Employee Benefit Guidance & Compliance Solutions

Posts Tagged "maggie johnson"

Getting Ready for Winter – Developing Your Inclement Weather Policy

By on Nov 26, 2019 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Getting Ready for Winter- Developing Your Inclement Weather Policy By Maggie Johnson     Winter will soon be here with all of the snowstorms, blizzards, and freezing weather that come with the season. Keeping a business running effectively during harsh weather can be challenging, but having an inclement weather policy can provide guidelines to employees about when they are expected to report to work and how they will be paid when stormy weather hits. Here are some things to consider when creating your inclement weather policy: Notifying Employees These days, we often receive accurate, advance weather reports. This allows us to plan if there is a predicted storm. Even though we are informed by various news media, it is advisable for employers to have an established notification system for employees to know whether the company will close or if there will be a delayed opening. One way to advise employees is to implement a Weather Hotline. This can simply be a specialized phone number or extension that employees call to find out when and if they should report to work. Paying Employees Under federal law, employers are only obligated to pay their hourly (non-exempt) employees for actual hours worked. NOTE: There are certain states (i.e., New York, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, DC, New Hampshire and Oregon) that require non-exempt employees to be paid a certain minimum amount if they report to work as scheduled, and then are sent home, before work actually is performed or started. It’s important to be familiar with your state law. However, many employers go beyond federal and state pay requirements and pay employees for the time between normal start time and a delayed opening or up to a certain number of hours or even for an entire day when it’s storming outside. Usually, there are a few rules that go along with this. For example, if the company gives notice of a delayed opening, but an employee doesn’t report to work at all for the day, that employee will not receive the benefit of pay. Although the employee may be paid from his or her accrued vacation or paid time off balance. In accordance with the federal Fair Labor Standards...

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Romantic Relationships in the Workplace

By on Sep 1, 2019 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Romantic Relationships in the Workplace by Maggie Johnson     When two people spend a lot of time together, a romantic relationship may develop between them.  In a recent survey by Namely, 40 percent of the survey’s participants indicated that they’d had a romantic relationship with a co-worker, with five percent of them having had a romantic relationship with their boss or a direct report.   A 2017 CareerBuilder study showed 41 percent of professionals have dated a co-worker with 30 percent of office romances resulting in marriage.  While a blooming romance may be a happy thing, in the workplace, it can spell big trouble!  For a couple working alongside each other, and who are engaged in a romantic relationship, here are just three issues that could spring from that situation: Office gossip and some teasing of the couple may seem harmless at first, but could lead to detrimental consequences.  These include negatively affecting employee morale, false and reckless statements about the couple, unprofessional behavior, and a host of other concerns.  This only gets more unpleasant if the romance breaks up, with one of the former lovebirds feeling wronged; then, employees “take sides.”   Before you know it, the workplace could suffer from undesirable conflicts with work affected and productivity taking a nosedive! An office romance between a supervisor and his or her direct report can be career-busting for the boss!  The supervisor’s other subordinates may see favoritism; where it might not exist, nevertheless, may result in employees’ claims of disparate treatment and unfairness.  Because of the unevenness of power between a boss and the subordinate, the romance could easily be interpreted as the supervisor’s coercion of his romantic partner and cause allegations of a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and worse! Even if an office affair begins with a consensual relationship, it can still end up in court with claims of sexual harassment.  As examples, in both Gerald v. Univ. of Puerto Rico and Green v. Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund, a consensual sexual relationship occurred between the supervisor and subordinate.  In both cases, after the relationships ended, the subordinates were subjected to continued sexual harassment by their supervisors, and in both cases, the courts found for the subordinate...

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Onboarding – A Key to Retention!

