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.

HR, compliance, termination, or compensation questions?

ERC has a team of HR Help Desk Advisors to provide timely and trusted answers.

Contact the Help Desk

Training Your Interns: An Investment in Your Company’s Future

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Training Your Interns: An Investment in Your Company’s Future

Providing employees with opportunities for training and development is typically framed in terms of a long term investment by the employer. You, the employer, invest time and resources into developing an employee’s skill set and in turn they become a more valuable contributor. Ideally, this employee feels appreciated and valued enough to stick around and make your investment worthwhile.

So why, according to the 2014 Intern & Recent Grad Survey, do almost half (44%) of the Northeast Ohio organizations that participated provide one or more formalized training opportunities to their interns? Plus, as it turns out, the training and development of interns doesn’t stop with formal training programs, but also includes a wide variety of valuable development tools that can be applied to any employee.
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6 Ways to Motivate and Retain Millennials

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6 Ways to Motivate and Retain Millennials

By 2030, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that Millennials will comprise approximately 75% of the American workforce. The Millennial generation, born between 1980 and 1995, equal about 80 million Americans and are those in our workplaces between the ages of 20 and 35.

Millennials are praised for being the most educated and culturally-diverse generation of our time, but with the praise also comes stereotyping. Millennials have earned the stigma of being "job hoppers" because of the lack of appreciation they have for traditional methods of promotion and advancement within an organization; if they don’t see enough opportunity for growth and advancement, they will leave.  They are also labeled as having “no work ethic,” because they work in different ways, leveraging technology and the flexibility it allows.
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Do You Have an Interoffice Dating Policy and Guidelines?

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According to a 2013 survey of 8,000 workers by the job-search website CareerBuilder.com, 4 out of 10 employees have dated someone they work with. Valentine's Day it's a great time to look at your interoffice dating policy on workplace romances.

With more singles in the workforce spending a majority of their day at the office, it's no wonder this number is so high. The survey also revealed that 72% of those workers did not try to hide their relations- compared to 46% in 2010. This large percentage could be attributed to the fact that millennials are more comfortable with office romances then baby boomers were. Office romance policies are different at every organization.

However, there are some questions to consider to make sure there are no discrepancies in your office.

  • Do you have a policy in place?
  • How does it define the limits to relationships between employees?
  • Has this issue come up recently among your employees?
  • Should you consider implementing one? 

What are companies doing?

According to a 2013 survey conducted my SHRM, 54% of organizations do not have a policy in place when it comes to interoffice dating. However, that amount is up 42% since 2005, where that number was only up 25%. 

What are some guidelines?

Of the amount surveyed, an astounding 99% of organization's that allowed interoffice dating did not allow them between a supervisor and a direct report.

45% of office romances between employees of different rank were permitted. And 35% allowed a romantic relationship between employees who reported to the same supervisor.

The survey also suggested why conflict arises with interoffice relationships, such as:

  • Co-workers gossiping
  • The perception that the employee is climbing the corporate ladder to get ahead
  • If the relationship doesn't work out- will there be tension in the office?

If there is a conflict of interest, organization's report that they have handled situations by transferring one of the employees to another department (34%) and 32% offer counseling to the couples and their supervisor to resolve the best way to move forward.

HR, compliance, termination, or compensation questions?

ERC has a team of HR Help Desk Advisors to provide timely and trusted answers.

Contact the Help Desk

The State of Childcare Reimbursement in the U.S.

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The State of Childcare Reimbursement in the U.S.

The Bureau of Labor reports that in 2015 there are more than 30 million working mothers and fathers with children in the US. In 2014, 13% of state and local government industries had access to workplace-funded childcare. Only 10% of private industries had access to such funding. 

Following the State of the Union Address, President Obama proposed a childcare reimbursement and tax credit for working parents.  The President proposed a $3,000 tax credit per child for childcare. His proposal is meant to provide additional support for middle and lower-class working families.
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Paid Parental Leave: Policy, Politics, and Parenting

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Paid Parental Leave: Policy, Politics, and Parenting

Although the chances of this Congress successfully passing a bill on paid parental leave are tepid at best (even among supporters of such a measure), one thing is clear, awareness is building on the topic—from the State of the Union address to its own twitter handle #LeadOnLeave.

