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WORKPLACE WELLNESS

Survey: 60 percent of US workers concerned about their mental health in pandemic’s aftermath

Amid growing anxiety about the pandemic’s impact on wellbeing, a new survey finds that US workers rank mental and psychological wellbeing as one of their biggest wellness concerns. Despite these worries, The Conference Board survey reveals that participation in programs including mental health resources and Employee Assistance programs has dropped. On the upside, the nationwide survey found that most respondents continued routine doctor’s visits to some degree during the pandemic—although women struggled more. Employees also report that they aren’t suffering in silence: An overwhelming majority feel their supervisor genuinely cares about their wellbeing—a likely basis for their comfort speaking of wellbeing challenges at work. Conducted from early to mid-March, the online survey polled more than 1,100 US workers representing a cross-section of people across industries, from lower-level employees to the CEO. Key findings include:… . . . read more

COMPLIANCE

Wage whispers: Can we stop salary talk?

By Paul Edwards When one employee finds out another employee makes more money, it can send ripples throughout your entire workplace. In light of the morale damage this kind of talk can cause, you may be tempted to tell employees not to discuss salaries at all. The problem is employees have a legal right to discuss their salaries with other employees because of existing NLRA protections. What is the NLRA? The NLRA or National Labor Relations Act, is a large, developing area of federal law that’s rapidly changing the way you can regulate your employees’ speech, both on and off the job. Section 7 of the NLRA grants union and non-union employees alike the right to engage in certain activities so they may collectively bargain. These protections apply to all speech related… . . . read more

HIRING

People of color and women still underrepresented at law firms, progress slow

A survey by the National Association for Law Placement shows slow progress toward diversity at law firms. The survey, based on information from the 2020-2021 NALP Directory of Legal Employers (NDLE), shows that overall, women and people of color continued to make incremental progress in representation at major U.S. law firms in 2020 as compared with 2019. The percentage of Black partners and Black associates exceeded 2% and 5%, respectively, for the first time in 2020; however, representation of Black lawyers in law firms still trails that of Asian and Latinx lawyers. After experiencing several years of declines following the Great Recession, the percentage of associates who are Black women in 2020 (3.04%) finally surpassed the 2009 figure of 2.93% for the first time as well, equating to an increase… . . . read more

QUIZ

Who has OSHA responsibility for the health & safety of a temp?

What are your OSHA duties to temporary workers (“temps”) whom you hire from a temp agency to work at your firm? Stated differently, are you or the temp agency responsible for the temp’s health and safety? Here’s a set of scenario quizzes that illustrate how the rules work. SCENARIO 1: RESPONSIBILITY FOR HAZCOM TRAINING The Temps R’Us Agency (Agency) assigns an employee to temporary work at XYZ Company (Company). Agency is perfectly aware that knows that Company’s workers handle and use hazardous chemicals. But the temp has no Hazcom training whatsoever. As a result, he suffers an injury as a result of exposure to a toxic chemical while working for Company. QUESTION Who’s responsible for providing the temp the required Hazcom training? Agency Company Both Neither ANSWER Both the Agency… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

1 in 3 remote workers may quit if required to return to the office full time

More companies are calling workers back to the office, but will they readily return? A new study by a global staffing firm shows that about one in three professionals (33 per cent) currently working from home due to the pandemic would look for a new job if required to be in the office full time. What workers want More than half of all employees surveyed (51 per cent) said they prefer a hybrid work arrangement, where they can divide time between the office and another location. Professionals also expressed the following hesitations about working from home full time, underscoring the need for organizations to offer flexibility: Relationships with co-workers could suffer: 39 per cent Fewer career advancement opportunities due to a lack of visibility: 21 per cent Decreased productivity while… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Three White House announcements for employers

By Mike O’Brien  bio President Biden calls on employers to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated In a White House press release dated April 21, 2021, President Biden called “on every employer in America to offer full pay to their employees for any time off needed to get vaccinated and for any time it takes to recover from the after-effects of vaccination.” The White House statement adds that President Biden will announce “a paid leave tax credit that will offset the cost for employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide full payment for any time their employees need to get a COVID-19 vaccination or recover from that vaccination.” By Executive Order, President Biden increases the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15/hour On April 27 President… . . . read more

HIRING

How to lose a job candidate in 10 (business) days

Competing for a job in today’s market is challenging enough, and 2021 research from global staffing firm Robert Half shows there’s another hurdle for candidates to overcome: being breadcrumbed—or strung along—by employers. Nearly 4 in 10 (39 per cent) of senior managers surveyed said their company is taking more time to hire in the current environment despite having access to a deeper talent pool. When asked to reveal how they keep candidates engaged during the hiring process, common responses included scheduling multiple rounds of interviews, conducting skills testing and keeping applicants busy with online training. Candidates won’t wait long In a separate survey, 72 per cent of professionals said they lose interest in a job if they don’t hear back from the employer within two weeks—or 10 business days—after the… . . . read more

COMPLIANCE

Dare we ask our coworkers: Are you safe?

By Lynne Curry bio Question: We have a small eight-person office. We don’t interact with the public. Although we’ve worked remotely for the past year, we’ll be moving back into the office in the next few weeks. We’re generally looking forward to it, Most of my coworkers have been vaccinated. We talk on Zoom about how happy we are to have gotten vaccinated and compare side-effect stories. Two of our coworkers don’t participate in these discussions. I suspect they haven’t been vaccinated and don’t intend to get vaccinated. Am I allowed to ask? Is it necessary or appropriate to have different rules regarding masks for different employees; for example, “masks aren’t required unless a meeting includes person “x”? Can we forgo masks all the time and figure any unvaccinated employees… . . . read more

MANAGING THE OFFICE

TO DOs: Your May office checklist

It can be difficult to focus on work this month. May is when many of us come down with spring fever, yearning to get outside in the garden or on the hiking trails. Added this year is the anticipation life might be heading to some sort of normal after more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions, but uncertainty about planning activities. Start planning coverages for summer vacations. Many firms do not use temporary legal assistants or secretaries anymore. With stepped up efficiencies in the office, legal assistants or secretaries are often assigned to cover for an attorney while another staff member is out of the office. Looking at the schedules for the coming months now will ensure that there is sufficient coverage. If outside help is necessary, now is the… . . . read more

ONBOARDING

9 tips for virtual onboarding of new remote employees

Designate someone who will communicate with the new employee in terms of the expectations of their first day, first month, and beyond. Consider assigning the new employee a mentor or ‘buddy’ in their department who will check in regularly and answer any questions. Consider having a representative from upper management meet the new hire. Showing they are valued in the organization will help new employees feel welcomed and motivated. Ensure consistent communication and updates from company leaders. Digitize your onboarding process. Utilize the tools available to you by amalgamating onboarding documents and welcome packages into organized PDF documents that can be easily shared digitally. Arrange to have a laptop configured and shipped to their home in a timely manner, and coordinate secure sharing of any profile logins or passwords. Avoid setting… . . . read more


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