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.

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.


‘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


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.


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


Variable Pay—What’s Working? What’s Not?

"Variable pay. Pay for performance. Simple concepts but difficult in practice. What’s happening in the real world? What are your competitors up to? Help us 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:

  • Who’s providing what incentive pay types for which employee groups?
  • How effective is each type of variable pay at motivating employees?
  • What are the three most important objectives of the plans?
  • How important is variable pay for recruiting and retention of employees?
  • How could your program be improved?
  • And much more.


I Need to UNdesignate Some FMLA Leave; Is That OK?

"In yesterday’s Advisor we covered many of the requirements and pitfalls of FMLA designation; today, rules around mistaken designation. Once again, for help we turn to the guide many call the “ FMLA Bible.”"

What can you do if you discover that you’ve mistakenly designated leave as FMLA-qualifying? Several cases help point the way to the policy you should follow.

Employer’s Promise (Designation) Must Be Kept

Some courts have held that employees are entitled to FMLA protections based on representations made by the employer, even if the employer’s representation is based on a mistaken designation. (See Murphy v. FedEx National LTL, Inc., 618 F.3d 893 (8th Cir. 2010); and Daniel Dobrowski v. Jay Dee Contractors, Inc. (6th Cir. 2009).)


Designating FMLA— First Place Employers Fail

"Employers’ FMLA obligations are many, and pitfalls abound. One of the earliest places to make a mistake is in the supposedly simple act of designating the leave as FMLA-qualifying. For help, we turned to the “FMLA Bible.”"

When the employer has enough information to determine whether the leave is being taken for a FMLA-qualifying reason (e.g., after receiving a certification), the employer must notify the employee whether the leave will be designated and will be counted as FMLA leave within 5 business days, absent extenuating circumstances.


Win-Win Approach to Managing ‘Unplanned’ FMLA Leave

"In yesterday’s Advisor, we covered the first three of attorney Stacie Caraway’s tips for avoiding FMLA abuse. Today, the rest of her tips, plus an introduction to the guide many call “The FMLA Bible.”"

Caraway, who is a member of Miller & Martin PLLC, in the Chattanooga office, offered six tips for reducing FMLA abuse during a recent webinar sponsored by BLR. Here are tips four to six for dealing with FMLA abuse.

[Go here for tips 1 to 3]


Danger Zone—FMLA Certs Are Like a Pre-Nup

"If you don’t take advantage of your Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) tools, and you don’t do all you could or should do, you have only yourself to blame when there’s abuse, says attorney Stacie Caraway."

Caraway, who is a member of Miller & Martin PLLC, in the Chattanooga office, offered six tips for reducing FMLA abuse during a recent webinar sponsored by BLR®. Here are her six tips for dealing with FMLA abuse.

Tip # 1—Don’t Accept ‘Unknown’ Certs

FMLA certifications (certs) are like an “FMLA prenuptial agreement,” says Caraway. Once you certify leave based on a cert that says “unknown” or “as needed,” your hands are tied; you can’t change the agreement until that cert expires. That means you’ve given your employee carte blanche to come and go as he or she pleases.


PA Mistake #7—Gaming the System

"In yesterday’s Advisor, we began our tour of the 10 Sins of Performance Appraisers; today, the sins 7 through 10."

[Go here for sins 1 to 6.]

Sin #7. Gaming the system

“John’s work is just OK, to be sure, but I need to give him a big raise to keep him, so he gets an ‘excellent.’”
“I can’t stand Sandy, but I can’t transfer him unless he has a high rating; let his next manager deal with him.”


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