Employee Benefit Guidance & Compliance Solutions

Human Resources

Medical Marijuana In The Workplace – Update For New Jersey Employers

Posted by on June 5, 2019 in Human Resources

Medical Marijuana In The Workplace – Update for New Jersey Employers By Maggie Johnson     Recreational marijuana use is not yet legalized in New Jersey or New York despite recent attempts by each state’s legislators to do so. However, recreational marijuana use, if legalized, would not necessarily present a problem for employers. As a comparison, alcohol is legal, but employers have the right to prohibit its consumption during working hours and in the workplace. Surely, the same rule would apply to recreational marijuana. But what about medical marijuana? The New Jersey Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (“CUMMA”) authorizes patients and their primary caregivers who register with the New Jersey Department of Health to possess medical marijuana that has been dispensed by a New Jersey Alternate Treatment Center. Thus, employers may be concerned about employees’ usage of marijuana, prescribed by a physician, for medical purposes. If an employee...

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Dress Code Policies—Time for Change?

Posted by on April 11, 2019 in Human Resources

Dress Code Policies – Time for Change? By Maggie Johnson     In theory, a dress code policy for the workplace could simply consist of two words—Dress Appropriately! However, it seems that employers feel compelled to write policies containing long lists of what and what not to wear in the workplace. Since a vast number of companies have adopted business-casual guidelines for the workplace, isn’t it time to lighten up on rigid dress code policies? In March this year, as reported by the Washington Post (March 21, 2019), even Goldman Sachs, known for its immaculately business-clothed company representatives, officially changed its dress code policy to a “firm-wide flexible dress code.”   Tattoos, Facial Jewelry and Wild Hair   Some dress code policies state that tattoos must be covered, facial jewelry, such as nose, eyebrow and tongue piercings, are not permitted at work, and hair styles must be conservative. That...

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Leave Laws and Affected Employers Are Expanding in New Jersey

Posted by on March 5, 2019 in Human Resources

Leave Laws and Affected Employers Are Expanding in New Jersey By Maggie Johnson     New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy continues to place his mark on state employment law, making life somewhat easier for working families. It wasn’t long ago that New Jersey employers had to become familiar and comply with the New Jersey Earned Sick and Safe Days Act. Here comes the next phase! On February 19, 2019, amendments to the New Jersey Family Leave and SAFE Acts were signed into law and shall become effective on June 30, 2019. In addition, changes were made to New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance legislation, which are effective on July 1, 2020. However, be aware that there are also new requirements under the provisions of the aforementioned amended laws that employers must comply with now. These amendments will significantly expand the benefits afforded to New Jersey workers, and provide them with...

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Thoughts on RIFs and Lay Offs

Posted by on February 7, 2019 in Human Resources

Thoughts on RIFs and Lay Offs By Maggie Johnson     It’s said that employees are an organization’s most valuable asset. A stable workforce creates a workplace with no paranoia of job loss, high employee morale, increased knowledge and job skills, and higher productivity. Often, a company that has been recognized as a Best Place to Work has a stable workforce. A stable workforce shows the leadership’s effective strategic planning. I met a CEO of a well- known New York-based, international financial services firm who told me that in more than 30 years of business, his company has never laid off an employee. He explained that this has been due to in-depth and far-sighted business and workforce planning, with consideration for possible changes and dips in market conditions. As such, his workforce doesn’t fluctuate. New positions are added when planned, consistent business growth levels are reached. At a conference,...

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Is It Time To Check Out Check-Ins?

Posted by on January 1, 2019 in Human Resources

Is It Time To Check Out Check-Ins? By Maggie Johnson     As we have just entered a new year, you may be planning or already planned performance goals with your employees. These employee performance goals more than likely tie to the 2019 goals for your organization. Thus, employees’ performance is integral to a company’s success. It would seem reasonable then that steady progress toward completion of those established employee goals, and general employee performance and productivity, would be at the forefront. Yet, more than 70% of employers still conduct only annual performance evaluations for their staff. There is, however, a strong trend to move to more meaningful discussions or “check-ins” with employees. It began in 2012, at Cargill, a worldwide food producer and distributor, with the launch of its Everyday Performance Management system, followed by Google, Adobe and Accenture with similar practices that redefined performance management. Check-ins can...

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Posted by on October 30, 2018 in Human Resources

Acronyms! By Maggie Johnson     Medical plan terminology such as HMO, EPO, PPO, etc. can be confusing if you’re unfamiliar with health insurance abbreviations. Understanding the meaning of these and other health insurance terminology can be helpful, especially when you are deciding which health benefits are best for your company. Below is a simple explanation for several health insurance terms, beginning with medical plan acronyms: HDHP/CDHP (High Deductible Health Plan/Consumer Directed Health Plan): This plan type typically has significantly lower premiums than other plan types, but also requires much higher deductibles with a minimum deductible of $1,350 for single coverage and $2,700 for family coverage for both 2018 and 2019. A health savings account (HSA) can be used in conjunction with an HDHP/CDHP to pay for any qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses, including deductibles. (Also see HSA below.) HMO (Health Maintenance Organization): An HMO is a network of healthcare...

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