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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Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Women in the Workplace

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Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Women in the Workplace

This article is the first in a series of articles spotlighting women in the workplace, commemorating National Women's History Month 2014.

According to the Department of Labor, roughly 70% of all women in the U.S. work. But what are some of the challenges that women face today in the workplace? And how can organizations help the ever evolving working mother? We spoke with Susan Pyles about women in the workplace.
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The Perks of a Being a Flexible Workplace

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Across the country, as well as right here in Northeast Ohio, flexible work arrangements are continuing to grow in popularity. According to a national survey administered in 2013, nearly one-third of employees indicated that they “do most of their work from a remote location.”

The Perks of Being a Flexible Workplace

Locally, the 2013-2014 ERC Policies & Benefits Survey reports an almost identical percentage for exempt employees that are telecommuting as part of their regular work schedule. Both studies indicate double digit growth in the percentage of remote workers over the past several years and with ever evolving technologies that will help keep remote workers connected to their colleagues at the office, this isn’t a trend that is likely to reverse itself any time soon.
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3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Internship Program

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3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Internship Program

As a recent New York Times article demonstrates, the days of using interns to fetch coffee, pay them nothing and then unceremoniously dismiss them at the end of the internship without so much as a glimmer of a job prospect are far from over in many industries.

But here in Northeast Ohio, the annual ERC/NOCHE Internship & Recent Grad Pay Rates & Practices Survey demonstrates year after year that many employers are taking a very different approach to their internship programs. In order to attract the best and brightest students to their internship programs, employers need to understand what the internship landscape looks like locally, not only from a legal perspective in terms of pay, but also in terms of how much to pay and what is offered to students through the internship experience itself. Here are a few tips and trends from the ERC/NOCHE survey that organizations may want to keep in mind as they look to hire interns in 2014.
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Workers’ Compensation Claims: Strategies for Optimal Outcomes

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Workers’ Compensation Claims: Strategies for Optimal Outcomes

By utilizing workers’ compensation best practices employers can achieve a higher level of control over their workplace injuries, which can result in reduced severity and claim costs and better outcomes.

Early Reporting & Transitional Work

Early claim reporting is a crucial first step in controlling costs.  Numerous national studies have shown the longer it takes for a claim to reported, the costlier the claim.  That’s why it’s important to work with an Ohio Managed Care Organization (MCO) that has efficient options for reporting new workers’ compensation claims.  These can include fax, telephone, online or email reporting.
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2014 HR Compliance Timeline

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2014 HR Compliance Timeline

This 2014 HR Compliance Timeline is meant to be a helpful tool in identifying and remembering important dates for HR professionals. You can also download a printable PDF version of this compliance timeline.

Due Date Compliance Requirement
January 1, 2014 Ohio Minimum Wage change takes effect
January 1, 2014 New defined benefit/contribution plan limits take effect
January 1, 2014 Revised limits on health savings accounts (HSA) take effect
January 1, 2014 FSA rule dropping “use it or lose it” requirement takes effect
January 1, 2014 Health plan design requirements take effect under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
January 1, 2014 Rules regarding outcome-based wellness program incentives under the ACA take effect
January 1, 2014 Rules for applying annual limits and preventative care to defined contribution health care plans take effect
January 1, 2014 Individual health insurance mandate takes effect under the ACA
January 31, 2014 W-2s need to be issued to employees by this date; W-2s need to include cost of employer-sponsored group health care coverage
January 31, 2014 Form 940 due and Federal Unemployment Tax Rate (FUTA) needs to be deposited if owed
February 1, 2014 OSHA 300 Log (Forms 300 & 300A) needs to be posted on February 1st through April 30th
February 10, 2014 Form 940 due if FUTA deposits have been made on time
February 15, 2014 W-4 changes must be made for employees claiming no exemptions last year
July 31, 2014 Form 5500 due for calendar year defined contribution and benefit plans; Form 5500 due by the last day of the 7th month following end of the plan year for non-calendar year plans
September 30, 2014 EE0-1 reporting deadline
VETS-100/100A Form filing deadline
Deadline for distributing Summary Annual Report (SAR) to participants of defined contribution plans
December 1, 2014 Deadline for sending annual 401(k) and (m) safe harbor notice

Note: This chart is subject to change and more filing deadlines may apply for your specific organization than those listed in the chart.

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Weather Policies: Were You Ready for the Polar Vortex?

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Weather Policies: Were You Ready for the Polar Vortex?

The so called “polar vortex” that had Northeast Ohio firmly in its grip in January 2014 presented employers with weather that could unquestionably be categorized as “severe”. But the conditions resulting from sub-zero temperatures were somewhat atypical from the usual snowstorms and impassable road conditions that plague the region’s winters, prompting many organizations to question whether or not closures or delays were appropriate.

Although no formal survey was conducted on how organizations handled this most recent bout of inclement weather, a look at some of the highlights of ERC’s 2013 Inclement & Adverse Weather Practices survey report can begin to shed some light on what types of policies employers were working with when making their decisions earlier this week.
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5 Things Non-Exempt Employees Must Be Paid For Under FLSA

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Under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), there are certain activities beyond normal work duties that are considered work time (otherwise known as "working hours") that must be paid or "compensable" for covered employees. These include waiting/on-call time; lactation breaks; rest and meal periods; lectures, trainings, and meetings; and travel and are described below.

5 Things Non-Exempt Employees Must be Paid for Under FLSA

1. Waiting/On-Call Time

Whether waiting/on-call time should be compensable depends on whether an employee is engaged to wait or waiting to be engaged. If the employee is engaged to wait or on call for work on the employer's premises and is restricted in activities, he/she should be paid. If the employee is waiting to be engaged, this time is not considered work time and is not compensable.
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7 Creative Ideas for Your Staff Holiday Party

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company holiday party ideas office holiday party ideas 7 Creative Ideas for Your Staff Holiday Party

The holiday season is here again which means it's time to plan your company holiday party.

Holiday parties are a great way to recognize and celebrate your staff's success and accomplishments, nurture coworker relationships, and cap the year off at the end of the year. But, over time, holiday parties can sometimes feel more like an obligation than anything else, so it's important to keep them fresh, entertaining, and enjoyable. Here are seven creative office holiday party ideas.
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