Michigan Employers: New Paid Sick Leave Law

Michigan has recently joined other states in passing legislature that would require employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees beginning in March 2019.

The paid sick leave law and the new minimum wage law (read more about that here!) were passed with the intention of amending them after the general election in November 2018.  Both were to appear on the ballot this November but now will not as they have already been signed into law. By passing them as laws prior to the hammer-485712_1920election, Congress is now only required a majority vote to amend the laws rather than a vote of three fourths if the initiatives had been passed on the ballots in November.

As the law stands in September 2018 (subject to any future amendments), all employers in Michigan would be required to provide paid sick leave to all employees (full time, part time, temporary, etc). Employees must accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work performed. Continue reading

Employee Paid Time Off Donation Program

Let’s discuss a situation that’s somewhat common among employers.  You have an employee, Sharon, who has used all of her allowed paid time off (vacation, personal, sick, etc.) for the year. Sharon’s mother falls ill with a serious medical condition and Sharon needs to take additional time off work to help care for her mother, but she doesn’t have any paid time off available. Sharon’s coworker, Kim, has a lot of accrued paid time off with no vacation plans so she asks you if she can donate some of her available paid time off balance to Sharon to be able to use during her absence so that Sharon doesn’t have to take unpaid time off work to care for her mother. Can you allow Kim to donate her paid time off to Sharon?

You can. But it’s not that simple.

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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

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