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Flexible work time

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Growing Number of Employers Offering Paid Paternal Benefits to New Dads
"As employees push for more job flexibility ... employers are being very cautious and strategic regarding paid leave, exploring different possibilities.... U.S. employers [may] eventually settle on offering FMLA's 12 weeks of time off as paid leave.... Financial-service companies, investment bankers, technology employers and start-ups have been on board with paid paternal leave for a while ... because it helps attract young talent. But other employers complain that it adds another fixed cost to their overstretched budget." (Human Resource Executive Online)
'Panda Days' and Paid Time Off: What Perks Perk Up Employees
"Perks are essential in attracting and retaining talent, and companies are offering more and more varied perks to hire the very best they can. Nearly 3 in 5 (57%) job seekers reported benefits and perks being among their top considerations before accepting a job ... The perks vary widely, but common themes emerge among the most popular benefits, namely parenting, lifestyle, education or skill building, and cash perks." (OneExchange from Towers Watson)
Puerto Rico Supreme Court Addresses Conditions for Breastfeeding in the Workplace
"On January 25, 2016, the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico held that employers in Puerto Rico should provide a safe, private, and hygienic place for working nursing mothers to extract breast milk during the nursing period as provided under Act No. 427-2000, as amended (Act 427). The Supreme Court further held that, given certain conditions, failure by an employer to provide a safe, private, and hygienic place to extract breast milk may be a constitutional violation of the working mother's right to privacy under the Constitution of Puerto Rico if the working mother's decision to breastfeed her child is affected by the employer's violation of Act 427." (Littler)
Number of Paid Sick Leave Days in 2015 Varies by Length of Service and Establishment Size
"In March 2015, 61 percent of workers in private industry had paid sick leave benefits. About 7 in 10 of those workers received a fixed number of sick leave days each year. Most of the rest received sick leave through a consolidated leave plan, which provides a single amount of time off for workers to use for any purpose. Among those who received a fixed number of sick leave days, the amount varied depending on the employee's length of service and the size of the establishment." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS])
More Companies May Start Helping Employees Buy Homes
"Facebook ... is offering workers $10,000 or more to move within 10 miles of the company's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.... It's a move that has the potential to entice employees to work longer hours while easing the stresses caused by long commutes and the San Francisco Bay area's staggering housing prices.... Why haven't more companies done it? The simple answer has to do with taxes." (Bloomberg)
[Guidance Overview] Colorado Issues New Guidance on 'Use-It-or-Lose-It' Vacation Policies, But Questions Remain
"The [Colorado Department of Labor and Employment's Division of Labor's] new position, issued in the form of Frequently Asked Questions, starts out with what appears to be a solid endorsement of use-it-or-lose-it vacation policies ... The FAQ then narrowed the scope of permissible policies ... Many use-it-or-lose-it policies, as currently written, may run afoul of this enforcement position." (Littler)
IRS Scrutinizes Public Employer PTO Plans
"The constructive receipt doctrine is taking on renewed significance as public employers have created new conversion options for 'extended leave,' retirement accounts, health insurance continuation, and the like, some of which have at least a limited 'cash out' option. But even in situations where the cash option is limited or capped, the IRS is clear that the 'constructive receipt' rule will continue to apply. The IRS is currently conducting an initiative focusing on benefits, and accordingly is increasing its scrutiny of public employer PTO and benefit plans." (von Briesen & Roper, s.c.)
D.C.'s 16-Week Paid Family Leave Plan Would Be Most Generous in U.S.
