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5 Important Topics You Might Have Missed from the 2014 Triad Employment Law Update

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

2014 TELU Flash ImageMore than 170 people attended CAI’s annual Triad Employment Law Update on Friday, November 14. Held at the beautiful Grandover Resort in Greensboro, the conference informed participants on the most recent updates in state and federal employment law. Knowledgeable attorneys from Constangy, Brooks and Smith, LLP, as well as compliance experts from CAI, shared information on several employment law topics, such as DOMA, health care reform, I-9 and E-verify compliance and FLSA.

Below are five important topics that speakers highlighted at this year’s conference:

I-9s Made Easy

  • I-9s must be completed by employees no later than the first day of work and completed by the employer no later than the third day of the new hire’s employment.
  • Retain I-9s for the longer of three years or one year after an employee’s termination.
  • Office of Special Counsel of the US Justice Department investigates I-9 complaints of over-documenting an I-9, asking for a particular document, not accepting a valid document and requiring a document when one is not needed.

Practical Tips for Complying with Health Care Reform

  • Determination of “full-time” – employees must be treated as full-time in the following “stability period” if the employee averages 30 hours during the measurement period.
    • Stability period must last for at least six months and be the same for new employees and on-going employees.
  • Carefully consider the best measurement and stability periods to minimize costs.
  • Track hours to confirm that individuals are properly classified.

Correcting FLSA Mistakes

  • Meal breaks must be continuous and uninterrupted. If not, you must pay employees for that time.
    • Tips – Don’t let employees take lunch at their work stations, train supervisors to respect lunch, and if you use automatic meal break deductions, have a procedure in place for exceptions.
  • You must pay employees for preliminary and postliminary work that is indispensible to their principal work activities. For example, time spent logging into the computer system and shutting it down at the end of the day is likely compensable.
    • Tips – allow employees to clock in when they arrive at their work stations. If your clock in system is run through a computer system, either leave the computer on or add a set number of minutes to the time each day, and have a procedure for exceptions.

Avoid Discrimination with Unique Employees

  • Public image policies should not be based upon discriminatory preferences of clients. Be sure to avoid improper stereotypes, and if you have a questionable policy, ask yourself if you’re willing to defend it in court.

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Same-Sex Marriage

  • In 2012 North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment saying marriage is between one man and one woman. In 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States declared that amendment unconstitutional under Section 2 of DOMA.
  • Same-sex spouses will be entitled to all spousal benefits if they married in NC after October 10, 2014.
  • Same-sex spouses will be entitled to all spousal benefits if they were validly married in another state before moving to NC.
  • Same-sex spouses will not be entitled to spousal benefits if they were “married” in a state that doesn’t recognize it, but they can always remarry in NC.

For further assistance on staying compliant with state and federal employment laws, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Survey Reveals Majority of Employers in Favor of Raising the Minimum Wage

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

minimum wageRaising the minimum wage is one of the country’s top socioeconomic and political issues. Voters at large have shown support for minimum wage increases according to recent polls. A new survey from CareerBuilder indicates that many businesses are also in support of raising the minimum wage.

The survey reveals that 62 percent of employers who participated think the minimum wage in their state should increase. Fifty-eight percent of those participants are senior leaders at their companies.  Harris Poll conducted the survey on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 13 to June 6 of 2014. The survey includes a sample of 2,188 full-time hiring and human resource managers and 3,372 full-time workers in the private sector across industries and company sizes.

When asked what a fair minimum wage would look like, only 7 percent of participants think a minimum wage of $15 per hour or more would be fair. Check out how the other participants answered:

  • $7.25 per hour (current federal minimum): 8 percent
  • $8.00 or $9.00 per hour: 29 percent
  • $10.00 per hour: 29 percent
  • $11.00-$14.00 per hour: 19 percent
  • $15.00 or more per hour: 7 percent
  • No set minimum wage: 9 percent

When asked why the minimum wage should increase, employers in favor of an increase gave business-related reasons for the support. A majority of the supporters say a higher minimum wage helps the economy and company retention. Additional reasons are below:

  • It can improve the standard of living: 74 percent
  • It can have a positive effect on employee retention: 58 percent
  • It can help bolster economy: 55 percent
  • It can increase consumer spending: 53 percent
  • Employees may be more productive/deliver higher quality work: 48 percent
  • It can afford workers the opportunity to pursue more training or education: 39 percent

The employers who do not support an increase highlight the negative effects an increase may have on their business. See below for those reasons:

  • It can cause employers to hire less people: 66 percent
  • It can cause issues for small businesses struggling to get by: 65 percent
  • It can cause hikes in prices to offset labor costs: 62 percent
  • It can mean potential layoffs: 50 percent
  • It can lead to increased use of automation as a replacement for workers: 32 percent
  • Wages for higher-level workers may suffer and create retention issues: 29 percent

The survey showed that 27 percent of employers are hiring minimum wage workers in 2015. Forty-five percent of these employers are hiring more minimum wage workers than they did pre-recession.

