of the Best Blog Topics of 2014:

  • DOL Proof Your Documentation
  • Employee Discipline
  • Unemployment Benefits
  • Taxable & Non-Taxable Income
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Affordable Care Act Coverage
  • Bullying
  • Diversity
  • Ghost Employees
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Handbooks

Today is World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10th every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

Studies show that 20% of employees have mental health or substance abuse problems at any given time. Troubled employees are absent 2 to 4 times more, and are at least 20% less productive than the average worker. In fact, a study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that the cost of lost productivity to only one disorder, major depression, is over $31 billion annually.

EAPs, through prevention and early intervention services, are a proven, cost effective solution to many of the problems.

HR Strategies is proud to offer the Employee Assistance Programs of EAP Consultants for free to all of our Client Employee’s and their immediate family members.EAP Logo

In regards to mental health, EAP Consultants, LLC offers in-person and telephone assessment, counseling, referral, monitoring, and follow-up in our private offices.

Assistance is available for a wide range of personal issues including:

  • Stress
  • Marital & Family Problems
  • Work Related Difficulties
  • Emotional Problems
  • Substance Abuse
  • Psychiatric Disorders
  • Relationship Difficulties
  • Eating Disorders
  • Medical Problems
  • Life Transitions
  • Crisis
  • Grief and Loss

EAP Consultants, LLC network of clinicians includes:

  • Licensed Psychologists
  • Licensed Professional Counselors
  • Licensed Marriage & Family Counselors
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers
  • Certified Addiction Counselors
  • Certified Employee Assistance Professionals

Clinician Qualifications

EAP Consultants, LLC carefully selects, screens and oversees a network of clinicians to ensure the highest level of service. Their clinicians are licensed/certified, have a masters or doctorate in the mental health field, and at least three years of post-graduate practice, including EAP experience. Many have specialized expertise and training allowing them to better serve participants. The network clinicians are consistently rated as good to excellent on our participant surveys.

To find out more contact our benefits department at 770-339-0000; or visit EAP Consultants on the web at http://www.eapconsultants.com

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