Quick Hits - November 1, 2023 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

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Quick Hits - November 1, 2023

Daylight Savings Time ends November 5: When clocks are turned back an hour in the early morning on November 5th, workers on the midnight shift at that time will actually work an extra hour. Assuming that these workers are nonexempt employees, meaning that they are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), they must be paid for all hours worked. The end of daylight savings time can have overtime pay implications as well. Generally, nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime pay for all hours in excess of 40 worked during the week. Employees who work an extra hour during the conversion to standard time may go over the 40-hour mark for the workweek and are thus entitled to the higher overtime pay rate for that time. For a copy of the ASE end of daylight savings time poster, click here.

Do you have time blindness? According to research, a person with time blindness will likely have difficulties with activities and responsibilities that involve managing time—such as planning, scheduling, and even goal setting. Although time blindness is usually a common indicator of ADHD, studies show that our perception of time is closely related to our well-being and emotional states, and changes in these can influence how we perceive time to be passing.  Here are six indicators of time blindness: You have difficulty managing your time; You’re chronically late to everything; You struggle with switching between tasks; You often procrastinate; You struggle with impulsivity; and You find it hard to meet deadlines. If you struggle with time blindness but aren’t sure how to effectively manage your time, keep track of your appointments or deadlines or avoid committing to things you can’t finish.  If you need to, break your tasks into smaller pieces.  It is a real problem, and managers who have employees with time blindness need to be educated and prepared how to manage these workers.  Source:  Forbes 10/12/23

Are you more stressed? 58% of employees say their organization has asked workers to take on additional responsibilities, according to Gallup’s first-quarter survey of the U.S. workforce. One consequence of a labor shortage is a higher demand for individual worker productivity. Employers look to their current workforce to fill the gaps of essential job openings that remain unfilled.  However, the risk is increased employee stress and burnout. When employees say that their organization has asked them to take on additional responsibilities, they are also: 2.5 times as likely to feel burned out at work very often or always, 55% more likely to watch for or actively seek a new job, 39% less likely to be engaged at work, and half as likely to think their employer cares about their wellbeing.  Source: Gallup 10/17/23

New California law on leave for reproductive-related losses:  On October 11, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law allowing for leaves of absence for reproductive-related losses. Senate Bill 848 makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant an eligible employee’s request to take up to five days of leave following a reproductive loss event. A “reproductive loss event,” which is defined as “the day or, for a multiple-day event, the final day of a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, or an unsuccessful assisted reproduction.” eligible employees must take the leave within three months of the event triggering the leave (i.e., reproductive loss events), but need not be taken on consecutive days. Leave under the statute is unpaid, unless the employer has an existing policy requiring paid leave. Eligible employees may choose to use any accrued and available sick leave, or other paid time off, for reproductive loss leave. Presently, California law requires employers to provide bereavement leave upon the death of an employee’s family member.  Reproductive-related losses, however, largely remain unaddressed.  Such losses are a common occurrence (with more than 1 in 4 pregnancies resulting in miscarriage) and often result in post-traumatic stress disorder (with almost 1 in 3 women developing PTSD after a miscarriage).  Source:  Littler 10/11/23

GE settles ERISA claim for $61 million: GE was sued for mismanaging their 401K funds.  The plaintiffs alleged GE breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by limiting actively managed funds available to participants to a group of five funds that were managed by a wholly owned subsidiary of GE. The funds at the center of the suit also “substantially underperformed” other comparable investment options, and GE refused to consider replacing the funds or their managers, the plaintiffs alleged. This is not a one-time lawsuit. In July, the DOL announced that one investment management firm would pay upwards of $124 million to settle allegations that it mismanaged an employer’s 401(k) plan through a “self-proclaimed strategy of non-diversification,” resulting in losses for more than 9,000 participants.  In 2022, the agency settled with Wells Fargo, which agreed to pay $145 million over claims the bank overpaid for preferred stock. That same year, the DOL sued the owner of a New Jersey-based design firm for allegedly using plan assets to invest in a bank owned by the owner’s spouse. The defendants in that case entered a consent order with the DOL in which they agreed to pay more than $1.8 million to plan participants.  Source:  HR Dive 10/13/23

NLRB releases ULP and election petitions statistics for FY 2023:  The NLRB saw increases in both unfair labor practice charges and representation-related activity. In FY 2023, the number of unfair labor practice (ULP) charges filed with NLRB’s 48 Field Offices increased 10%—from 17,988 charges in FY 2022 to 19,854 charges in FY 2023, continuing the increase from FY 2021 to FY2022 when the agency saw a 19% increase in ULPs filed.  During the same period, 2,594 union representation petitions were filed—a 3% increase over FY 2022. This uptick in filings builds on last fiscal year’s dramatic surge in representation-related activity and represents the highest number filed since FY 2015. In FY 2022, 2,510 union representation petitions were filed—a 53% increase from the 1,638 petitions filed in FY 2021.  With the NLRB making it easier for employees to organize and be recognized as a union, especially given the UAW strike, it is important to have managers take union avoidance training.    NLRB  10/13/23


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