Content about HR

April 8, 2014

A quick fix can go a long way to solving a problem, particularly when that problem is a payroll error.

“Payroll errors unfortunately occur from time to time even at the best employers,” said Chuck McDonald, an attorney in the Greenville, S.C., office of Ogletree Deakins, in an interview with SHRM Online.

March 31, 2014

Is it gossip to spread the news that Ted and Rachel are getting married before Ted and Rachel have announced so publicly?

Is it gossip to speculate whether Carol in accounting is expecting a child?

A December 2013 National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling addressing workplace no-gossip policies raises this question: When does gossip cross the line from innocuous, garden-variety conversation to something so potentially hurtful, harmful or liable that companies are within their rights to forbid it?

March 12, 2014

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, explicitly prohibits employers with at least 15 employees from sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an employer “may not treat a pregnant worker who is temporarily unable to perform some of her job duties because of pregnancy less favorably than workers whose job performance is similarly restricted because of conditions other than pregnancy.”

March 11, 2014

You’ve just informed an employee on your team that he or she has been terminated. What you do next is important to the morale and the productivity of the rest of your team. Whether the termination is due to eliminating a position, poor performance that hasn’t improved despite remediation efforts, or an egregious action that warrants immediate dismissal, the affected employee’s co-workers will have questions. To maintain trust, morale and productivity, you must quickly divulge the separation and explain what it means for the remaining staff.

March 10, 2014

Most U.S. workers say they are satisfied with their current health benefits and express little interest in changing the mix of benefits and wages their employer offers, according to a new survey by the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

And even though enactment of the Affordable Care Act has raised questions about whether employers will continue to offer health coverage to their workers in the future, the importance of benefits -- especially health insurance -- when it comes to choosing a job remains high.

March 6, 2014

Back pain not only takes a toll on the quality of employees’ lives but affects workers’ productivity as well. Nearly one in four U.S. employees report experiencing lower-back pain, costing businesses $51,400 annually per 100 employees in lost productivity and medical treatments, a 2013 report by the nonprofit Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) found.

Lost work time and underperformance on the job (presenteeism) due to low-back pain costs employers $34,600 per 100 workers, according to IBI Chronic Disease Profile: Low Back Pain.

February 26, 2014

Companies looking to pare health costs by requiring working spouses to get health insurance through their own employer may find the move has some unexpected consequences, according to a new study by the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

The report, "The Cost of Spousal Health Coverage," was published in the January 2014 EBRI Notes.

February 4, 2014

Jane Sunley’s new book, "It’s Never OK to Kiss the Interviewer," was prompted by an audience member’s naïve question.

While the book (LID Publishing, January 2014) is aimed at job applicants, it holds truths for employers, too: Figure out if the candidate’s values are in line with the company’s; make sure the applicant’s skills, attitude and work style are a good fit for the job; and find ways to make the new hire’s transition into the organization relatively seamless.

January 30, 2014

Companies that make their open-and-closed policies clear for inclement-weather seasons -- such as snowy winters and falls full of hurricanes -- can keep employees informed, instead of in the dark.

“An employer does not have to have a policy and can simply tell employees that they must report to work when the business is open, regardless of what other businesses choose to do and are reported on the news,” Richele Taylor, an attorney in Fisher & Philips’ Columbia, S.C., office, told SHRM Online.

January 27, 2014

The flu season typically peaks in January and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and workers in some jobs are more vulnerable than others because of a higher exposure to germs, a more hectic travel schedule or more stress, reports Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of the office supplier.

Making the list of those most at risk:

• Retail-store employees, through their frequent contact with the public and handling of cash and credit cards.

January 24, 2014

There’s no taking a breather from the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Some of its most arcane requirements pertain, in fact, to breaks. Got all of those rules memorized? What about your managers -- do they remember the rules? Probably not, if it’s been more than a year since your last FLSA training. No, it’s not required, but it’s the best way to reduce your potential liabilities. So get out a pen and paper -- it’s time for a refresher on the FLSA.

