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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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The Keys to Running an Ethical Organization

What do Hewlett Packard’s spy operations, Wells Fargo’s fake customer accounts, and Mylan Pharmaceutical’s price-gouging all have in common?

A lapse in Business Ethics.

What does “Business Ethics” mean? The short definition is a moral code of conduct companies adopt and pledge to follow. “Ethical Standards forbid tolerance of and participation in activities considered immoral, unlawful, unfair, dangerous, irresponsible and generally harmful.” Businesses can lower the risk of becoming lawsuit targets by setting ethical standards.

First things first, Accountable Leadership is key to any business. Businesses that are considered to be “ethical” have a high moral code and expect honest and trustworthy behavior from everyone in their organizations. Whether they are Chief Executive Officers or other high-level company leaders, it’s required that they hold themselves accountable for following and enforcing the same ethical standards as their employees.

Author Laurie Haughey of “Athletes Off the Field: A Model for Team Building and Leadership Development Through Service Learning,” cites 5 high-standard goals of ethical leaders:

  1. Communication in which ethical behavior is both carried out and instilled in a company’s brand.
  2. High-quality products & services that everyone in the organization takes responsibility for producing.
  3. Collaboration with diverse groups of advisors.
  4. Succession planning in which future company leaders pledge to maintain ethical behavior.
  5. Tenure – which requires leaders to work for the company in the most ethical way until they decide to leave.

The next question you will want to ask is, “What does acceptable conduct look like?”

Through internal rules of conduct, businesses can maintain ethical workplace behavior. A good way for companies to establish rules of conduct, so that everyone is aware and is held to the same standards, is to publish a Rules of Conduct policy in their Employee Handbook and require employee’s to sign agreements stating that they read and understood the rules and consequences for violating them. It’s up to managers to run an “Ethical Office.” Companies who are considered to have an “ethical office” promote honesty and trust in communicating with employees, directors, stockholders, and customers.

A lapse in ethics has led some businesses to exaggerate their earnings, products’ capabilities, and stock values due to companies bending to the pressures of meeting sales goals. A lot of times, companies overpromise and under deliver their services. Nowadays, customers are more vigilant and less accepting of unethical behavior, leaving it up to organizations to conduct themselves based on a higher moral code.

HR can head up ethics initiatives in their organizations. HR knows how to help employers behave like good corporate citizens for their employees and the surrounding communities, and operate within the law.

Bolden-Barrett, V. (2017, March 17). The keys to running an ethical organization. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from http://www.hrdive.com/news/the-keys-to-running-an-ethical-organization/438355/

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

It will be a festive and fun day for many as we keep an eye out for leprechauns. But if we aren’t careful, our Pot O’ Gold, may suffer by not following some simple tips for Saint Patrick’s Day when it comes to work.

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1. No Green Beer

Simply put: alcohol and work do not mix. So save the green beer and Jameson for your personal time after hours! A green tinted non-alcoholic punch or drink would be a great way to celebrate with your co-workers!

2. Costumes

Be mindful of what you are representing when picking out your attire. It is always imperative that your attire stays within the realms of your company’s dress code. That being said, why not sport a green top, tie, or socks?

3. No Pinching Zone

Legend has it that if you don’t wear green on St. Paddy’s Day then you get pinched. This is one thing that we need to leave in the school yard. No green pinch is worth a sexual harassment claim!

4. Irish Flu

The day after St. Paddy’s Day has long been a day of high absenteeism. As an employee, do you have a PTO day you can schedule? As a boss, are you prepared for scheduling problems?

With those for things in mind, be ready to sport your shamrocks, eat your corned beef and cabbage, and have a festive day!

 

Salary Exempt Absenteeism

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:

  • dilemmaDuring 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.

The First 3 Months… Tips to Help Get Them Right

3 Months, or 90 Days, is the typical length of time for a new employee to integrate into a new organization. Below are some tips and guidelines to help your new employees make that integration successful.

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Before Their First Day…

  • They’ve been hired, but haven’t started yet; start their working relationship off on a positive note by sending a Welcome Letter, or leaving a welcome note on their work station to find on their first day.
  • Make sure the employee has their entire new hire packet to be filled out and turned in on the first day of employment. Pay special attention to the I-9 and provide the list of acceptable I-9 documents. Bonus points if you are using HR Strategies electronic on-boarding, they can access it online!
  • Be sure to set up their office/workstation so that they are ready to go the first day they arrive. Make sure any technology is set for them; this includes computer access and phones; but it also includes all online accounts having access, user IDs, etc.

Their First Day….

  • Make sure the receptionist or your office manager knows they will be starting, and who will be assisting the new employee.
  • Give the employee a tour of the workplace. Be sure to include not only where they can find other employees who will be vital to their job, but also restrooms, breakrooms, supplies, and other essentials.
  • Provide the new employee not only with a handbook, but also a telephone directory for the company and a user guide for the phone system.
  • Everyone likes gifts, and this is the perfect time to welcome your new hire with some office “swag”. Having some new items with the company logo will help the employee feel a part of the organization, and it’s a marketing bonus for our company when they show their swag to others outside of the organization!
  • No one likes to be alone on their first day, arrange to have their supervisor take them to lunch. You may want to even have a few other employees from their department join the lunch. Maybe even plan a lunch at the office/work area and order pizza for the employees so they can better get to know the new hire.

Week Two…

  • They should now be familiar with their department, and their co-workers within their department. Two weeks into their employment is a great time to make sure that they are meeting employees from other departments.
  • Have them begin to set goals with their manager, and when those goals should be reached.

After Week Two…

  • Supervisors should be sure to check in with the employee to see how they are progressing.
  • The new employee and their supervisor should have a conversation regarding any concerns the employee is having, and for the supervisor to get a feel of how the employee is beginning to transition into their role. Any concerns that the employee has, should be addressed and a plan of resolution put in place following this meeting.

One Month…

  • Ask the employee for their input on the new hire process and how you may improve it.
  • Discuss with the employee their performance progress.  Address questions, give feedback on overall performance and your observations of their work.  Address any concerns as coaching is given and set expectations of future performance review process and adjust behaviors as needed.
  • Now is the time to start getting the employee involved in short term projects.

Month and a Half….

  • Be sure to check with the employee and their supervisor on any outstanding concerns the employee may have regarding their employment/work.
  • Assess the employees understanding of their role.

3 Months…

  • At 3 months into employment the employee should be fully engaged in the company and their role.
  • Now is the time to do a first review; give additional feedback on their performance, address any concerns, and set strategic goals for them.
  • Make sure that you ask if there is any reason why they would want to leave the company’s employment.

For questions regarding On-Boarding, New Hires, or any other part of the Employee Life Cycle contact HR Strategies at 770-339-0000 or http://www.hr-strategies.com.

 

We Appreciate Our Clients!

During this season of thanksgiving, we want to honor and recognize all of our wonderful clients who have made our progress possible. We are proud to be able to serve you, your employees, and all of your business’ needs. From all of us here at HR Strategies, we’d like to say Thank You!

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