What's New on HR.BLR.com
HR.BLR.com's What's New page is where you will find all of the most recent content added and updated to the site in the last 14 days. See the latest news, updated topic analysis, training sessions, and more.
HR Regulatory Analysis
We are continually updating our state and national regulatory analysis to help you keep up with the changing regulations. See the updated section on the What's New page, below, to find all of the updated topics.
New Documents
  • HR Calculators:
    Turnover is an important metric for human resource professionals. Tracking turnover helps provides information that can be used to address issues before key employees leave the organization.
  • HR Checklists:
    This sample HR Exempt Personnel checklist, “FLSA Audit Checklist: Administrative Exemption,” can be used to audit compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Exempt Personnel sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Exempt Personnel checklist, “FLSA Audit Checklist: Computer Professional Exemption,” can be used to audit compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Exempt Personnel sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Exempt Personnel checklist, “FLSA Audit Checklist:Creative Professional Exemption,” can be used to audit compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Exempt Personnel sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Exempt Personnel checklist, “FLSA Audit Checklist: Executive Exemption,” can be used to audit compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Exempt Personnel sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Exempt Personnel checklist, “FLSA Audit Checklist: Learned Professional Exemption,” can be used to audit compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Exempt Personnel sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Exempt Personnel checklist, “FLSA Audit Checklist: Highly Compensated Employee Exemption,” can be used to audit compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Exempt Personnel sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • HR Handouts:
    This training session should help participants realize that the reason an employee is terminated impacts his or her ability to collect unemployment compensation and understand that the rate a company pays to its state unemployment fund is based in large part on the number of former employees who have collected unemployment benefits. Use this Termination and Unemployment Compensation handout to train your workers on termination.
  • This training session should help participants understand when and how to pay employees who work overtime. Use this Overtime Pay handout to train your workers on overtime.
  • This training session should help participants learn the importance of measuring employees’ performance against their job descriptions and understand why job descriptions should periodically be reviewed and updated. Use this Job Descriptions and Performance Management handout to train your workers on performance management.
  • This training session should help participants understand the overtime requirements of federal law, know which employees are entitled to overtime and which are not and be able to calculate and administer overtime pay correctly. Use this Federal Overtime Requirements handout to train your workers on overtime.
  • HR News:
    By Gwen Cofield

    In an unpublished opinion, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals—which covers Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—affirmed a lower court’s rejection of the ERISA claims brought by a same-sex spouse who said he had ERISA beneficiary status despite never being added to a group health plan while his husband was actively employed.

  • In a recent decision in which it analyzed a hostile work environment claim, the federal court in Hattiesburg, Mississippi recognized that the objectionable conduct must be based on a protected characteristic in order to constitute illegal harassment. The court's opinion is worth a look.
  • Do you think more about what your organization can teach college interns than about what you can learn from them? If so, you might be missing out on a valuable learning opportunity.
  • Employers are increasingly offering paid time off for adoptions, according to a new report from consulting group Mercer. The benefit is likely an attempt to meet the needs of a workforce in which the definition of “family” now includes same-sex parents, the firm said.
  • By Lisa Johnson, global practice leader for consulting services, Crown World Mobility

    Recent events are driving many companies to rethink and update their duty of care policies and strategies. Two areas are having the most impact—geopolitical instability and technology developments.

  • The high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) associated with health savings accounts (HSAs) may be leading lower-income employees to avoid certain healthcare services, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) warned.
  • Every employer covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is required to post an FMLA general notice explaining the FMLA’s provisions and providing information regarding the procedures for filing complaints of FMLA violations to U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL’s) Wage and Hour Division (WHD). On top of posting the general notice, employers are also responsible for making available the following DOL forms and notices.
  • By Galina Datskovsky, CEO of Vaporstream

    During recruitment, secure communications protect both the recruiter and the potential new hire. This especially rings true when HR teams are recruiting individuals that are employed at competitor companies. Recruiters need to keep the conversation with these candidates confidential, either because the potential new hire simply does not want their current employer to know about it, or there is a noncompete in place.

