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:
    Use this calculator to determine and understand the impact of the new salary threshold for OT exemptions and to calculate the impact of the proposed salary threshold for highly compensated employees (HCEs).
  • HR Checklists:
    This sample HR Bonus Payments checklist, “Bonuses Checklist,” can be used to audit compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Bonus Payments sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Bonus Payments checklist, “Incentive Compensation Checklist,” can be used to audit compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Bonus Payments sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Compensation Administration checklist, “Federal Laws on Compensation Checklist,” can be used to audit compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Compensation Administration sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) checklist, “Employee Classification Checklist,” can be used to audit compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) checklist, “FLSA Exemption Checklist,” can be used to audit compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) 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: 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: Learned Professionals,” can be used to audit compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Exempt Personnel sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • HR Guidance:
    This free compliance briefing will help you gain insight on practical approaches to this workplace challenge.
  • Does the state have requirements on family and medical leave that differ from federal law? Find out using this state-by-state comparison.
  • Does the state have requirements on family and medical leave that differ from federal law? Find out using this state-by-state comparison chart.

    View this chart in HTML.

    This chart covers state specific laws. For local ordinances, please visit the topic analysis page on Leave of Absence (FMLA).

  • HR Letters:
    This sample HR Salaried Employee letter, “Change from Non-exempt to Exempt,” can be used in the workplace to address compensation issues. Download this Salaried Employee sample letter to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Compensation Administration letter, “Explanation of Salary Decrease,” can be used in the workplace to address compensation issues. Download this Compensation Administration sample letter to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample Exempt/Non-Exempt letter, “Promotion with Salary Increase (Nonexempt to Exempt),” can be used in the workplace to address compensation issues. Download this Compensation Administration sample letter to your computer or print it out.
  • HR News:
    When an employer learns that an employee's absence might qualify for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, it is required to give him certain notifications. If the employee denies receiving the notifications, the employer must have a way of proving they were given to him.
  • On March 1, 2016, the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided that time spent by employees putting on and taking off company-required clothing to comply with federal regulations is compensable time for which they must be paid. The case provides guidance and an opportunity to audit your pay practices to ensure you are complying with federal and state wage and hour law.
  • After analyzing the job posting activity of over 40,000 companies in its database, FlexJobs has identified the top 10 states where companies recruited the most state-based telecommuters in 2015.
  • During training on disability issues, supervisors and managers need to understand that employers often are required to provide an accommodation to an employee who requests one. However, as a recent case demonstrates, there are exceptions.
  • As college students across the country get ready for summer internships, CollegeGrad.com, a job site for entry level work, has compiled a list of the top intern employers for 2016.
  • By Kate McGovern Tornone

    In its new overtime regulations, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has more than doubled its salary threshold for the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA's) white-collar overtime exemptions. This causes a rare circumstance in which federal law provides employees with more protections than California law.

  • By Kate McGovern Tornone

    The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has announced that it backs legislation that would prohibit the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from enforcing its new overtime regulations.

  • By Kristine Mullen, segment vice president of Wellness, Humana

    Five ways companies can motivate employees to take control of their health and make wellness a core value of their organization.

  • ManpowerGroup's Right Management has released a new report that shows existing methods of identifying and developing leaders are failing, creating a gap between traditional ideas of leadership effectiveness and what it actually takes to drive sustained business performance.
  • Employees find 401(k)s and similar group retirement plans are found to be the most difficult benefits to understand, followed by health insurance and HSA/FSAs, according to a new financial wellness survey released by Four Seasons Financial Education (FSFE).
  • Does your organization use independent contractors or other workers labeled “owners” or “partners” who aren’t considered employees? If so, a recent decision by a federal court judge in Chicago that shows the danger in misclassifying employees may give you indigestion.
  • This article series highlights the requirements for determining Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)eligibility. The last installment focused on what employers need to do to stay complaint. Another twist in the FMLA family care determination occurs when an employee requests leave to care for an adult child.
  • The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' (OFCCP’s) recent changes to outreach and recruitment requirements for protected veterans (PVs) and individuals with disabilities (IWDs) have challenged federal contractors not only to bolster their efforts but also to more thoroughly document outreach and recruitment and use mandated metrics to evaluate those efforts as part of an annual affirmative action program. So, is it working?

