TPO's Employment Update

 

n  Legislative Update

n  Succession Planning - Part IV of IV

n  Member Spotlight

n  HR Rumors

n  Harassment & Discrimination Training

n  Job Descriptions Training

 

 

Training Calendar

CA Employment Essentials (HR101)

n Sept-Oct '07

Management Excellence Series

n Oct - Nov '07

Job Descriptions

n November 06

Specialized Workshops

n Harassment & Discrimination at Work  Sep 13

n I'd Rather Not Discuss It!  Sep 18

n Workers' Compensation Management Sep 19

n Excelling as a First Time Manager Oct 18

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS) PUBLISHES LONG-ANTICIPATED REGULATIONS FOR "SAFE HARBOR" PROCEDURES FOR EMPLOYERS WHO RECEIVE SSA "NO-MATCH" LETTERS AND DHS NOTICES!

Far from the doom-and-gloom painted by many in the media, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)'s new regulations actually answers many long-standing questions on what employers must do with when a mismatch letter is received.

In July of 2006, TPO answered a "Rumors" question regarding employers receiving letters notifying them that some employees had provided documents where the name associated with the social security number provided was not the same as the one the employee was using. At that time, we provided our Members with access to a "Best Practices" checklist based on the proposed guidelines to deal with such letters. You can contact TPO for an updated version of this checklist based on the final regulations.

Effective September 7, 2007, the proposed regulations come into effect. With the new regulations in place, SSA will resume sending out mismatch letters and DHS will begin sending letters regarding employees identified with questionable documents in I-9 audits. These letters will outline an employer's specific obligations. Employers who do not comply with the requirements risk facing the possibility of being found to have "knowingly" employed a person not authorized to work in the US. Those employees identified will have a total of 90 days to correct the discrepancy or to complete a new I-9 Form (without using the original SSN or questionable document) by the 93rd day.

As a part of our ongoing partnership with the law firm of Littler Mendelson, we are providing information on how employers can best manage the I-9 process and replies to any agency inquiries under the new rules. Click here to read Littler's Summary and Overview.

 

In addition to past HR Legislation recaps in TPO eNews documents (click here to go to view previous eNews issues), the following are employment-related items on the HR horizon.


CALIFORNIA:

4-Day Workweek - AB 510, if passed, would allow employers to achieve greater flexibility in work schedules by allowing employees to request and employers to mutually agree to a four-day compressed workweek without going through the stringent requirements of a formal "Alternative Workweek".

n  TPO NOTE: this bill failed passage out of the Assembly and further action this year is not likely.

Indoor Heat Regulations - AB 1045, if passed, would bypass the effective and statutory authority of the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health to develop and adopt standards regulating exposure to excessive indoor heat.

Bereavement Leave - SB 549, if passed, would expand employer's liability for a new protected bereavement leave for employees.

n  TPO NOTE: Bereavement leave is one of the few employer-provided benefits which currently is not regulated.

Employment Discrimination - AB 437, if passed, would extend the statute of limitations for any type of employment discrimination lawsuit so long as the employee's pay or benefits is "affected" by the decision. AB 437 specifies that "affected" includes but is not limited to each time an employee is paid, following the employer's decision.

n  TPO NOTE: While this bill is in reaction to a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding discriminatory gender pay claims, opponents are concerned that any employment decision affecting any protected class under FEHA would have extended statute of limitations.


FEDERAL:

Discrimination Lawsuits - H.R. 2831 and S. 1843 are similar bills that, if passed, would significantly expand the time limit within which an employee can file an employment discrimination claim by restarting the time clock for filing such a charge with the EEOC upon the receipt of each successive paycheck.

n  Background: These bills were introduced in response to, and in hopes of overriding, a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that employees who complain of pay discrimination under Title VII, the federal antibias law, must file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the discriminatory pay-setting decision, not upon the receipt of each successive paycheck. Opponents fear that although the bills have been dubbed a simple, legislative reversal of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., they actually go far beyond the scope of the case and would potentially make employers liable for pay decisions decades later.

 

But They Can't Leave!!

"There's an urgent need for leadership with only 45 million younger workers available to fill roles. Some sectors and markets are already battling for talent and leaders. Within a few years it will be a full-scale war. Those companies that are not already preparing are putting their futures at risk."

Seriousness of the Problem

In our first article of this series, we talked about how the current climate makes excellent succession planning a "must" rather than a "nice to have" today. The Hay Group McClellan Center for Research and Innovation recently looked at this subject and determined that there are insufficient numbers of younger workers to fill the roles currently held by retiring Matures and Baby Boomers.

