Trends, Challenges and Opportunities for Women in the Workplace

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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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An Introduction to Background Screening Program Assessments

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When working with a background screening company, it's important to understand the measurement programs they are utilizing, and making sure they are up to industry standards, best practices and legal compliance. In February 2014, we sat down with Greg Dubecky, President of Corporate Screening and one of ERC’s preferred partners, to discuss background screening checks and he shared some information that organizations may not have been aware of.

What are the core components of a Screening Program Assessment (SPA)?

“The core components of our background screening program assessment is education and value,” says Dubecky. “It’s introducing employers to the background screening service and the value that comes with it.”

SPAs not only help make a company’s experience a lot more efficient, it also helps employers understand how to apply industry best practices and how to better comply with background screening laws and regulations.

“The core components of SPA is really to allow employers to understand how they can better apply industry best practices, comply with laws that govern background screening regulations, and how they have the ability to make their program more efficient,” says Dubecky.  

What makes Corporate Screenings’ Screening Program Assessment unique? 

Corporate Screening really takes a deep dive into the screening program process. This is done through surveys and reviewing information of a company’s policy on background screening.

“Then we put all of that information together to create a gap analysis. After that, we identify where that company’s program can improve,” says Dubecky.

How much does a SPA cost?

According to Dubecky, the cost of a SPA depends on the size of the organization.

“Corporate Screening services organizations from small mom and pop shops to enterprise level organizations,” says Dubecky. “Customers who have signed up for SPA do not pay anything for it because that’s part of the service. However, organizations that don’t want to use Corporate Screening services as their screening vendor, but want the screening program assessment, will pay a fee.

Dubecky stresses that the fee is so minuscule compared to the amount of money that organizations will save as a result of being a more efficient shop. Also, they can expect to be fined for an improperly prepared or designed background screening program.

Why is a SPA important?

A screening program assessment is important for an employer because a properly designed program will help that employer:

  • Eliminate risk due to non-compliance
  • Streamline their candidate pipeline
  • Create a process that helps mold with their HR work flows
  • Maintain their strong reputation in their organization
  • Reduce overall background screening spending

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Companies may face legal scrutiny when it comes to unpaid internships

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With companies gearing up to start their search for summer interns, they may want to think twice about making it an unpaid internship versus a paid one.

What has happened in the past?

Over the past few years, unpaid internship practices have experienced more legal scrutiny in terms of wages and hour lawsuits. Some of the most recognizable corporations have experiences lawsuits last year, including Warner Music group, Atlantic Recordings, Fox Entertainment group, NBC Universal, Viacom, Sony, and Universal Music Group.
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MyRA Overview

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MyRA Overview

On January 29th, 2014, President Barack Obama signed a presidential memorandum authorizing the Treasury Department to create a new retirement-savings vehicle aimed at workers who don't have access to traditional retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s. That group includes about half the U.S. workforce.
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When EAPs and Small Businesses Come Together

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We recently had the opportunity to talk with Patrick Gaul, manager of account services at ease@work, about how EAPs can be beneficial to small businesses.

When EAPs and small businesses come together

Small businesses are impacted more by types of employee performance and behavior issues addressed by an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) than larger businesses because one employee affected by a personal concern makes up a larger percentage of the total workforce. Gaul says having a free, confidential resource to address mental health concerns and work/life balance issues is essential in maintaining a productive workforce.
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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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New OFCCP rules taking effect for Federal Contractors March 24th

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New OFCCP rules taking effect for Federal Contractors on March 24th have many companies scrambling to comply. New requirements aimed to protect individuals with disabilities and protected veterans increase utilization goals and reporting requirements.

The OFCCP has amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and established (among other items) a nationwide 7% utilization goal for qualified Individuals with Disabilities (IWDs). Federal contractors will apply the goal to each of their job groups, or to their entire workforce if the contractor has 100 or fewer employees; must conduct an annual utilization analysis and assessment of problem areas, and establish specific action-oriented programs to address any identified problems. For more information, click here.
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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.”