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Can we reduce pay because of economic slowdown due to COVID-19?

You can reduce an employee's rate of pay based on business or economic slowdown, provided that this is not done retroactively. For instance, if you give employees notice that their pay will change on the 10th, and your payroll period runs from the 1st through the 15th, make sure that their next check still reflects the higher rate of pay for the first 9 days of the payroll period.  Non-exempt employees (those entitled to overtime)A non-exempt employee's new rate of pay must still meet the applicable federal, state, or local minimum wage. Employees must be given notice of the change at the time of the change, or before. This gives them the ability to stop working if they don’t

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Four Ways to Show Employees That You Appreciate Them

Saying thanks and showing appreciation shouldn’t be limited to special occasions. Here are four ways to create a culture of appreciation in your workplace: Involve your employees in the big decisions and strategic planning of the organizationSolicit their ideas about the direction you’re headed. Discuss the future of the company with them, along with their place within it. Consider what they have to say and give them credit for their input. By doing all this, you show your employees that they’re important to you and to the success of the organization.  Invest in your employeesOffer opportunities for advancement. If promotions aren’t possible, then help employees up-level

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We have an employee who is joining the Army Reserves. What are our responsibilities as their employer?

In short, your responsibilities are to not discriminate because of their service and to offer them their job back after military-related absences.  The rights of applicants and employees who serve in the uniformed military services are protected by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA). Under this act, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate in hiring, reemployment, retention, promotion, pay, or any benefit of employment due to a person’s military service or intent to apply for military service.  You should allow the employee to take unpaid leave to attend deployments, scheduled drills, and annual training. When the employee returns, they s

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HR Tip of the Month

The importance of documenting performance problems as they occur cannot be overstated. Although this requires meeting with the employee and discussing the issue, which will almost certainly be uncomfortable, it’s your best defense to a wrongful termination claim should the employee feel litigious after termination. Too many employers rely on the concept of employment at-will to protect them, when the reach of this concept is actually quite limited. The problem is that if an employer has little to no documentation and relies on at-will employment—and the theory that legally no reason is required—the terminated employee, their attorney, and possibly a jury of their peers will fill the

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Reminder: OSHA 300A Forms Must Be Posted by February 1

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that all employers with more than 10 employees—except those in exempt low-risk industries—maintain a record of work-related injuries and illnesses. Those who are required to maintain these records should use OSHA’s Form 300: Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses or an equivalent state-specific form. Those same employers must then post OSHA’s Form 300A: Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses each year between February 1 and April 30. As its name implies, Form 300A summarizes (and sanitizes) the information logged on Form 300. OSHA Form 300A must be certified by a company executive and posted in a cons

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New Form I-9 Released

On January 31, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new Form I-9. The form is dated 10/21/2019 and should be used immediately. USCIS is allowing employers a three-month grace period, however, during which the old form (dated 07/17/2017) may be used. By May 1, 2020, only the new form should be used. The new form can be found on the HR Support Center by searching Form I-9, or on the USCIS website, here. Regardless of where you get it, make sure you right click on the download link and “Save link as…” then right click the saved file on your computer and select “Open with Adobe...”  USCIS made the following changes to the

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How do we know if our managers are performing well?

Managers are doing a good job when both the teams they lead and the individuals they manage are thriving.  Simply stated, teams thrive when they consistently deliver quality products or services while staying within budget. Individual team members thrive when they’re advancing in their careers, learning new skills, showing initiative, taking on additional responsibilities, getting promoted, and adding value to the company.  If a team is getting its work done, but the individuals on that team are not developing professionally, then the manager in charge of that team may not managing as well as they could be. Perhaps they aren’t coaching employees, clearly outlining expect

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EEO-1 Reporting Requirements Finalized

The hotly contested issue of what exactly needs to be filed for EEO-1 reporting this year has been resolved—at least for now. Pay data for both 2017 and 2018 must be reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by September 30, 2019. The data that has been required in years past is still due by May 31, 2019. An appeal of the latest decision has been filed, so it's possible that there could be yet another change to the requirements, but employers should plan to comply with these deadlines, as described below.  Does my business even need to file the EEO-1 report?If you have fewer than 100 employees and no federal contracts, you are not subject to EEO-1 re

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DOL Adopts New Unpaid Intern Test

The Department of Labor (DOL) adopted a new test for unpaid interns. Employers should use this test—called the primary beneficiary test—when determining if a worker can be properly classified as an unpaid intern or if they need to be classified as an employee and paid minimum wage and overtime. The test adopted by the DOL has already been in use in four federal appellate courts, most recently the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The DOL’s switch to the primary beneficiary test creates a nationwide standard. Balancing v. All-or-Nothing Previously, the DOL was using a six-question all-or-nothing test. An employer needed to be able to say “yes, the internship does that” to all six

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DOL Adopts New Unpaid Intern Test

Last Friday the Department of Labor (DOL) adopted a new test for unpaid interns. Employers should use this test—called the primary beneficiary test—when determining if a worker can be properly classified as an unpaid intern or if they need to be classified as an employee and paid minimum wage and overtime. The test adopted by the DOL has already been in use in four federal appellate courts, most recently the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The DOL’s switch to the primary beneficiary test creates a nationwide standard. Balancing v. All-or-Nothing Previously, the DOL was using a six-question all-or-nothing test. An employer needed to be able to say “yes, the internship does that”

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