3 Facts about Measles and the Workplace

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3 Facts about Measles and the Workplace

In 2015, measles was rising health concern in the country. Organization's everywhere wondered what they should do in the event that one of their employees is diagnosed with measles, and how they can prevent other employees from future contact.

Here are four facts about what can and cannot happen when measles comes to your office.

Fact #1:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) no longer provides short-term impairments from its definition of "disability." According to an article on workforce.com, "there is an argument to be made that the measles could qualify as an ADA-disability, provided that it substantially limits a major life activity of the sufferer."

However, considering people infected with measles are out for about a  week, it would be difficult to make a case that a one-week impairment could "substantially limit a major life activity" of the infected.

Fact #2:

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, private employers can require vaccinations as long as they are willing to accommodate employees' disabilities and religions. Employers can review any of these accommodations under the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as well as similar state and local laws.

However, many states do not have a mandatory policy in place. It also depends on the sector in which you work. An organization in the healthcare sector may have a mandatory vaccine program for its employees since they are more likely to run the risk of coming in contact with a disease like the measles. However, organizations in other industries don't necessarily run the same risks.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states, "Generally, ADA-covered employers should consider simply encouraging employees to get the influenza vaccine rather than requiring them to take it." Even though you run risks when mandating your employees to get vaccinated, another option is to always hold an education seminar on the risks of not being vaccinated.

Fact #3:

Employers can use an ADA-compliant pandemic employee sample survey to give to their employees. On the survey, employees can be asked medical and non-medical questions about the ability of the employee to come to work, in the event of a pandemic. This survey will help give employers information they need to plan if a pandemic happens, and how to shield employers from receiving information about any illnesses that employees might have.

Before an issue arises in your workplace, it's a best practice to stay up-to-date on the Center for Disease Control, federal, state, and local public health guidelines and to also stay mindful of any anti-discrimination laws.

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FMLA Expands to Include More Employees in Same-Sex Marriages

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FMLA Expands to Include More Employees in Same-Sex Marriages

In its 20 plus years on the books, administration of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has long been viewed as a complicated and challenging task faced by employers of all shapes and sizes – or at least for those with 50 or more employees.

Despite seemingly countless revisions since its inception, FMLA has become an integral part of US employment law and, despite administrative challenges, has provided families and individuals with previously unimaginable opportunities to take time away from work to care for loved ones without fear of losing their jobs.
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The State of the Union: 5 Proposals Every Employer Should Know About

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The State of the Union: 5 Proposals Every Employer Should Know About

The State of the Union address is widely viewed as a platform merely for a display of pomp and circumstance. There is an understanding that most of the topics addressed won’t come to fruition based on political pressures and divisions that will make implementation nearly impossible.

While the policy agenda outlined in President Obama’s speech in January of 2015 is likely to follow this same pattern, a mention during the State of the Union does bring additional attention to issues and policies that would otherwise go largely overlooked. For employers, this year’s speech contained a number of bullet points that while they may not become the law of the land, are definitely worth noting.
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The Ultimate 2015 HR Outlook

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The Ultimate 2015 HR Outlook

With 2015 right around the corner, we broke down the most talked about changes and what to expect in the next year for you and your company.

Minimum Wage

Ohio’s minimum wage will automatically increase to $8.10 per hour on Jan. 1, a 15-cent bump over the current pay. For tipped employees, the minimum wage rises to $4.05 per hour, a six-cent increase.

Ohio is one of 23 states that have a minimum wage higher than the $7.25 federal minimum. Washington has the highest rate at $9.32 per hour.

The minimum-wage increases apply to employees of businesses with annual gross receipts of more than $297,000 per year.
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Trends in Parental Leave: Looking Abroad, Looking Ahead

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pto benchmarking data fmla for men maternity leave Trends in Parental Leave: Looking Abroad, Looking Ahead

Ever since the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed in 1993, the 12 weeks of protected leave offered immediately following childbirth have become nearly synonymous with the concept of parental, typically maternity, leave itself.

