impactnews: Balancing Act: Employer-Employee Rights and Responsibilities

Mary Davis, Senior Consultant, impactHR

What is the essence of employer-employee relations? Is it really all about managing a kind of permanent conflict or more a manageable balance of appropriate behaviors?

For Mary Davis, Senior Consultant at impactHR, ideally it’s the latter. “The way I approach a problem or situation is to ask: were all of the resources, tools, framework of policies and procedures in place for the employee to succeed? Also, what restraints, barriers, lack of coordination and/or communication may have prevented the employee from doing her job properly?”

All told, it’s the employer’s responsibility, Davis says, to consistently provide the employee what is needed to complete his/her job successfully. And it is the right for each employee, she adds to be consistently treated fairly and equally.

“When I facilitate HR discussions on problem solving, I focus on these rights and responsibilities. I draw four equal boxes. Two boxes represent management’s rights and its responsibilities to employees. The other two boxes represent employees’ rights and their responsibilities to the employer,” she says. “These four boxes demonstrate a balance in the employer and employer relationship. If all rights are respected and responsibilities met, there is a balance. If not, then conflict or problems can arise. When we focus on which box comprises a problem, we can quickly and easily identify how to address it.”

Davis cites several examples of this balance:

  • Employers have the right to create the workplace culture and the responsibility to foster this within a culture of respect and fair, equitable treatment for all
  • Employees have the right to work in a non-harassing, non-discriminatory workplace and a responsibility to contribute to this respectful workplace culture
  • Employers have the right to set the work schedule, job responsibilities and performance expectations, plus the responsibility to provide the employee with the support, training and resources needed to succeed
  • Employees have the right to fair and equitable pay for work performed, and the responsibility to meet performance management expectations for the job

impactAction: Consider incorporating language on employer-employee rights and responsibilities in an employee handbook to help bring more consistency and continuity to employer-employee relations.

impactHR Sponsors 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference, March 7

impactHR is sponsoring the 2019 Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC), Thursday, March 7, at Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, MD. As part of this event, impactHR’s Kelly Mitchell will be a moderator for one of the topical group discussion sessions.

The WLC, hosted each year by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce, is an annual event that features a distinguished group of women leaders in a range of professions in the Greater Baltimore-Washington region.

The WLC recognizes the contribution of accomplished women leaders and their effect on regional business growth as well as inspires attendees to better and more effective leadership.

For more information and to register, visit:

US ICE Begins Accepting H-1B Visa Employer Petitions in April

US Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting H-1B visa petitions from employers on April 2, 2019.

The H-1B visa for FY2019 remains capped at 65,000 individual petitions and 20,000 for those with master’s level and higher education background.

The H-1B program allows US companies to employ foreign workers temporarily in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge plus a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty. H-1B specialty occupations typically comprise science, engineering and information technology. Learn more.

Talent Management: One Strategy for a Tight Employment Market

What is talent management and is it a worthwhile activity to undertake in your organization?

Overall, it’s a set of integrated HR processes designed to attract, develop, motivate and retain productive, engaged employees.

The goals of talent management are simple enough: to create a high-performance, sustainable organization that meets its strategic and operational business objectives.

In a nutshell, talent management helps organizations:

  • Compete effectively in a complex, dynamic environment to achieve sustainable growth
  • Develop leaders for tomorrow from within an organization
  • Maximize employee performance as a unique source of competitive advantage
  • Cut down on high turnover rates and reduce the cost of constantly hiring new people to train

Successful keys in implementing a talent management program:

  • Be the company where people want to work
  • Improve your selection process by hiring the right people for the job
  • Get your new employees off to a great start
  • Coach, develop and reward your employees to engage and motivate them to perform every work day

Indeed, once an organization recruits and hires its preferred candidates, it’s all about retaining the most talented among them.

As part of this, consider developing employee management programs that focus on making sure these employees are adequately challenged in their roles and able to meet their goals and objectives.

In addition, provide training and learning activities that lead to advancement opportunities (e.g., career planning programs and use of Individual Development Plans).

Organizations also should consider putting in place reward/recognition programs for top performers (which helps with retention and creates healthy competition among employees to grow and succeed).

If you’re interested in learning more about talent management, contact us at or 443-741-3900.

Minimum Wage Update for MD, VA and DC in 2019

Employers in Montgomery County, MD and in the District of Columbia (DC) should note minimum wage increases going into effect July 1.

For Maryland, the state’s minimum wage rose to $10.10 per hour in 2018 with no change set for 2019.

Montgomery County, in contrast, sets its own statutory minimum wage, which is set to increase to $13 per hour this July 1, 2019 for companies with 51+ employees. For employers of 10 or fewer employees, the county’s minimum wage increases to $12.50 per hour July 1.

In Prince George’s County, MD, the minimum wage remains set at $11.50 per hour in 2019. For DC, the minimum wage increases to $14 (up from the current $13.25) this July 1, 2019 – and will cap at $15 per hour on July 1, 2020.

Virginia’s minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour in 2019 in line with the federal minimum wage level.

In total this year, 21 states plus DC will increase their minimum wage levels.

OSHA Form 300A Must Be Posted Beginning Feb. 1

Reminder: Employers must post OSHA Form 300A, a summary of the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2018, in their workplaces between February 1 and April 30, 2019.

This form submission is required for all organizations that employed at least ten people in 2018 (unless they qualify as part of an exempt low-risk industry). The summary must be certified by a company executive and posted in a conspicuous location where notices to employees are typically placed.

In addition, OSHA last week issued a final rule that eliminates the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) to OSHA each year.

These establishments are still required to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) by March 2, 2019 via OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application.

With this newly approved rule, employers must still maintain OSHA Forms 300 and 301 on-site, which OSHA will continue to monitor through inspections and enforcement actions.

If you need assistance with OSHA compliance, contact us at or 443-741-3900.