Equal Pay Act (EPA)

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) is an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, prohibiting gender-based wage discrimination. While jobs do not need to be identical to be compliant, the EPA does outline specific factors that make up “equal work” for both men and women. Those factors include skill, effort, responsibility, working conditions, and establishment or the physical place of business. Contact us to learn more and receive access to compensation administration through Vensure.

 

 

 

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was put in place to ensure employee working conditions, including compensation, are executed fairly. From part-time or full-time employment to overtime and tipping—there is so much to know about FLSA.

 

This is our high-level look at the law. Learn more about FLSA through the United States Department of Labor.  Contact us to learn more and receive access to compensation administration services and support through Vensure.

 

 

Revisiting Your Dress Code Policy

Employees often find themselves expressing their personalities through their fashion choices. Unfortunately, not all employees are able to edit their personal style to adhere to what is appropriate for the workplace, for a variety of reasons including workplace safety and professionalism.

While most employers have a dress code policy already in place, it may be a good idea to revisit this and other policies regularly to ensure the set standards are up-to-date and reflect the current state of the company and jobs being performed. And, yes, it is safe to assume that employees will have a good idea of what is expected in terms of a professional, business casual, or casual dress code, however, a clear explanatory policy may be needed to keep everyone on the same page.

When revisiting your dress code policy, pay special attention to:

  • Jewelry. Depending on the work environment and jobs performed, it may be necessary to prohibit loose-fitting jewelry to avoid any potentially serious injuries, especially when machinery is in play.
  • Pants and Shoes. As slips, trips, and falls are the most common nonfatal workplace injury it may be important to request employees wear slip-resistant footwear, never stand higher than the third rung from the top of a ladder, and do not wear loose-fitting pants (or clothing).
  • Tattoos, Bold Hair Colors, and Piercings. Allow employees to maintain their personal style as long as they appear well-groomed, and are adhering to all other aspects of the employee dress code policy. It is unnecessary to limit potentially valuable and qualified employee candidates based purely on either of these choices of personal expression.

When rolling out the updated policy, it is important to make sure all employees are aware of any changes or additions to the policy, understand the reasons behind any changes or additions, and know-how to access the updated policy.

If you’re ready to revisit your employee policies, procedures, and guidelines, let Vensure Employer Services assist your existing human resources team with the execution of HR administration tasks. Contact us today to get started.

April 2020: Cincinnati, Ohio Bans Salary History Inquiries

What happened?
On March 12, 2019, Cincinnati, Ohio passed an ordinance prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their salary history or current earnings.

What are the details?
The new “Prohibited Salary History Inquiry and Use” provision of the city code makes it an illegal discriminatory practice for a company within the city to ask applicants about their past or current salary, screen applicants based on wages or benefits, rely on salary history in hiring decisions or in determining compensation, or to refuse to hire or otherwise retaliate against an applicant who refuses to provide his or her salary history.

The salary history measure excludes several situations where employers are allowed to consider an applicant’s past wages, such as internal transfers or promotions, situations where employees are rehired within five years of leaving a company, or in situations where federal law allows employers to consider salary.

Companies are also allowed to look at salary information if it comes up in the process of a background check while verifying non-salary-related disclosures from an employee, as long as this information is not used as a basis for determining compensation during hiring. In addition, the provision does not apply to any “voluntary and unprompted” disclosures related to an applicant’s pay history.

There is no specific penalty or fine outlined, but applicants who are harmed by an employer that violates the provision may bring suit within two years of the violation and can recover compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.

The salary history ban will take effect one year from the date of the ordinance.

What do employers need to do?
Employers in Cincinnati should review their hiring practices and interviewing techniques to make certain they will not violate this new salary history ban.

Article: https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/cincinnati-bans-salary-history-inquiries

Bill: https://www.esrcheck.com/file/Cincinnati-OH-Ordinance-No-83-2019.pdf

Corporate Sponsored Volunteering: Making a Difference in Your Community

As companies strive to find new and inventive ways to boost employee morale or strengthen their brand in the community, many times volunteering does not make the list. But it should! Here’s proof:

  • 34 million adults volunteered in 2018.
  • 61% of Millennials who volunteer consider a company’s community commitment when deciding on their next job.
  • Employees most likely to volunteer are those between the ages of 35 and 54.

 

Employee volunteer programs are an amazing way to take advantage of the unique opportunities to get involved in your local community, all while benefiting the core business and your employees in the long run.

 

Encourage Teamwork and Build Employee Character
Volunteering has a way of bringing people together. From cooking breakfast for underprivileged children or feeding the homeless, to joining a sewing circle at an elder care facility or cleaning up a community garden. The ways to show your community support and get involved are endless. Working together in these efforts brews camaraderie among teammates, and builds compassion, empathy, and graciousness—character traits of quality employees.

