Chances are, your organization made massive changes due to Coronavirus shelter-in-place and other orders. Some of them should be temporary, but some of the changes should be permanent. Let’s look at a few things that have changed.

Destigmatized Working From Home 

Jobs that a month ago, managers said could not possibly be done remotely, are now being done from home. While exact numbers aren’t available, it is undoubtedly opening managers’ eyes to what truly can be done remotely and what needs to be done on-site. 

Companies should take note of future Americans with Disabilities Act requests for reasonable accommodations. Working from home can be a reasonable accommodation, and businesses will have a hard time arguing that working in the office is always required when it’s not required right now.

Working at home today can impact your business for years to come. Some organizations will learn that they can operate just fine with most people working remotely. Some will discover that things really do work better when they are in the office. Likewise, some employees will rejoice in their 30-second commutes, and others are counting down the days when they can get back to the office.

To keep reading, click here: 3 Ways the Coronavirus Has Changed Your Workplace for the Better

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Do you have stress dreams? I do. They used to be that it was the end of the semester and I’d forgotten about a class and now I was going to flunk it. Or, I couldn’t remember my locker combination. Lately, they’ve been about moving (since I moved in September), where I need to be out of my apartment the next day but I haven’t packed anything. Oy! I wish my brain would use downtime to do something other than stress out.

But, last night, I dreamed I got fired. This is kind of funny because as a soloprenuer, I can have a client end a contract, but I can’t really get fired. Anyway, the thing that annoyed me the most about this stress dream is how poorly my dream manager handled it. Here’s what happened and what went wrong.

My manager was at a conference and so a consultant called me into her office and said, “You and all the other individual contributers are fired.”

I was upset, so I asked why, and she said, “because we’re doing something different.”

I wanted to talk to a manager, but ALL the managers were at this conference, so all of us non-managers were fired together.

No paperwork. No reasonable explanation. Just you and everyone else are fired.

Then there was something involving an umbrella, but I can’t really remember, because dreams are weird.

So, here’s what’s wrong with this.

  1. Managers should never, ever, have someone from the outside do the terminations. I know my brain didn’t think this up on its own–that was the whole George Clooney in Up in the Air schtick. Fun fact: George Clooney’s Italian house is only four hours away and in the midst of the Coronavirus nightmare. No idea if he’s there.
  2. Managers shouldn’t hide. Sending all the managers to a conference so that no one could talk about the termination was a really crappy thing to do.
  3. There should be paperwork. This termination was a clear layoff–as stated by the consultant–it was due to a business decision and affected everyone at my imaginary level. That means, that I, as an over 40 person, should, at minimum have been given a disclosure that showed the ages and job titles of the people in the group–affected and unaffected. (Edit: Granny bunny points out in the comments that this is only necessary when severance and a release is involved under ADEA which my bad imaginary company did not.) Some states require termination paperwork. At a minimum, they should have had some papers for me.
  4. There was no severance. Severance isn’t required in most cases. We’ll assume this was due to the Coronavirus, so it’s considered an act of God and not covered under WARN, even if it would normally be required. But, if you don’t give any notice, morally, you should give severance. (Not generally legally required, but morally.)
  5. I didn’t get time to clean out my desk. This is evidenced by the umbrella incident. Don’t hover over employees as they clean out their stuff. Give them the option to come back on a different day if they want to. For a layoff, you don’t need to pack up and ship their stuff. You trusted them five minutes ago, trust them now.

So, that was my weird dream. I hope you all are sleeping better and not having stress dreams about being fired. And if you are, I hope your brain does the termination properly.

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As state after state closes all but essential businesses, many companies are laying off and furloughing employees. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, warns that unless the government acts appropriately, the country could end up with 20 percent unemployment.

If you lay off (or furlough) your employees, they are eligible for unemployment. Unfortunately in some states, the weekly payments–ranging from $235 in Mississipi up to $1,495 in Illinois–may be barely enough to buy groceries,

As an employer, you can’t directly increase the amount of income a former or furloughed employee receives when they apply for unemployment benefits. But here’s what you can do:

​Never oppose unemployment. 

Don’t try to save your own wallet by further impacting the financial wellbeing of your employees.

To keep reading, click here: How to Help Your Laid-Off or Furloughed Employees Manage Unemployment

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Why Your Sick Policy May be Causing Actual Harm

by Evil HR Lady on March 23, 2020

Dr. Kathleen Moncrieff is a family physician who spends her time off sewing masks for herself and her colleagues, as there is a global shortage. They aren’t as good the commercially made masks, she admits, but they are better than nothing. She’s doing everything she can to help keep her community safe and healthy–and she has some sage advice for employers: Stop requiring sick employees to get doctor’s notes

At work, Moncrieff–along with legions of medical personnel–is overwhelmed with patients. Remember, it’s not just Coronavirus patients out there. People still get bladder infections, cut themselves trying to make avocado toast, and have cancer. So, this pandemic is on top of her regular workload. She shared her feelings in a private business group, where we’re both members. She granted me permission to share her request for all employers:

To keep reading, click here: Why Your Sick Policy May be Causing Actual Harm

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Just a few days ago, the House passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and then changed it to make the Senate happy. Today, the Senate passed the revised version without changes. Once President Trump signs this $100 billion bill (which he promised to do), it will go into effect in 15 days. That’s not a lot of time for your business to prepare. Here’s what’s in it.

