New York City’s new lactation accommodation law is now in effect and imposes new requirements on employers with four or more employees. The new law adds to the obligations that employers already have under New York State’s Labor Law. Under the Labor Law, employers are required to make reasonable efforts to provide a private room or location for employees to express breast milk. The room or location must be well lit, shielded from view and in close proximity to the employee’s work area. The room or location also needs to have a functional lock or, if a lock is not available, a sign advising that the room or location is in use and not available to other employees or the public. Inside the room or location, employers must provide nursing mothers with a chair and small table or other flat surface. New York State law encourages, but does not require, employers to also provide an outlet, clean water supply and access to refrigeration.
New York City’s new law incorporates these requirements but also takes them a step further. First, the lactation room must be a sanitary place, other than a restroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion. Second, the room needs to have an electrical outlet, a chair and a surface upon which employees may place a breast pump and other personal items. Third, the employee must also have nearby access to running water. Fourth, employers need to provide a refrigerator suitable for breast milk storage in reasonable proximity to the employee’s work area. Finally, if the lactation room is also used for other purposes, it must only be used as a lactation room while an employee is using it to express milk, and the employer must give notice to employees that the room gets preference for use as a lactation room. While some of these features are merely suggested under New York State law, New York City now requires them.
The new law also requires employers to adopt written lactation room accommodation policies, which employers must distribute to current employees and new employees upon hiring. The policy must:
- State that employees have a right to request a lactation room;
- Specify a process by which employees can make an accommodation request;
- Require the employer to respond to accommodation requests within a reasonable amount of time not to exceed five business days;
- Include a procedure for when two or more individuals need the room;
- Provide contact information for any necessary follow up on conflicting needs;
- State the employer’s obligation to engage in cooperative dialogue if an employee’s request for a lactation room imposes an undue hardship; and
- State that the employer shall provide reasonable break time for employees to express breast milk pursuant to New York State’s Labor Law Section 206-c.
On April 2018, New York state enacted an anti-sexual harassment law that, among other things:
(1) requires all employers in New York, regardless of size, to implement anti-sexual harassment policies and to conduct annual anti-harassment training that complies with minimum standards set forth in the statute (§201-g of the Labor Law);
(2) bans pre-dispute agreements requiring arbitration of sexual harassment claims “except where inconsistent with federal law” and
(3) requires confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements resolving sexual harassment claims to be at the “complainant’s preference” and sets forth procedural requirements for compliance with the statute’s requirement.
Six months later, the New York State Department of Labor issued guidance, including model documents and Frequently Asked Questions, to assist employers in complying with the new statutory requirements.
The holiday season is fast approaching, and between the rituals of hanging up lights and shopping for gifts, there’s another event to remember: the office holiday party. No matter how much you like your coworkers, the prospect of going to the annual holiday party may strike fear into your heart. Read our ultimate list of do’s and don’ts to ensure you thrive at this year’s event.
Don’t: Decline the Invitation
We get it. Holiday parties have the potential to be awkward affairs (like that time your boss’s boss was heading your way from across the room just as Bob from Accounting launched into another one of his very off-color stories). No matter how tempted you are to ditch the party this year, stop and rethink your actions. The holiday party is an excellent opportunity to network, show your face, and remind everyone that you’re a team player. You owe it to yourself to put in an appearance, even if you only stay for an hour.
Do: Remember that This is a Business Event
No matter how relaxed your office culture, it’s essential to remember that the holiday party is first and foremost a work event. When people are dressed festively, the drinks are flowing, and everyone is having a good time, it may seem like the lines are a bit blurred. Be yourself, but act as though your boss is watching. After all, he or she might be doing just that!
Do: Ask About the Dress Code
Hopefully your party invitation comes with a note about the dress code, but if not, ask around. Offices vary widely in how formal or dressy their holiday events may be, and you don’t want to feel uncomfortably over- or under-dressed. Feel free to be trendy and dress with personality, but err on the side of being slightly more conservative than you would at a friend’s holiday event.
