EverythingPeople This Week!

26

May

2020

New Fluctuating Workweek Rule Allows Employers More Options as Employee Work Schedules May Change

Author: Michael Burns

Last week the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its final rule addressing compensation for non-exempt employees that work flexible or “fluctuating” workweeks. This new rule updates the DOL’s regulations where it outlined how overtime is calculated for salaried non-exempt workers whose hours vary by week. This new rule became effective on 5/20/2020.

26

May

2020

26

May

2020

Quick Hits - May 27, 2020

Author: ASE Staff

FFRCA enforcement actions update:  On May 12, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division separately announced a pair of settlements that provide employees with back pay to which they were entitled but were denied when their employers refused to give them the emergency paid sick leave for COVID-19-related reasons guaranteed under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). 

26

May

2020

Remote Work Fuels Fears of Risk from IT Departments

Author: Kevin Marrs

A recent study, Virtual Economy IT Impact, by HiveIO suggests that during this pandemic most organizations have failed to deploy new technologies to monitor, manage, and support at-home employees.  While this might be expected given the sudden onset of remote work for many, it is leading to concern among many IT departments faced with supporting the new virtual workforce. 

26

May

2020

Under the Radar Benefit Change: Employees Making Mid-Year Health Insurance Changes

Author: Anthony Kaylin

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) made it easier for employees to make mid-year changes to their health insurance coverage for 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic. Notice 20-29 allows employers to amend their healthcare plans so employees can now make mid-year changes that would be in effect for the rest of the year. For instance, an employee who declined coverage could enroll in a plan, and current enrollees could change plans or add or drop family members.  Prior to this notice,...

26

May

2020

Coronavirus a “Stress Test” for Corporate Ethics

Author: Kevin Marrs

According to research by the ethics and compliance firm LRN Corporation, the current pandemic may prove to be an unintended test of cultures and codes of conduct as businesses determine how to reopen and navigate the inevitable strain of operating during a pandemic.

19

May

2020

Quick Hits - May 20, 2020

Author: ASE Staff

I-9 physical inspection delayed an additional 30 days:  On March 20, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19.   This temporary guidance was set to expire May 19. Because of ongoing precautions related to COVID-19, DHS has extended this policy for an additional 30 days.  Source:  USCIS...

19

May

2020

Body Language & What it Says on Video Calls

Author: Sheila Hoover

Remote work has overcome our culture, and video conferencing has become a standard way of communicating with our peers, teams, leadership, and customers.  While video conferencing existed prior to the pandemic, we now find ourselves utilizing this method of communication as a daily activity.  The way we present ourselves physically on video says a lot to the other participants on the call. 

19

May

2020

Survey Finds Employees Are Happier Than Pre-Pandemic

Author: Heather Nezich

CNBC and SurveyMonkey together polled over 9,000 workers in the U.S. to measure the impacts of COVID-19 on employee satisfaction.  48% of respondents noted they are currently doing their jobs remotely. But whether remote or not, the results show an uptick in employee happiness.

19

May

2020

Should Employers Have a Liability Shield from COVID-19 Complaints?

Author: Anthony Kaylin

The next big fight for businesses is immunity from COVID-19 litigation.  Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow has stated that businesses should not be held liable to trial lawyers “putting on false lawsuits that will probably be thrown out of court.”  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated numerous times that the next Coronavirus aid bill has to have provisions for employer immunity from COVID-19 lawsuits, something that the Democrats are fighting. 

19

May

2020

Mask Wearing and Other New Safety and Health Rules – Employees and Customers May Express Their Opinion. Be Ready to Reply.

Author: Michael Burns

Although employers will be implementing many new safety and health practices in the coming weeks and months, there will also be employee relations challenges as a result. Some employees will come back believing that wearing a face mask at work is a request not a requirement. Some may even take rules requiring wearing a face mask as a political challenge or an afront to their personal liberties. Employers will need to be ready to communicate why the employee cannot ignore or refuse to comply...

12

May

2020

Quick Hits - May 13, 2020

Author: ASE Staff

EEO delays reporting of 2019 EEO-1 reports until 2021:  The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will delay the opening of the 2019 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection and the 2020 EEO-3 and EEO-5 data collections because of the Coronavirus Disease 2019...