"The District would become the most generous place in the country for a worker to take time off after giving birth or to care for a dying parent under a measure supported by a majority of the D.C. Council.... [A]lmost every part-time and full-time employee in the nation's capital would be entitled to 16 weeks of paid family leave to bond with an infant or an adopted child, recover from an illness, recuperate from a military deployment or tend to an ill family member. The broad new worker benefit ... would be paid from a fund created by a new tax on D.C. employers." (The Washington Post; subscription may be required)
Attitudes Shift on Paid Leave: Dads Sue, Too
"The cases come against the backdrop of a societal shift in which many fathers are working less and spending more time with their children. A recent Pew Research Center analysis reported that from 1965 to 2011, fathers reduced the number of hours they devoted to paid work to about 37 from 42 each week on average and increased the number of hours they devoted to child care each week to about seven from 2.5." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)
Millions of Employees Don't Get Paid Time Off for Holidays or Vacation
"As Labor Day approaches, about a quarter (24 percent) of private sector workers will not be enjoying a paid day off on Monday. A similar number (23 percent) earn no paid vacation time. While this overall lack of paid holidays and vacation time is quite telling (especially compared to our international peers, who more or less universally mandate paid time off), access to paid time off varies dramatically between workers by their pay." (Economic Policy Institute)
As Workers Delay Retirement, Some Bosses Become More Flexible
"As more workers ... are saying no to a traditional retirement, more employers are informally introducing flexibility into their schedules or allowing employees to step slowly out of the work force with a phased retirement arrangement. It can be a win-win for both. But there are plenty of challenges to overcome. From 1985 to 2014, the rate of participation in the labor force for people 65 to 69 increased to almost 32 percent from about 18 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)
The Paradox of Unlimited Paid Leave
"Netflix's announcement makes the generous leave policies offered by Facebook, Google, Accenture and Johnson & Johnson -- which offer paid leave for up to four or five months -- pale in comparison. However, the longstanding question about unlimited time-off policies -- whether they're for vacation, health reasons or the birth or adoption of a child -- is that if you leave it to the discretion of employees as to how much time to take, won't they actually end up taking less time (or none at all) than if they were given a set amount?" (HRE Daily)
[Guidance Overview] Philadelphia Paid Sick Leave Law Takes Effect (PDF)
"The new law requires employers with at least 10 employees to provide paid sick leave and smaller employers to provide unpaid leave.... As Philadelphia's sick leave ordinance took effect, the state legislature was considering preempting local leave laws. The state Senate has already passed a bill (SB 333) that would apply retroactively to January 1, 2015 to prevent Pennsylvania municipalities from imposing their own sick leave requirements on businesses." (Buck Consultants at Xerox)
New Jersey Cities Pass Paid-Sick-Leave Laws Despite Governor's Opposition
"Gov. Chris Christie opposes requiring businesses to give workers paid sick days, calling it another onerous regulation that deters companies from investing in New Jersey. That hasn't stopped officials in nine municipalities, including Newark, Jersey City and Montclair, from passing paid-sick-leave laws and enforcing them ... Now the business community is seeking to nullify the ordinances, saying the cities didn't have the authority to act.... Judge Mary Jacobson of State Superior Court is expected to hear a group of state business organizations argue in favor of overturning the benefit in the city of Trenton." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)
[Guidance Overview] California Labor Commissioner Revises Sick Pay Notice Obligation
"[A]ll new employees hired on or after January 1, 2015, must be given the notice at the time of hire. As to employees who were hired prior to January 1, 2015, the notice must be given within seven days of the date that the sick plan is implemented. Since the deadline for implementation is July 1, 2015, the notice must be given to existing employees by no later than July 8, 2015. The agency has taken the position that even if the employer's existing written paid leave policy or sick leave policy already complies with the new law and will not be changed as a result of the law the employer must still distribute the notice." (Ogletree Deakins)
Paid Time Off, Vacations, Sick Days and Short-Term Caregiving in the United States: 2014 National Study of Employers
"[T]hree major findings emerged from a review of current paid leave options: [1] A greater proportion of nonprofits offer sick days and tend to offer more sick days than for-profit organizations. [2] A majority of employers offer paid leave to their full-time employees, but no more than one third of employers offer paid leave to their part-time employees. [3] Since 2012, fewer employers are offering at least five days to care for a mildly ill child." (Families and Work Institute)
Employee Participation in Wellness Programs and Flexible Work Arrangements is Increasing
"About three-quarters (76 percent) of organizations offered some type of wellness program to employees in 2014, an increase from 70 percent in 2012. Also in 2014, about one-half (52 percent) of organizations provided employees with the option to use flexible work arrangements, such as teleworking.... More than one-half (53 percent) of organizations indicated employee participation in wellness programs increased last year, whereas just under one-third (31 percent) reported increased employee participation in flexible work arrangements." (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business)