An interesting statistic the study uncovered is that companies currently hiring for minimum wage positions are more likely to support a minimum wage increase than those who are not by an 11-point margin– 70 percent versus  59 percent.

Photo Source: Maryland GovPics

 

 

 

 

4 Wickedly Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Employees

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Halloween in the officeSummer has faded away and now employees are welcoming fall!

With summer vacations behind them and their kids back in school, many employees start operating in serious work mode during this season. Keep their productivity high by helping them insert some fun and staff bonding throughout their work weeks. Halloween is a great holiday that encourages everyone to loosen up and enjoy spending time with coworkers and managers.

Try these four Halloween-themed activities at your organization to engage your employees during this fun and exciting time of year:

Have a pumpkin carving contest. Whether you carve them together at work or invite staffers to bring in their creations from home, a pumpkin carving contest is a creative and fun activity for all. Let team members vote on the best pumpkin in the office. You can give the winner a bucket of sweet treats or a gift card if you’re looking for healthier prize options.

Decorate the office to create a fun and spooky environment. Make the fun of Halloween last all of October by decorating your company’s building in fun and appropriate Halloween adornments. Filling dishes with candy corn, hanging purple and orange lights and placing cobwebs in office corners are just a few ideas. Use this opportunity as a bonding experience for your staff. Have fun and keep the atmosphere low key.

Throw a Halloween-themed employee appreciation party. Telling your employees how much you appreciate their contributions to you organization will never get old to them. Take advantage of this time of year and coordinate a fun, Halloween-themed party for your staff.

Treat your team to pumpkin spice lattes. Pumpkin flavor is back, and who can resist the ultimate taste of fall! Venture to Starbucks or another favorite coffee shop to pick up warm fall beverages for your team. The nice and simple gesture will help them feel appreciated and kick start their day in the most positive way.

The key is to have fun and make sure your employees feel appreciated for all their hard work throughout the year. For additional advice on employee engagement activities, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 326-668-7746.

Photo Source: Amelia Extra

2014 NC Policies & Benefits Survey Reveals Total Rewards Practices of NC Employers

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

survey dataDuring last month’s Compensation and Benefits Conference, Molly Hegeman, CAI’s Vice President of HR Services, shared information on what NC employers are doing in regard to their total rewards packages. Her presentation included statistics from the 2014 NC Policies & Benefits Survey. The only local survey of its kind shares employers’ answers to 320 questions related to workplace policies and employee benefits practices.

This year’s survey had participation from 384 employers located throughout North Carolina. Forty-four percent of participants are located in the Research Triangle region, 25 percent are in the Charlotte area and 17 percent are located in the Piedmont/Triad region with the remaining participants in the East/Southeast region.

Some key findings from the survey revolving around health and welfare benefits include:

  • Nearly all employers provide medical insurance to their employees. About 78 percent of employers offer a traditional PPO plan, about 27 percent offer a consumer driven HAS plan.
  • Regarding employer contribution to the insurance premium, on average, employers pay 80 percent of the premium for employee only PPO coverage and 55 percent of the premium for family PPO coverage for full-time employees.
  • About 71 percent of employers do not offer domestic partner benefits. In turn, about 18 percent of employers do offer domestic partner benefits regardless of sex of partner. About 11 percent offer benefits with sex restrictions.

The survey also covered time off and results revealed several things, such as:

  • About 72 percent of employers have a PTO policy. On average, employers provide 6 days of PTO upon hire, 13-14 days of PTO after 1 year of service, 15 days of PTO after three years of service, 17-18 days of PTO after 5 years of service and 20-21 days of PTO to employees after 10 years of service.
  • About 68 percent of employers have a formal sick plan that is separate from a PTO policy. On average, employers provide 9 sick days to full-time employees per year.
  • On average, employers provide 9 paid holidays to full-time employees and 5 paid holidays to part-time employees per year.
  • About 9 percent of employers offer a maternity leave policy separate from short-term disability or FMLA.

