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

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

Verifying I-9 Documents for Remote Workers

All employers are required to verify employment eligibility of their new employees by completing Form I-9. Section 2 of the form is to be completed by a representative of the company within three business days of the employee’s first day of work. To complete Section 2, the employer’s representative must physically review original documents which verify employment eligibility (acceptable documents include a passport, permanent resident card, driver’s license, birth certificate and many others as indicated on the instructions of Form I-9). These documents must be originals and cannot be copies, scanned versions, faxes and also cannot be viewed over a video call such as Skype. This creates a potential issue for companies with a remote workforce where employees do not all live and work in the same area. Continue reading

Controlling Your Workers’ Compensation Costs

Workers’ Compensation insurance is required for most employers in most states (all but Texas). While it’s a necessary cost of having employees, it’s one cost that can be controlled.

Many employers pay high premiums for workers’ compensation because they have too many claims open for long periods of time or because the company is not effectively controlling their workers’ compensation process. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are several ways an employer can work to control these workers’ compensation costs including creating and enforcing a safety program, properly managing any injuries that do occur on the job, and implementing a “Return to Work” program to get employees back to work as soon as possible following an injury. Continue reading

Top 5 Mistakes That Lead to a Poor Hire

Hiring a new employee comes with the potential of making a myriad of mistakes. Aside from mistakes with potential legal ramifications such as discriminatory hiring practices, there are a number of other mistakes commonly made by employers which can easily be avoided.  Quite possibly the biggest hiring mistake that can be made is hiring the wrong person. There are tremendous costs associated with hiring the wrong candidate: for example, advertising costs, interview costs, background and drug screening costs, training costs, and probably a negative affect on morale for your other employees. Generally it’s less expensive to continue your search for the ideal candidate rather than settling on the wrong one and terminating the bad hire. Continue reading

Can Employees Be Paid Salary to Avoid Paid Overtime? Understanding the FLSA Exemptions

usdol_seal_circa_2015_svgCan Employees Be Paid Salary to Avoid Paying Overtime?

This is a common question employers have – and not understanding the rules regarding exempt and non-exempt status, established by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), can land employers in hot water if employees are misclassified.

With the impending changes to the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees (Read more about that here!), this is a great opportunity for employers to review all current exempt and salary employees to make sure they are properly classified.

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