  • A recent decision by an Ohio court of appeals serves as a reminder that employee handbooks can create a contract with regard to certain terms of employment, including the employee's rate of pay, unless the handbook includes the appropriate disclaimer language.
  • Job rotation programs can be a win-win for employees and an organization, says hr.blr.com. Having a plan in place will help defend an organization against disruptive changes such as employee turnover, and it can also help current staff members by giving them the opportunity to develop new skills through cross-training.
  • A federal district court in Pennsylvania recently heard a claim in which a supervisor's discriminatory animus did not protect an employee from termination because the discharge decision was based on an independent investigation. Was the employer still held liable?
  • By Liz Dickinson, founder and CEO of Mio Global

    With the demand for fitness wearables soaring, many corporations have introduced them into employee wellness programs in hopes that their employees will live more active lifestyles. However, employees are getting pretty creative with ways to cheat the system. It turns out, heart rate is the key in determining the body’s response to physical activity.

  • Join us on June 7 when presenter Patti Anklam, principal consultant of Net Work, will explain how you can use ONA to increase your company’s success. You’ll learn how to identify goals and how they map to the HR strategy, through the identification of target employee groups to participate in the analysis and the means by which the data is collected. As a preview, Anklam has supplied some frequently asked questions—and answers—to this HR topic.
  • The federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) became law and took effect with President Obama’s signature on May 11, 2016. The law is intended to provide some uniformity and predictability to businesses’ protection of their valuable trade secrets; however, companies that wish to take full advantage of the law’s new protections have some policy actions to take, first.

  • Resolving a split among the circuit courts, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (7-1) that, in a constructive discharge claim, the statute of limitations period isn’t triggered until the employee resigns (Green v. Brennan, No. 14-613 (5/23/16)).

  • Good news if you have employees who travel: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHR) is working on improving diagnostic tests for the Zika virus by supporting the collection of blood samples from people in the continental United States and Puerto Rico who have been infected with Zika.
  • In California, an employee who wins a lawsuit against her employer for nonpayment of overtime compensation is entitled to recover reasonable attorneys' fees. An employer that successfully defends against such a claim, however, is not. If an employer were able to recover its attorneys' fees incurred in defending against an overtime claim, employees would be chilled from filing otherwise valid overtime claims.
  • "Prevailing wages" are the premium wage rates paid to employees who perform labor on a "public" project, often a construction or highway project. Employers in the construction trade know all too well that the failure to pay the correct prevailing wage can have dire consequences, regardless of whether it's intentional or unintentional. The Appellate Division, 3rd Department, recently reaffirmed the need for employers that perform public project work to understand and pay prevailing wages.
  • Since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was amended in 2008, the focus of ADA compliance has shifted from whether an employee has a disability (because everything now qualifies as one) to whether an employee's disability can be reasonably accommodated. Here, we look at a case in which an employee refused to engage in the interactive process and then sued her employer for failing to accommodate her disability.
  • The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals—which covers Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia—recently decided a case that had a little bit of everything, including disability and workers' compensation issues. There is an extensive factual background that helps us better understand why the court reached its decision. See how the court handled the multiple issues raised on appeal.
  • In Revenue Procedure 2016-28, the IRS recently announced the 2017 contribution limits for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
  • By Steve L. Adams, CEO of Navera