How Paid Sick Leave Can Be Healthy for Pensions
"[CalPERS] actuaries assume, when calculating future costs, that service credit for unused sick leave will increase pensions and other benefits by 1 percent for state workers and non-teaching school employees. Actuaries for [CalSTRS], making the calculation in a different way, assume that unused sick leave will increase the service credit for educators by 2 percent. An analysis by the CalSTRS actuary, Milliman, issued in 2010 found that the average amount of unused sick leave converted to service credit was 0.5 years for members retiring after 26 years on the job." (Calpensions)
[Guidance Overview] The Proliferation of Paid Sick Leave in New Jersey
"For the most part, the ordinances [passed recently by six New Jersey municipalities] are consistent and generally model Newark's paid sick leave law, which differs from the Jersey City sick leave law. Now, New Jersey is considering state-wide paid sick leave legislation.... The ordinances apply to all private employers regardless of size, although the amount of paid sick leave time provided to employees varies based upon the total number of employees. An employee is eligible for paid sick leave if he or she works at least 80 hours in a calendar year." (Littler)
[Guidance Overview] New California Sick Leave Law Requires Employers' Immediate Attention
"[In] order to comply with the act, a California employer should.... Determine whether the employer has an employee who, on or after July 1, 2015, works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment, and is therefore entitled to paid sick leave.... Confirm that there are no other local statutes, regulations, or ordinances that require the employer to provide paid sick leave to employees. The act does not 'preempt, limit, or otherwise affect' the applicability of such legislation ... With respect to existing non-exempt employees, ensure that they receive any notice required ... including notice of changes precipitated by the act." [Editor's note: the article recommends 8 additional steps for employers.] (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati)
White House Pushes Bill Requiring Paid Sick Leave
"[T]he Healthy Families Act's 56-hour minimum accrual requirement is more demanding than many of the existing state and municipal paid sick leave laws.... The Act expressly states that it will not 'be construed to supersede (including preempting) any provision of any State or local law that provides greater paid sick time or leave rights.' Accordingly, employers subject to an existing paid sick leave law would be required to comply with the most pro-employee aspects of both the Healthy Families Act and the applicable state or local law." (Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
[Opinion] Who Has Paid Sick Leave, Who Doesn't, and What's Changing
"[A]ccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jump in access to paid sick leave is at least in part due to more Americans working white-collar jobs.... [F]ull-time management workers [receive] the vast majority of sick leave benefits, leaving service workers and part-timers in the dust. The more you earn, the more likely you are to have paid sick leave.... The paradox is that although white-collar workers are more likely to have paid sick leave, they balk at using it; meanwhile, a whole host of people don't have it and thus couldn't use it even if they wanted to. In the end, all of this means that millions of people are going to work sick, albeit for different reasons and with different repercussions" (Harvard Business Review)
[Opinion] The NCPA Fact Checks Obama's Health Policy Address During the State of the Union
"The president didn't mention that an estimated 100 million workers who have paid sick leave likely don't get seven days annually. He also didn't mention that his own advisor Jonathan Gruber has research showing workers themselves wind up paying the cost of mandatory benefits through lower wages.... The president should have called for expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to all workers, allowing them to set aside funds for medical needs. The president could have also proposed allowing workers to use HSAs to compensate for income lost to sick days." (National Center for Policy Analysis Health Policy Blog)
Proposal for Paid Sick Leave for Home Health Workers Returns to California Legislature
"[The new bill introduced by Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego)], AB 11 ..., would revise the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 to include the state's estimated 400,000 home health care workers, giving them a minimum of three days of paid sick leave annually if they work 30 or more calendar days in a year." (California Healthline)
Phased Retirement Can Benefit Workers and Employers
"72% of people older than the age of 50 said they wanted to work. That statistic alone indicates a very high adoption rate if phased option were offered by employers ... Retaining retirement-age workers might not suit all types of companies or all types of employees. However, ... as the definition of retirement is changing, fewer people seem attracted to a traditional retirement without any work." (PLANSPONSOR)
New York Employers Must Provide Unpaid Leave to Volunteer Emergency Responders During Declared Emergencies
"Effective December 22, 2014, New York employers must provide unpaid leave to employees who serve as volunteer firefighters or volunteer ambulance personnel whenever the governor declares a state of emergency.... Employees requesting emergency response leave must provide written documentation from the head of the employee's fire department or volunteer ambulance service notifying the employer of the employee's status as a volunteer emergency responder." (Ogletree Deakins)
[Guidance Overview] Update to Regs under New Jersey Family Leave Act