 

Professional Skills
Volunteer programs are a great way for employees to display their professional skills through the ability to benefit others. Exposing employees to a new environment all while further developing their skills outside of their day-to-day roles and responsibilities. Employees will end their volunteer experience feeling satisfied and fulfilled, reenergized for a new day at the office, and excited for the next volunteer day.

 

Boost Your Brand
Volunteering programs build brand loyalty and show your commitment and support in the local community. Additionally, spending time in the community helps to improve the company reputation, which can lead to sponsored volunteer events or even grants. Strengthening your company’s community ties can only bring positive results.

 

To support these initiatives, many companies will add a volunteer-related time off policy to their handbook for just this reason. To encourage community involvement, some organizations will organize a company-wide volunteer day, while others provide a set number of paid hours for each employee to volunteer during work hours each quarter.

 

Vensure Employer Services offers a number of products and services to help your business stay competitive in the industry by attracting and retaining top talent. We support every business’s efforts to become more engaged with the communities they serve. Learn more about employee manual, policies, procedures, and guideline reviews or assisted development.

 

 

 

https://www.nationalservice.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2018/volunteering-us-hits-record-high-worth-167-billion

https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-millenial-survey-2016-exec-summary.pdf

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/volun.pdf

 

 

Internship Program Benefits

Companies from large to small experience a cinched budget from time to time. And while all companies strive to achieve maximum productivity and output while maintaining the minimum required number of employees, there is always room for improvement. It’s these times when the thought of adding an intern to the mix may have crossed your mind.

 

Internship programs offer a number of benefits to an organization, whether they are a startup or in the midst of a growth spurt. Programs range from traditional, unpaid internships, to paid programs. Regardless of the style of program that is right for your business, here are some of the benefits you will experience by adding an internship program to your framework.

 

Trial Period with New Talent
An internship is a relatively risk-free way of testing the potential of a new candidate. Evaluate their skills in action, experience their work ethic and views on company culture, and review their productivity on projects in real-time. If everything pans out, an intern could be a great addition to the team. At the same time, if they are not a good fit, use this opportunity to redefine the role and adjust the job description and hiring criteria before pursuing a new candidate.

 

Diverse Perspective
Bringing in a fresh face, someone new to the industry or market, and someone who has not experienced day-to-day operations at your organization could have an enlightening effect. Interns typically don’t come to the new position with a ton of on-the-job experience. This allows for fresh and diverse perspectives on your business, policies, procedures, operations, strategies, and plans. While the feedback is unsolicited, it will behoove you to take advantage of the ideas. Encourage your interns to share their thoughts, engage in brainstorming sessions, and help improve your organization.

 

Community Involvement
Opening your doors to students and recent graduates help to root your business in the neighboring community. Internships are a great way to show your community dedication to both the people and the local economy.

 

Strengthen Your Brand
Offering an internship through a local university or internship program touting one-on-one, real-world training and experience, mentoring, and opportunities to explore lesser-known industries can improve your brand awareness with interns and potential hires, alike.

 

If done properly, internship programs are a huge benefit to both the intern candidates and the business. From building strong relationships and evaluating potential talent, to taking a fresh look at your organizational framework and reinforcing your brand in the community. If you’re ready to change the way you retain talent, accomplish business goals, and improve company culture, Vensure is ready to be your partner. Contact us to learn more.

OSHA Exit Routes: What You Need to Know

Emergency events happen quickly. Exit routes are purposefully designed to allow employees to exit the building or structure safely during an emergency in the event an evacuation is necessary.

 

Exit routes, comprised of exit access, the physical exit, and the exit discharge, are direct paths, clear of obstructions that lead employees away from the workplace. Here are some* of the base requirements for exit routes:

  • Exit routes must be permanent and contain enough exit options for a quick escape for all employees or workers.
  • Exit doors must open outward.
  • Line of sight to exit must remain clear.
  • Doors that could be mistaken as exits should be marked with “Not an Exit” or other appropriate messaging.
  • Exit doors must remain unlocked.

 

Your company’s emergency route action plan should contain procedure details focused on emergency reporting, emergency evacuation, exit route assignments, and post-evacuation, among others.*

 

Read the full OSHA Exit Route Factsheet for more information.

 

Vensure Employer Services offers multiple OSHA training programs each year for both General Industry and Construction. While free to attend, the knowledge workers gain is invaluable. Learn more about Vensure’s workers’ compensation and risk management offerings to see how we support our clients when they need us most.

 

 

*Information provided here is a high-level summary and is not exhaustive. Please reference the official OSHA website for complete details pertaining to means of egress.