On May 11, 2014, the governor of Minnesota signed the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA), a bill that will require Minnesota employers to make dramatic changes to their employment policies and practices.
While WESA directly impacts employers who conduct business in Minnesota, the changes follow plans by federal and local governments to expand legal protections for women and other employees. For this reason, employers in other jurisdictions should pay close attention to these national and state law trends.
“The only thing that is constant is change.”
Turns out that dusty old Greek philosophers occasionally say profound things (Heraclitus also said that a man’s character is his destiny). And since the Greeks are considered the fathers of democracy and were responsible for no small number of laws themselves, it seems an appropriate departure point to talk about the constantly changing landscape of employment laws.
A lot of attention has been paid to the new Wage Notice requirements of Minnesota’s revised wage theft laws. However, there are two other new administrative requirements you may not have read much about: 1) New information that must be including on employee paystubs, and 2) A requirement to keep specific records regarding which personnel policies each employee has received, and when they were distributed to each employee.
On June 21, 2019, the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry released a sample Wage Statement and related FAQs about the Wage Theft law. This article has been updated to reflect the new information available. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2019, and will require you to change a number of your payroll and documentation practices as a result. Employers should decide how they are going to update their paystubs and how they are going to implement the Wage Statement requirements (e.g., who is going to get them, how often you’ll update them, etc.).
OSHA recently released a memo clarifying how to apply standards when conducting compliance investigations. The federal regulations are still in place and remain unchanged, but the memo raises some concerns about post-accident drug testing. If you’re going to conduct post-accident drug testing, you should still have some reason to believe that drug or alcohol use could have increased the likelihood of the incident occurring. Also, if you’re going to offer safety incentives for clean safety records, consider accompanying them with other incentive programs that more clearly reward actual safe practices or behaviors.
If you could give human form to your safety culture, what would it look like?
Maybe it would be a thick-set, shirtless brute named Trog with a foul disposition beating out a drum cadence to keep your employees rowing in-sync.
Or would it be more like a fussy and constantly disapproving Dickensian paper-pusher named Fizzlewhite who has never met a rule or procedure he didn’t like, even though he hasn’t done most of the things he creates rules to address?
If you were to search the various “mommy blogs” and parenting advice websites out there, how many of them do you think would endorse the following practice?
A child’s safety should always be a top priority for any parent. When leaving children under the age of 10 alone in the house for lengthy periods of time, be sure to provide the kids with a loaded pistol with the safety off in case a stranger should happen by. In a pinch, recently sharpened knives can be substituted for the pistol.
Merger and acquisition (M&A) deals can be complicated. Extensive research and preparation must be completed prior to the closing of the deal to ensure there are no hidden liabilities or gaps in insurance coverage. When preparing for an M&A, it is crucial to understand how the buyer’s and seller’s insurance programs will respond to a change in control. In order to avoid saddling your combined company with uninsured liabilities, you must be knowledgeable about your insurance policies and how each might be modified in a merger and acquisition transaction. Consider the following before completing an M&A deal.
In the ongoing battle to contain costs, employers are always looking for tools, old and new, to help keep their healthcare spending in check. One approach is healthcare consumerism — but too often consumerism is discussed as just another plan design option and many employers are hesitant to implement this cost-saving strategy.
At a recent employment conference, I asked 300 executives and human resources professionals to identify:
Rather than cite a work team, the majority of attendees identified sports teams or public service organizations from their youth as being the most effective team.
Most people aren’t terribly good at interviewing job candidates. The tendency is to ask questions that focus on job history or job-related skills, rather than the personality traits and motivational characteristics that are necessary for actual success in the position. Effective interviewing can be difficult, and doing it poorly can not only lead to a bad hire, but, in some cases, can also get you sued.
A recent survey by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) reported 94% of leaders feel employee engagement is an important or very important workforce challenge. An engaged workforce increases operational income by over 19%, while a disengaged workforce can drain over 34% of an organizations’ operational income. Additional risks of low engagement can be seen in increased turnover, low customer satisfaction ratings and even increased employment litigation.
Employee retention continues to be a top concern for employers, even more so than last year, according to a PayScale survey of more than 4,000 executives and human resources professionals.
In 2014, a staggering 59% of employers were more concerned about retaining talent than anything else. Five years ago, only half of those employers thought retention was their number one concern.
Let’s say that one of the components of your wellness program involves biometric screening that uses discounts on insurance premiums as an incentive to get people to go through the screening. The government has seen fit to issue all sorts of regulations that control the way that many common wellness program practices can be performed. What are you supposed to do now?
Risk management and human resources are traditionally two different job functions, and the people in these areas have rarely crossed paths — but that is changing.
Why are these people starting to work together more frequently?
Foth Companies, headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., understands the link between the company’s success and the well-being of its employees. Implementing a wellness program called “Workin’ Well” featuring health risk assessments (HRAs) is one way the company is demonstrating its commitment to employees.
During the White House’s Summit on Working Families on June 24, 2014, President Obama indicated he was signing a presidential memorandum requiring every federal agency to address flexible work schedules and give employees the right to request such schedules. Absent what could be a dramatic increase in workplace flexibility for federal employees, it is undeniable that the demand for flexibility and work-life balance is on the rise.
When the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) comes knocking, you may want to scream “why me?” Herein lies part of the problem. With a significant increase in audits and civil investigations over recent years, the more appropriate question is “why not me?” Rather than cross your fingers and hope for the best, it’s time to be proactive and prepare your organization for a DOL audit.
How can you get your managers to be better about having purposeful conversations at the right time, and with the proper tone? The best place to start is by giving them greater confidence and skills for managing conflict and having difficult conversations. Being a supervisor or manager requires two distinct sets of skills: task management and relationship management.
Public health insurance exchanges have a head start over private exchanges, but in the coming years, employer and employee awareness will increase, and soon the private options should receive the recognition and utilization they deserve.
Does the prospect of walking a tightrope hundreds of feet off the ground without a safety net fill you with glee or dread? If you function as a director or officer for your organization, that’s exactly what you’re doing every day if you don’t have the proper insurance protections in place, since you can be sued personally for mistakes you make on the job.
In the current market, there are many opportunities to buy and sell companies. Acquiring a company can help meet business expansion goals, but can also create potential risk of future liability and financial loss flowing from the acquired firm or purchase agreement.
While traveling abroad for business can be exciting and fun, international travel is also stressful. Take into consideration these steps before departure to reduce risk and stress while traveling abroad.
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