"Many of the revisions simply corrected typographical errors or clarified language without materially altering the meaning of the regulations. However, there are some substantive revisions as well that include: ... [1] Defining the term 'parent' as 'a person who is the biological parent, adoptive parent, resource family parent, step-parent, parent-in-law, or legal guardian, having a "parent-child relationship" with a child ...'; [3] Defining the term 'family member' to include 'a child, parent, spouse, or partner in a civil union'; [4] Clarifying the definition of 'intermittent leave' to mean 'leave due to a single qualifying reason ... taken in separate periods of time, where each period of leave is at least one workweek'[.]" (Ogletree Deakins)
[Guidance Overview] Massachusetts Becomes the Latest Jurisdiction to Require Paid Sick Leave
"Employers whose current paid time off (PTO) policies satisfy the amended statute's minimum leave and accrual obligations are not required to provide additional sick time in response to the new law. Moreover, employers may require employees to provide documentation from a health care provider for periods of sick time covering more than 24 consecutively scheduled hours of work." (Mintz Levin)
[Guidance Overview] Do You Have California Employees? Action Required by January 1, 2015 to Comply with California's New Paid Sick Leave Law
"The law treats accrual and use differently. Although employees begin to accrue paid sick leave immediately, employers may prevent employees from using their paid sick leave until the 90th day of employment. Employers may also cap the use of paid sick leave to 24 hours (3 days) per year. In other words, although a full-time employee could theoretically accrue a maximum of up to 8.6 paid sick days per year (or 6 days if the employer sets an accrual cap), the employer may cap the employee's use of that time to 3 days per year. Employers may also establish minimum usage blocks of up to 2 hours." (Haynes and Boone, LLP)
California's New Paid Sick Leave Law
"Effective July 1, 2015, this legislation entitles employees to accrue and use up to three paid sick leave days in a 12-month period for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of an existing health condition or preventative care for an employee or an employee's family members. The bill also provides paid sick leave where the employee is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This legislation will cover most temporary, extra help, part-time, and seasonal employees, as long as they work 30 days or more within a year of beginning employment." (Liebert Cassidy Whitmore)
Flex Time Doesn't Need to Be an HR Policy
"While only 29% [of men surveyed] had regularly scheduled flextime/flexplace arrangements, 66% stated they can use flex when they need to. This 'as needed' flexibility is actually the preferred work schedule of a plurality of the respondents (as opposed to formal work-from-home days or full-time work from home). 73% were happy with the extent to which they were able to work from home. 78% stated that they were at least somewhat comfortable using flexibility. 62% said their employers encourage the use of flexibility to at least some extent." (Harvard Business Review)
Philadelphia Mayor's Task Force Recommends Mandatory Paid Sick Leave
"The report makes the following recommendations: [1] Employers with 15 or more employees should provide paid sick leave to qualifying employees.... [2] Sick leave should be available to employees for their own injury, medical care, and health conditions, as well as those of family members, including children, spouses, domestic partners, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings (including foster, step, and in-law relationships).... [3] No compensation should be provided for any earned and unused time at separation from employment.... If Philadelphia adopts these recommendations as law, an estimated 120,000 of the 200,000 workers currently without paid sick leave would become entitled to the new leave." (Ballard Spahr LLP)
[Guidance Overview] California Imposes Mandatory Sick Leave Law
"California's sick leave law requires mandatory paid sick leave accrual measured from July 1, 2015, forward; however, the notice, posting and other requirements are effective as of January 1, 2015. Because this deadline is fast approaching, employers with employees working in California should carefully review their sick and PTO policies, as well as payroll policies for reporting such time on wage statements. Every employer also should review its new-hire procedures and notices, and workplace posting and recordkeeping policies, because California's sick leave law affects each of these items." (McDermott Will & Emery)
[Guidance Overview] California Guarantees Paid Sick Leave to Employees
"An employer must provide an employee with written notice that sets forth the amount of paid sick leave available for use, either on the employee's itemized wage statement or in a separate writing provided on the designated pay date with the employee's payment of wages.... [If] an employee separates from an employer and is rehired within one year, previously accrued and unused paid sick days must be reinstated, and the employee is permitted to use those reinstated days upon rehire." (Ballard Spahr LLP)
Government Workers Get First Crack at Phased Retirement
"The nation's largest employer, the federal government, on Nov. 6 began accepting applications for phased retirement. While the rules apply only to federal workers, they could serve as a pilot project for the private sector.... During phased retirement, employees will be paid for part-time work, supplemented by a partial annuity, and will continue to accrue additional service credits toward their final annuity. The employees also will spend 20% of their time mentoring younger workers." (InvestmentNews)
Voters Approve Paid Sick Leave Initiatives by Healthy Margins (PDF)
"Unlike the Connecticut law, the Massachusetts mandate is not restricted by the employer's size or industry, and also provides a more generous employee benefit than the new California law (40 versus 24 hours of paid leave per year).... Employers that already have a PTO policy will not have to provide additional paid sick time if the policy allows an amount of time that may be used for the same purposes and is sufficient to satisfy the requirements for accrued paid sick leave under these new laws." (Buck Consultants at Xerox)
