In the event you haven’t heard, the new I-9 forms have been created and we are required to begin using them by May 7th, 2013. In my opinion, they are easier to use. Only a few minor tweeks have been made, the biggest difference being the size of the spaces we write in. The new ones also collect the email, phone number, and any other names the employee has used in the past. Employers are permitted to print the forms double sided and are not required to keep the list of acceptable documents filed with the I-9 (but must still make it available to the employee when completing the form.)
You can find the new form with instructions at the link below. If you have additional questions, please feel free to give us a call at 717-855-5589.
Employee handbook policies that every company should have in place include Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO,) Americans with Disabilities Act Policy Statement, Anti-Harassment, Attendance, and Disciplinary Action. These policies will prevent claims/ court cases, help employees understand expectations and consequences prevent disagreements regarding how to handle discipline, and prevent inappropriate conduct. In short, having these policies in place can save companies time and money.
Recruiting/ Hiring Policies
A step by step checklist of tasks that need to be completed when your company has an opening is also an important tool. The checklist will ensure you are handling the recruiting and on-boarding process in a consistent manner, which is critical to preventing a discrimination suit and hiring a diverse workforce. Some of the items on this list include…
_Advertise opening internally
_Advertise the position on the internet job board/ website
_Have 2 employees conduct interviews of top candidates
_Conduct criminal background check of selected candidate
_Have employee complete W4, I-9, State Tax Form, etc…
A list of questions to be answered before firing an employee should also be part of your HR procedures. Some of those questions include…
-Was a specific policy violated and does the violation warrant termination?
-Show me the policy!
-Have other employees been held accountable to the same policy?
-Can you prove the employee knew of the policy?
-Has the employee complained of harassment or unfair treatment?
-Has the employee recently filed a workers’ compensation claim?
-Has the employee recently complained of company wrongdoing or a safety issue?
-Is there evidence of discrimination based on age, sex, race, religion, national origin, disability or any other legally protected characteristic?
A process for management review of each disciplinary action that takes place is also critical to keeping your organization out of court, ensuring fair and equal treatment of employees, and keeping employee morale high. Just as important, is completing documentation of the behavior of the employee and disciplinary action taken. Documenting ensures the employee understands that their behavior was unacceptable and proves to the courts that fair action was taken.
Having a safe culture should be a priority in your organization. Safety policies will help employees make wise decisions, ensure OSHA compliance, and reduce lost time and workers compensation costs.
Did you post your updated FMLA poster last Friday?
Did you know we have a new I-9 form available?
Need help keeping up with these never ending HR changes?
Alternative HR can help!
Register for our FLSA Seminar at the York Revolution Stadium on Wednesday March 27th by clicking on the Eventbright link…
Some of the questions we will answer include…
*Are you legally paying employees a salary that should be earning an hourly wage and overtime?
*Should your independent contractors be employees according to IRS and PA laws?
*What does the law consider a part time employee? And many more….
Earlier this month, the United States Department of Labor issued final regulations implementing amendments to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA.) These amendments expanded two types of military related leave: “Qualifying Exigency Leave,” and “Military Caregiver Leave.” Updated posters need to be hung by March 8th, 2013. Here are some highlights:
“Qualifying Exigency Leave”
The definition of a “qualifying exigency” now includes service in the regular armed forces, as well as service in the National Guard or Reserves as long as the service involved deployment to a foreign country.
The regulations also expand, from five to 15 days, the amount of time an employee may take to spend with a covered military member who is on rest-and-recuperation leave.
“Military Caregiver Leave”
Employees are now permitted to take FMLA leave to care for a veteran discharged from service (other than dishonorably) during the five-year period prior to the leave. The period between October 28, 2009 and March 8, 2013 must not be counted toward the five-year limit, which means that, currently, leave may be taken to care for veterans discharged since approximately October 2003.
Leave may be taken to care for a covered service member/veteran whose serious health condition arose either before or after military service, if (1) military service aggravated the injury or illness, (2) the service member/veteran has received a 50% or greater VA Service Related Disability Rating, (3) the physical or mental condition impairs the service member/veteran’s ability to secure or maintain employment, or (4) the service member/veteran has been enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.
Any FMLA-qualified health care provider can fill out the certification form for service member caregiver leave.
In lieu of providing the FMLA certification form, an employee may now provide documentation establishing his/her enrollment in the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.
Alternative HR retainer clients will be receiving their posters this week. If you are not a retainer client and need information on obtaining a poster, please give us a call at 717-855-5589. Please note that employers who do not have enough employees for FMLA to be applicable still need to hang the poster.
Effective March 2013, each month Alternative HR will be awarding a local non-profit a $300 gift certificate for our services. The first non-profit to benefit is the York County SPCA. If you are familiar with another local non-profit that could benefit from our expertise, please feel free to recommend them by emailing Kellie@Alternative-HR.com or making the suggestion publicly on our Facebook page.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued decisions against companies whose at will employment statements restricted activity that might be protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA.)
If your organization’s employment-at-will policy states that no one has the authority to change an employee’s at will employment, or that the policy itself cannot ever be modified, you will want to revise your policy as soon as possible to at least give one official or member of your executive team the authority to potentially modify the policy. Otherwise, you are violating an employee’s right to organize and potentially form a collective bargaining agreement.
The NLRB also concluded that strictly confidential investigations in the workplace may interfere with an employee’s right to protected and concerted activity by employees sharing concerns with their co-workers. As a result, they recommend considering confidentiality on a case by case basis when conducting investigations and amending your handbook to reflect this change.
While you are at it, you should review your confidentiality policies to ensure they do not violate an employee’s right to discuss working conditions.
Finally, be sure to review your social media policy. The NLRB has also found guilty those companies that have policies which state employees are not permitted to bad mouth or discuss their employer in social media. Regulators have concluded that this wording impedes an employee’s right to complain about working conditions with co-workers.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 99,412 private sector workplace discrimination charges during 2012. The data shows that retaliation, race, and sex discrimination were the most frequently filed charges, in that order. Also this year, the agency obtained the largest amount of monetary recovery…$365.4 million.
Overall, the agency secured both monetary and non-monetary benefits for more than 23,446 people through administrative enforcement activities – mediation, settlements, conciliations, and withdrawals with benefits.
Myth: An employer can’t change an employee’s scheduled hours of work without notice under the FLSA.
Fact: The FLSA has no provisions regarding the scheduling of employees, with the exception of certain child labor provisions. An employer may change an employee’s work hours without giving prior notice or obtaining the employee’s consent (unless subject to an agreement.)
Register for our FLSA seminar for more helpful pay related guidance! It is March 27th at 9am at the York Revolution Stadium. Email Kellie@Alternative-HR.com to register.
Does your organization have set pay ranges or do you just determine wages based on the new employees desired wage and/ or what they claim they made at their last job? If you do not have them, is it because you are afraid to “cap” your top performers…or because you have no set pay philosophy or system to ensure fair, consistent pay practices?