Office Management & HR
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The workplace is no place for harassment of any kind. It's critical to establish proper policies to identify and prevent harassment.
Rules for workers may be legally required, but various optional workplace rules should be considered as well. Carefully selected workplace rules can protect your business from legal claims and help you maintain an orderly, positive work environment.
Absenteeism can be a costly problem for any business, but the impact on small businesses can be especially severe. Employers can control excessive absenteeism by creating an atmosphere where good attendance is valued. A formal attendance policy can help ensure that attendance problems are dealt with fairly.
Dealing with drugs and alcohol in the workplace can be especially sensitive, but problems in this area can have a negative impact on a business in several areas and shouldn't be ignored. Different substance abuse strategies are available for employers to implement and sometimes required by law, including a written policy, employee assistance programs and under certain conditions, drug testing. Federal contractors may be required to comply with the Drug Free Workplace Act.
Employees divorcing may result in an employer having the legal responsibility of providing benefits to alternate payees (such as ex-spouses) or recipients (such as minor children). Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) and Qualified Medical Child Support Orders (QMCSOs) are court orders that impose this responsibility on employers.
The federal law ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) imposes administrative obligations on employers with employee benefit plans.
Administering employee benefits can be quite complex. Understanding the considerations involved in the process will assist you in deciding whether you should handle your benefits administration on your own or outsource all or part of it.
If you offer a retirement plan as an employee benefit you'll be dealing with some complicated administrative issues. Even if you decide to outsource your administrative duties, you'll still need knowledge regarding plan issues such as reporting, recordkeeping and disclosure to be certain your administrative responsibilities are being met.
Target benefit retirement plans are a hybrid-type of plan that have both defined benefit plan and defined contribution plan characteristics.
Employers may choose to offer life insurance benefits to their employees. If this optional benefit is one you are thinking of offering, you will have to determine who should be covered, what type of life insurance benefits to offer and how much life insurance is optimal and affordable.
Disability benefits are employee benefits that guarantee income if an employee cannot work due to illness or an accident. Disability benefits can be optional or mandated by law.
There are three basic categories of deductions employers make from pay: legally required deductions, deductions for the employer's convenience and deductions for the employee's benefit.
A case study of how to calculate an hourly regular rate for a salaried nonexempt employee to pay overtime accurately under federal wage and hour law.
To properly pay your employees, you must determine their hourly regular rate. An employee's regular rate of pay is basically straight-time earnings converted to an hourly figure. Calculating the rate can be quite complex if an employee is not paid on an hourly basis for a 40-hour workweek. You'll want to make sure your calculations are accurate so that you're in compliance with minimum wage and overtime laws.
Federal and state wage and hour laws may require you to display posters in your workplace describing minimum wage and overtime pay requirements.
Federal law prohibits covered employers from basing pay differences solely on gender.
Determining whether you and/or your employees are subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act is the first step in determining what laws you are required to comply with when paying your employees.
Employers should review employee compensation on a regular basis and determine whether employee pay raises are warranted. Whether raises are the same across the board, performance-based or calculated using another method, a competitive compensation package is necessary to retain and attract the best employees.
If your prospective new employee wants more money than you're offering, you may want to consider whether he or she is worth it, and negotiate by making a counteroffer.
Complying with wage and hour law and doing payroll are vital components of the process of paying your employees. First, however, you must decide what amount to pay them. What other employers in comparable businesses are paying is a good way to determine what an employee's salary or salary range should be.
Employers should review their hiring strategy to see what worked and where there's room for improvement. Reviewing the hiring process should also include a review of the legality of the methods used to select employees.
After you've made a hire, you'll want to introduce your new employee to your company through the orientation process. The orientation process can be split up into tasks for before the employee starts, the employee's first day and the employee's first week.
After you've interviewed your employee candidates and checked their backgrounds, you are ready to make a job offer. Certain information should be included in the offer, and statements that imply an employee contract should be avoided unless that is your intention.
Information from a job applicant's references can be extremely valuable. References from former employers are likely to be more valuable than personal references and can help avoid negligent hiring claims. Educational references should also be verified where necessary. Calling or writing are the two basic methods of checking references and the process should be documented.
Background checks should be a part of just about every employer's recruiting and hiring process. The checks can range from consulting with references to checking criminal records. If your employees have contact with the public or financial transactions, you should be particularly thorough about your background checks to avoid negligent hiring claims.
Giving job applicants tests can be a valuable part of deciding who to hire. You should use these tests prudently, to find out what you really need to know and administer them fairly. Also, many tests are governed by laws that pertain to when in the recruiting and hiring process they may be given or if they can be given at all. Conversely, depending on the job, some tests may be legally required.
A popular and efficient method to collect information about applicants for employment positions is to use job applications. You can use a standard form or customize one, but you must be sure that the information you request (or the way you request it) doesn't violate anti-discrimination laws.