Don’t: Talk Business Incessantly
Of course, the one thing that brings all of you together is your shared workplace. When that’s your point of commonality, it can mean that talk automatically turns to the office. Talking business is okay in small doses, but use the holiday party to get to know your colleagues as people. Talk about their families, pets, leisure activities, travel plans, or other more personable topics. This will help you get to know your colleagues better and will help you make a good impression.
Don’t: Drink Excessively
This should go without saying, yet every office holiday party seems to have that one person careening across the room, sloshing their drink. Yes, there may be an open bar. Yes, you should feel free to imbibe and enjoy yourself. Just know your limit, and switch to water after a couple of drinks. You want to be memorable, but not for being “that person.”
Do: Know Who Is Invited
Some offices encourage employees to bring spouses or significant others to the party. Others prefer to keep it just to people who work at the company. Ask about your company’s policy beforehand. Nobody wants to be the only person who invited their partner to a work event (and believe us, your partner won’t feel comfortable either).
Don’t: Forget to Thank Your Host
Just like at any other party, it’s important to thank your host. This means that you should go up to your boss or the most senior person at the party and thank them warmly for hosting the party. (This has the added bonus of making you stand out to the higher ups). Also remember that support staff workers or members of your office events committee likely put in hard hours of work to make the party happen. A sincere “thank you” can go a long way to making them feel like their effort paid off.
Do: Mingle with New People
It’s tempting to hang out with the people you see on a day-to-day basis, but remember to branch out beyond your team. The holiday party brings people from all departments together, so take the time to get to know your colleagues from other parts of the organization. This can be a fantastic networking opportunity.
Do: Have Fun!
At the end of the day, it’s just a party. The whole reason your company throws a holiday party is to celebrate and thank you for your hard work. It’s a chance for you to relax and enjoy the company of your colleagues, so remember to have fun!
Marijan Pavisic MS SPHR
Posted on October 23, 2018
Enacted more than two decades ago with the simple purpose of curbing physician self-referral, Stark Law has evolved into a complex set of regulations, which some argue impede efforts to transition away from a fee-for-service system.
Here are 15 things to know about Stark Law.
1. In 1989, Congress passed the Ethics in Patient Referrals Act, which was dubbed Stark I after Rep. Pete Stark, a Democrat from California, who sponsored the initial bill.
2. The original statute was quite simple. It sought to ban physician self-referral for designated services when a patient was covered by Medicare or another government payer. Self-referral occurs when physicians refer patients for designated health services to hospitals, labs and other entities from which they or an immediate family member benefit financially.
3. Stark Law applies to the following designated health services:
- Physical therapy services
- Occupational therapy services
- Outpatient speech-language pathology services
- Radiology and certain other imaging services
- Radiation therapy services and supplies
- Durable medical equipment and supplies
- Parenteral and enteral nutrients, equipment and supplies
- Prosthetics, orthotics and prosthetic devices and supplies
- Home health services
- Outpatient prescription drugs
- Inpatient and outpatient hospital services
4. The intention behind the original statute was to eliminate any financial motivation for physicians to send patients for unnecessary testing that could raise overall healthcare costs.
5. The original statute was expanded in January 1995, when Stark II went into effect. Over the next decade, CMS published a series of regulations implementing the physician self-referral law. Today, there is a sprawling group of regulations and statutes collectively named Stark Law.
6. Stark Law has numerous exceptions, each of which carries its own detailed requirements. Many of the exceptions require compensation paid to a physician to not take into account the value or volume of a physician’s referrals or other business generated between the parties to a gainsharing agreement. Many exceptions also require the arrangement to be commercially reasonable and compensation to be at fair market value.
7. Any provider organization that violates Stark must repay all Medicare funds paid under the improper arrangement, which could total tens of millions of dollars. The organization could face Medicare exclusion and False Claims Act liability as well.
8. If claims are submitted to government payers through an arrangement that violates Stark Law, the claims are rendered false or fraudulent, creating liability under the False Claims Act, according to the American Bar Association. Most of these cases are filed by whistle-blowers under the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act.