"An estimated 75 million workers will retire in the U.S. in the next 5 to 10 years, including 50% of CEOs from major corporations," said Mary Fontaine, Vice President and General Manager of Hay Group's McClelland Center for Research and Innovation. "There's an urgent need for leadership with only 45 million younger workers available to fill roles. Some sectors and markets are already battling for talent and leaders. Within a few years it will be a full-scale war. Those companies that are not already preparing are putting their futures at risk." 


Different Expectations

While benefits for retirees have been slowly eroding over the past few years, many employers are beginning to plan ways to assist those workers approaching retirement to deal with the issues. Planning exit strategies that meet the needs of the Matures and Baby Boomers is a good business move because it both sends a message to those not yet at the retirement stage that the organization values the contribution of employees at every stage, and is a way to find opportunities to avoid the "brain drain" through retirement by offering options for continuing with the organization.

The concern about retiree's benefits was recently discussed on a global level by Constance Morella, Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). She pointed out that governments have been forced to restructure governmental retirement wage programs by raising the retirement age and other steps to reduce the very large deficits that would be expected otherwise. The crisis is not only because of the large numbers of retirees possible in the next 5-10 years, but also the much increased potential life span of those retirees. The average pension promise in the 16 OECD countries studied was cut by 22%. For women, the reduction was 25%.

This situation makes it possible for organizations to hold on to some of its valuable knowledge longer than they have in the past. Baby Boomers are a generation that "lives to work" and many are inclined to continue to work during retirement years if they can combine that with the lifestyle they have always anticipated during retirement.

The Associated Press reports that retirement communities are beginning to see evidence of a division between older residents and so-called "younger-olders." Those on the leading edge of the Baby Boom who are choosing to join these communities are demanding more comfortable accommodations and amenities than those who are twenty-or-more years their senior. Products of the Great Depression, those in their 80's are used to a more Spartan lifestyle. Community managers report that squabbles are arising over everything from food and dining room attire to monthly fees for computer access and spa services.

A similar difference exists in the attitude towards work. Baby Boomers want to continue to fill a place in the corporate culture.

How to Make it Happen

Corporations who have stepped up in the early stages of this crisis have begun to revamp benefits offerings to develop plans that work for the employees it wants to retain past traditional retirement age. There are several ways to adapt programs. A few ideas are captured below:

1. Offer Health Care Benefits to Part-time Returnees – Traditionally, many organizations have offered healthcare benefits only to full time employees. Healthcare is a serious consideration for employees who are over the traditional retirement age. Providing healthcare benefits for part time work is likely to be a positive move for leaders the company wishes to keep on in some manner.

2. Provide More Leave Time – The next generation of retirees has watched from afar as retirees enjoyed more travel, golf, fishing, volunteering and other recreational and social activities. This generation has been the "workaholic" generation where pleasure has been postponed. It has also been a group that didn't stay long at organizations and so may not have the tenure to get the highest level of leave provided. Allowing more leave time to this group is work enough to some to make the difference in retiring and staying with the organization.

3. Pay a Higher Portion of Health Care Benefits – Offsetting the cost of retirement benefits against the health care that are relevant and valuable to the older group in the organization is another way to provide what is of interest to the employees. Employers MUST find a way to retain in order to continue to be competitive.

In addition to making benefits more available and affordable, there are other rewards that are attractive to this group. Corporate leaders have long known that the most important part of learning how to be a leader is having the right mentor early in a career. Mentoring younger leaders is an area where they already have some expertise. Using a formal system to manage a mentoring program to develop organizational talent is motivational for both the continuing employee and for new employees who see this as a development tool that will allow them to move up in the organization.

In addition to making benefits more available and affordable, there are other rewards that are attractive to this group.

Providing consulting opportunities is another way to make use of the talent that may have already left the organization as a full time resource. Bringing back in the talent that made a program happen on an "as needed" basis allows organizations to employ fewer full time people for the program and utilize the additional intellectual talent only when needed.

Conclusion

As the retirement age for tens of thousands of top leadership approaches, organizations must find a way to fill the gaps left by those who are leaving. Creativity and changing ways of looking at how employees are defined and rewarded provide the keys to surviving the talent drain expected in the next five to ten years.

TPO can help you develop a complete Succession Plan program for your organization or any portion of it. Contact us to begin to plan for your organization's future.

Missed Parts I - III of the Series? Click here to read TPO's previous newsletters.

CHARTWELL SCHOOL

Douglas Atkins, Executive Director

TPO: "Chartwell School been a TPO member for over 10 years. How do you feel TPO contributes to Chartwell's success?"

Teresa Brown, Business Manager: "Chartwell School is a non-profit that has experienced steady growth and development over the span of 25 years. Navigating through the often-tumultuous waters of human resources for the past ten years is something that TPO has done with excellence and precision. Knowing that answers, advice and support are only a phone call or e-mail away has truly made me feel as if our HR department is just down the hall. The staff is always professional, knowledgeable, accessible as well as personable.