  • Twenty-one states and several employer interest groups filed lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) September 20, alleging that the agency’s new overtime regulations exceed its authority.

  • As IT roles continue to rank among the most difficult to fill globally, U.S. employers are increasingly exploring hybrid workforce solutions by including more contractors and freelancers—just 41% say they rely solely on permanent staff. This is according to a survey of senior IT managers across 10 countries, conducted by Experis, the professional resourcing and project-based solutions arm of ManpowerGroup. U.S. employers lag behind global competitors in their overall use of contractors, but many plan increases.
  • Federal contractors and subcontractors must pay their employees at least $10.20 per hour beginning January 1, an increase of 5 cents over the 2016 wage.
  • A group of small business owners has asked the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to delay the effective date of the new overtime regulations by 6 months.

  • To get some perspective and some practical tips on creating a great digital culture, we’ve asked Miranda Nicholson to join us on HR Works: The Podcast for HR Professionals to share the expertise she's gained in 6 years of working with remote workers.
  • By Chip Newton and Lisa Disselkamp, Deloitte Consulting LLP

    Let’s take a look at some overlooked employer issues, their root cause, and how an insightful analytics product exposes the “why and how” and changes the ways employers manage, employees engage, and operations are improved.

  • The inaugural 2016 Xerox HR Services Financial Wellbeing & Voluntary Benefits Survey found that two-thirds of companies are integrating more voluntary benefits to supplement core benefits packages to promote financial wellbeing.
  • The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) will pay retirement benefits to more than 900 current and future retirees of Vertellus Specialties Inc., a manufacturer of specialty chemicals based in Indianapolis, Indiana that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year.
  • Agricultural and domestic workers in California have won new overtime rights under state law.

  • New study uncovers Generation Z and Millennial preferences for offices and in-person meetings, with "communication" identified as the #1 most desired leadership trait.
  • Newly released 2017 Salary Guides from Robert Half show that national average starting salaries for U.S. professional occupations are expected to increase 3.6% next year.
  • According to a new survey, payroll managers' satisfaction with their company's current payroll solutions remains steady, but they want more time, cost savings, easy integrations, and feature upgrades.
  • The 8th Circuit—which covers Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota—recently affirmed a district court's dismissal of an assembly-line worker's claims of race, gender, and age discrimination. Let's look at the details of the story to find out why.
  • Prior to 2014, there were only 4 paid sick leave laws in effect nationwide. That number has grown in the past 2 years to about two dozen laws, covering several states, cities, and counties.  The infographic below provides a broader picture of which states, cities, and counties offer paid sick leave laws.
  • By John Husband, Holland & Hart LLP

    The recently enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) changes the landscape for companies seeking to sue for the misappropriation of trade secrets. Misappropriation claims often arise when employees move to a competitor and take proprietary information with them. Here are some essential questions and answers on the DTSA to help guide trade secret owners when protecting their confidential information in court.

  • Federal lawmakers introduced a bill September 14 that would prohibit all employers from asking about a job applicant’s salary history.
  • By John Ristuccia, vice president, Professional Services, Optymyze

    An incentive compensation plan, in which salespeople are compensated based on their ability to meet established performance goals, is key to building an engaged sales force aligned with the overall goals of the organization. Done well, these plans are highly effective, in terms of driving positive selling behaviors as well as being a critical differentiator in attracting top sales talent and retaining top performers.

  • A new Staples Business Advantage 2016 Workplace Index reveals generational preferences in the office and how employers can improve happiness and productivity.
  • A new study released by MentalHelp.net, "Depression Among Demographics and Professions," features data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to show the prevalence of depression across various demographics. The study focused on reported depression among industries, states, and other lifestyle factors such as overall health, poverty level, and education, to help gain further insight into the permeating effects of depression.