9. Whistle-blowers have a lucrative incentive to pursue these actions, as they are entitled to up to 30 percent of the government’s recovery in False Claims Act cases. The penalties authorized under the False Claims Act were raised in 2016 to a range of $10,781 to $21,563 per claim.
10. The complexity of Stark Law has left hospital executives, Congress and CMS struggling with the boundaries of the legislation — especially as the healthcare industry replaces traditional fee-for-service medicine with value-based care.
11. Stark Law requires physicians receive only fair-market prices for their services, and the serious costs associated with technical violations of the law have made hospitals hesitant to move forward with pay-for-performance initiatives.
12. Common technical violations of Stark Law include lack of documentation to support fair market value, failure to accurately describe services rendered and failure to change the terms in writing when compensation or duties change.
13. In early February, HHS released a report that provides observations on the effects of Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute on the industry’s transition to value-based payment models. In the report, HHS said some gainsharing and similar arrangements can be structured in a way that does not violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and meets the requirements of Stark Law. However, HHS noted the current fraud and abuse laws “may serve as an impediment to robust, innovative programs that align providers by using financial incentives to achieve quality standards, generate cost savings and reduce waste.”
14. Legislators and hospital leaders have expressed concerns about Stark Law in recent years. For instance, during a Senate Finance Committee hearing last July, Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Stark Law has become too complex, creating obstacles in the transition from the antiquated fee-for-service model.
15. Sen. Hatch’s views were echoed by several healthcare leaders during the hearing, including Ronald Paulus, MD, CEO of Asheville, N.C.-based Mission Health. Dr. Paulus said problems with the physician self-referral law can’t be fixed by tinkering around the edges. He believes a full repeal is necessary to allow health systems to move forward with population heath efforts.
Posted on October 18, 2018
So Excited to be a part of SOMOS COMMNITYCARE WORKFORCE AND CCHL ADVISORY COMMITTEE .
SOMOS COMMUNITY CARE is a network of nearly 2,500 providers in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn who have come together to ensure better health care for Medicaid members.
Posted on September 28, 2018
The proven model known as the employee lifecycle (ELC), is a fantastic way to visualize your employee’s and how they engage with you. In this article, we share over 30 links, 4 experts thoughts and plenty of great tips.
So what are the six stages of employee engagement, and how do they all fit together?
I’ll explain this, as well as share interesting links and helpful tools to ensure you maximize your chance of success in building great teams and retaining those within them.
The six stages of the employee life cycle
According to the very well-known Employee Lifecycle (ELC) model, there are six stages of engagement an organisation has with an employee.
These six stages can be illustrated as an ongoing, perpetual lifecycle, as shown abobe in this diagram.
Let’s go into a little more detail about each of these stages, and describe what they mean. We have included links to further reading within each stage, as well as helpful ideas on how to maximise your returns.
The six employee lifecycle stages are;
The first stage of the employee lifecycle is the employee attraction stage.
No matter how great your product or service is, companies who don’t attract and retain great people will fail over time, every time. This is why attracting the right talent is crucial to any company’s growth strategy.
The attraction stage happens before you even have an open position. It’s often referred to, as the “employer brand”, a term coined in the early 1990’s.
The employer brand is “the image of your organisation as a ‘great place to work’ in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders).
The art and science of employer branding is therefore concerned with the attraction, engagement and retention initiatives targeted at enhancing your company’s employer brand.”
Brett Minchington, MBA, Author of Employer Brand Leadership – A Global Perspective.
Tips to succeed in the employee attraction stage
My three favourite tips when it comes to building a great employer brand and attracting great candidates, are something I have always done myself. These are;
Be well known in your industry
Encourage your managers to attend seminars and conferences, look for speaking opportunities and be a regular contributor to industry magazines or websites. The purpose here is to build your profile within your industry, as a great place to work.
Be known to have a great culture
Your best promoters are your own employees. By having a fantastic company culture, you increase the chances that your existing team will be out telling people how great it is to work with your team.