New Jersey Considering Requirement for Mandatory Paid Sick Leave
"The bills [would] require New Jersey employers to provide one hour of paid sick leave per 30 hours worked for all employees who work in the State. Small employers, defined as those with fewer than 10 employees, will be required to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave per year and allow their employees to carry that time forward for one year. Larger employers, defined as those with more than 10 employees, will be required to provide 72 hours and permit the same carry-forward option. Full-time, part-time and temporary employees (including those provided by a third-party agency) are subject to the headcount calculation." (Wolff & Samson)
'Work Martyrs' Turning U.S. Into 'PTO Graveyard'
"The average worker earns 21 days of PTO each year but uses only 77% of that time, forfeiting 4.9 days ... Permanently lost PTO days totaled 169 million, or 1.6 per employee, in 2013 ... Employees who left 11-15 days of PTO unused last year are actually less likely to have received a raise or bonus in the past three years than those who used all of their PTO. The only thing they may gain, in fact, is stress." (CFO)
GAO Report on Federal Paid Administrative Leave: Additional Guidance Needed to Improve OPM Data
"GAO was asked to examine the use of paid administrative leave [within federal agencies]. This report [1] describes paid administrative leave policies at selected federal agencies; [2] reviews practices in recording and reporting paid administrative leave and describes the number of federal employees granted such leave, and the amount and associated salary costs of such leave; and [3] describes categories for which large amounts of paid administrative leave have been charged by individual employees at selected federal agencies." (U.S. Government Accountability Office [GAO])
[Guidance Overview] Changes Coming to Connecticut's Paid Sick Leave Law on January 1, 2015 (PDF)
"Under current law, employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked during a calendar year. Under the amended law, employers will not be restricted to using the calendar year for accrual purposes.... This change will allow employers to start the paid sick leave benefit year on any date (such as on the employee's anniversary date or the beginning of the employer's fiscal year), and to align the accrual period for paid sick leave with other paid time off policies and timekeeping systems." (Buck Consultants at Xerox)
District of Columbia's Expanded Paid Sick Leave Law Now in Effect (PDF)
"In addition to expanding the definition of employer, the amended law also redefines employee eligibility for paid leave by eliminating the 12-month and 1,000 hours of service threshold, and extends the leave entitlement to both temporary workers and to tipped employees who were not covered by the 2008 law." (Buck Consultants at Xerox)
[Guidance Overview] Two More Cities Require Employers to Provide Paid Sick Leave (PDF)
"Eugene, Oregon and San Diego, California are the latest to join a growing list of cities that have enact ed laws requiring employers to provide paid sick leave. The laws share many common characteristics, but local variations can complicate employers' leave and attendance policies and their administration." (Buck Consultants at Xerox)
Philadelphia Passes Breastfeeding Act
"Under the amendment, an employer's failure to reasonably accommodate employees who need to express milk constitutes sex discrimination. A reasonable accommodation for a breastfeeding employee includes 'providing unpaid break time or allowing an employee to use paid break, mealtime, or both, to express milk and providing a private, sanitary space that is not a bathroom where an employee can express breast milk.' The federal [ACA] contains similar requirements, but they apply only to non-exempt employees. The Philadelphia amendment covers all employees, both exempt and non-exempt." (Pepper Hamilton LLP)
Paid Vacation Benefits Available to 77 Percent of Private-Industry Employees
"Access to paid vacations varied significantly by occupation. Paid vacation benefits were available to 55 percent of private-industry workers in service occupations in March 2014. In contrast, over 90 percent of private-industry workers in production occupations, installation, maintenance, and repair occupations, and management, business, and financial occupations received paid vacations." (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS])
Paid Leave Encourages Female Employees to Stay
"Just 59 percent of workers say their employers offer them paid leave ... After California became the first state to offer paid parental leave, new mothers were more likely to return to work ... The policy debate is not just about parents of young children; paid leave policies also cover employees who need to care for aging parents. Elder care is already eating away at women's work force participation, which is why the biggest declines are among women in their 40s and 50s. That need will surge in coming years." (The New York Times; subscription may be required)
Flextime Is Declining, But 'Flex Around the Edges' Is Up
"[S]ome forms of flexibility -- mostly allowing workers more control over when they start and end their workdays and more opportunities to telecommute -- are on the rise. Since [a 2008 study], employers have continued to increase such options as control over breaks (from 84% to 92%), control over overtime hours (from 27% to 45%), and time off during the workday when important needs arise (from 73% to 82%).... [But] more substantial flexible work arrangements are being reduced. According to [a 2014] study, employers have slashed options that involve employees spending significant amounts of time away from full-time work, including sharing jobs (down from 29% to 18%), sabbaticals (from 38% to 28%), and career breaks for personal or family responsibilities (from 64% to 52%)." (Harvard Business Review Blog Network)
Telecommuting: Benefit or Accommodation?