  • The Arizona Employment Protection Act establishes a presumption of at-will employment. Employers should carefully review their policies to ensure they don't conflict with the presumption. For example, does a progressive discipline policy override an express at-will-employment policy? It's possible if the policies aren't properly written.
  • Some employers do not provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities when they should, while others, such as the university in a recent case, get it right in the eyes of the court. During training, ensure supervisors and managers understand their role in addressing accommodation requests.
  • A recent judgment offers a lesson in responding to discrimination claims. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an employer has been ordered to pay $37,500 in damages for filing suit against an employee because she filed an equal pay charge.
  • According to a new survey from Express Employment Professionals, many companies still struggle to offer competitive wages and may not be growing fast enough to offer upward advancement—which is causing applicants to turn down open positions and employees to leave.
  • Help is here for employees who miss their retirement rollover windows. The Internal Revenue Service is providing a new self-certification procedure designed to help recipients of retirement plan distributions who inadvertently miss the 60-day time limit for properly rolling these amounts into another retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA).
  • By Jim McCoy, vice president of ManpowerGroup Solutions

    With employee churn becoming increasingly costly for companies, it is more important than ever for employers to step up their efforts to reduce turnover by improving retention efforts and recruitment processes. Here are nine recommendations that can help.

  • By Bruce Tulgan

    Every day, I bust the myths about Millennials and teach leaders and managers my real-world strategies and tactics for effectively managing them. Nonetheless, we are fighting against a very strong tide of bad management advice.

  • Any program or law designed to help someone is virtually guaranteed to be abused, and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is no exception. You’d think the fact that FMLA leave is unpaid would cut down on abuse, but there still are people who will try to play the FMLA system to protect their job and benefits, delay being fired (they hope), or for countless other reasons.
  • Join us on September 22 when our presenter, attorney Susan Fentin of Skoler, Abbott, & Presser, will provide practical and comprehensive tips for creating written employment documentation on performance, conduct, and disciplinary issues in a way that’s objective and—most importantly—legally defensible. As a preview, Fentin has supplied some frequently asked questions—and answers—to this HR topic.
  • By Gwen Cofield

    A former employee filed a lawsuit against its employer, a public university, under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code, alleging that she did not receive her COBRA election notice. The lawsuit was filed nearly 4 years after the former employee’s termination, but she asserted that any statute of limitations should be tolled because she did not learn of the university’s failure to send the notice until a deposition in a wrongful termination lawsuit that occurred 3 years after the termination.

  • A recent decision by the Appellate Division, 4th Department, reaffirmed the importance of following up on an employee's reports of sexual harassment.
  • By David W. Jones, CCP, principal and director, Matthews Young—Management Consulting

    Many in the HR community have no problem with the reasoning behind the 2016 overtime changes. However, most are only acutely aware of the financial and employee relations issues raised by this new regulation. While we’re all working on tactics to address the cost issue, there are a number of broader HR issues that deserve careful attention. Here is just one example of a potential dilemma and thoughts on how to deal with it.

  • It’s an easy scenario to imagine: an employee goes out on leave and, when another employee takes on his work, she discovers performance deficiencies and maybe even misconduct. Is the employee’s job protected just because he is out on “job-protected” leave?

  • By Erica Feld, content marketing manager at Crowded.com

    The on-demand economy is a buzz-worthy topic across the U.S. right now! To understand the benefits of hiring on-demand workers, one must first get used to the idea that the old standards of recruiting full-time, 40-hour-a-week workers, are changing and they are changing fast. The following are benefits of recruiting on-demand workers.

  • An employer’s attendance policy violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because it was too rigid, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has alleged in a lawsuit.
  • You have spent weeks agonizing over the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime rule, ultimately determining that you will need to move a number of employees from exempt to nonexempt status to remain complaint. Feeling good about your work, you kick back to enjoy your newfound leisure time, only to wonder: "How does the change in FLSA status for these employees affect their FMLA leave usage rights?"
  • By Ryan M. Frischmann

    It’s important to understand how skills are the language for talking about learning because skills describe learning laterally across subjects and disciplines and vertically across career stages.