 

January 23, 2014

Employers are increasingly likely to offer voluntary benefits to help workers meet their financial needs and fill gaps in coverage, according to two benefits professionals who reviewed the hottest voluntary benefits for 2014 in a recent webinar. But as the costs of benefits shift to workers, employers have an obligation to help employees choose the best benefits.

January 22, 2014

The recently released YouGov Brand Index Buzz rankings had some familiar names at and near the top of its 2013 U.S. listing.

Amazon.com, which ranked 12th on the HCN Top 300 Retailer Scoreboard, appeared in the top spot with a Buzz Ranking of 30.6. 

January 17, 2014

Pity the part-time worker, the person who doesn’t feel like a real member of the team and who barely makes enough to pay the rent and utilities.

Or don’t.

Those part-time workers are, in many ways, happier than full-time employees, according to a new book on employee satisfaction.

January 14, 2014

One thing a manager covets is a genuinely engaged employee. Recognition companies and training programs abound to help employers foster a culture in which workers feel valued, absorbed in their jobs and connected with their colleagues.

January 10, 2014

The maximum allowed pretax mass-transit benefit for employees fell from $245 per month in 2013 to $130 in 2014, beginning Jan. 1.

Employees can deduct commuting costs from their paychecks, tax free, through an employer benefit program up to the allowable monthly limit. Similarly, organizations that subsidize their employees’ commuting costs may do so up to the allowable limit, which results in lower payroll taxes than if they paid the money in wages.

December 27, 2013

Thousands of accidents occur in workplaces throughout the United States every day. Conducting witness interviews at the scene of an accident is a crucial part of the investigatory process, as these accounts provide important information that can help explain what caused the accident.

When accidents are investigated, the emphasis should be on finding the root cause, not on finding fault, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Safety & Health Program Management Guidelines.

December 19, 2013

“Would it be hard working for a boss younger than you?”

“Do you think our technology demands might be too much?”

“Why would you want this job, given all your experience?”

“People here work long hours; that probably doesn’t interest you.”

Such are the remarks interviewers make that, unwittingly or not, convey the message that an over-55 applicant is “too old” for a job.

December 17, 2013

It’s performance evaluation time at many companies, and for managers it’s time to brush up on ways to break good and not-so-good news, such as:

• “We’re giving you more responsibility but no raise.”

• “You hit all your goals, and now you get tougher ones.”

• “You’re still employed, but we’re putting you on a performance improvement plan.”

December 9, 2013

Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont Building Innovations launched DuPont Tyvek ThermaWrap R5.0, a building wrap that acts as a breathable air and water barrier, while providing continuous exterior insulation.

December 5, 2013

The next time one of your employees admires your business suit, it’s OK to wonder if she’s sucking up.

More than one in five U.S. employees admit to complimenting managers to get on their good side -- even if the flattery is a bunch of hooey.

Just be glad you aren’t a supervisor in India: Almost half of workers there (46%) say they sweet-talk their bosses even if they don’t mean it.

December 4, 2013

You may have fire extinguishers around your workplace, used to control or extinguish fires that are small or have just begun. But did you know that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) prohibits employees from using this tool unless they’ve had training?

December 3, 2013

At organizations offering paid-vacation plans, most full-time employees (86%) have sufficient tenure to accrue from six to 20 vacation days annually. But many fail to take all their leisure days, which can negatively affect performance and morale, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in collaboration with and commissioned by U.S. Travel Association, a trade organization.

November 27, 2013

At Zappos.com, the online shoe business, the person answering calls is not the “receptionist”; he’s the “director of first impressions.”

At Texas-based BerylHealth, where health care workers advise clients by telephone, the company pairs employees with executives in a spoof of “Dancing with the Stars.”

And at San Diego-based Red Door Interactive, a business consultancy, one of the core values is this: “We are 100 percent jerk-free.”

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