Category Archives: Benefits

Benefit planning inevitably involves tradeoffs between an ideal package and one that will maximize the desired impact at a price that can be afforded. These articles will provide how to information on managing the wide variety of benefits including health care, life, and disability insurance, and retirement benefits.

Stumped? New Perspective=New Solutions


"Yesterday I happened down a road I drive on occasionally. I typically take the road northbound as a shortcut to a particular destination. But yesterday I found myself driving south on the same road and barely recognized it. In fact, I had to turn to my wife and ask if we were on the right road. The surroundings seemed unfamiliar to me despite the fact that I travel on the road a couple of times each month."

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It dawned on me that if you change the angle from which you look, you might see things you’ve never seen before. Swiss comedian and artist Ursus Wehrli once said, “I like to turn things upside down, to watch pictures and situations from another perspective.” Maybe that is what each one of us needs to do as we struggle with problems and issues in the workplace. Step back and find a new perspective, and maybe you’ll come up with a different solution.

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Survey—Background Checks on Social Media? Policy Enforcement?


"In yesterday’s Advisor, we covered 2014 Policy Survey results for policy development and distribution; today, policy enforcement and background checks."

Policy Focus: Background Checks

Multiple states and cities have enacted laws in recent months that govern the use of background checks, so this year’s survey takes a closer look at those policies. We kicked it off by asking how many survey participants have background check policies (74.4%) then moved on to ask how many apply background checks to all newly hired employees and found that 79.4% use them. We learned a few other things about background checks as well, including:

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Severance Agreements: Drafting Do’s and Don’ts for Avoiding EEOC Attention


"In light of two recently-filed EEOC lawsuits, severance packages are even trickier than before, says Attorney Joel Van Parys. It’s fine to use a template for agreements, but it is important to look at them individually."

Van Parys, who is with Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP in Sacramento, offered his tips at the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition held recently in Orlando.

Recent EEOC Actions

Two recently filed lawsuits, in which severance agreements were called  overly broad and unenforceable, may help employers fashion their own severance agreements, says Van Parys.

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Managing the Severance Meeting—It’s a Business Transaction


"Yesterday’s Advisor featured Attorney Joel Van Parys’ tips on producing a severance agreement that will pass muster with the EEOC and NLRB. Today, more tips, including managing the severance meeting."

Van Parys, who is with Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP in Sacramento, offered his tips at the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition held recently in Orlando.

Challenges by EEOC and NLRB

To avoid having your severance agreement challenged by the EEOC or NLRB, says Van Parys, include language to the effect that the former employee has the right to file charges and participate in investigations with the National Labor Relations Board and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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Vacation, Leave, and Time Off—Who’s Offering What?


"Leave, vacation, and sick time are among the most important benefits that attract and retain employees. What are your competitors offering? What’s happening out in the real world? Help us (and you) find out!"

Please participate in our brief survey and see how what you are doing stacks up against what other successful companies are doing.

We’ll get answers to these questions and more:

  • What kind of paid leaves are offered?
  • PTO or separate vacation and sick leave?
  • How much time off for what length of service?
  • Is donating paid time off to other employees allowed?
  • And much more!

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The 4 Leadership Lessons I Learned from ‘Dead Poets Society’


"With the recent tragic death of comedian and actor Robin Williams, my family and I decided to watch one of his many great films over the weekend, Dead Poets Society. The movie is about a group of boys at a private prep school. It’s there that they meet Professor Keating, their new English teacher, who is played by Williams."

Keating encourages the boys to embrace their individualism, think independently, and pursue their passions. This leads them on a path of self-discovery that clashes with the rigid culture of the conservative institution they attend. Keating’s methods ultimately cost him his job, but they win him the respect and affection of his students.

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Do You Know the ‘Secret of Motivation’?


"A colleague shared with me an article published recently in The New York Times Sunday Review. In addition to the fact that the article had been recommended, its title, “The Secret of Effective Motivation,” was certainly enough to get me to read it. Who in management doesn’t want to know the “secret” of effective motivation?"

Dear Readers,

The article’s authors—Amy Wrzesniewski, a professor of organizational behavior, and Barry Schwartz, a professor of psychology—had conducted a study about motivation. According to them, there are two types of motivation: internal and instrumental. Internal motivation, as you would guess, comes from within. People are motivated to do something based on the feeling of satisfaction they derive simply from doing it. They’re the employees who come to work every day because they simply love what they do.

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‘I send pregnant employees home their last month’


"In yesterday’s Advisor, we covered several tricky aspects of pregnancy discrimination as clarified in recent guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); today, more about pregnancy policies."

[Go here for the first part of the discussion on pregnancy discrimination]

Requiring Leave

May an employer require a pregnant employee who is able to perform her job to take leave at any point in her pregnancy or after childbirth?

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EEOC Issues Extensive—and Helpful—Q&A on Pregnant Employees


"“Pregnant women shouldn’t be stressed.” “Pregnant employees should take leave their last month.” “Pregnant employees shouldn’t travel.” Pregnancy discrimination is often motivated by concern (or chauvinism). In fact, though, those attitudes are discriminatory. And the plot thickens if a disability or FMLA leave is involved. EEOC’s recent guidance helps employers figure out where they stand."

On July 14 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination accompanied by an extensive and practical Q&A. The new guidance, the first to address pregnancy discrimination since 1983, focuses on how the 2008 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may apply to employees with pregnancy-related disabilities.

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HR Timewasters—Let’s Find Out What’s Destroying HR Productivity!


"If you’re like most of our subscribers, you've got so many daily tasks that it’s hard to get to the really important things. This survey will help us find out which are the really important tasks and which are the time-robbing tasks."

Dear Readers,

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey and help us (and you) find out what’s happening in the real world of HR management.

The survey takes only a few minutes to complete.

Complete the Survey Now

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