New York News & Analysis

  • Ready for office holiday celebration? Remember to party 2020 style

    The holiday season is upon us, but it just doesn't seem so festive this year. Many employees are still isolated as they work from home. Essential workers are in the workplace but worried about the risks they face by being there. A big party to relieve the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic certainly would be welcome—but difficult in the era of social distancing. Difficult doesn't mean impossible, however. Here are some ideas.

  • Imagining postpandemic workplace: Comfy, sterile, or mix of both?

    Everybody—from CEOs to frontline workers, design specialists to space planners, Gen Z and Millennials to Boomers—is wondering what the post-COVID workplace will look like. Despite the myriad ideas floating around, the consensus seems to be that only time will tell. Another largely agreed upon notion: The "new normal" will be noticeably different from the offices people abandoned at the beginning of the pandemic.

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Most HR pros consider themselves strategic partners, survey finds. A survey from payroll and benefits provider Paychex, Inc., released in August found that 88% of HR leaders feel they are a strategic partner within their organization, particularly as they play a vital role in navigating new regulatory challenges compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Paychex Pulse of HR Survey also shows that 80% of HR professionals believe workplace technology helps support their role as a strategic contributor to the business and another 79% say technology enables their workforce to be more efficient and productive. When asked to define their role within their organizations, most HR leaders describe themselves as a "strategic partner," which rose from the fourth most common self-described role in 2019 to first in 2020.

  • Federal Watch

    DOL issues guidance on tracking teleworker hours. The U.S. Department of Labors (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in August issued guidance clarifying an employers obligation to track the number of hours of compensable work performed by employees who are teleworking or otherwise working away from premises controlled by their employers. The guidanceField Assistance Bulletin 2020-5reaffirms an employer is required to pay its employees for all hours worked, including work not requested but allowed and work performed at home. If the employer knows or has reason to believe an employee is performing work, the time must be counted as hours worked. Confusion over when an employer has reason to believe that work is being performed may be exacerbated by the increasing frequency of telework and remote work arrangements since the last interpretive rules were issued in 1961, the DOL said in announcing the new guidance.

  • HR Technology

    Interest in virtual hiring expected to continue. The pandemic has made many employers turn to virtual hiring events, and a poll from hiring and job search platform Indeed shows that many employers are likely to continue the trend. To meet that demand, Indeed has launched Indeed Hiring Events, a way for employers to quickly and virtually hire at scale. Indeed promotes the event, screens applicants, and handles scheduling so the employer can focus on interviewing applicants and making job offers. The technology combines video conferencing with a virtual lobby for candidates that mimics the experience of an actual event for jobseekers, according to an announcement from Indeed. The employer needs to provide basic information that Indeed can use to create the event page. Then the Hiring Events technology automates and manages the rest of the event logistics.

  • Incivility and harassment at work? Employer policies can help

    Employers concerned about racist, sexist, and other unacceptable outbursts in the workplace cheered a decision from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in July that makes it easier to discipline or fire employees for offensive speech. Under the previous standard, employees disciplined for profane outbursts often could look to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) for protection since Section 7 of the Act prohibits employer policies that may impede employee efforts to join a union or otherwise band together to improve the terms and conditions of employment. The previous standard was tolerant of some degree of heated speech uttered in the exercise of Section 7 rights as long as it wasn't violent or otherwise too extreme.

  • Despite recent court decisions, questions remain for religious employers

    The U.S. Supreme Court issued two decisions recently that were welcome news for religious organizations and other employers that rely on religious convictions as they conduct their business. One decision bolstered the "ministerial exception," a doctrine stemming from the First Amendment that prevents government interference in religious organizations' ability to hire and fire employees. The other decision says certain private employers with religious or moral objections to birth control can exclude contraception coverage in their employer-sponsored health plans even though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates such coverage for most employers.

  • Cybercriminals find chances to pry, pounce in your COVID-19 planning efforts

    As COVID-19 spreads around the globe, cybersecurity and data privacy risks are expanding for employers. Read on to learn some simple steps you can take to address and mitigate the dan-gers.

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Next Chapter aims to help formerly incarcerated people. Workplace communication company Slack announced in July that Dropbox and Zoom have joined its Next Chapter apprenticeship program, which is designed to bring formerly incarcerated individuals into engineering roles. In making the announcement, Slack said criminal justice reform has never been more vital to the country's health, and formerly incarcerated individuals account for unemployment rates nearly five times as high as those faced by other jobseekers. "This partnership is a small but meaningful step toward addressing the long-term, systemic changes that are needed to make our companies and our country more just and inclusive places to work and live," the Slack announcement said. Slack began its pilot program last year, and all three of its first apprentices have joined the company as full-time engineers.

  • Federal Watch

    EEOC launches study of EEO-1 Component 2 data. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced in July that it would fund a statistical study with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) to conduct an independent assessment of the quality and utility of the EEO-1 Component 2 data for fiscal years 2017 and 2018, which was collected last year. The Information Quality Act requires the EEOC to assess and ensure the quality and utility of data collected by the agency. To meet the requirements of the law, the assessment must examine the data's fitness for use, including the utility of pay bands in measuring pay disparities and potential statistical and analytically appropriate uses of the data. The EEOC said the assessment also will inform the EEOC's approach to future data collections.