HR Basics

Benefits, HR Basics

Benefits Communication: Why It Matters Now More Than Ever

Photo illustration by istockphoto.com

It’s a wait-and-see year for employers, in part driven by the seemingly endless legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act.

But health care is big this year, like it’s been every other year in recent memory.

Whether or not you believe ACA successfully or unsuccessfully reformed the structure of health insurance in America, you’ll agree costs are still an issue. Cheryl DeMars of The Alliance succinctly said, “The work of bending the cost curve is largely the business of physicians and hospitals, employers and consumers — not regulators.” Read more…

Benefits, HR Basics

HR 101: How to Develop a Successful Sick Leave Policy

Photo by Dreamstime

One of the many policies human resource departments develop and implement involve employee sick leave.

Paid sick days are usually offered by an organization as part of their benefits package.

  • In some companies, employees are given an allotment of days to use throughout the year.
  • There are other businesses where paid sick days are accrued over the course of the year and can vary based on years of service. Read more…
HR Basics, HR Technology

How Is Your HR Department Doing Covering Its … Assets?

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HR departments are the sentries of the office, with access to sensitive personnel records such as health information, I-9 documents as well as salary details, records that can take up loads of file cabinet space, and not to mention, archived data that is located off site.

But what If you suddenly find yourself asking these questions:

  • Is our vast personnel (past and present) data secure?
  • How much time is paper-management costing us? Read more…
HR Basics, Legal Issues

Why Communications Are Critical During an FMLA Leave

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By Eric B. Meyer

How many times has an employee provided you with an incomplete Family and Medical Leave Act certification? Oh, I don’t know, maybe a missing return date…

If the FMLA leave is foreseeable, then the employee must provide the employer with the anticipated timing and duration of the leave. However, where the FMLA leave is unforeseeable — think, car crash — then that information can wait if the employee herself doesn’t know her return date.

But that doesn’t mean you — yeah, you employer — should let it go. Read more…

HR Basics, HR Management

Indiana Restricts Criminal History Info That Might Be Sent to Employers

From istockphoto.com

Effective July 1, Indiana has a new rule on what information “criminal history providers” can report in employment background checks.

This latest version of Ind. Code § 24-4-18-6 makes a technical correction to the law and clears up a few things. Unlike previous versions of the statute, the new law allows reporting of non-conviction and pending records as long as the information is within the 7 year window required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

As it now reads, the law limits reporting of expunged records and sealed records — records that any compliant screening company wouldn’t give you anyway. It also prohibits reporting certain classes of felonies that have been reduced or converted to a misdemeanor, and creates a statutory cause of action for the intentional or “knowing” act of reporting an inaccurate record. Read more…

HR Basics, HR Management

Whether You Believe It or Not, Your Policy Manual Is Evil

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Try this logic on with me.

If anything that makes a person feel worthless or of less value is evil (and perhaps you aren’t as dramatic as I am, so you can just say “bad”). And if many of the policies written in your handbook assume employees are some combination of incompetent or idiotic (hence, less valuable or worthless). Then, your employee handbook and many of the policies within it are evil.

The logic is sound. If A=B and B=C, then A=C. Read more…

HR Basics, Legal Issues

Technical FMLA Violations: No Harm, No Foul, No Issue For the Employer

DOL_Seal_FMLA

Sometimes employers do win in court, even if they’re in technical violation of the law.

One employer’s FMLA violation wasn’t enough to lose a lawsuit. Many claims involving the Family and Medical Leave Act are tied to the timeliness of notices.

The regulations are clear and specific for the maximum and minimum amount of time to send an employee notices relating to their FMLA claim. Employees have their own time requirements to perform such acts as returning medical certifications. This does not mean that all is lost for either party when a deadline is missed, if the required act is completed. Read more…

Benefits, HR Basics

HR 101: Coordinating COBRA With the Affordable Care Act

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Employers with 20 or more employees are required to offer COBRA benefits to departing, eligible employees.

Managing these COBRA benefits can be a burden to mid-sized businesses, whether they invest the time to manage the process in-house or invest the money to have a third party manage it.

The Affordable Care Act has added a new wrinkle into this process that both employers and employees should be aware of. The issue boils down to timing. Read more…

HR Basics, Legal Issues

HR Basics: Is Telecommuting a Reasonable Accommodation?

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By Chastity C. Bruno

With today’s advances in technology, more employers have discovered the benefits of permitting employees to work from home – aka telecommuting.

However, the question becomes this: When does an employer have to provide a “telecommuting” accommodation for an employee due to a disability covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

In 1999, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said that allowing an employee with a disability to work from home may be a reasonable accommodation. The ADA requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide a reasonable accommodation to qualified employees with disabilities. Read more…

HR Basics, HR Management

HR 101: Getting Rid of People Who Suck Life Out of the Organization

123RF Stock Photo

In yesterday’s post (Learning to Love Work Again – It’s All About Employee Energy) on the very intriguing work of Tony Schwartz and the Energy Project, I asked: “Who are your energy vampires?”

Perhaps I should define what an “energy vampire” is. I wish I could claim credit for the phrase, but I first saw it in a LinkedIn post from Aaron Hurst titled Purge Energy Vampires – Save Your Employees. Hurst defined energy vampires this way:

There are certain people in an organization who may be great performers but no one wants to work with them. You dread meeting with them. They suck the life out of the team.” Read more…