A mention in the Statue of the Union is usually a sure-fire way to simultaneously be thrust into the national spotlight as well as get written off as political posturing. Even if Washington is a standstill, the media coverage around the U.S.’s lack of parental leave over the past year has placed this issue in a whole new framework—one that just might persuade the American public and business owners alike to take a second look.
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Free Community College: What's all the Buzz?

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The average American is carrying around $27,000 in student-load debt in 2015. American's are either not going to school for the first time or not furthering their education because they can't afford it or don't want the debt.

In the January 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama introduced many proposals, but one in particular stood out in the education field: Free community college tuition for everyone.
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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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Pay Period Leap Year: Handling 27 Pay Periods

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Pay Period Leap Year: Handling 27 Pay Periods

If the question of, “How will you handle 27 pay periods,” doesn’t sound familiar to you, don’t panic. It may not apply to your organization, or if it does, you still have options. 

If your pay cycle is either weekly or bi-weekly, there is a good chance that some years will include an extra payday, although there is some variation to this rule based on the way the calendar falls and the day on which your organization pays employees.

It is also important to note that the extra payday only creates issues for exempt employees who, unlike their non-exempt counterparts who are paid based on hours worked, receive an equal portion of their annual salary each paycheck.

Finally, before agonizing over how to manage an extra pay period, employers should review any and all documents related to the terms of employment that are currently in place, e.g. offer letters or collective bargaining agreements. Specific wording or clauses in these types of documents may actually be the determining factor for which methods remain on the table.

How to handle the "pay period leap year"

Interestingly, despite the variation in the parameters listed above, one area where there is more consistency among local employers is in how they choose to address the pay period leap year.

When asked specifically how they handle years that have 27 versus 26 payrolls for exempt employees, 81% of respondents to 2014 ERC’s Payroll Practices Survey indicate that they “pay as usual.” This overwhelming response of essentially doing nothing has remained true since 2011 when the survey was first administered. Figure 1 below illustrates the other options employers may turn to:

The “other” category elicited several interesting responses, with more than one employer explaining that while in the past they had chosen to divide pay by 27 and adjust benefit deductions, moving forward they would not be making that same choice. They noted that although logistically this change worked smoothly, employees were displeased with a smaller bi-weekly paycheck and overall morale was negatively impacted.

Other considerations

Although these particular employers did not experience any compliance related issues, employers who choose to divide paychecks by 27 should be aware of any lower wage workers on an annual salary. If the new math puts their pay below the FLSA threshold, this would in fact alter their FLSA exempt status and require the employer to pay overtime, etc to these employees for one year.

Another alternative option, although not at all common, was to simply reduce the final paycheck of the year.

As legal experts point out, this final option can also be dangerous in terms of FLSA as well as state minimum wage laws for any salaried non-exempt employees that might fall under the minimum hourly wage during the final reduced pay period—not to mention the likely backlash and drop in employee morale that could accompany a significantly reduced final holiday paycheck.

Ultimately, no matter which option an organization selects to accommodate a 27 pay period schedule, the key is communication with employees. Clearly if any paycheck along the way is going to be smaller, employees will need to know in advance, but even for employers that do nothing this year, communication is still important. For these employees, an extra paycheck could mean as much as a 4% raise, a raise that will be confined only to that year. So whether your payroll budget is staying the same or hitting an all time high with 4% raises, making sure everyone is on the same page will allow for a much smoother and easier transition into the years beyond.

View ERC's Pay Differential Survey Survey Results

This survey reports on common pay differentials from Northeast Ohio employers for hourly employees, including shift differentials, lead premiums, overtime, and on-call pay practices.

View the Results

13 New Year's Resolutions for HR Professionals

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13 New Year's Resolutions for HR Professionals

A new year brings New Year's Resolutions. The most common personal resolutions are to be more health conscious, work out more, and spend more time with friends and family. But what about your professional life?

As HR professionals, there are many aspects of the workplace that you are responsible for. HR is constantly growing and becoming more important to organizations. In keeping with this growth, the new year creates a great reason to do better this year than the last for not only the HR department, but the organization as a whole. Here are a few practices to consider.
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