Another way to do this is share insights into your culture, using your own social media accounts. For example, Australian digital agency, Bam Creative, identified that many candidates follow their Instagram account. So they spend time posting images and comments from what it is like to be part of their team.
Offer attractive compensation and benefits
It goes without saying that you need to be at least competitive with compensation; not necessarily pay the most, but don’t pay the least either. Look for opportunities to offer softer benefits as well, such as team lunches, a day off on your birthday, and more.
In this article, Greg Savage, a respected voice across the global recruitment industry and regular keynote speaker, states “Throw out your 1990’s candidate playbook. Invest in social and digital and technology. Train recruiters on skills hunting, not job-board application screening.”
The second stage of the employee lifecycle is the employee recruitment stage.
The recruitment stage is just that; the active phase of finding great talent to join your organisation. This could be the result of an existing role becoming vacant (see the Employee Separation stage below) or a new position being created.
CEO and co-founder Daniel Chait of Greenhouse shares his best recruiting tip;
“Recruiting is more competitive than ever! A winning plan offers a great candidate experience, supports collaborative hiring around a clear scorecard and process, and captures meaningful data allowing you to improve your hiring results over time.”
Four tips to succeed in the recruitment stage
Here are four great tips on how to succeed in recruiting the right talent for your team.
Ask for referrals from your team
Your greatest recruitment filter is often your own existing employees. As members of your industry, it is likely that they may have people they know who could be a perfect fit. Be careful though, to avoid hiring close friends of family of existing employees, as this can make the team dynamic very difficult.
Try different recruitment platforms
Don’t stick to the major recruitment websites or media. Think outside the box; where is it that many of your ideal candidates may be? Is it an industry meet up that you could attend, or is it that they all read this industry magazine you may wish to advertise in?
Be specific in who you are looking for
The worst employment advertisements are the ones that are very vague. Sure, it may be your plan to cast a wider net, however you should be careful to list all your pre-requisites to save both you and the candidates time in applying and assessing.
Involve your existing employees
As well as asking if your current employees know a good candidate, you could also request they help determine the best requirements for the role, and also assist you in reviewing the resumes and qualifications of any potential candidates.
You can also request that someone in a very similar role joins you in the interview process, to assess the candidates fit within the team.
The third stage of the employee lifecycle is the employee onboarding stage.
This is the very critical stage of getting new hires adjusted to the performance aspects of their new job within your company quickly and smoothly. It is the process through which new hires learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organisation.
Research has proven that the degree that managers make new hires feel welcomed into the team and prepared for their new roles, the faster that they will be able to successfully contribute to the organisation’s mission.
Tips to succeed in the Onboarding stage
Here are four great methods to ensure that a new hire on boarding goes smoothly for all concerned.
Have a job description
A job description doesn’t need to be long and academic. I prefer a one single page approach, where we list the most important duties, as well as experience and skills.
Discuss your company values and vision
In the first few days, it is vital that you sit down with the new employee, and take them through your company values and vision and what they all mean. Ask your recruit what the values mean to them, and if they have any questions.
Outline your expectations clearly
Although your role description will carry some of the detail, it is important to lead each employee through the expectations you for them, along with why they are important to the company success.
Follow up regularly
Don’t just complete your first weeks induction and leave it! Schedule a face to face with the new employee after a few weeks, and find out what is going on with them, what challenges they have found integrating with your team, etc.
The fourth stage of the employee lifecycle is the employee development stage. By consistently encouraging professional development amongst your team, you are helping skill your team members up, and help provide them with a future career path.
Tips on improving professional development in your team
We’ve chosen our four top tips for employee development.
Encourage external learning
Many organisations have found great value in providing their employees with opportunities to attend relevant conferences and seminars. This could take the form of sending them at the company cost, or indeed offer all employees a budget for their own initiated event attendance.
Assess their skills and knowledge together
All managers should work with their employees to identify their key skills and areas of expertise, and utilize these to plan and prioritize which areas require further development. Having a trusted manager act as a mentor can go a long way to encouraging openness.