Qualifying for coverage.

The bill covers all companies with up to 500 employees. There is no 50 person minimum with the typical Family Medical Leave Act, and self-employed people can see some benefits.

There are six qualifying reasons for coverage under this bill. The National Law Review Describes them as follows:

To keep reading, click here: What the Senate’s Passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Means for You

And, after I wrote this President Trump signed it, so it goes into effect April 3. I think. I never know how to count dates.

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The National Labor Relations Board has just changed how you do employee relations.

Okay, that’s probably a bit of a shock to you if you’re a non-union organization, because you generally think of the NLRB as focusing on union stuff and basic things like, your employees’ right to discuss their salaries (and other working conditions).

Side note: I know there are some of you reading this that have policies that prohibit employees from sharing their salaries. If you feel you need this policy, then you need to adjust your compensation so that it is fair. No one worries about employees discussing wages when the salaries are fair.

To keep reading, click here: How the New NLRB Rulings on Joint Employer Standard & Investigations will Impact You

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People are working at home at record levels–some happily and some not so happily. Some managers are supportive of this, and some are convinced that their employees will do nothing but, well this all day:

Please ignore this tweet. This is not working at home. This is being home. This is a day off.

Now, as someone who has worked from home for 13 of the last 16 years, I can tell you that laundry is a lot easier to get washed (but not folded, because folding laundry is the worst). And it’s super handy when one of my children is sick because God gave us Netflix and unlimited screen time when a child has a fever. 

But, this is not what normal working from home looks like. When we work from home normally, schools and daycares are not closed so your children should be at school, at daycare, or there should be someone else doing primary childcare. That can be a spouse or a nanny, but the employee is not the one changing diapers, playing board games, or cleaning up the playroom.

To keep reading, click here: Working From Home Reality Check: No, Your Employees Aren’t All Doing Yoga and Folding Laundry

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On Friday, the House passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which is designed to give relief to people and businesses affected by Covid-19. It passed, CNN reports, after “intense negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration.” It passed by a vote of 363-40, which means it had bipartisan support. We can expect that the Senate will pass the bill (although, undoubtedly with modifications). 

It specifically amends the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), giving some key changes. The most important is that this affects all companies with fewer than 500 employees–it doesn’t have the 50 employee floor that FMLA has. However, the Department of Labor has the ability to exempt small businesses if they can show this would cause financial hardship. These changes do not affect larger businesses over 500 employees. This means that your mom and pop shop with three employees is affected, while Google is not. 

Changes to FMLA

Employment attorney Jon Hyman summarized the benefits and changes as follows

  1. It amends to the definition of employee to anyone who has been employed by an employer for at least 30 days.
  2. It changes the definition of employer from “50 or more employees” to “fewer than 500 employees.”

To keep reading, click here: What’s in the House Coronavirus Relief Bill for Small Businesses

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With Coronavirus now a pandemic, it’s safe to say your company can expect interruptions if it hasn’t already felt them. While some may decide to send employees home to work–and wait out the early stages of this storm–others will have to decide if more drastic steps are in order. I’m talking about layoffs. 

It’s worth noting that they should be avoided. Layoffs are expensive and they are only getting more costly. So before you start down that road, answer the following questions:

1. Who makes up your core team?

To keep reading, click here: The Coronavirus Has Been Devastating for Some Companies. 6 Questions to Ask Before You Consider Layoffs






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What Can HR Do to Help Prevent Burnout?

by Evil HR Lady on March 12, 2020

Have you ever felt just… done? Overwhelmed, utterly exhausted and detached or unmotivated at work? If that feeling persists for longer than a day or two, you may well be suffering from burnout as a result of chronic stress (often tied to your job).

In fact, the World Health Organization recently categorized burnout as an official health condition — and it’s not one to be taken lightly. In a systematic review of studies, burnout was found to be a significant predictor of numerous health problems including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fatigue, respiratory issues, insomnia and depressive symptoms, among others. And companies with burned-out employees don’t fare well, either. According to a Gallup study, employees suffering from burnout are 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job, 63% more likely to take a sick day and 23% more likely to visit the emergency room. That’s in addition to the expected nose dive in productivity and engagement.

But there are many things businesses can do to help reduce burnout. (They cannot, of course, always prevent it. Family stress, financial problems or illness can all contribute to burnout, even if your job is fantastic.)

To keep reading, click here: What Can HR Do to Help Prevent Burnout?

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