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December 1st, 2016 / by Mike Cooney

What Employers Need to Know About OSHA’s New Law in Effect Dec 1

OSHA has enacted a new law that goes into effect December 1, 2016 that they hope will further improve safety for workers.

Part one of the new law enforces anti-retaliation protections, which prohibit employers from deterring workers from reporting work place illnesses and injuries. The law goes a step further, then requiring employers to inform employees of their right to report such occurrences, including that the process for reporting must be reasonable.

The second part of the law, goes into effect January 1, 2017, will require electronic submissions of injury and illness data via an OHSA provided website. The site is expected to be live Feb 2017.

For more information on preparation and compliance, click this link



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November 29th, 2016 / by Mike Cooney

New Overtime Rule Blocked

A federal judge in Texas blocked the new overtime rules that were to go into effect Thursday, December 1, 2017. The new law, spearheaded by Obama in an effort to raise wages, would have extended mandatory overtime to 4 million employees. (Red Zone HR wrote about the changes here.) With the injunction issued late last week, any changes are on a temporary, yet indefinite, hold. It is unclear how this will proceed and what the new administration will do.

What does this mean for employers now?

There are a few options for employers at this point. The most important thing to realize is this now becomes a business decision unique to your organization, rather than a requirement for legal compliance. Businesses may choose to move forward with the changes as planned or choose to hold. Businesses who have already rolled out the changes may choose to keep them in place or... more

November 22nd, 2016 / by Mike Cooney

New I-9 Form is Live

The new Form I-9, or Employment Authorization Verification, will be made available via the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website on November 22, 2016.

The new I-9 is purported to include some handy new features. Now offered is an online ‘smart form’ to help eliminate the most commonly made errors. However, it is important to know that the new I-9 is not an electronic form. The form will still need to be printed, signed and stored appropriately.

A 2-month grace period will be provided for employers to integrate the new form into their onboarding procedures. This means that employers must begin using the new I-9 form for all new hires and reverifications no later than January 22, 2017. After that date, all previous versions of the I-9 Form will be invalid. Employers using older forms will be considered in violation, possibly resulting in fines.

As with any new implementation, now is... more

November 14th, 2016 / by Mike Cooney

Performance Evaluations going the way of the Dodo Bird?

A recent survey shows that six percent of Fortune 500 companies have revamped their traditional annual performance reviews and rankings, and many more are expected to follow.  Accenture, Deloitte, SAP and Kelly Services are the latest to join Juniper, Microsoft, Adobe, and Gap in making their traditional review and ranking processes extinct.

These companies have indicated that they have found that their performance review program was ineffective, onerous, costly (in the millions), and not positively received by employees or managers.  Not the ROI they were expecting.

This change also reflects more closely the cycle of our culture and business.  The world doesn’t run on an annual cycle anymore.  With the innovations of smart phones and apps like Facebook and Instagram, people have grown accustomed to real time feedback.  Employees are responding to more informal and frequent check ins, rather than a once a year conversation about past performance, that include examples... more

October 26th, 2016 / by Mike Cooney

Are We Done Asking For Salary History From Candidates?

A progressive new Massachusetts law banning asking candidates for salary histories during the interview process was signed on August 1st of this year.  This law has quickly gained traction, more than any other employment law prior.  Just four weeks later, New York City and the state of California have already signed similar laws.  Now a delegate from D.C. will introduce the legislature to Congress to make it a nationwide ban.

Little question, big impact

The driving purpose of the law is to increase pay equity among workers, mainly women. Since women are underpaid relative to men performing the same or similar work, the continued practice of basing a new hire’s compensation off of their last jobs compounds the ongoing inequity. Although other groups stand to gain as well.  Recent college graduates who started their first jobs during the recession may see their rates catch up. According to some HR leaders, this... more

July 28th, 2016 / by Mike Cooney

The Free Agent Market – NBA Free Agency Can Help You Make The Next Great Hire

Now that the NBA free agency has nearly wrapped up and the big names are settled, it’s interesting to see how the strategies used in the NBA relate to strategies used when acquiring top talent for your business.

The most shocking outcome of the NBA free agency was no doubt Kevin Durant’s decision to sign with his home team’s fiercest competitor the Warriors.  Many teams were courting Durant. The highest-level executives flew to him to make their pitches. The Boston Celtics went farther by using existing top talent and even pulled in Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots to try and sway Durant. Many teams offered higher and higher salaries to Durant.

In the end the team that ultimately won Durant did so by presenting him with the best chance for joining championship level team, one that could become a dynasty – as some are already predicting. Perhaps, even... more

June 27th, 2016 / by Mike Cooney

When Luring Candidates Away

With the recruiting market running so tightly, employers will want to be ever more creative in sourcing candidates. Our recent installment looked at ways organizations can continue to attract top talent in a tight hiring market. However, there’s another potentially untapped pool of candidates that hasn’t been addressed yet, the passive candidate. In a candidate driven market, luring passive candidates to your organization can be one of the missing pieces to acquiring top talent.

In contrast to active candidates, passive candidates are the ones that aren’t actively looking for that next opportunity but rather are the ones that will stop and listen when contacted. They are not checking job postings or surfing the job boards and career sites.

The first step is shifting the recruiting strategy and putting “recruiting” back into the mindset. This means that you will be selling the passive candidate on your opportunity and your company instead reviewing... more

June 13th, 2016 / by Mike Cooney

Exempt or Non-Exempt? That is the question

The Department of Labor released their much-anticipated changes to the FLSA overtime exemption rules last month. If you didn’t catch the changes that are coming, then here are the basics of what managers need to know now.

What’s changing and when?

This latest change updates the minimum salary level required for exemption from $23,660 annually to $47,476. Allows for a portion of bonuses, incentives and commissions to be counted toward (up to 10%) the minimum salary requirements, provided bonuses are paid on a quarterly or more frequent basis. Sets total annual compensation for highly compensated employees subject to minimal duties test (link) at 134,004. Changes are to be in place by December 1st, 2016 to be in compliance. Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating salary and compensation levels every three years beginning in 2020.


What doesn’t change?

The duties test for exemption. The same exemptions definitions are in place Employers will still need to make sure that the... more
May 14th, 2016 / by Mike Cooney

What A Real Estate Agent Can Teach Us About The Job Market

Anyone looking for housing in the Portland metro area right now will tell you it’s a full time job. With inventory at all time lows and prices at all time highs, sellers have a flurry of offers and competition to get offers accepted is fierce. If that sounds familiar, you might be noticing the resemblance to the hiring market.

In times of low inventory, real estate agents will suggest buyers set geographical boundaries wider than ever to try and boost the number of options. Buyers will realize that the most desirable homes and locations will not be cheap. Offers go up against 30 other offers at a time, causing buyers to resort to unconventional situations to make their offer stand out – offer prices 29% above list price and letting owners stay rent free for up to 60 days past closing and even writing love letters to the owners for... more

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