impactnews: iHR’s Tracey Ellison Publishes Column in The Daily Record on Preventing Workplace Violence

Tracey Ellison, Senior Consultant, Client Services, impactHR

Tracey Ellison, Senior Consultant, Client Services with impactHR, published a column last month in The Daily Record (MD) on “Preventing Violence in the Workplace.” Ellison writes it’s more important than ever that employers and their employees be properly trained and prepared to help prevent incidences of workplace violence.

Ellison details several steps employers can take to address and de-escalate incidences of violence in the workplace – plus outlines ways to prevent it from taking place.

“The bottom line is if you don’t think violence could happen at your workplace, you may want to think again,” says Ellison. Read more.

Minimum Wage Increases for MD, DC Begin Next Week, July 1

For employers in Maryland and the District of Columbia (DC), quick reminder that minimum wage increases go into effect this July 1, 2018.

For Maryland, the state’s minimum wage will rise to $10.10 per hour – up from the current level of $9.25. For DC, the minimum wage increases to $13.25 (up from the current $12.25) – and will cap at $15 per hour by July 1, 2020.

In addition, Montgomery County (MD), which has its own statutory minimum wage level, increases its wage level to $12.00 per hour for companies with 1-50 employees and to $12.25 per hour for those with 51+ employees. Montgomery County’s minimum wage level will top out at $15 per hour in 2021. Virginia’s minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour, in line with the federal level.

Using an HR Audit to Discover the Gaps in Your Operations

Consider these scenarios: a company has operations in three states. In two of these states, their governments enact new measures into law that pertain directly to your employees, such as paid sick leave requirements, pay equity regulations, rules for marijuana usage or harassment prevention. Yet the company’s employee handbook isn’t updated to include these laws, putting the company at risk of liability and litigation.

Separately, another company experiences a significant degree of employee turnover. Yet its executive team is not aware of the increased employee churn. This dynamic ultimately causes the company financial strain in the midst of losing qualified employees while it struggles to replace them.

These two situations happen more often that not in many companies and organizations. One way to address – and work to close – these organizational gaps is via the HR audit.

Like a financial audit, an HR audit allows employers to identify areas where their processes may not be in regulatory compliance and illuminates HR-related management practices that need improvement.

Through this audit process, companies and organizations can assess where they are, uncover issues and gaps they may have and determine how they can align their HR practices with their strategic business goals.

Indeed, while employers know the critical nature of auditing financials, many often don’t consider risks of noncompliance to evolving labor laws or inconsistent HR management practices.

An HR audit, ultimately, gives you a quality control check on your HR management activities. An audit can help determine how well these activities support (or hobble) your overall business strategy. In other words, the audit should answer the question, “Are your HR practices in compliance with the law and are they helping, hindering or having little impact on what your organization is trying to achieve?”

An HR audit of your company will provide a clear roadmap that prioritizes action items to ensure you comply with federal, state and local regulations. The audit also gives you a seamless way to evaluate your HR strategies, practices and policies against best practices to drive the effectiveness and efficiencies of your HR function.

For more information about HR audits, please contact us or call 443-741-3900.

OSHA-Covered Employers Must Submit Form 300A by July 1

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding certain employers of an upcoming reporting deadline.

OSHA-covered employers with 250 or more employees (and those in certain high-risk industries with 20-249 employees) must electronically report their Calendar Year 2017 Form 300A data (on workplace injuries and illnesses) by July 1, 2018.

Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2. Reporting must be done through the online Injury Tracking Application (ITA).

impactHR’s Janette Hunt Honored by Society for Human Resource Management

Janette Hunt, Senior Consultant with impactHR, recently shared in special recognition from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Janette Hunt, Senior Consultant, impactHR

SHRM, at its annual conference in Chicago this month, issued its Merit Award for excellence and achievement to the Penn State World Campus Virtual SHRM Student Chapter for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Hunt, who holds a BS in Labor Employment Relations and Organizational Leadership from Penn State, is President and co-founder of the Penn State World Campus Virtual SHRM Student Chapter. Hunt currently is pursuing virtually her MPS in Human Resource Employment Relations at Penn State.

“We’re thrilled with the news that our chapter has earned the SHRM chapter Merit Award for 2017,” said Hunt. “As a new chapter, our main goals were to establish a meaningful network for our virtual labor and employment relations and human resources and employment relations student members.”

The Chapter, established in the spring of 2017 as a virtual group, has members from across the United States and internationally who are interested in all aspects of the HR experience, including training and staffing, employment and labor law, organizational training and ethics and employee relations.

NJ Approves into Law Three Major Pay-Related HR Policies

New Jersey recently approved a trifecta of major HR-related legislation that, for employers, may be a bellwether for nearby states, including Maryland, Virginia and DC.

First, New Jersey becomes the tenth state (following Maryland earlier this year) to enact mandatory paid leave for workers. Under the new law, which takes effect October 29, 2018, all employees must accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

In addition, New Jersey is enacting into law a broad pay equity measure, making it illegal to pay employees in a protected class – such as race, age, gender identity – less than those who are not when they do similar work.

Third, New Jersey now prohibits employers from prohibiting employees to discuss their wages, benefits, titles, and duties with other employees or former employees, attorneys, or government agencies. Employers, under this measure, also may not retaliate against any employee for those discussions.

If your company has offices or operations in New Jersey and would like assistance navigating these policy changes, contact us or call 443-741-3900.

Complying with Overtime: What is the Executive Employee Exemption?

How can you be sure your company’s managers qualify for exemption from overtime? One catch is that job titles (e.g., manager) by themselves do not necessarily trigger this exemption.

To stay in compliance with overtime regulations, your exempt employees who are in managerial or executive roles must qualify for the so-called Executive Employee Exemption under the US Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Under this part of the FLSA, your employees in these roles must pass the following duties test completely to be exempt:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary basis of at least $455 per week
  • The employee’s primary duty must be managing the enterprise, or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the company
  • The employee must customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent
  • The employee must have the authority to hire or fire other employees
    – or the employee’s suggestions and recommendations for the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion (or any other change of status of other employees) must be given particular weight.

As exempt managers, these employees are paid on a salary basis and thus will not have their pay reduced because they worked fewer hours in a week or produced sub-par work. Learn more