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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

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

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

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

EEOC charges down but lawsuits rising

By Mike O’Brien bio EEOC data for FY2020 show dip in charges filed The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its Fiscal Year 2020 Enforcement and Litigation Data report on Feb. 26, 2021. The EEOC reports that 67,448 charges of discrimination were filed in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020, compared to 72,675 charges filed in the previous fiscal year. The agency made headway in addressing a backlog of charges, resolving 70,804 charges during FY2020, and securing $439.2 million for victims of discrimination. Continuing the trend of recent years, retaliation was the most commonly-asserted claim, made in 55.8% of all charges. Disability, race, and sex discrimination claims each were asserted in roughly a third of charges filed, at 36.1%, 32.7%, and 31.7%, respectively. Age, national origin, color, and religion… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Post-pandemic period a chance to try flexible staffing strategies

By Lynne Curry bio Question: COVID-19 hit our northern U.S. law practice hard. We cut employees, then salaries, and then we cut again. We lost half of our clients as their fortunes failed; other clients cut their work to the bone. Our revenue is down 70%. Some office staffers left our state when their spouses’ high-paying jobs evaporated. Others took off when COVID-19 combined with our cold, dark winter proved too much. Because these employees had talents we needed, we kept them as “snowbirds”. At first, it didn’t cause trouble. Everyone was working from home, so it didn’t matter where “home” was. Now that we’ve moved back into the office building, our local employees complain about the snowbirds. They feel the fair weather staff get an unfairly sweet deal, as… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

What I really wanted for Christmas

By Lynne Curry bio “What I really wanted for Christmas,” the woman said, “Wasn’t a turkey or a ham. It’s communication. The management around here keeps us in the dark, but then expects us to carry out their last minute orders without knowing the full story.” Have you thought about how you could have wished your employees happy holidays this year? Did you throw them an end-of-the-year party, hand out bonus checks or give them well-chosen presents? Or did you give them gifts that last longer—more of what they wanted in their jobs? Communication When changes loom, senior management often calls mid-level managers into closed door meetings and gives them information about what’s coming so they’ll know what to expect. The mid-levels then return their desks or stations and get right… . . . read more

HR Q&A

Does your law office owe employees paid sick leave when they self-quarantine?

By Lynne Curry bio Question: After I spent a weekend bar hopping, I felt remorseful, and self-quarantined so I wouldn’t bring COVID into my workplace and make others ill. I also took a COVID-19 test and luckily tested negative. Since my law office employer had moved everyone back on-site, I couldn’t work remotely and labeled my time off as sick leave. I just got my paycheck and apparently my employer has denied my sick leave. What’s my recourse? Answer: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) allows most private sector employees up to 80 hours of paid sick leave in five instances. A health care provider advises the employee to self-quarantine; the employee is seeking a diagnosis for COVID-19 symptoms; the employee or someone the employee is caring for is… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

How HR regulations could change under Biden administration

By Mike O’Brien bio Employers may be wondering how a Biden administration will affect workplace laws. Prior to the election, Biden’s campaign website gives some clues as to his priorities in this area. Biden lists the failure to pay minimum wage and overtime pay, forcing off-the-clock work, and misclassifying workers as problems resulting in billions of dollars a year in wage theft. To address those issues, he proposes a phased-in implementation of a $15 per hour federal minimum wage (including eliminating the tip credit). He also supports the adoption of a more stringent test for classifying workers as independent contractors, similar to the ABC test employed by California. This type of test would almost certainly result in many more workers being deemed employees and fewer being properly classified as independent… . . . read more

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

COVID, opioids and payroll taxes on HR radar

By Mike O’Brien bio Applicants, testing, and screening The EEOC has said you cannot test applicants for COVID-19 until after a conditional job offer. Fine, makes sense. What about taking temperatures? You can take a temperature of visitors to your business/office to make sure they are not bringing COVID-19 with them. In fact, you may have an OSHA duty to do so to protect your workers from the pandemic. What about applicants visiting your office to apply to interview—can you subject them to the same temperature screening as all other visitors? Logic would say yes; but the EEOC guidance says no, you can only take an applicant’s temperature after a conditional job offer. Yet, a visiting applicant with COVID-19 could turn your office into a virus hot spot, thus attracting… . . . read more


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