MD Minimum Wage Set to Increase July 1

The Maryland state minimum wage is set to rise to $8.25 on July 1, 2015 – up from the current $8 per hour.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D), last year, signed into law a phased-in minimum wage hike that ultimately caps at $10.10 in 2018. After the increase this July 1, the statewide rate rises again to $8.75 on July 1, 2016. Under the law passed last year, some workers – including tipped restaurant servers, certain agricultural workers and those under 16 working less than 20 hours per week – are exempt from the minimum wage increase. In addition, note the special cases for Prince George’s County and Montgomery County, MD. In these two counties, minimum wage levels currently are $8.40 per hour (already above the current state minimum wage rate) – and will both rise to $9.55 on October 1, 2015. Read more

The Daily Record: impactHR’s Kelly Mitchell on Developing an Employee Retention Plan 

With the economy making small but steady strides to general recovery, it’s an important time to evaluate your organization’s employee retention capability, writes Kelly Mitchell, Principal at impactHR, in a column published in The Daily Record (MD). Employers, now more than recent times, can’t afford to lose their talent. A more fluid job market means employees and job seekers have more options. So for employers, one way to stay ahead of this new era in the business cycle is to consider creating a formal employee retention plan. To start, Mitchell writes, you would want to determine the extent to which turnover is (or isn’t) a problem in your organization. Read more

Employers Seeing Increase in Lawsuits Targeting FCRA Violations

Employers may want to check up on their Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) policies and procedures when it comes to hiring. One law firm, Littler Mendelson, released a report showing up to 27 class action lawsuits had been filed as of August last year on alleged FCRA violations – roughly three times the number of FCRA lawsuits from 2013. Experts point to several reasons for the litigation upswing, according to an article in Human Resource Executive Online. One reason may be that plaintiff’s lawyers are more aggressive in finding “technical” violations of the law by employers, particularly in regard to improperly handled adverse action notices to job appli cants. One recently filed lawsuit, for example, alleges Amazon and its staffing firm didn’t inform a job applicant he was denied a position because a consumer background check revealed a felony conviction. The plaintiff alleges the felony conviction is erroneous and that Amazon and its staffing firm should have presented this information to the applicant before any hiring decision were made. One Legal expert with Balch and Bingham advises employers to review and update their FCRA policies and to do the same with staffing firms that companies may work with to mitigate potential litigation. Read more

Setting a Company Culture That Emphasizes Your People 

Inc. magazine columnist Marla Tabaka last May unveiled her “51 Rules of Leadership Excellence.” In the context of building a strong company culture, she spotlights rule number 6: “Never forget that your team, not your product, not your bank account, is your number-one asset.” In her Inc. column this month, Tabaka takes this one step further via rule 11: “Consciously build a powerful company culture. Otherwise, it will build itself and you probably won’t like the results.” How to go about building a strong culture? Among Tabaka& rsquo;s suggestions, she says trust your employees more to build trust; find ways to allow your employees to get to know each other and generate camaraderie; create cool spaces in your office to allow teams to stretch out, interact and brainstorm; allow your people to “own their jobs,” empowering them to be new-idea machines; and increase communications with your teams at all times – that is, be attentive to keeping everyone on the same page while being sure to attend to individual needs (e.g., addressing performance issues or celebrating success). Read more

Wages and Benefits Stay on Continued Growth Path 

Despite an economy showing uneven growth, one key indicator released last week may offer some cause for optimism. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports continued overall growth in employee compensation (combined wages and benefits). In March 2015, the BLS says private sector employers spent an average of $31.65 per hour of work – up 5.5% from March 2014. In addition, wages and salaries alone averaged $21.94 per hour worked, representing 69% of employer costs. For March 2015, the BLS also reports the average cost to private sector employers for health insurance benefits was $2.4 3 per hour worked in March 2015 (or 7.7% of total compensation). The Wall Street Journal notes these overall numbers indicate a tightening labor market and may reflect high-wage growth in select fast-growing industries across the country. Read more

Experts to HR Execs: Make Data Central to Your Operations 

How can HR departments restore and continue growing their historic importance within organizations? Become adept at analyzing data and assume leadership roles in setting organizational culture, say leading HR executives who gathered recently at the Wharton Global Human Resources Executive Summit. The Wharton event, Becoming More Strategic in a Complex Environment, featured Peter Cappelli, Wharton professor of management, who advised the HR leaders to “get in front of the data engine” to help them make better decisions. In addition, according to Knowledge@Wharton e-magazine, Sigal Barsade, Wharton professor of management, emphasized the importance of HR’s role in establishing a healthy company culture. She noted it takes a long time (roughly 3-5 years) to set and build a culture in the appropriate direction for an organization. To make this happen, she advises focusing on simplicity – set “three transcendent values that everyone knows” and that define the organization. Read more

impactHR Sponsors Annual BBQ on the Bay Tech Expo, June 25 

The impactHR team is delighted to be a return sponsor for the 11th Annual BBQ on the Bay Tech Expo in Annapolis, MD this Thursday, June 25. This BBQ on the Bayevent, hosted by the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council, brings more than 400 tech leaders from the greater Baltimore-Washington area together to network, make connections and enjoy the waterside setting. BBQ on the Bay also presents business expo displays from an array of companies, including impactHR, plus a number of regional technolog y firms. The event takes place at the The Point at Back Creek on the Chesapeake Bay’s Bembe Beach. Online registration is open through June 25 – come out and join us. Read more

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