We have engaged TPO on multiple projects. Whether guiding us through complex employee situations, providing training, updating policies, pay scales or assisting in the hiring process, the TPO professionals have never given us cause for disappointment. I always come away with the satisfaction that we have received the very best they can provide.

We have come to think of Jill, Robert, Melissa and the entire TPO staff as an extension of our team. They have taken time to get to know our organization and the population we serve. This understanding has helped TPO more effectively serve Chartwell and meet our needs. We value the many years of dedicated service TPO has provided with appreciation."

ABOUT CHARTWELL SCHOOL

Our Mission

Unlike the acquisition of language, the ability to read is not innate. It must be learned. For at least one in every seven people, reading is made especially challenging by the fact that their brain processes visual and auditory information in a different way than their peers. Learning differences, including dyslexia, are unrelated to intelligence or gender. They appear to have a genetic component, and they do not disappear over time. With proper understanding and specialized education, learning differences do not limit potential or success - Winston Churchill is just one of a thousand examples of accomplished people with learning challenges.

The mission of Chartwell School, therefore, is to educate children with a wide range of language-related visual and auditory learning challenges in a way that provides them with the learning skills and self-esteem necessary to return successfully to mainstream education. Chartwell also helps individuals with specific learning challenges access their full potential by providing leading-edge education, research and community outreach.

What We Believe

Our philosophy is to educate each child as a unique and valuable individual. Our educational evaluations focus on finding effective, tailored learning avenues. We identify and develop areas of aptitude and strength as we address learning challenges, with the emphasis on each student rediscovering a sense of self-worth. We present project-based content and learning opportunities that are intellectually stimulating, while giving equal attention to learning skills and character development. We empower each student to effectively recognize and compensate for his or her specific learning challenge. Our faculty helps students use all their senses and all their strengths in a well-structured learning environment. Students are not simply encouraged but fully expected to become active, responsible learners.

What We Do

Chartwell School provides a full academic program in a highly structured learning environment, utilizing multi-sensory teaching. This approach is used consistently in all classes. The course of study includes all areas of language instruction, mathematics, social studies, physical education, and an array of enrichment activities supervised by professional staff. Students discover and nurture their talents in the Visual Arts, Science Laboratory and Computer Lab. Supplemental services are offered by a certified speech and language therapist for those students requiring additional work in receptive and expressive language development.

While helping the student overcome academic difficulties, programs at Chartwell actively teach self-reliance and respect for others. Students preparing to return to the mainstream education participate in a formal transitioning program in their last semester, which includes skills for effective self-advocacy.

Community Outreach

Chartwell is the only school in our entire Central Coast region that provides this type of specialized education. Chartwell Outreach shares best practices in education with other schools and youth organizations, so that they can work more effectively with students who experience milder forms of dyslexia and related learning difficulties. The goal of Chartwell Outreach is to bring research-based instructional methods to bear upon the community at large and to address the problem of literacy in its largest context. Collaborative partners have included the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monterey County, the Salvation Army, Salinas Union High School District, the Salinas YES program, future teachers at California State University Monterey Bay, Monterey Peninsula College, foster care programs, and many others. In addition to providing direct services to students, Chartwell Outreach works with organizations to help their staff provide effective literacy instruction.

Our Faculty

The Chartwell faculty specializes in language development and linguistic structures related to reading, writing, mathematics and all other disciplines. Each Chartwell teacher receives additional language training in a structured phonetic/linguistics program.

Most hold advanced degrees. Faculty also includes a physical education instructor, two speech and language therapists and an occupational therapist. The faculty values problem-solving, diagnostic instruction, character development and home communication as essential elements for student success.

For more information: www.chartwell.org

HR Rumors: Get Your Facts Straight from the Experts!

 

Can I NOT PAY employees for the time that they clock in early or late?
I have a couple of employees who often clock in early and clock out late (usually 10 minutes, but sometimes up to half an hour). This leads to an overtime issue of anywhere from 15 minutes to in some cases, an hour! Though our handbook says that all overtime must be approved prior to it being worked, and we have sent out memos over the years explaining that employees are not allowed to clock in early or late, employees still do it. Can I pay them only for the hours that they are scheduled to work, regardless of when they clock in and out?

Fact

 

Though frustrating, the answer is generally NO.