Pay practices is another subject the survey tackled. Participant responses include:

  • About 61 percent of employers indicated a pay philosophy of paying employees at or above market rate. In turn, 34 percent have no formal pay philosophy.
  • To determine compensation decisions, about 77 percent of employers use external market analyses, about 70 percent use internal job evaluations, about 58 percent use skill or competency-based methods, and 11 percent have no formal method.
  • The most common type of base pay increase employers give is performance based according to up to 83 percent of employers. About 22 percent give an across the board increase, about 17 percent give a cost of living increase, and about 6 percent give some other type of increase.

CAI provides this survey every two years. Other topic areas the survey covers include retirement plans, workplace culture, recruiting and staffing, termination and HR metrics.

The 2014 NC Policies & Benefits Survey can be purchased from CAI’s store here. If you’re interested in participating in next year’s survey, please contact a member of CAI’s survey team at cai-survey-team@capital.org.

 

 

Helpful Information from 3 Presentations at the 2014 Compensation and Benefits Conference

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Comp Ben Save Date 2014 (2)CAI hosted its 2014 Compensation and Benefits Conference at the McKimmon Center on Thursday, August 14 and Friday, August 15. More than 200 HR professionals and company executives attended the two-day event to review and discuss emerging workplace trends surrounding compensation, benefits and total rewards, as well as the impact these trends leave on culture and profitability.

This year’s conference speakers shared presentations on how to attract and motivate top talent, strategies to increase employee engagement, reinforcing a positive workplace culture, and more. Keynote presentations for the 2014 conference lineup included:

The Future of Attraction, Retention and Motivation: How Compensation Fits into the Process Anne Ruddy – WorldatWork

What Would Healthcare Look Like If Getting It at the Lowest Cost Was Your Key Priority? Skip Woody – Hill, Chesson & Woody Employee Benefit Services

Green Goldfish – 15 Ways to Drive Engagement & Reinforce Culture Stan Phelps – 9 INCH marketing

Leverage Marketplace Trends When Making Decisions about Compensation and Benefits Strategies Molly Hegeman – CAI

In addition to the keynote sessions, conference participants had the opportunity to attend several of the many breakout sessions. Why performance management fails, building high performing teams, work-site wellbeing, and understanding survey data are some of the topics of this year’s breakout sessions.

Below are three sets of insights conference speakers shared with last week’s audience:

–Anne Ruddy shared the changes in employee attitudes from recipients to consumers of rewards in her keynote presentation:

From:

Employer loyalty

Traditional work design

Pay = position

Retirement security

To:

Self-managed careers

Virtual, flexible environments

Pay = performance, market

Individual career management

 

–In the breakout session Why Performance Management Fails, Mike Maciekowich shared five reasons why companies need performance management systems:

  1. Help managers to observe their staff more closely and to do a better coaching job.
  2. Motivate employees by providing feedback on how they are doing.
  3. Provide back-up data for management decisions concerning advancement, transfers, dismissals, and so on.
  4. Improve organization development by identifying people with promotion potential and pin-pointing development needs.
  5. Establish a research and reference base for personnel decisions.

 

–CAI’s Sherry Hubbard-Bednasz explained the purpose of salary surveys in her presentation Taking the Mystery Out of Survey Data:

Salary surveys:

  • Provide a fair representation of pay practices occurring in the market
    • Sample reflects population
    • Consider source, methodology, transparency
  • Show how variables impact pay
    • Size of company
    • Industry/sector
    • Geography
  • Indicate trends in pay
    • Overall market movement
    • Movement in certain segments
  • Inform compensation decisions as a guide, not absolute

For additional information on CAI’s conferences, please go to https://www.capital.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?site=cai&webcode=cai-training-conferences.

 

Survey Reveals Women and Millennials in Leadership Yield Greater Company Success

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

women leadersMost companies strive to create a work environment that embraces diversity. Differences in age, gender and other characteristics benefit companies in numerous ways, such as various perspectives for problem solving or creating new business opportunities.

New research from DDI and The Conference Board highlights a critical difference between the top and bottom corporate financial performers—companies with more women in leadership roles perform better. Another finding from the survey indicates that millennials in leadership roles can also impact business success positively.

The Global Leadership Forecast (GLF) 2014/2015, Ready-Now Leaders: Meeting Tomorrow’s  Business Challenges is the seventh edition of the annual report that DDI has put together since beginning this research in 1999. This year’s report includes responses from 13,124 global leaders and 1,528 human resources executives within 2,031 organizations. Survey results represent 48 countries and 32 major industries.

