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Voting Leave Compliance

Many employers are unaware of state voting leave laws, which we anticipate will be heavily relied upon this year given the challenges presented by the pandemic. Most states require that employers provide at least a few hours off to vote, and many of those require that at least some of that time off be paid. The advance notice that may be required from employees is often minimal, so employers should be prepared to grant last-minute requests to vote.  California and New York also require that a notice about employees’ voting rights be posted in a conspicuous location in the workplace. Employees who are working from home or who do not report to the workplace regularly should be provi

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Business has slowed and we’re cutting back the hours of some employees. Do I need to reclassify them as part-time if they’re working fewer than 40 hours per week?

HR Topics Question

Not necessarily. It’s up to you to decide how many hours employees need to work in a week to be considered full-time. While we generally recommend that you abide by the standards you've set previously so that you’re enforcing your policies consistently, you could also change those policies (and notify employees) in light of current business conditions. For instance, if you previously defined full-time as 40 hours per week, but you've cut the hours of most full-time employees to 30 and want them to continue receiving the benefits that were previously only available to full-time workers, you could redefine full-time as 30 hours per week.  Before making any changes, you’ll want t

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Responding to Anonymous Complaints: Dos and Don’ts

If you receive an anonymous complaint, it is important to remain calm and review the complaint objectively regardless of how egregious the accusations may seem. Although the complaint was received anonymously, the company still has an obligation to take action, if necessary, to ensure that employees are provided a workplace that is safe and free from harassing or discriminatory conduct. We recommend investigating the complaint to the extent possible given the information received. Here are dos and don’ts to keep in mind: Do: Determine if an investigation is warranted or possible. Some complaints will not require an investigation, and some may not even require follow up (e.g., per

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Join TPC to Support the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association’s Heart Walk has had a change of plans but not a change of "Heart". Due to the current pandemic, the walk has become a “walk where you are” event. The individual teams that were registered for the walk are now walking on their own, but still for the same cause! Our very own, Carrie Falk, Senior Account Manager at TPC, is on the Executive Leadership Team of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2020 Madison Heart Walk. In that role she works with the AHA Executive Director, Carrie Nevins, to engage top companies and leaders to join in the American Heart Association’s mission. The Madison Heart Walk is an annual event that consists of a walk and 5K

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A manager of ours, who is exempt, is taking a half-day to attend a social event even though they’ve exhausted all of their paid time off. Can we reduce their salary for that day?

HR Topics Question

Not for half day, no. As a general rule, if an exempt employee performs any work during the workweek, they must be paid their full salary. If the employee were taking off one or more full days for this social event, then a deduction from their salary would be permissible. A half day, however, does not qualify for a deduction. That said, if the employee has paid time off (PTO) available, you could deduct from that bank of hours for a partial or full day absence—this is not considered a salary deduction since they will still get their regular pay as a result of using PTO. Here are the situations in which deductions from salary are generally permissible for exempt employees: For any wo

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Key Definitions to Help You Understand the ADA

If you hadn’t engaged with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) before the pandemic, you probably have by now. The ADA comes up a lot these days, both with respect to confidentiality of medical information (like employee temperatures) as well as with reasonable accommodation for those who are at high risk for a serious case of COVID-19. In this article we’ll tackle some of the key terms in the ADA that every employer should be comfortable with. First, though, let’s cover the basics. The ADA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against applicants and employees with disabilities and requires that employers provide them with reasonable accommodations under certain cir

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Leading During a Pandemic

No one knows what the workplace is going to look like in three months. COVID-19 continues to spread. School reopening and attendance plans remain tenuous. Further action from Congress is uncertain. Official rules from the Department of Labor might even be struck down in court, further adding to the confusion about what employers are supposed to be doing.  Leading an organization right now can feel like driving to a destination you’re not sure exists on a road that’s changing right before you.  In this situation, we need to accept that the typical ways of leading a team may not prove successful. The simple question of what success looks like right now isn’t easy to answ

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DOL Release New Back-to-School FFCRA Guidance

Ever since it became clear that not all schools would be fully reopening for the new school year, employers and employees alike have been wondering how the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) would apply in the variety of new schooling scenarios. Yesterday, the Department of Labor released several new Questions and Answers that address those issues, quoted below: Question 98: My child’s school is operating on an alternate day (or other hybrid-attendance) basis. The school is open each day, but students alternate between days attending school in person and days participating in remote learning. They are permitted to attend school only on their allotted in-person atte

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6 Tips to Help You Manage Stress in the Workplace

We’re all supposed to feel stress from time to time. It’s the way the body responds to demands and dangers. A stressful event triggers the release of hormones. These hormones, according to Psychology Today, “increase heartbeat and the circulation of blood to support quick action, mobilize fat and sugar for immediate energy, focus attention to track the danger, prepare muscles for movement, and more.” This fight-or-flight response helps us overcome these challenges. It can save our life before we realize we’re in danger.  We are not, however, supposed to feel stress all or most of the time. Stress, particularly the regular or chronic variety, can le

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FFCRA Leave – Significant Rule Changes

A federal court in New York recently struck down four federal Department of Labor (DOL) rules related to the leaves provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As a result, certain aspects of the FFCRA are now more favorable to employees. Unfortunately, it’s not clear if the ruling applies nationwide or only in the Southern District of New York, where that court is located. Until there is further activity in the case—which may clarify whether the rules remain intact throughout the rest of the country—we recommend that employers err on the side of caution when administering FFCRA leaves and assume these particular rules no longer apply.  What is clear is th

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