Parental leave takes a on wide variety of forms depending on the employee and the employer involved. Exceptions can include:

  • the size of the employer (must have 50 or more employees)
  • the length of service for the employee (1 year or more is the federal standard)
  • a general lack of full time pay over this time period
  • a number of other situational complications

Protected vs. Paid Parental Leave

Approximately 76% of Northeast Ohio organizations provide benefits under the FMLA and 18% of these FMLA claims involve maternity/pregnancy leave according to the ERC FMLA Policies & Practices Survey. However, here in the United States, these 12 weeks typically go unpaid.
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DOL Proposes to Revise FMLA Definition of "Spouse"

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By March 2014 the Wage and Hour Division at the Department of Labor (DOL) will issue a proposal to revise the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) definition of “spouse” based on the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, the agency promised in its Nov. 26, 2013, regulatory guidance.

In Windsor, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined “marriage” and “spouse,” was unconstitutional. The court said: “The principal purpose and the necessary effect of this law are to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage. This requires the court to hold, as it now does, that DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.”

Windsor does not obligate states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, which can be confusing for employers. “It is possible—and preferable from my perspective—that the DOL do away with this confusion and implement a ‘place of celebration’ rule, which would mean the DOL no longer looks to state of residence but to whether the same-sex marriage was valid where performed. This would be a big departure from the current regulations but resolve the challenges employers face in implementing constantly changing state recognition rules.”

Employment Laws HR Professionals Should Know

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human resource laws human resources laws 24 Employment Laws HR Professionals Should Know

In order for an organization to avoid costly legal fines and other penalties, compliance with employment laws is essential. Below are the employment laws that every HR professional should know.

1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is administered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and covers an employer who has fifteen (15) or more employees and prohibits discrimination against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
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When ADA & FMLA and Workers Comp Intersect

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Workers' compensation laws, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are not mutually exclusive - they all can intersect. According to CareWorks, ERC's Preferred Partner, one of the most common mistakes employers make is failing to run workers' compensation and FMLA concurrently.

Importance of Understanding the Intersection

Each of these laws serves a different purpose. Workers' compensation compensates employees who cannot work based on a work-related injury, ADA protects and aids individuals with a disability, and FMLA provides job protected leave to individuals with a serious medical condition. But, by qualifying under one law, an employee is not automatically disqualified from the others. If more than one law applies to the situation, then the injured worker must be afforded all the rights under each applicable law.
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Managing FMLA: 6 Legal Risks Many Employers Face

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Managing FMLA: 6 Legal Risks Many Employers Face

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one of the most complex employment laws with which employers must stay in compliance. Employers face a number of legal risks when managing FMLA ranging from determining eligibility to disciplining an employee on leave. Here are 6 common legal risks many employers face with FMLA that you need to know.

1. Recognizing when leave needs to be covered by FMLA

The need for FMLA leave in the workplace can go unrecognized by supervisors and create potential liability.

For example, in a 2013 case, an employee called her supervisor to inform them that she could not report to work, and the following day reported that she was seeking treatment at a mental health center. She provided her employer with a doctor's note which stated that she was being treated for depression. She was eventually terminated after she had asked for extensions of her leave of absence, and when she could not return to work. The court found that the employer interfered with her FMLA rights when it did not provide her with an FMLA certification form nor a notice of her FMLA rights.
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Employers Struggle Most with Tracking FMLA

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Organizations could cite a countless number of reasons that they find FMLA administration challenging, but according to a 2013 ERC survey, top among these reasons is “tracking”. According to the 2013 ERC FMLA Practices Survey, “tracking” is the number one challenge for 40% of the participants, up 12% since the survey was last published in 2011. Other somewhat less common challenges include overall compliance (23%), determining overall costs associated with FMLA absences (17%) and determining what constitutes a serious health condition (12%).

Variable Administration Practices

Given the difficulties employers face with tracking FMLA, the fact that their methods for doing so continue to vary from organization to organization is largely unsurprising. For example, over half of the respondents (56%) reported using a rolling 12 month period measured forward, but nearly one-third use a rolling 12 month period measured backward and 10% us a calendar method.
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