- 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.
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
Employers should be careful how they deal with absenteeism by exempt employees.
Don’t dock an exempt employee’s paycheck for missing less than one full day of work because it could destroy their exemption and entitle them to time-and-a-half for all overtime they have worked in the past or work in the future. However, the FLSA does allow for partial day absences to be paid through an employee’s accrual bank of PTO, Vacation, or Sick hours. The only exception for docking a salary exempt employees pay for a partial day absence is if the absence is covered by the FMLA, and the employee has exhausted their accrual bank hours.
Full Day deductions of pay from a salary exempt employee are allowed only under the following circumstances:
- During the initial or final week of employment the employees pay may be reduced to reflect the actual hours worked.
- Full-day absences for personal reasons.
- Full day absences for disciplinary suspension for safety violations.
- Full day absences in which an employee has exhausted their entitled Paid Leave plan balances.
- FMLA Absences.
Two other attendance issues protected by law are employees called to jury duty and employees who request time off for religious reasons. State and federal laws generally require employers to give workers leave when called to serve on a jury. And employers may have to bend their attendance rules to accommodate a worker’s religious practices or beliefs.
A key to curbing abuse is to have an absenteeism policy that clearly sets forth which absences are allowed, and what behavior will subject the employee to discipline.
Last Thursday, January 14th, 2016, HR Strategies hosted an open house at their new location, allowing clients and invited guests to be able to tour the new space and see the many ways that the new location will enhance the services that are offered.
Guests were invited to enjoy refreshments in the new onsite training room while meeting the internal staff. This allowed them time to put faces with names and meet the benefits, payroll and client service reps that they talk to on a regular basis.
During the Open House we were able to give a brief demonstration of the upcoming enhancements to the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) that our clients interface with, enabling them to see the continued investment we are making into providing top of the line services and technology platforms.
The turnout by clients was fabulous and we even gave away an Apple Watch to one lucky guest! The Open House was also an opportunity for our guests to network with a sample of the diverse selection of clients using our services. In this economy, HR Strategies wants to provide as many growth opportunities as possible to their clients!
One of the biggest HR topics last year was the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in regards to the FLSA Overtime Exemption. While the final rule has not been published, and therefore the standards and amounts are not set in stone, the NPRM has slated that the minimum annual salary threshold for executive, administrative, and professional overtime exemptions will in essence double by increasing from $23,660 to $50,440.
The Department of Labor is planning on issuing a final rule during the spring of 2016, and the effective date of the final rule would be 60 to 120 days after publication; but this is just speculation; thus now is the time to make sure you are prepared.
Below is a check list to get you started on making sure you are ready for the proposed changes. Please keep in mind that every business and industry is different, so this is not a comprehensive list, but rather a good starting point.
- Review employees job descriptions. Are they still accurate? Do the actual job duties fall within the exempt status?
- Identify exempt salaried employees with a salary below $50,440 or $970 per week.
- Identify the true hours worked per salaried exempt employee who makes less than $50,440 yearly. Start having salaried employees, which are below the $50,440 threshold, track their actual time worked if they are not already.
- Determine if it is better to raise the employee’s salary to 50,440 based on the average number of hours they are working, or if it is better to classify them as non-exempt from overtime.
- If reclassifying to non-exempt, determine if you will take their current annual salary and divide it by 2080 (40 hours per 52 weeks a year) to achieve what their new hourly rate may be.
- If employees, who will be reclassified as non-exempt, are consistently working over 40 hours per week, consider if overtime will be allowed or if it will be discouraged, and if so how much will be allowed.
- If you will implement a policy discouraging overtime for employees newly classified as Non-exempt, determine if certain tasks and jobs will need to be reassigned to another employee.
- Determine if additional employees need to be hired as a result of job duty changes, rather than possibly incurring additional overtime.
- Take a look at “remote work” for salaried employees. If employees who are currently exempt will be reclassified as non-exempt, now is the time to look at your policies regarding after work hours business phone calls and emails that are being read and/or responded to.
- Prepare a plan of how to explain the classification changes to employees, and what the changes will mean to them and their paychecks.
Summing it up, look at job descriptions, pay rates near the threshold, and especially at hours worked. If you are unsure of just how many hours those exempt employees are working, now is the time to start tracking them.
For further questions regarding the proposed changes, please contact our HR/Client Services Department at 770-339-0000 or ClientServices@hr-startegies.com. If you are in need of a Time & Attendance solution to track your employees hours, Please contact us at 770-339-0000 or TimeTracker@hr-strategies.com
The month of November is often thought of as the month to Give Thanks. As an employer, are you remembering to thank your employees and recognizing their achievements? Showing your employees appreciation for all they do can help boost productivity and morale, and that is always good for business! Here are just a few ways to Give Thanks to your employees this Thanksgiving season…
Treat your employee(s) to lunch
Hand written thank you notes for a personal touch
Awards: maybe a traveling trophy, a nice clock, any type of award that the employee can display in their office space.
Notice In Employee’s File: If an employer wishes to recognize an employee in this way, he should add the note, but also tell the employee he is doing so, so the employee knows he is appreciated.
Kudos Column: If your workplace has a newsletter, add a column where employees are recognized for outstanding efforts and achievements
Simple spoken words of Thanks can go a long way.
Implement an employee of the week program
Vacation – yes even a few hours of extra paid vacation time is a big reward for most employees
Ice Cream Sundae Party at the office
Night out at the ballpark for a team of employees
Give the employee a membership or subscription to a journal that relates to their work