Here are some insights the survey revealed:

  • Men and woman are equally competent workers. However, men tend to portray themselves as more effective leaders overall than woman do.
  • In comparison to men, women are not as likely to rate themselves as highly-effective leaders.
  • Women are also less likely than men to have completed international assignments, led across geographies or countries or teams spread out geographically.
  • Of the participating organizations, those in the top 20 percent of financial performance have 37 percent of their leaders as women and 12 percent of their leaders are high-potential women.
  • Organizations in the bottom 20 percent count only 19 percent of their leaders as women, and 8 percent of their leaders as high-potential women.
  • An organization’s rate of growth is directly linked to the number of millennials in leadership roles.
  • Companies that were more financially successful were also more likely to have a higher percentage of millennial leaders.

“To improve business outcomes, bolster current development programs so that all leaders, including women and millennials, can improve their skills,” said Evan Sinar, Ph.D., DDI Chief Scientist, Center for Analytics and Behavioral Research (CABER) Director and study co-author. “Development opportunities build confidence. Provide opportunities for stretch assignments, ensure formal practices are in place to facilitate those opportunities and fully-commit your support to mentoring programs to develop and prepare new leaders.”

Receive full access to the report on DDI’s website here.

 

 

 

4 Ways to Keep Company Productivity High in the Summer Months

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

work summerSummer can be full of distractions. The hot weather of the season encourages employees to dedicate fewer hours to the office or take vacations with their friends or families. Your clients may also be making vacation plans, so their requests may decrease temporarily. For these reasons, productivity during the summer months can slow down. However, with proper planning and participation from managers and direct reports, you can keep business moving as usual. Try the four ideas below to keep your company productive:

Devise a plan

Because it’s vacation season, fewer people will be in the office. Missing a few employees doesn’t mean you can’t continue company projects in an efficient and effective way. Schedule a few minutes with your employees before they take time off to discuss the tasks and assignments that need to be completed while they are away. Teamwork will be instrumental in meeting or exceeding deadlines.

Practice flexibility where you can

Many employees prefer to spend their summer evenings and free time with their friends and loved ones. Being more flexible in the summer months to allow your employees to get home and spend quality time with people outside of work will be appreciated. Several companies are partaking in the trend of letting staff members leave early on Fridays. Similar to the effects of a nice summer break, leaving early on Fridays will have your employees returning invigorated and ready to perform on Monday morning. Another option to encourage flexibility is to have your employees come in earlier or work through their lunch breaks to leave the office sooner.

Work ahead of schedule

The demands of your top clients might slow down as people begin to make plans for summer trips. Instead of waiting for a request, work on a project that has been on the bottom of your to-do list for the past several months. Be productive and efficient with the tasks you decide to tackle during the summer months. If you know of a project that you’ll be working on in the future, go ahead and start working on it. The more you get done during the slower months, the less stressed or pressed for time you’ll be in the busier months.

Have some summer fun

Maintaining stellar productivity over the summer is a goal of most companies. Although everyone is in agreement that keeping up productivity is important, summer is all about having fun. Don’t lose opportunities to engage your employees and show them that they are valued. Plan a fun activity, like a pizza party or a trip to a local baseball game, to show them that you appreciate their contributions throughout the year.

For additional tips for keeping business productivity high, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

 

 

Compensation Rises as Top Contributor to Job Satisfaction for Employees

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

money blogAccording to a recent research report by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees in the US are now connecting their compensation to their happiness at work. The report, Job Satisfaction and Engagement: The Road to Economic Recovery, revealed that when asked what was very important to them, 60 percent of the participants said compensation/pay, which made it the biggest contributor to job satisfaction. SHRM conducted the survey in 2013 and polled 600 randomly selected employees at small to large companies.

Compensation/pay held the top spot in the employee satisfaction survey before the recession hit, specifically between 2006 and 2007. During the years of the recession, compensation/pay held lower rankings. SHRM conducts this survey annually.

“Incomes have grown slowly since the recession, and that undoubtedly is having an impact on workers’ priorities and one explanation for the leap to the forefront by compensation,” said Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s Survey Research Center.

Other noteworthy data the survey showed include that four generations of workers ranked compensation/pay as either the top or second-choice aspect of job satisfaction and employees at all job levels, with the exception of executives, ranked compensation/pay as one of the top three contributors to overall job satisfaction.

