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Why Paid Sick Leave Is Becoming More Popular

We’ve all seen it—one of our employees has a bad cold, maybe even the flu, but they come to work anyway. In some cases, the employee has the option of taking time off, and you’d prefer they do so, but still they show up, putting everyone in the workplace at risk. The reasons vary. Sometimes the employee can’t afford the reduced hours. Sometimes they can take the financial hit, but they’re worried about falling behind on their projects, missing an important meeting, or looking bad next to their co-workers who never seem to take a day off. Some employers encourage sick employees to stay home and rest. To that end, they offer paid sick or personal time so that employees who already

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Why Courts, States, and Employers Are Focusing on Pay Equity

The federal Equal Pay Act went into effect in 1963, but it hasn’t brought an end to pay disparities between men and women. Neither have state laws with the same objective. Long story short: the laws weren’t strong enough, and they didn’t account for all the causes of unequal pay. In many cases, it has been possible for an employer to comply with these laws while still giving unequal pay for equal work. Often, it’s not that employers have deliberately chosen to pay women less than men for the same jobs. In many cases, the basis for pay differentials has seemed sensible, such as salary history. But it turns out that basing pay on salary history perpetuates discrimination over an emp

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FLSA Amended to Allow Tip Pooling if No Tip Credit is Taken

The rules around tip pooling have been mired in litigation since 2011, when regulations came into effect that forbid tip pooling between employees who customarily receive tips and those who do not. The recently passed federal budget bill has created clarity by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and eliminating that rule for employers who do not take a tip credit. Since the rule has been eliminated entirely, court decisions interpreting it—such as Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, et al v. the U.S. Department of Labor—are irrelevant. The amended portion of the FLSA, while allowing for tip pooling between front and back of house employees if no tip credit is taken, cl

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HR Tip of the Month

Messy shared spaces, like bathrooms and break rooms, can be a serious sore spot in any office. Although we’d like to think that adults can be trusted to clean up their own messes, expectations and reality don’t always jive. You may have even found yourself posting notes on the walls with such over-the-top messages as, “Dirty dishes in the sink will be thrown away at the end of the day.” Although the nuclear option cannot always be avoided, ideally, we’d like to get ahead of these problems before they start (or at least before they blow up). Scheduled reminders—like a monthly email or posting on the fridge—can be a good way to communicate your expectations for everyone withou

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What Is Culture, Anyway? (part 1 of 4)

When you belong to an organization, there’s usually a reason, right? Whether the organization is a business, club, or other group, something about it appealed to you, and you chose to associate yourself with it. You personally identified with it and felt like you would fit in, so you joined. Alternatively, you may have considered joining an organization, but decided against it because it didn’t feel like a good fit. Or you joined for a time, but then decided the place wasn’t for you. What creates this sense of belonging or not belonging to an organization is the organization’s culture. Every organization has a culture, and every culture has three components. These are the organiz

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Did You Know?

There are very limited circumstances under which an employer is allowed to take a deduction from an exempt employee’s salary, and employers who take a deduction when they shouldn’t risk the employee’s classification. This means an employee who had been classified as exempt could claim that the employer was treating them like an hourly employee by taking the prohibited deduction. The employee could then sue for back pay for all overtime they had worked without additional compensation. Deductions are not allowed for the following: Any partial day absence, for any reason, whether 15 minutes or 7.75 hours. If the employee does any work at all they must be paid for the entire workda

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FLSA Amended to Allow Tip Pooling if No Tip Credit is Taken

The rules around tip pooling have been mired in litigation since 2011, when regulations came into effect that forbid tip pooling between employees who customarily receive tips and those who do not. The recently passed federal budget bill has created clarity by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and eliminating that rule for employers who do not take a tip credit. Since the rule has been eliminated entirely, court decisions interpreting it—such as Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, et al v. the U.S. Department of Labor—are irrelevant. The amended portion of the FLSA, while allowing for tip pooling between front and back of house employees if no tip credit is taken, cl

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9th Circuit Rules Salary History Not an Acceptable Reason for Pay Discrepancies

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that salary history is not an acceptable reason for pay differences under the Equal Pay Act (EPA), even when used in conjunction with other factors. The EPA first became law in 1963 and prohibits the payment of different wages to men and women who do work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions. The new reading of the law impacts employers in Alaska, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona, but since Circuit Courts often rely on one another’s rulings, it’s very possible that the impact of this decision will spread. As written, the EPA allows for pay discrepancies

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News Brief

In February, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals became the second federal appellate court to rule that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the word sex includes sexual orientation. The first was the Seventh Circuit, which we reported on last April. The Second Circuit Court’s ruling affects only New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. All three of these states already prohibit discrimination in employment because of sexual orientation, so the ruling does not have a significant impact on employers there. It does, however, ensure that it is possible for employees who feel they have been discriminated against based on sexual orientation to sue under both state and federal law.

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Reminder: EEO-1 Is Due by March 31

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requires certain employers to submit a report categorizing their employees by race or ethnicity, gender, and job category. This demographic survey, called the EEO-1, is due by March 31. All employers with 100 or more employees must file the report. Employers also must file if the organization is any of the following: Owned by or affiliated with another company and the entire enterprise has 100 or more employees A federal government prime contractor or first-tier subcontractor with 50 or more employees and with a contract or subcontract amounting to $50,000 or more Serving as a depository of government funds in any amount A f

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