Employees in non-exempt positions are required to be paid for all hours worked, including pay for all overtime incurred. Additionally, federal and state laws require employers to keep an accurate record of time worked in order to calculate pay and benefits. The assumption is that when an employee clocks in/out, that is an accurate reflection of the starting/ending work time. If the employer decided to not pay an employee for the early/late clock in/out, the documentation (i.e., timekeeping record) would not match the payroll records. Should an employee challenge the employer's practice of paydocking, the employer would have the burden of proof to show the Labor Commissioner's office that the timekeeping records were incorrect (while a couple of errors on a timekeeping record is reasonable, multiple ones are likely not). A better approach is to implement corrective action as the clocking in/out early/late occurs - up to and including termination of employment for multiple offenses - and to pay for all time actually worked even if it mean that overtime is paid.

One exception would be if employees are clocking in/out early/late but are not actually working during that time. Time worked is all the time actually spent on the job performing assigned duties. In these situations, management should be monitor employees and correct the timekeeping record at the time the incorrect clocking in/out occurred - and both the employee and the supervisor should initial the correction to the timecard verifying the accuracy of the change.

Many timeclocks register exact, often down to the minute, in/out times and therefore overtime may be incurred for the employee who clocks in only a few minutes early/late. One solution is to round the time to the nearest 5, 10 or 15 minute increment. Of course, if an employer chooses a rounding method, it must be applied evenly to the beginning and the end of the shift to total the hours worked each day. Take, for example, an employer who rounds to 15 minute increments and an employee whose shift is from 8:30am to 5:00pm, but clocks in at 8:20 a.m. and out at 5:05 p.m. In this scenario, the 8:20 a.m. would round to 8:15 a.m. and the 5:05 p.m. would round to 5:00 p.m. - resulting in a total of 8.25 hours worked (assuming a 30 minute unpaid meal period). The employer is obligated to pay the .25 hours at the overtime rate, but has the ability to implement corrective action with the employee for not clocking in/out correctly for their scheduled shift.

Bottom line: Mangers and Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that the timekeeping records accurately reflect all hours actually worked and if there are errors on the timekeeping records, to make timely corrections. When employees are inaccurately clocking in/out it is management's responsibility to correct the situation.

TPO TIPS:

1. Have a written Timekeeping policy that states employees should accurately record the time work begins and ends, as well as the beginning and ending time of each meal period, any split shift or departure from work for personal reasons.

2.  Implement corrective action as the clocking in/out early/late occurs.

3. Every timecard should include verbiage similar to: "I attest that I have been authorized and empowered to take appropriate meal and break periods every day of this pay period. I also attest that the hours (in and out) recorded here are true and accurate." with a signature line for the employee to sign.

NEW 2007 Harassment Programs!

Fulfill California's AB 1825 Harassment Training Law for all supervisors/managers/leads for as low as $79 per participant!

California law (AB 1825) requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide 2 hours of sexual harassment training by 12/31/05 and every two years thereafter to all managers/supervisors/leads. Additionally, newly hired/promoted managers/supervisors/leads must receive the training within 6 months of hire.

For most employers, this means that 2007 is a Training Year. TPO's brand new interactive Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Training Program facilitated by qualified TPO Representatives exceeds state regulations effective August 17, 2007.

Meet your 2007 training requirements now!

Register for TPO'S  HARASSMENT & DISCRIMINATION AT WORK!

IT'S EASY…

1. Your Team Training: Your location or at TPO's Professional Development Center. Contact us for more information!

2. Scheduled Classes: Join other organizations at TPO's Professional Development Center. Sign individuals up for an open-enrollment class at TPO.

All programs available in Spanish!

To schedule your organization's training, contact TPO:
Phone: 800.277.8448   •   Fax: 831.658.0201
tpo@tpohr.com

Let Us Count The Ways -

Don't Miss This No-Nonsense Workshop!

This comprehensive 4-hour workshop includes TPO's popular Job Description Development Program designed to assist employers in developing current, state-of-the-art, and ADA & FEHA compliant Job Descriptions. 

Participants will:

n Understand the impact of Job Descriptions in recruitment, hiring, performance management, leaves of absence, safety, career development, and even terminations;

n Create a Job Description using TPO's "system" for developing and maintaining current, ADA & FEHA compliant and consistently formatted job descriptions including job knowledge, training, education, skills, and characteristics needed to successfully perform the job; and

n Learn to identify and define the key responsibilities, "essential functions", and physical requirements of each job in your organization.

LOCATION: TPO - 60 Garden Court, Suite 100, Monterey

COST: Members: $495* per participant    Non-Members: $595* per participant

         *Includes TPO's Job Description Development Program! - a $500 value
           Additional participants from the same organization may attend for $79 (members)
           or $99 (non-members)

DATE: November 6, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

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The information provided is designed to be accurate in content. TPO provides human resource consulting and is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. Readers are advised to consult legal counsel on matters involving employment law or important personnel policies & practices before adoption or implementation.