    Driven by the needs of today’s tech savvy, multigenerational, and geographically distributed workforce, organizations and their HR professionals are looking for new ways to get employees the information they need—how they want it, when they want it, and where they want it.
  • According to a new survey report from EY, only 20% of life sciences companies have formal programs that develop women's careers. Also, 73% of life sciences executives admit that drastic changes are needed to create a diverse workforce.
  • According to a CareerBuilder survey, 60% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up from 52% last year, and 11% in 2006. Also, more than a quarter of employers have found content online that has caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.
  • The federal trial court in Aberdeen, Mississippi recently addressed an employee's Equal Pay Act (EPA) claim. The Act requires that all employees who perform equal work receive equal pay unless a pay differential is justified by a factor other than sex. Although the employer provided reasons for the pay disparity that were unrelated to sex, the court held that the employee's claim should be heard by a jury. The case is worth a close look.
  • Internships help students gain valuable work experience and open employment doors that might otherwise stay shut. At the same time, internships give employers an opportunity to train workers for future careers—often within their own organization.
  • Marking World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28, 2016, General Guy Ryder, director of the United Nations’ International Labour Organization, outlined the findings of its latest research on the impact of stress in the workplace worldwide and declared, "Workplace stress—it’s time to lift the burden."
  • A truck driver's livelihood depends on his driving—and whether he is able to be covered by insurance. After a truck driver lost his insurance coverage over an off-duty incident, his employer's insurance carrier cut ties with his employer, making him unemployable.
  • The Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized major changes to the overtime regulations for the first time in 10 years. In this slideshow, BLR Legal Editor Susan Prince provides employers with what they need to know about the final overtime regulations.
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take unpaid job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons. The FMLA also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the Act. But employees have certain obligations to meet before being allowed to take FMLA leave. Here we highlight two key obligations that prevented one employee from keeping his eye on the FMLA prize.
  • A new study surveyed 9,000 “knowledge workers,” whose job is to “think for a living,” about their current and future attitudes and expectations in their working lives. The respondents, who also have access to technology as part of their day-to-day jobs, indicated that when it comes to work teams, virtual is the new reality—and the workers endorse this concept.
  • The federal Department of Labor (DOL) is releasing the final changes to the overtime regulations. The most prominent change is the increase in the salary level required for exemption from overtime to an annual salary of $47,476. This translates to a weekly salary of $913.

  • This article series highlights the requirements for determining Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) eligibility. The last installment focused on the new definition of spouse under the FMLA. Now we'll look at documenting family relationships and its impact on the FMLA.

  • In a recent information collection request for renewing and revising the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) scheduling letter and itemized listing, the OFCCP stated what it believes are accurate estimates of the time required to develop, update, and maintain an affirmative action plan (AAP).
  • To stay relevant these days, your company must innovate or die. For many leaders, scarier words have never been spoken. But it might take the pressure off to realize the I-word doesn't necessarily mean what you think.
  • Health insurance premium renewal rates increased an average of 6.2% for all plans in 2015, up from the previous year’s 5.6% increase, according to new survey data released by United Benefit Advisors (UBA), an independent employee benefits advisory organization.
  • Misconceptions about wage garnishments continue to percolate, leading to confusion about how to manage them to remain compliant with existing laws and regulations. ADP has compiled the five myths surrounding wage garnishments—and the facts to debunk them.

  • The EEOC has issued a final rule on employer-sponsored wellness programs in relation to the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The GINA wellness rule provides guidance for employers that offer incentives to an employee for information from the employee’s spouse about a manifested disease or disorder.
  • Do your employee dress and appearance codes or policies discriminate on the basis of religion, national origin, or other protected status? In this epsisode of HR Works, Attorney Usama Kahf of Fisher & Phillips joins us to provide best practices and avoid potential lawsuits.
  • By Joanne Wells, Manager, Learning Center of Excellence, Halogen Software

    With looming retirements and the increasing propensity of talented employees to change organizations, the need for succession planning best practices to build a strong and flexible talent bench has never been greater.
  • An employee who takes leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is generally entitled to be reinstated to her former job, or a substantially equivalent position, upon the expiration of her leave. However, should an employee be entitled to reinstatement simply because she was on FMLA leave if she wouldn't otherwise be eligible to return to her job, due to misconduct? The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals—which covers Alabama, Florida, and Georgia—has the answer.
  • A business that purchases the assets of another entity is often concerned about whether it will be held liable for the seller's debts, including any claims involving employees. In a recent case, Maryland's Court of Special Appeals examined the standard to be applied in determining whether such liability will be imposed. Let's take a closer look at this interesting case.