"In 2012, a [U.S. district court in Michigan] acknowledged ... that employers are entitled to judge whether it is acceptable for their employees to work from home. However, the Sixth Circuit recently reversed[,] ... saying the telecommuting request of one employee may have been a request for a reasonable accommodation, thereby sending the decision back to trial for a jury to decide. [One employment attorney] says the appellate court's reversal has signaled a game-change in the way such cases will be handled in the future." [EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, No. 12-2484 (6th Cir. Apr. 22, 2014)] (Human Resource Executive Online)
Your Work-Life Balance Should Be Your Company's Problem
"This is the first study to offer evidence based on a randomized trial that workplace interventions, such as increased schedule control and supervisor support, can reduce employee work-life conflict.... [T]he research shows that there is a way to move away from ... individual accommodations that a person negotiates with his or her boss -- and toward systemic change in an organization that benefits all." (Nanette Fondas in Harvard Business Review Blog Network)
Connecticut Legislature Makes Changes to Paid Sick Leave Law
"The 2012 version of the law required employers with 50 or more employees in Connecticut during any of the previous year's quarters to provide paid sick leave to qualifying employees. In contrast, under Public Act 14-128, employers must determine if they meet the 50-employee threshold based on the number of employees on their payroll during the week containing October 1, annually." (Ogletree Deakins)
Right to Request Flexible Working Extended in U.K.
"From 30 June 2014 employees with 26 weeks' continuous service who wish to work flexibly for any reason may make an application which their employer must consider in a 'reasonable' manner.... Rather than viewing flexible working as an option for care-givers (who tend to be women), the government wants to create an environment where both men and women work flexibly for the benefit of their families, and where employers support all of their employees to achieve the ever elusive 'work/life balance'." (Orrick)
University Gets It Right When It Says, 'Enough Is Enough': Tenth Circuit Upholds Inflexible Leave Policy
"[T]he court held there is nothing inherently discriminatory about an inflexible leave policy, in fact, so long as the leave time is not unreasonably short, such policies can protect the rights of the disabled employees, by making sure they are not singled out.... The EEOC still frowns upon inflexible leave policies; therefore, it would still be wise for employers to go through the interactive process to determine how much additional leave is required and whether the additional requested leave would be unreasonable under the circumstances." [Hwang v. Kansas State Univ., No. 13-3070 (10th Cir. May 29, 2014)] (Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP)
Paid Sick Leave Moves Ahead While Paid Family Leave Lags Behind (PDF)
"Because large employers often provide paid sick leave for their employees either on a stand-alone basis or as part of a PTO program, sick leave laws are apt to have a greater impact on small employers.... While the formula may change based on a city's demographics and business climate, the basic construct ... likely will continue to be used as additional cities explore the viability of paid leave laws. Notably, the recently proposed Chicago ordinance expressly references the paid sick leave policies of Jersey City, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland." (Buck Consultants)
California State-Mandated Employee Leaves of Absence
"We just worked with an attorney to rewrite our California employee handbook. For your enjoyment, here are all the state-mandated leaves of absence we are required to provide employees (most unpaid, but some paid) and for which we must write detailed rules in our employee manual. We'd likely provide most of this stuff anyway if asked, but the administrative hassle of having this all be a point of law (backed with the threat of expensive litigation if we make even the smallest mistake) is expensive and irritating." (Coyote Blog)
IRS Announces Section 409A Audit Initiative
"Section 409A created severe penalties for the service provider (i.e., the employee or director) ... [including] a 20% additional income tax, interest on underpaid taxes, and the acceleration of taxable income once the award is no longer subject to a substantial risk of forfeiture. Although the tax consequences apply to the employee or other service provider, companies will want to make sure that their deferred compensation arrangements comply because of potential related exposure, e.g., due to employee claims against the employer, employer withholding and reporting noncompliance, and the allocation of Code Section 409A risks/costs in future M&A or other transactions." (Quarles & Brady LLP)
