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Feb16

Employee Hired then Quit

We recently hired someone who only worked 1-1/2 days (out of 6) then came in to give his resignation. Do I have to set him up as an actual employee or could I just pay him for his time and send him on his way?

Even if the employee only worked a few hours it’s still best to list him as an employee in your system and follow your normal procedures. Reason being, the employee actually worked and earned wages. Thus, you must report his earnings to the IRS and send him a W-2 just like any other employee. Further, you must complete Form I-9 for each employee, even if the employee only works for one day. Though the employee has up to 3 days to provide supporting documentation of his identity and authorization to work (Section II), Section I must be completed and signed by the employee no later than the first day the employee begins working.

February 16th, 2017, 8:27 PM |  Posted in: Human Resources Management |
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Feb16

PTO Payout

For Atlanta, GA employees are we supposed to payout the PTO balance in the last payroll of the terminated employee or can we wait for another payroll?

Employers in Georgia are not required to provide PTO benefits to their employees or payout unused PTO accruals upon separation of employment. Doing so is a matter of company policy/past practice or employment agreement. When an employer does provide for the payout of unused PTO accruals, it must do in the manner set forth under its own policy or established practice. Basically, if it’s your policy or past practice to payout the PTO balance in the employee’s last paycheck then you should continue to do so. Or, amend your policy to state that such payouts will be received within two pay periods or something similar.

February 16th, 2017, 8:10 PM |  Posted in: Benefits |
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Feb16

FMLA in Maryland

Must an employer in Maryland offer FMLA to its employees?

The federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees of covered employers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave in a 12-month period for certain family and medical reasons, and up to 26 weeks of leave in a 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

An eligible employee is one who works for a covered employer, has worked for the employer for at least 12 months, has at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave, and works at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

A covered employer is a private-sector employer with 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, including a joint employer or successor in interest to a covered employer; a public agency, including a local, state, or Federal government agency, regardless of the number of employees it employs; or a public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of employees it employs.

Maryland employers, like employers in every state, are subject to the FMLA if they meet the criteria for a covered employer under the law.

In addition to the rights provided to employees under the FMLA, employees in Maryland also have the right to take leave for adoption and for a family member’s military service under state law.

February 16th, 2017, 7:58 PM |  Posted in: Labor Laws |
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Feb16

Breaks

Are we required to give employees who work a 4-hour shift a break?

There is no federal law that requires private employers to provide their employees with either rest breaks or meal periods. Doing so is a matter of company policy or employment agreement. Some states have adopted their own laws regarding breaks and meal periods. So, it’s important to be aware of applicable state or local regulations.

Of course, providing rest breaks and meal periods are essential to employee productivity, job satisfaction and overall employee well-being. Even if doing so is not required by law, it’s a basic benefit that should be provided to all employees.

It’s fairly common to provide a 15-minute break for employees working 4 hours and/or at least a 30 minute meal period for employees working 6 hours or more.

When it comes to compensating employees for meal periods employers must follow pay requirements set forth under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Under the FLSA, short breaks lasting less than twenty minutes in duration must be compensated.

Meal periods lasting thirty minutes or more serve a different purpose than short breaks and are not time required to be compensated. Employees must be relieved of all work responsibilities during meal periods. If an employee does any work during his meal period the time must be compensated and counted towards the total number of hours worked in the workweek.

February 16th, 2017, 7:46 PM |  Posted in: Labor Laws |
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Feb16

Maternity Leave

I am the Director of a small daycare, less than 30 employees. In the past I have provided maternity leave for my teachers. If they have any accumulated sick, personal, or vacation time they can use that while they are off. Question is: do I have to have a position open when she returns from leave? I have a teacher that is planning on being out four months and I can’t “hold” a position that long. Also, what do I have to give her regarding breastfeeding time while on the clock?

There are two federal laws to consider for maternity leave, the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave for certain family and medical reasons, including childbirth and baby bonding, within a 12-month period.

With only 30 employees, you’re not covered by the FMLA. Still, it’s worth knowing that if an employee is on FMLA leave, upon return from leave the employee must be restored to her original job or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.

The PDA prohibits sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. Under the PDA, an employer that allows temporarily disabled employees to take leave must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy to do the same. Further, employers must hold open a job for a pregnancy related absence the same length of time that jobs are held open for employees on sick or temporary disability leave.

Employers with at least 15 employees are covered under the PDA.

So, if you usually allow an employee with a temporary disability to take leave and return to his/her same position then the same benefit must be awarded to the employee on maternity leave.

Generally, when an employer allows an employee to take leave, maternity or otherwise, there is an assumption that the employee, upon return from leave, will return to his/her original job or at least a comparable one.

Let’s say your policy/past practice entitles employees up to 3 months of leave. The employee in question is requesting 4 months. In this case, approving the leave and whether the employee will be returned to her prior position is ultimately up to you. You could tell the employee that per policy/past practice she is entitled to 3 months of leave and upon return from leave she can return to her original position. Then, make it clear that any time beyond 3 months is not approved and you cannot guarantee her job.

It’s important to put all leave agreements in writing so both parties are clear on the terms of the leave and job reinstatement.

In regards to breaks for breastfeeding, federal law requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time the employee has need to express the milk. Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk. The law is clear that the frequency and duration of breaks is based on the mother’s need to express milk.

Employers are not required to compensate nursing mothers for breaks taken for the purpose of expressing milk. However, where employers already provide compensated breaks, an employee who uses that break time to express milk must be compensated in the same way that other employees are compensated for break time. In addition, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s general requirement that the employee must be completely relieved from duty or else the time must be compensated as work time applies.

The law provides an exemption for employers with fewer than 50 employees if compliance with the provision would impose an undue hardship. Whether compliance would be an undue hardship is determined by looking at the difficulty or expense of compliance for a specific employer in comparison to the size, financial resources, nature, and structure of the employer’s business. It’s best to make a reasonable effort to accommodate the employee.

Lastly, it’s important to be aware of similar state leave, discrimination, and break times for nursing mothers laws that may provide more protections for employees.

HTH!

February 16th, 2017, 7:37 PM |  Posted in: Benefits, Labor Laws |
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