  • Starting in 2016, The Federally-Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) will notify certain employers whose employees enrolled in health insurance marketplace coverage with advance premium tax credits (APTC). The FFM will send notices to employers if the employee received APTC for at least 1 month in 2016 and if the FFM has an address for the employer. The program will expand to additional employers in 2017 and beyond.

  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued final wellness rules regarding incentives employers may use to encourage employee participation in wellness programs in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
  • The Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights recently reached a $2.2 million settlement with New York Presbyterian Hospital for the egregious disclosure of two patients’ protected health information to film crews and staff during the filming of “NY Med,” an ABC television series, without first obtaining authorization from the patients.
  • A California Court of Appeal has found that an employer may be liable under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for failing to accommodate a nondisabled employee's request to modify his work schedule to care for a disabled family member. The court's interpretation of the FEHA creates significant new obligations for California employers.
  • Employees are working harder, but not smarter, according to new research from The Smith Institute, a think tank based in the United Kingdom.
  • Good news for nonprofit organizations! According to the ninth annual Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, released by Nonprofit HR, this year indicates the nonprofit sector is continuing to project job growth, while the private sector remains stagnant.
  • The Michigan Supreme Court recently explained what constitutes protected activity under the Michigan Whistleblowers' Protection Act (WPA). In a bit of a twist, there is a difference between the conduct that actually occurred, the conduct the employee thought occurred, and the conduct the employee reported.
  • Business leaders view inclusiveness and diversity as critical to attracting and retaining top talent and are very committed to creating inclusive cultures in their firms, according to a new study from the University of North Carolina (UNC) Kenan-Flagler Business School.
  • So-called “transformational leaders” who pressure their reports to “tough it out” and come to work when they're sick may actually harm their employees’ health over time, according to new research.

  • For the past several months, court-watchers have been waiting for the Supremes to resolve a split among the circuits on the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. Today, the court released its long-awaited opinion—without ruling on the merits of the case.
  • By Matt Cullina, CEO of IDT911

    HR’s efforts to maintain an efficient workforce are often challenged when an employee is impacted by identity theft or fraud. Fortunately, a combination of strategies can help HR teams mitigate the damage felt by identity theft victims and ensure the company’s productivity remains high.
  • HR Policies:
    This sample HR Overtime policy, “Overtime,” can be used in an employee handbook or as a standalone policy addressing compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Overtime sample policy to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Bonus Payments policy, “Bonus Payments,” can be used in an employee handbook or as a standalone policy addressing compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Bonus Payments sample policy to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Hours of Work policy, “Hours of Work,” can be used in an employee handbook or as a standalone policy addressing compensation issues in the workplace. Download this Hours of Work sample policy to your computer or print it out.
  • HR PowerPoints:
    Making sure that all employees receive basic emergency response training is a critical part of disaster planning. When employees know how to respond quickly and effectively in a workplace emergency, lives can be saved, injuries are reduced, and property damage can be minimized. Use this Disaster Planning--What Employees Need to Know PowerPoint presentation to train your workers on emergencies.
  • HR Speaker's Notes:
    Making sure that all employees receive basic emergency response training is a critical part of disaster planning. When employees know how to respond quickly and effectively in a workplace emergency, lives can be saved, injuries are reduced, and property damage can be minimized. Use these Disaster Planning--What Employees Need to Know speaker's notes to train your workers on emergencies.
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