News & Analysis

Employers with 100+ employees face big task complying with new COVID-19 rules

Under a new emergency temporary standard (ETS) from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), businesses with at least 100 employees must develop, implement, and enforce a policy requiring their workers to either (1) become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or (2) undergo testing on at least a weekly basis and wear a face covering when at work. Time is short for covered employers to meet the big challenge, and here is what they need to know.

With OSHA enforcement heating up, taking breaks now even better idea

On September 1, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a memorandum ( establishing a new enforcement initiative to prevent and protect employees from heat-related severe illnesses and deaths while working in hazardous hot indoor or outdoor environments.

How to protect your business from unfair competition by former employees

We recently wrote about how the tight job market is making it hard for you to find employees (see "Pros, cons of using signing bonuses to attract employees" in our October 2021 issue). One side effect is that even if you can find the workers you need, they may feel they can easily leave and get another job. In the current fluid environment, many of you are understandably concerned about protecting your organization from unfair competition. Here are some methods that can help.

FMLA doesn't prohibit termination for failure to comply with call-in requirements

Employees can be held accountable for not complying with an employer's call-in notice requirement, even when the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may apply. In a recent case, the employer had an attendance policy requiring employees to notify their supervisor at least two hours before their shift started if they would be absent. The failure to call in was a "no-call/no-show." Two no-call/no-show events resulted in termination.

Visually impaired employee's request held unreasonable

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Kansas and Oklahoma employers) recently held a hospital employee's visual impairment, which complicated her daily commute to and from work, didn't entitle her to her requested accommodation of a flexible work schedule. The case emphasizes that employers have no obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to accommodate employees' non-work-related barriers created by personal lifestyle choices.

Employers gird for sweeping new COVID-19 rules on vaccines, testing

By mandating vaccinations for many employees, President Joe' Biden's six-pronged COVID-19 action plan will have a significant effect on employers across the country. Many key details (including what exemptions may apply to the vaccine mandates) remain unknown until additional federal guidance is provided.

Staffing up during the pandemic: a few tips

Many employers were optimistic earlier in the year when the COVID-19 vaccination program ramped up in a big way and case counts seemed to be on the decline. Restrictions were eased, and light seemed to appear at the end of the tunnel.

Some ideas for performance evaluations as the pandemic continues

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt many facets of employment, including how managers and employees communicate about performance. Like last year, employers are struggling to decide how to assess employee performance when so much of the workforce is nowhere near back to normal. The "annual review" process was under attack in many circles before the pandemic struck, but its shortcomings are now even more evident. What should employers do? Here are a few ideas.

Cutting-Edge HR

Survey highlights employer worries about exodus of talent. A survey from outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc. shows 68% of companies are worried about an exodus of workers. Why? The researchers say 75% of companies reported workers wanting more flexibility and 59% cited worker burnout. Women are pushing back more than any other group, according to Challengers report. Over 81% of companies reported facing pushback to the return to the office, primarily coming from mothers and women. The survey reported 29% of employers cited childcare as an issue fueling workers desire to leave their jobs. Another 9% cited mental health concerns. Survey participants also were asked if they were offering new incentives to keep talent. Sixty-three percent said they were. Incentives offered include flexible work hours, remote work options, hybrid work arrangements, higher pay, and cash bonuses.

HR Technology

CEO survey shows technology a priority. A new survey of CEOs from Fortune and Deloitte shows more than half of CEOs say innovation/new products or application of technology will be key to business success over the next year. The survey also shows more than 80% of CEOs intend to increase spending on technology modernization over the next 12 months, and nearly three-quarters say they are undergoing or preparing for digital and workforce/talent transformation. An announcement from Deloitte says the research shows CEOs plan to divert more money to areas they deem crucial to their business success. The survey shows 74% of the CEOs surveyed said their organizations were undergoing or preparing for digital transformation. The survey also shows four out of five CEOs expect their organizations to increase the level of spending on technology modernization, and more than two-thirds plan to increase spending on artificial intelligence (AI).