More programs offered to help employees with life situations

We are seeing a trend in businesses offering employee assistance programs to their employees and BCN Services has such a program available to help employees cope.

These employer-sponsored programs help employees resolve personal problems that may affect work performance and they include free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services.

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Sorting out the differences: Service animal versus emotional support animal

Business owners and managers take measures to ensure that employees and customers are safe. They want everyone to have the best experience possible in their work environment.

So what should an employer do when customers, or employees, bring animals into the workplace? Which animals must you allow on your premises, by law?

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Opinion letter prohibits delaying FMLA leave, or designating additional leave

The federal Family Medical Leave Act assists workers who might need time off for health emergencies, either for themselves or to care for a family member. The law provides unpaid, job-protected leave for certain workers.

These include private employers that have at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius, those employed by elementary and secondary schools and government workers at the local, state and federal levels. There are specific guidelines about who is covered and how long an employee must work to be eligible.

As an HR professional, employees have asked to use paid, or unpaid, time off in lieu of FMLA. Managers have also asked not to designate short periods of time off as FMLA. Neither of these practices are allowed. “Employees cannot waive, nor may employers induce employees to waive their prospective rights under FMLA,” according to the act.

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Test helps employers decide on unpaid interns

If you’re considering hiring a summer intern or two, you might wonder “Do I have to pay them?”

The U.S. Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service generally view for-profit business internships as employment. That means an employer must pay at least minimum wage plus overtime if interns work more than 40 hours per week.

But there are exceptions. The DOL created a flexible, seven-factor test for unpaid internships in 2015. Employers can now balance each factor as they consider their options. Read more