On October 28, 2009 President Obama signed the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act. The Act expands FMLA exigency leave to include families of active duty members of the Armed Forces.
Previously, only family members of Reservists or National Guard members called to active duty could utilize leave for qualifying exigencies which include such things as short-notice deployment, military events, chil
dcare and school activities, financial and legal arrangements, rest and recuperation, counseling, post-deployment activities, or additional related activities.
The Act also extends the possible timeframe during which FMLA caregiver leave could be taken to up to 5 years after the veteran leaves active duty.
The changes are effective immediately and will require changes to company FMLA leave policies.
A night on the town had unintended consequences for a Canadian woman on long-term sick leave for depression. Nathalie Blanchard had been on leave from her job for a year. According to reports, she was diagnosed with major depression and was receiving monthly benefits from her insurance provider, Manulife.
However, when the payments dried up this fall, Blanchard called Manulife, and she says she was told the claim was denied and the payments discontinued.
According to Blanchard, t
he insurance agent described several pictures Blanchard posted on Facebook, including ones showing her having a good time at a Chippendales bar show. Manulife told her the photos were evidence that she is no longer depressed and was available to work.
On advice from her doctor, Blanchard told reporters that she was trying to have fun, including nights out at the local bar with friends.
No word on whether she requested her disability payments in singles.
For the first time in history, half of all U.S. workers are women, and mothers are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of U.S. families, according to a report released Oct. 16, 2009 by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and California first lady Maria Shriver.
The report, The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything, was co-authored by, among others, Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation; Heather Boushey, CAP senior economist; Ann O'Leary, CAP senior fellow; and John Halpin, CAP senior fellow.
Pointing out that in 1967 women made up only one third of all U.S. workers, the report said women's changing roles affect the country's major societal institutions. The report concluded that today's families need more flexible work schedules, comprehensive child care policies, redesigned family and medical leave, and equal pay for women.
Many managers think they'll spoil a good employee with too many compliments. Here's why those fears are unfounded
There is a fear—an irrational one, among certain managers of praising employees too much. It's as though they believe that one “attaboy” or “attagirl” too many can spoil a good employee.
Perhaps these fearful managers have in mind those high-profile sports figures who sign huge multiyear contracts only to quickly settle down to lackluster, mediocre performance on the field. But there's a big difference between a star athlete and your typical salaried employee. The athlete has a contract that commits the franchise to paying his gargantuan salary for years into the future. The employee remains on the job at the boss's pleasure. How could some positive reinforcement hurt an employee, or for that matter, hurt morale?
For sure, we don't want to bestow tons of compliments on some employees and ignore others. We don't want to praise one worker by comparing him or her to another member of the team. And we never want to lift up one employee at the expense of another. But there's no danger in making a point of thanking and acknowledging employees for specific, observed results. Here are the most common fears associated with praising employees, followed by reasons those fears are unfounded: (more…)
If you were wondering why nothing seems to be getting done around the office, a recent survey by ISACA, a professional IT association, could have the answer.
Apparently, a lot of employees will be shopping. According to the survey, Shopping on the Job: Online Holiday Shopping and Workplace Internet Safety, an
average employee may be spending almost 2 full working days (14.4 hours) holiday shopping from a work computer.
Ten percent of those surveyed indicated they may spend up to 30 hours.
Besides wasting time and decreasing productivity, such widespread shopping also opens the door to viruses, spam, and phishing attacks.
It may not be chicken soup and a warm blanket, but US businesses are spending time and money trying to limit the impact of the H1N1 flu on daily operations.
Considering that the CDC estimates every person who comes to work with swine flu will infect 10% of coworkers, such efforts may be good for business.
Companies from health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. to beverage can maker Ball Corp. are arranging for employees with flu symptoms or sick family members to work from home where possible, holding fewer in-person meetings, even discouraging handshakes. And hand sanitizers, disinfectant
wipes and tissues are available at every turn as employers make keeping workers healthy their first line of defense.
Employers are also teaching about hygiene, distributing information about the pandemic, telling folks to stay home if they get sick — generally with pay — and scrapping the required doctor's note. Some companies have even distributed “wellness kits” with thermometers and face masks.
For more ideas on what business are doing to keep the workplace healthy, read the full article here.
Effective October 26, 2009 New York employers will be required to inform new hires in writing of their pay rates and pay day. Non-exempt employees must also be informed of their overtime rates. A written acknowledgement must also be obtained from each new employee.
The New York City Council is also considering a proposal to require all employers, regardless of size, to provide paid sick leave to employees. San Francisco and Washington, D.C. already have such requirements. Milwauk
ee passed a similar ordinance which was later declared unconstitutional.
Salt Lake City has passed an ordinance prohibiting private employers (i.e. those with 15 or more employees within the SLC limits) from discriminating in employment matters against “otherwise qualified” persons (both applicants and employees) based on sexual orientation or gender identity. State entities (except SLC), religious organizations and “expressive organizations” are exempted from the ordinance.
Excellent article posted on the SHRM website recently tracking 401(k) enrollment trends.
Go to: http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/benefits/Articles/Pages/Standardin401ks.aspx.
The percentage of U.S. employers enrolling emp
loyees automatically into the 401(k) plan has risen significantly in just two years, from 34 percent in 2007 to 58 percent in 2009. Of those plans using automatic enrollment, 69 percent now default workers into a target-date fund, up from 50 percent in 2007, according to a study by consultancy Hewitt Associates.
Navigating the social and professional landscape can be difficult, but there are ways to avoid alienating colleagues with embarrassment or hurt feelings, career experts say. Co-workers who are also friends can exchange gifts off site, for example, and those who want to get the boss a present can go in as a group to be as inclusive as possible.
The first order of business for those looking to play Santa is to check the company handbook or consult its human-resources manager to see if there's a policy on office gift-giving.
Many employers are erring on the side of caution these days in anything that could be construed as fodder for a lawsuit, and some may extend limits on gifts to and from business associates to the interoffice realm as well, said Deborah Brown-Volkman, a career coach in East Moriches, N.Y., and author of the forthcoming book “How to Feel Great at Work Everyday.”
Mellissa Boggs, vice president of consulting with Professional Staff Management, a human-resources and consulting firm in Indianapolis, said employers also are trying to head off morale problems that can arise inadvertently. (more…)
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis recently announced the hiring of an additional 250 wage and hour investigators, as well as plans for a new public awareness campaign on worker rights, expected to launch in 2010.
The hiring effort at the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) represents a staff increase of more than 30%, a move that will likely improve DOL’s top priority of protecting worker rights by allowing faster response to complaints of wage violations and more deliberate enforcement. Solis’ message is clear: “Failure to comply with these basic labor standards means that workers are not receiving the money they have earned,” and the department “will not rest until the law is followed by every employer, and eac
h worker is treated and compensated fairly.”
Historically, the WHD has announced impressive recovery efforts, claiming that more than $185 million in back wages were restored to workers in the 2008 fiscal year.
Solis also unveiled details of “We Can Help”, a program slated for early 2010 through which the department will work to inform workers of their labor rights.
Of course the best defense against run-ins with the Wage and Hour Division is to establish and follow legal, documented policies regarding payment of wages. HRN’s HR Suite is an online human resource compliance solution that addresses wage and hour compliance and many other critical areas of human resource management.