12

May

2020

Be Aware of FCRA Requirements Regarding Authorization and Disclosure Forms

Author: Susan Chance

Back in 2017 the Ninth Circuit Court decided in favor of the plaintiff in Syed v. M-I, LLC, No. 14-17186 (9th Cir. 2017).  The employer included a waiver of liability in the disclosure form, which violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirement that no extraneous information be included in the disclosure. After several appeals, Syed won.

12

May

2020

What Will Happen with Telecommuting After COVID-19?

Author: Kevin Marrs

ASE’s 2018 Workplace Flexibility Survey, published in early 2019, noted that over 60% of organizations offered telecommuting for their staff (62%).  But there was a big catch – telecommuting arrangements were generally reserved for a select few. According to our data, telecommuting was largely granted to employees based on managers discretion (79%) or based on the position (59%).  The impact of those restrictions resulted in fewer than a third of employees participating...

12

May

2020

Illness Preparedness and Response Handbook Policy

Author: Michael Burns

Moving forward through the COVID-19 pandemic will be a drawn-out process. If your firm has not drafted or revised your handbook to strengthen its existing policies, the following sample provides a basic policy that can be edited to your organization’s specific program and practice.

12

May

2020

Do Older Workers Have Targets on Their Backs During This Pandemic Time?

Author: Anthony Kaylin

Employers have had to make difficult decisions in the past couple months, and older workers seem to be a primary target for reduction in workforce.  Before the economic shutdowns, the unemployment rate for those 55 and older was around 3.5%.  Now it is 13.6%.  Women over 55 are higher at 15.5%.

12

May

2020

Psychological Impact of Pandemic Includes Worker Depression, Exhaustion, and Hopelessness

Author: Heather Nezich

New research from SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) offers a warning to U.S. employers about the psychological effects of COVID-19.  Although millions are currently laid off, many workers have continued to work through the pandemic and are feeling stressed. 

5

May

2020

Quick Hits - May 6, 2020

Author: ASE Staff

Once shelter in place is lifted, the $600 unemployment bonus is no longer in effect: Under the temporary regulations, an employee who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 qualifies for the CARES Act $600 weekly bonus.  

5

May

2020

Should Employers Use Thermal Tools to Detect Potentially Sick Employees?

Author: Anthony Kaylin

Under OSHA guidelines and the tacit approval of the EEOC, when bringing employees back to work, employers may monitor employee temperatures.  To do so, employers are considering options ranging from standard thermometer guns to more sophisticated social-distancing and heat-detection cameras, some of which are paired with facial-recognition software that security officials can use to track and identify employees who may show symptoms of COVID-19.

5

May

2020

As Businesses Re-Open, Remote Work Will Continue

Author: Heather Nezich

A majority of U.S. employers expect to continue their remote work policies and, to a lesser extent, flexible work arrangements after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, according to a new survey by Willis Towers Watson. The survey also found that while employers have boosted their employee communication in response to the pandemic, they will need to do more to help workers cope with expected increased levels of stress and anxiety in the months ahead.

5

May

2020

Nearly a Third of Michigan Employers are Prepared for the Return to Work

Author: Sara Sosnowski

While we still do not know when we will be able to begin returning to work, many companies are preparing for that day.  The return will not be as sudden as the exit was and will require many changes to policies and practices in order to adhere to new rules and keep your employees safe. 

 

5

May

2020

If Employees Get Sick With COVID-19 When We Return to Work, Are Employers Liable?

Author: Anthony Kaylin

The biggest fear for employers is what to do if an employee who came back to work is later diagnosed with COVID-19.   Are employers liable for these situations? 

5

May

2020

Businesses Will Need Protection from Worker and Customer Liability Lawsuits

Author: Michael Burns

Last week we reported on safety compliance requirements in Michigan under the Governor’s EO 2020-59. What will non-compliance or compliance that does not prevent an illness mean to an employer?

28

Apr

2020

Quick Hits - April 29, 2020

Author: ASE Staff

Pandemic raises the need for caregiving benefits:  An AARP survey found there were about 41 million family caregivers in the U.S. in 2017, providing about 34 billion hours of unpaid care for other adults. The economic value of their efforts was estimated at $470 billion.  

28

Apr

2020

It's OK to Say “No”

Author: Anthony Kaylin

One of the hardest things for HR to do is to say “no.”  Fires and more fires have to be attended to, even if it isn’t in the HR bailiwick. Not everything is important, yet we tend to treat it all at the same level.   So how does HR say no when that word isn’t in the HR customer service lingo?

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