Arkansas News & Analysis

  • Healthcare industry's compliance with OSHA emergency temporary standard now required

    An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS) went into effect in early June 2021, and compliance with most of the provisions was required by July 6. The final set of provisions (pertaining to training, ventilation, and barriers) wasn't mandated until July 21. With some exceptions, the ETS applies to all settings where any employee provides healthcare or healthcare support services.

  • Potential ADA accommodations abound, but a few declared 'unreasonable'

    There's no exhaustive list of potentially reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. Whether an accommodation is reasonable will depend on the unique circumstances of each instance, including the individual's limitations and essential job functions. Some accommodations, however, have been declared "unreasonable."

  • Kansas governor expands paid parental leave for state employees

    Kansas Governor Laura Kelly recently issued an Executive Order (EO) expanding parental leave for state employees. Primary caregivers will now receive an extra two weeks of leave, and secondary caregivers will get one extra week. Most important, the parental leave is paid at 100 percent of the employee's regular salary.

  • Executive Order seeks to improve worker mobility, promote competition

    President Joe Biden recently issued an Executive Order (EO) on "Promoting Competition in the American Economy." The order is wide-ranging, including 72 different initiatives aimed at more than a dozen federal agencies. For the most part, the order takes the form of encouraging the alphabet soup of agencies to take actions to regulate the conduct of various businesses, especially those in the healthcare, transportation, agriculture, and technology sectors. It covers everything from making hearing aids available over the counter to requiring airlines to be more transparent in pricing.

  • Are off-site injuries covered by workers' comp in Oklahoma? It depends

    Over the years we've seen a steady stream of cases involving employees who filed workers' compensation claims after being injured away from the employer's premises. Sometimes it was difficult to determine whether the off-site injury was compensable. Changes to Oklahoma's laws sought to clarify the question, and two recent cases provide more answers.

  • 10th Circuit won't second-guess employer's decision not to grant telework

    The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made telework much more common for many employees. As we begin to return to normalcy, workers may question whether they still need to be physically present at the workplace when telework has proven feasible. In most situations, the question is still up to you as the employer to answer. If you believe physical presence is valuable to the organization or the employee's work, you may require the individual to work in person.

  • Tips to make sure disabilities don't derail diversity, inclusion efforts

    The numbers aren't surprising. Year after year, statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) show the unemployment rate for people with disabilities to be dramatically higher than the rate for people without disabilities. Figures from June show the unemployment rate for people ages 16 to 64—the age group commonly considered to be the working-age population—was 11% for those with disabilities. That compares to 5.9% for people in the same age group who don't have disabilities. The 2020 unemployment rate was 13.3% for people ages 16 to 64 who have disabilities and 7.9% for people in the same age group without disabilities.

  • Leery of hiring ex-offenders? Study looks at employer attitudes

    For years, employers have bemoaned the "skills gap." Even when candidates seem to be plentiful, many employers report a dearth of applicants with the right skills to fill positions. It's enough to put employers on the hunt for new talent pools, and recent research points out why they might consider a long-shunned group—people with criminal records.

  • Cutting-Edge HR

    Survey finds enhancing employee experience a priority. More than nine in 10 employers (94%) say enhancing the employee experience will be an important priority at their organization over the next three years. That compares with just 54% that indicated it was important to their organization before the pandemic, according to a survey from advisory firm Willis Towers Watson. The 2021 Employee Experience Survey also shows that adapting to the new reality of work will take time and require a hybrid work model, and many employers are not ready to meet that challenge. The survey also shows most respondents believe a positive employee experience is a key driver of engagement, employee well-being, productivity, and ability to attract and retain talent. The survey also shows that while employers expect the proportion of their employees working primarily remotely will drop in three years, they expect one in four will be working a mix of on-site and remotely in three years, triple the current number.

  • Federal Watch

    NLRB says solicitation of mail ballots is objectionable election conduct. In a unanimous decision on June 9, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held that the solicitation of mail ballots constitutes objectionable conduct in a Board union representation election. In Professional Transportation, Inc., the NLRB held that an election would be set aside based on such conduct if the evidence showed that ballot solicitation affected a determinative number of votes. Dissenting in part, member William Emanuel favored setting aside elections whenever a party is shown to have solicited mail ballots, regardless of how many voters are affected. Applying the new rule retroactively, the Board declined to set aside the election. It found that although the employer may be able to show the union solicited the mail ballot of at least one employee, at most it would be able to establish that the solicitation affected two voters. Therefore, the solicitation could not have affected the outcome of the election.