Employees Sense Weakened Commitment to Work/Life Flexibility; Lack of Training Contributes to Eroding Confidence
"[W]hile almost all full-time employees reported they had some type of flexibility in 2013, more than 4 in 10 full-time employees were uncertain about their employer's commitment to that flexibility.... A majority of employees did not receive training or guidance on how to manage work life flexibility. A majority of employees continue to cite obstacles to work life flexibility with the number of employees noting their workloads increased/they had no time rising from 29% in 2011 to 37% in 2013." (flex+strategy group)
With Flextime, Bosses Prefer Early Birds to Night Owls
"Research shows that in general, flexible work practices lead to increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, and decreased turnover intentions.... Across 149 employee-supervisor dyads, even after statistically controlling for total work hours, employees who started work earlier in the day were rated by their supervisors as more conscientious, and thus received higher performance ratings.... [T]eam leaders must come to accept that the people who use flextime to start their day late are not necessarily lazier than their early-bird colleagues. Otherwise, flextime policies that could serve both employees and employers well will become known, and avoided, as routes to dead-end careers." (Christopher M. Barnes, Kai Chi Yam and Ryan Fehr in Harvard Business Review Blog Network)
First Circuit Finds No FMLA Violation Despite Employer's Improper and Untimely FMLA Notices
"On one hand, the employer technically violated the FMLA when it failed to provide Scott proper and timely FMLA notices. On the other hand, however, Scott took about 16 weeks of leave, which outstripped the 12 weeks provided for under the FMLA. Thus, the deciding factor for the court was that Scott failed to provide any evidence that he actually could return before his leave ended or that he would have structured his leave differently had he been provided appropriate notice.... For the court, 'nothing was lost, nor was any harm suffered, by reason of the [failure to provide proper and timely notices].'" [Scott Bellone v.Southwick-Tolland Regional School District, No. 13-1341 (1st Cir. May 2, 2014)] (FMLA Insights)
Employer Must Prove Physical Presence in Workplace is Essential Function, Sixth Circuit Rules
"Likely making it easier for employees to telecommute from home as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the [Sixth Circuit] has determined that 'attendance' is no longer synonymous with physical presence in the workplace.... Employers should be prepared to identify the job requirements that cannot be performed remotely. Further, employers who must accommodate an employee should plan for the related employment issues that go along with working from home, including tracking hours for non-exempt employees, monitoring employee productivity and performance remotely, and maintaining data privacy and security of sensitive company and client information when this information is accessed remotely or maintained at an employee's residence." [EEOC v. Ford Motor Company, No. 12-2484 (6th Cir. Apr. 22, 2014)] (Jackson Lewis LLP)
PTO Policy: What Are Your Obligations as an Employer?
"There are several ways to get more out of a paid time off policy at your company, including: [1] Giving employees the chance to self-schedule paid time off ... [2] Using a paid time off accrual system that encourages employees to have good attendance levels throughout the year; [3] Offering alternatives to standard paid time off, such as giving employees the option to volunteer in the community in exchange for more hours off; [4] Flexibility that makes it possible for employees to use up their paid time off days with 1-2 last minute personal days... [5] Saving up or rolling over a portion of unused paid time off into the next year[.]" (PayScale)
Some Things Are Worth Repeating: Beware of PTO Cash-Outs!
"Most people ... have a hard time appreciating why an employee with hundreds of hours of unused PTO would be taxable on the value of PTO that they do not either take or cash out. But ... 'constructive receipt' can make a person taxable on income (cash) that the person could take, but chooses not to.... Employers with such policies have almost certainly under-reported income taxes and payroll taxes!" (Focus on Public Benefits)

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