  • In the following case, the court examined whether employees who worked for a California state agency that owned and operated the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego were exempt from California and federal overtime laws.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently settled a religious discrimination lawsuit it brought against a North Carolina employer that allegedly fired an employee who refused to work on a Saturday because of his religious beliefs.

  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a new guidance on its most frequently received charge, retaliation. It also took the opportunity to reaffirm its position that federal law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

  • Leading benefits attorney John Hickman will provide a walk-through of the new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) wellness requirements (and other trending benefits topics) in his presentation at the 2016 Advanced Employment Issues Symposium (AEIS). The following Q&A provides a preview of that discussion.
  • By Emily Liddle, HR strategy and transformation lead, North America, Presence of IT

    Rolling out new systems and software was traditionally IT’s job. Moving to the cloud changes all of that. So how can you prepare for a new Human Capital Management (HCM) cloud deployment, one where HR is the lead, and will have responsibility for its ongoing support and maintenance?

  • The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals— which covers Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota—recently ruled that it was permissible for an Arkansas employer to dismiss an employee based on her political affiliation.
  • A new Aon Hewitt survey finds employers need to offer top-notch benefits and unique workplace experiences to retain top talent.
  • HR Quizzes:
    This training session should help participants understand the overtime requirements of federal law, know which employees are entitled to overtime and which are not and be able to calculate and administer overtime pay correctly. Use this Federal Overtime Requirements quiz to train your workers on overtime.
  • This training session should help participants understand when and how to pay employees who work overtime. Use this Overtime Pay quiz to train your workers on overtime.
  • This training session should help participants learn the importance of measuring employees’ performance against their job descriptions and understand why job descriptions should periodically be reviewed and updated. Use this Job Descriptions and Performance Management quiz to train your workers on performance management.
  • This training session should help participants realize that the reason an employee is terminated impacts his or her ability to collect unemployment compensation and understand that the rate a company pays to its state unemployment fund is based in large part on the number of former employees who have collected unemployment benefits. Use this Termination and Unemployment Compensation quiz to train your workers on termination.
  • HR Training Talks:
    This training session should help participants realize that the reason an employee is terminated impacts his or her ability to collect unemployment compensation and understand that the rate a company pays to its state unemployment fund is based in large part on the number of former employees who have collected unemployment benefits. Use this Termination and Unemployment Compensation Training Talk to train your workers on termination.
  • This training session should help participants learn the importance of measuring employees’ performance against their job descriptions and understand why job descriptions should periodically be reviewed and updated. Use this Job Descriptions and Performance Management Training Talk to train your workers on performance management.
  • This training session should help participants understand when and how to pay employees who work overtime. Use this Overtime Pay Training Talk to train your workers on overtime.
  • This training session should help participants understand the overtime requirements of federal law, know which employees are entitled to overtime and which are not and be able to calculate and administer overtime pay correctly. Use this Federal Overtime Requirements training talk to train your workers on overtime.
Updated Documents
Questions & Answers
• Employees who earn a salary between the state and federal thresholds potentially could be classified as exempt under California law and nonexempt under the FLSA until the state and federal thresholds become the same on January 1, 2017.
• Employees who earn a salary between the state and federal thresholds—for 2017, that’s between $43,680 in California and $47,476 federally—potentially could be classified as exempt under California law and nonexempt under the FLSA until the state threshold becomes higher than the federal in 2019.
• Employees who earn a salary between the state and federal thresholds—for 2017 the state salary threshold will be higher—potentially could be classified as exempt under federal law and nonexempt under the California until the federal threshold becomes higher than the state threshold.
 HR Strange But True
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