Encourage Your Employees to Take Breaks

Many states require that employees are allowed breaks for rest and/or meal periods (see our previous blog post here for information on your state’s requirements, if any).  But even for employers in states with no requirements, there are many reasons you should encourage your employees to take regular breaks.

While taking breaks may seem counterproductive when you want your employees to be as productive as possible during their work time, there are actually several benefits, both for the employee and the employer, when employees take breaks.

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Handling the Death of an Employee

While nobody wants to think about tragic situations such as the death of an employee, it’s best to have a list of items to take care of should one of your employees pass away. Having a plan of action in place will help you stay organized and ensure all necessary items are addressed properly.

Prior to the death of an employee, and on an at least annual basis, it is recommended that you have employees review and update personnel forms.  These forms include emergency contacts, their life insurance and 401k forms, and health medical savings accounts.  There are many life events that can occur throughout your employees’ time with your company that can affect how their end of life benefits are administered (when applicable) such as separation, divorce, or death within their family resulting in a change of beneficiary information. Continue reading

New Oregon Employee Transit tax

Oregon employers must begin withholding a new statewide transit tax beginning July 1, 2018. There is no employer paid portion of the new transit tax; it is paid entirely by individual employees through payroll withholding. The tax must be withheld from wages of Oregon residents (regardless of where the work is performed) and wages of nonresidents of Oregon who perform services in Oregon.  Continue reading

New York – New Sexual Harassment Training Required

With sexual-harassment allegations on the rise, states are moving towards reform of their laws and the complaint process. One of these states is New York, which recently passed a law that will go in effect October 9th requiring companies to provide annual sexual-harassment training for all employees.

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All training must meet or exceed the standards of the state, either by using a program set forth by state agencies or the company’s independent training program. Continue reading

Before a Closing or Layoff, WARN Your Employees

Were you aware that before closing a plant or laying off a large number of employees you may be required to provide advance notice to the affected employees? Many employers are not aware of this requirement.  The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires that some usdol_seal_circa_2015_svgemployers give employees at least 60 days’ advance notice prior to certain plant closings and mass layoffs.

Employers with 100 or more employees must comply with the WARN Act.  The 100 employee count does not include employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months or those employees who work less than 20 hours per week. It’s important to note that even though these employees are not included in the employee count, they still must be provided notification at least 60 days before a plant closing or mass layoff. Continue reading

Stay Interviews: A Valuable Retention Tool

Most managers are familiar with exit interviews – a series of questions asked of employees who are terminating their employment with the company. The purpose of the exit interview is to gather information about the employee’s opinions of their employment with the company – how did the employee feel about training, management, their pay and benefits, what types of obstacles or challenges did the e1438752_91149422mployee face, why is the employee leaving employment with the company, etc. This information can then be considered when deciding whether to make any changes at the company for the remaining and future employees.

While very useful information can be obtained from exit interviews, they are done too late. By the time an employee is completing an exit interview it is too late for the employer to make changes for that employee. Instead of exit interviews (or in addition to) employers may want to consider doing “stay” interviews with their existing employees. Find out how the employee feels about their position, their pay and benefits, their supervisors. Learn about what challenges employees are facing. Ask for suggestions to improve the workplace. Get a better idea of what is working and what employees do enjoy about working there. What keeps the employees coming to work for you every day?  Continue reading

When Can You Deduct from an Exempt Employee’s Pay?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that all employees be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked as well as pay of at least one and one half times their regular rate of pay for all overtime hours worked over 40 hours in a workweOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAek. Employees who are classified as exempt are not subject to these minimum wage or overtime requirements.

In order to be classified as exempt, the employee must be paid on a salary basis of at least $455 per week. In addition, the employee’s work must meet certain duties tests as established by the Department of Labor (DOL). You can read more about this here.

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