By on Jul 5, 2019 in Human Resources | 0 comments

Onboarding – A Key to Retention! By Maggie Johnson     If you think onboarding consists of new employees completing documents such I-9 and W-4 forms, among others, on their first day of employment, you may be missing the value a robust onboarding process can bring to your organization. Onboarding can be the key to increased employee engagement, higher productivity and lower turnover. After spending considerable time, effort and, most likely, dollars recruiting the right person to join your organization, it makes sense to make every effort to effectively assimilate that employee into your company for a mutually successful outcome. According to Work Institute’s 2019 Retention Report, there are 150 million people currently working in the US, that’s more than ever before. In 2018, 41.4 million US workers voluntarily left their jobs. National employee voluntary turnover was over 27%. The cost of voluntary turnover is estimated to exceed $600 billion. A report on onboarding by Urban Bound stated the following statistics:   Without Onboarding Companies lose 25% of all new employees within one year As much as 20% of staff turnover occurs within the first six weeks of employment It takes 8 – 12 months for new employees to gain proficiency With Onboarding 50% greater retention of employees 34% faster for new employees to gain proficiency It’s hard to retain employees, but you can increase your chances of keeping them by starting them out right! How? Based on the above statistics, the answer may be through a well-executed onboarding program. Here are some suggestions:   Reach Out to New Employees Before Their First Day of Work Send them information about the company Give them a call Send a simple “Welcome” email letting them know how excited you are that they will join your team On the First Day of Work Make sure your new employees meet everyone on the team and others who they might work with on a regular basis Make sure their desk is set up with a supply of tools they’ll need to do their job Give them a tour of the work premises Take them to lunch Send an announcement to the company about their hire Match them up with a Work Buddy/Mentor Assign a...

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Medical Marijuana In The Workplace – Update For New Jersey Employers

By on Jun 5, 2019 in Human Resources | 0 comments

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 has a prescription for medical marijuana and tests positive on the Company’s random drug test, for example, is that test result excused because the employee has a legal prescription for the drug? Would an employer be expected to provide a “reasonable accommodation” for the use of medical marijuana for an employee with a disability? The first thing to remember is that CUMMA is a state law. Under federal law, marijuana is still illegal. So let’s turn to a case from August 2018 for some guidance. In Cotto v Ardagh Glass Packing, Inc., et al, Mr. Cotto, an Ardagh Glass Packing employee was a forklift operator for the company. Mr. Cotto was injured on the job and took a medical leave of absence to recover. Mr. Cotto was prescribed and used medical marijuana for pain management for injuries he suffered several years ago (not associated with his on-the-job injury). When Mr. Cotto was ready to return to work after his medical leave of absence he was required to pass a drug test before he could recommence his job duties. Mr. Cotto could not pass that drug test because of his medical marijuana usage. Mr. Cotto produced his medical marijuana card and his prescription from his physician. Despite that Mr. Cotto used marijuana legally for his medical condition, his employer would not...

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Leave Laws and Affected Employers Are Expanding in New Jersey

By on Mar 5, 2019 in Human Resources | 0 comments

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 some of the most generous in the country. Let’s review:   New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA)   Previously, the NJFLA applied to employers who had 50 or more employees. On June 30, 2019, the amended law will apply to any employer with 30 or more employees in total, working both inside and outside the state of New Jersey.   Mandated NJFLA Requirements for Employers   On June 30, 2019, applicable employers as mentioned above must provide their employees with job protected family leave of up to 12 weeks in a 24-month period. Leave may be taken in 12 consecutive weeks, intermittently, or on a reduced leave schedule for the following reasons: To care for a family member (parent, parent-in-law, minor or disabled child, spouse, or civil union partner) with a serious health condition To bond with a newborn or adopted child   Immediate NJFLA Requirements for Employers   There are some new provisions of the law that take immediate effect. These require the employer to provide job protected leave for the following reasons: To bond with a newborn child conceived through a gestational carrier agreement To bond with a newly placed foster child For bonding on an intermittent basis (weeks or days) without the employer’s consent (previously had to be agreed to by both the employer and employee) For...

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