For more information on how compensation affects job satisfaction, retention and recruiting, please join us for the 2014 Compensation and Benefits Conference at the McKimmon Center on August 14 and August 15. Specific presentations that will focus on employee compensation and salary data include:

The Future of Attraction, Retention and Motivation: How Compensation Fits into the Process Anne Ruddy – WorldatWork

Leverage Marketplace Trends When Making Decisions about Compensation and Benefits Strategies Molly Hegeman – CAI

Taking the Mystery Out of Salary Survey Data Sherry Hubbard-Bednasz – CAI

Proactive Uses of Compensation Analysis – An Employer’s Perspective Kaleigh Ferraro – CAI & Member Company Panel

Additional topics presenters will cover include: why performance management fails, driving engagement and reinforcing culture, building high-performing teams, controlling healthcare costs, wage and hour regulations, retirement planning, and more! Visit www.capital.org/compconf for detailed information about speakers and session topics. Register today!

Photo Source: Miran Rijavec Stan Dalone

 

 

Honesty is the Key for Attracting and Retaining Employees

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

employer  brandRandstad US recently released the results of its 2014 Employer Branding Study, which reveals the personality traits job candidates look for when selecting an employer. The study also identifies job aspects that are most attractive to workers.

The majority of workers (78 percent) chose honesty as the first trait they look for in an employer according to the study. A significant portion of the participants also want to work for a company that is reliable, secure and well-respected. Traits job hunters rated as least critical include whether a company is daring or robust.

“…It’s extremely valuable for employers to know honesty holds such high importance,” said Jim Link, Chief HR Officer of Randstad North America. “Leading organizations understand a strong employer brand creates an important advantage for attracting today’s best talent, so identification of the top attributes wanted in a company allows leaders to refine their brand strategy.”

Creating a strong employer brand and building up a solid reputation with your current employees and customers will help you retain and recruit some of the best candidates for your open positions. Below are some blog posts that will help you get started on shaping your company’s image:

Having a strong employer brand can make a difference on whether you can secure a great candidate for a vacancy or how a news outlet portrays you to the public. Read this blog to find four tips for enhancing your employer brand: http://blog.capital.org/strengthen-your-employer-brand-with-4-tips/ .

Social media allows organizations to increase their brand awareness and interact on multiple levels with their customers. Although your company will experience several benefits when taking part in different networking sites, there are risks to be aware of as well. Protect your company’s reputation and review tips for creating a social media policy here: http://blog.capital.org/create-a-social-media-policy-to-protect-your-business-and-employer-brand/.

Building trust in an organization is no easy feat. Time, dedication and care are essential for keeping trust nurtured and sustained. Trust improves almost every business facet, including retention, morale, communication, customer service and productivity. Please take a look at these four ways to build and sustain trust at your organization: http://blog.capital.org/four-ways-to-build-and-sustain-trust-in-your-workplace/.

For additional ways to bolster your company’s reputation with future job candidates, please call CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

 

6 Reasons Taking Your Vacation Will Improve Your Work Performance

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

7956465780_5fb7b6d55a_zSummer is on its way. If you haven’t taken a vacation already and aren’t planning to do so, I would ask you to consider taking your time off.

You will enjoy a number of benefits when you use your vacation days. Some people prefer to work all of the time and some people have to work all of the time, but in either case, taking some time off, even just a few days, will improve your work performance.

Productivity generally lowers during the summer months. Taking a vacation will help you avoid being sluggish around the workplace. Check out the six benefits of using your vacation time below:

  • Spending time outside of work will help you focus on the important things in your life that do not revolve around your work, such as family and friends.
  • Your mind can relax. Taking time off will allow your mind to take a break, get some rest, and work at its optimal level when you return to the workplace.
  • A good vacation is greatly beneficial for those in roles that require creative and innovative thinking. Not focusing on your busy work week will enable you to get inspired and recharge your creative energy.
  • You can use your free time to complete tasks, get errands done or dedicate to yourself. Carving out time for the things you enjoy will improve your satisfaction in other areas of your life, like work.
  • Time away from work can help you figure out an issue that is currently stumping you in the workplace. Walking away from the problem and returning after a relaxing vacation can have you looking at the same issue from a different perspective.
  • Keep yourself healthy by taking a breather from your position. Stress and pressure are released when you’re not focused on your responsibilities at work, which allows you to sleep better, concentrate longer and be happier.

Make sure to use your vacation time this summer. For any questions regarding vacation time and its many benefits, please call CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Kevin Dooley