Worker Disengagement Remains High Despite Improving Economy

Is it possible that 67% of U.S. workers are “disengaged” or “actively disengaged” in their jobs? The answer is yes, according to a new Gallup poll.

Yet there are signs of improvement. For February 2015, employee engagement was 32.9 percent – up just a tad from 31.7 percent in January. The February rate is the highest since 2012, according to Gallup. While the disengagement rate remains high, Gallup suggests the slightly rising engagement levels may be attributed to recent improvements in both the unemployment rate (currently at 5.4 percent) and the underemployment rate (currently at 16.2 percent & ndash; down from 17.8 percent in 2014). Overall, Gallup suggests employers may be influencing the engagement rate by doing more to retain their current employees, many of whom now may have more opportunities to take new positions in the midst of an improving job market. Read more

Employers Should Examine How They Calculate Overtime Pay

Employers may be putting themselves at risk of litigation by failing to calculate overtime pay properly for some of their non-exempt employees, according to a blog post from Offit Kurman attorney, Russell Berger. Even responsible employers – those who pay time and a half on minimum wage or more for their non-exempt workers – often do not include commission pay and production bonuses into their overtime calculations. For overtime work, Berger notes that employers must include incentive-based pay, such as commission or bonuses, into overtime pay (that is, overtime can’t be solely based on an employee’s hourly rate). To help employers, the U.S. Department of Labor provides an overtime pay calculator to help with compliance and staying out of harm’s way in regard to litigation. Click here to visit the calculator website. Read more

IT and Engineering Jobs See Sluggish Growth

Two important drivers of the U.S. economy – IT and engineering employment  – are showing signs of slightly slower growth, according to a survey from TechServe Alliance. Over the last month (from March to April 2015), U.S. IT job growth was 0.3 percent with roughly 13,400 new positions filled. Over the last year since April 2014, however, IT jobs saw a more robust 5 percent growth rate. For U.S. engineering jobs, March-April 2015 job growth across the country was .04 percent (total of 1,100 jobs added) while year-to-year growth was 0.9 percent. TechServe Alliance CEO, Mark Roberts, cautioned that the numbers show more of a “deceleration in the rate of growth&rdquo ; than a contraction in new job creation for these two sectors. Read more

EEOC Issues Proposed Rules on Employer-Provided Wellness Programs

The U.S. Equal Employment Commission (EEOC) has issued new rules for public comment on employer-provided wellness programs relative to their compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC last month responded to a lack of regulatory clarity around what kinds of wellness programs employers can offer under their group health insurance plans without violating ADA provisions. The EEOC’s proposed set of guidelines state that wellness programs must be voluntary with no penalty for non-participation; employees can be offered incentives to participate in a wellness program “to achieve health outcomes” as long as these incentives do not exceed 30 percent o f the total cost of employee-only coverage; and any medical information collected as part of a wellness program must be kept confidential. The EEOC’s public-comment period closes June 19, according to HRMorning. Read more

Greater Washington-Area Government Contractors Honored at Awards Ceremony

The Small and Emerging Contractors Advisory Forum (SECAF) earlier this month announced the 2015 winners of its 7th Annual Government Contractor Awards. Held at the Hilton McLean, the SECAF gala named Arlington, VA-based Apogee Research (0$-$6M in revenues), Reston, VA’s Cybermedia  Technologies ($6-$12M in revenues) and Washington, DC’s Atlas Research ($12-$25M in revenues) as its Government Contractors of the Year. Each of these firms was honored for delivering a “compelling and profound commitment to excellence in growth and financial performance,” according to SECAF. SECAF also tapped Fredericksburg-based IntelliWare Systems for its Award of Excellence, given to the company that best shows a commitment to their industry and their employees. IntelliWare, in a press release, credited its award to the firm’s emphasis on “taking care of our employees and giving back to the communities where we live and work. It’s an award for our culture of commitment and caring.” Read more