When you are trying to fill a position, you're likely to have several applicants for that position. Your next step will be to screen your job applicants which means that you should first determine who is an applicant and then acknowledge those applicants. You will have to determine by what means you're going to obtain the information you need from your applicants to fill your open position with the best candidate for the job.
Interviewing job applicants is a critical part of the employee selection process. Planning for the interview requires choosing a location and an interview format. The next step is then understanding how to conduct the interview to obtain and relay information.
When you are conducting an interview, keep in mind your role as the interviewer includes both conveying and obtaining information. Part of this process is knowing what interview questions to ask and perhaps even more importantly, the questions you shouldn't ask in an interview.
You should obtain the driving record information for any prospective employee if driving is part of the job description.
Taking stock of the recruiting choices you can use to fulfill your recruiting needs will help ensure that your choice is the right one for your business.
Outsourcing your recruiting to employment agencies frees you from the often time-consuming process involved in finding the right employee. Your input and criteria is used by the recruiting firm to find suitable candidates for your consideration and final approval.
For small businesses, personally recruiting prospective job candidates can be an especially appropriate method of filling hiring needs. Referrals from friends and business associates as well as recruiting at schools can be valuable sources of help.
Case studies illustrating how job advertisements violate age discrimination laws can be helpful in avoiding legal liability when creating a job ad.
Writing a job advertisement requires you to include the information you need to get responses from qualified prospective workers. However, you must be very careful not to run afoul of the anti-discrimination laws by using prohibited language in your ads.
There are various ways to let the world know that you're hiring, including advertising in newspapers and online, in trade journals and depending on your budget, on the radio or television.
Job descriptions are an excellent tool in the hiring process for both you and your prospective employees. They can also provide proof as to the essential functions of a job for purposes of complying with federal employment laws.
Experience, education, ability, and language fluency may be considerations when you are defining your job qualifications. Employers, particularly those who employ 15 or more, must be careful not to run afoul of federal or state anti-discrimination laws during this process.
A three-step process of doing a job analysis, determining job qualifications, and creating a job description can help you determine what you need from the people you hire. There are several components involved in the first step, which is performing a job analysis.
Independent contractors are a popular choice for business owners to fill their work force needs. True independent contractors are not treated as employees, which essentially means that payroll taxes and certain state and federal employment laws do not apply to them. It's important, however, to ensure that a worker qualifies as an independent contractor because the repercussions for incorrectly classifying workers can be severe.
Leasing workers from an agency may be the staffing solution that's the best fit for you and your business. A big benefit of leased employees is that the administrative work such as taking care of the payroll responsibilities and keeping records is handled by the employment agency.
Making the decision to hire workers for your business is a big step that involves determining whether it's cost-efficient to hire someone and then deciding what type of help you need. Hiring full-time or part-time employees, hiring your children, hiring temporary help or perhaps using leased employees or independent contractors in your business are among your options.
Employers must protect the safety of all employees in their workplace. However, this responsibility must not violate the rights of employees with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or certain other diseases. In your day-to-day dealing with employees, there won't be any need to treat an employee with AIDS differently from the way that you treat other employees. Nevertheless, you should anticipate and prepare for any situations where safety precautions may be necessary. Your AIDS related concerns may be more complicated if your business is in one of several specific industries. Some employers will find it beneficial to create a formal policy addressing AIDS in the workplace.
The concept of an office as a workplace fraught with danger may seem odd. However, modern offices have specific safety issues that should be addressed, many of which are due to office automation. OSHA guidelines can help you institute safety measures to combat office automation hazards.
Employees have the right to file complaints against employers with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as asserting other rights without fear of reprisal from employers. Employers are required to display posters that inform employees of their OSHA rights.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the authority to inspect a workplace and issue citations and impose penalties for violations of government safety regulations. Certain facts are a defense to a citation and variances from a safety standard are available in limited circumstances.
Employers are required to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) accident, illness or injury reporting and posting requirements, unless they are specifically exempt.
If your business involves hazardous materials, to be in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's workplace safety rules you must not only follow safety precautions, but also maintain records and communicate information to employees and community emergency organizations.
The heart of Occupational Safety Health Act compliance is becoming aware of its published standards, which address specific hazards. There is also a general duty under OSHA to maintain a safe workplace, which covers situations for which there are no published standards.
Maintaining safe and healthy working conditions are required by government regulations and also make sense for business economic reasons.
Once you have workers and employees to consider, managing your workplace becomes much more complex. As an employer, you will need to familiarize yourself with topics as diverse as complying with wage and hour laws to raising employee morale.
Federal law requires covered employers to comply with certain wage and hour posting rules. Individual states may have posting requirements that you must comply with as well.
employer-provided vehicles, respondeat superior, vehicle liabilities, employer liability, employee negligence, negligence, employer responsibility, vehicles and your business
employment reference defamation, defamatory reference letters
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