December 2015 HR Newsletter
The holiday season is in full force! From Thanksgiving to New Years, there is a lot going on. This month we are highlighting ways you can “go green” in your workplace and diving into upcoming FLSA changes.
Featured Article: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Nine Ways to Keep Your Office Green
Recycling is not a new concept, but the ways in which we can recycle are increasing faster than ever. Everything from printer toner to food waste can now be properly reused, recycled, or composted. Recycling in the office just takes a little extra encouragement and dedication.
Here are some simple suggestions to keep your office green:
- Offer paper recycling. Put a paper-recycling receptacle next to each printer, copier and fax machine. Discuss recycling with your cleaning crew or appoint a person to bring your paper to a recycling center each week.
- Switch to recycled office supplies whenever possible, such as high post-consumer recycled content paper.
- Recycle your ink and toner cartridges. Office supply companies like Staples and Office Depot will take your old cartridges and give cash incentives for recycling them!
- Donate functioning old laptops, printers and other office equipment to charity organizations.
- Buy higher end office equipment so you need to replace items less frequently; cost per use is a useful financial metric.
- Encourage employees to shut down their computers when they leave the office for the day.
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning products, which help protect the health of your employees and cleaning staff by eliminating harmful substances and abrasive odors from the office.
- Encourage telecommuting, biking, and other green transportation. Your transportation policies can make a huge difference.
- Go green — literally. Make your office green with plants! They absorb airborne pollutants (which are widespread with off-gassing office furniture), and emit healthy negative ions and oxygen into the air.
If you’re looking for information on recycling options and programs, we recommend checking out sites like http://www.recyclerfinder.com/ that provide comprehensive information about recycling in your area.
HR Alert: ACA’s Automatic Enrollment Provision Repealed
One provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that had yet to be implemented was a requirement that an employer with 200 or more full-time employees automatically enroll new full-time employees in one of its health benefit plans. This provision would have created an opt-out system rather than the current opt-in system for coverage under an employer’s plan. While this provision became law in 2010, implementation was delayed pending regulations from the Department of Labor.
Now the automatic enrollment provision has been abandoned entirely. On November 2, President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which included a repeal of the automatic enrollment. The repeal isn’t surprising, but it may come as a relief to employers who felt the need to plan for the provision to go into effect. As the automatic enrollment was not operational at any point, no action is required from employers in response to the repeal.
HR Tip of the Month:
Employee handbooks are an incredibly useful tool in any workplace. Although they do not constitute a contract between the employer and the employee, they can be used to articulate expectations and create accountability. However – and this is big – if you want employees to actually follow the guidelines (as opposed to your using the handbook only as a disciplinary tool), you need to give them time to read it—time at work.
Sending the handbook home with employees to read at their convenience causes two problems. First, they very likely won’t read it; handbooks just aren’t that fun, regardless of how much sizzle and pop you might try to incorporate. Second, if an hourly employee is asked to read the handbook at home and does so (or claims to), you’ll be liable to pay for that hour of their time, and if they are already scheduled to work 40 hours a week, you’ve just entered overtime territory.
Best practice? Carve out an hour during new employee orientation for employees to read the handbook. You’ll avoid a wage claim and be able to answer any questions that may arise. Most importantly, you can be confident that the information and policies in the handbook will be effectively transmitted to your new team members.
Did You Know?
Many employers are still unaware that they cannot prohibit employees from discussing their wages. Adding such a provision to the employee handbook, or taking disciplinary action in response to disclosure, constitutes a violation of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. Under Section 7, discussing the terms and conditions of one’s employment (including wages) is considered “concerted activity” and is protected by law in both union and non-union workplaces.
MyPayrollHR has partnered with Aurico to give you access to relevant webinars and hot topics. This month’s webinar covers E-Verify and Form I-9’s Companion. Here is a sneak preview…
Is your HR Team ready for E-Verify in 2016? In this webinar, professionals will be able to learn all about the recent changes and updates to E-Verify from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) perspective. Topics covered in this webinar will include: if you have employees in other states, what’s your responsibility in regards to E-Verify; the directive from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) that includes all E-Verify transaction records more than ten years old to be deleted from the system effective January 1, 2016; complying with the retention and disposal schedule of the (NARA); the earliest you can run an E-Verify case, and many other helpful facts for 2016!
E-Verify is the free, web-based service administered by USCIS and SSA that allows enrolled employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their new hires. From the federal perspective, E-Verify is voluntary for most users. Although it is mandatory in some form or fashion in over 20 states and for many federal contractors.
Interested? Click HERE to sign up for the 60-minute presentation on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 1:00 PM CST.
December 6: First day of Hanukkah
December 8: Bodhi Day
December 10: Intl. Human Rights Day
December 22: Winter Solstice
December 24: Milad-un-Nabi
December 25: Christmas
December 26: Kwanzaa begins
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