Encourage your employees to be responsible for their own development
You should encourage and support every employee to develop a professional development action plan, that will help them develop their abilities, and increase chances of career advancement. Offer to help them do this together, or provide a template for all of your team to complete their own simple plan.
Reward employees who learn in their own time
Many people are regularly doing informal development outside of normal work hours. When you hear of someone with your team doing this, make a point to find out more about this, and sincerely thank them for their efforts. A little positive praise can go a long way to motivating people.
Gail Yeowell Managing Director Smart HR Solutions says;
Managers should set an example, be a role model, provide leadership and inspiration and ensure their people:
- Know and understand what is expected of them
- Have the skills and ability to deliver on these expectations
- Are supported by the Company to develop the capacity to meet these expectations
- Are given constructive feedback on their performance
- Have the opportunity to discuss and contribute to individual and team aims and objectives
- Continuously develop for existing and future roles
The fifth stage of the employee lifecycle is the employee retention stage. This is where you focus your energies on keeping your top employees, and ensure that they are both happy and challenged in their role within the team.
Your positive company culture has a lot of influence in this area. A bad company culture will inevitably mean that your organisation will suffer from a high employee turnover, and that you will face the costs of having to replace your employees regularly.
Five tips to improve employee retention
Good news is, that with some commonsense and effort, employee retention doesn’t need to be hard to achieve. For example, some tips on ensuring you retain your key people, include;
Hiring the right people to begin with
See the attract and retain section of this article; if you are careful with who you hire to begin with, you stand a better chance of keeping employees in your team.
Build and foster great relationships with your team
This isn’t to mean you should invite them to your home for dinner, more that you should foster an open, honest and respectful relationship with everyone within your team.
Openly communicate your team mission and aspirations
One important element in employee retention is to ensure that they understand and are committed to the same mission and direction as the company. Ensure that you regularly communicate where they belong within the company, and how their role helps you execute your mission.
Seek their feedback and measure morale frequently
If your team is small enough, schedule a weekly face to face meeting, to discuss how they are going, and what problems or issues they are facing.
This is where tools such as employee pulse surveys are important. If you want to measure the overall team morale, and seek constant effective feedback, a tool such as our six question employee surveys makes great sense.
Understand what motivates various team members
There are many different types of personalities out there, and many different elements are important to people. Understanding what drives and motivates your employees means that you can communicate and reward them in different ways, to suit their own personality.
The sixth and final stage of the employee lifecycle is the employee separation stage.
For most employees, there comes a point where the life cycle does come to an end. Employees may leave due to retirement, new employment, or for family or personal reasons. It’s important that your separation process is just as strategic as your onboarding process.
When a team member leaves, this can in turn affect other members of the team and it’s the manager or HR professionals job to make sure the employee who is exiting, leaves in a way that doesn’t disrupt the entire company.
Tips to succeed in the Separation stage
Here are four great ideas you could adopt, if you are faced with a key employee leaving your organisation unexpectedly.
Dig deep into the reasons behind the resignation
What they first state and what the actual reasons behind a resignation can often be different.
Remember the saying, ‘One door closes and another opens’
Just because you feel a sense of loss at this top performer leaving your team, it doesn’t mean that you may not find an even better employee to replace them.
Ask for honest feedback
A person leaving gives you a fantastic opportunity to glean some honest feedback on what it is like to be an employee at your organisation.
Remind the team that life goes on
Team morale can often be negatively affected by someone leaving your employ. It is worth concentrating on reaffirming your commitment to the team, and that whilst it is disappointing this person is leaving, the team will recover and grow as a result.
As it was discovered, the employee lifecycle model is an interesting method to visualize and plan for each stage of an employees interactions with your company. By focusing on doing the best you can in each stage, it is possible to attract and retain a fantastic team.
In summary, the six stages of an employee lifecycle are;
Focus on building the right image, to attract the best candidates to your business.
Have a solid recruitment strategy to determine who would be best for your role.
Getting new hires up to speed efficiently is very critical to their success.
Encouraging ongoing professional development within your team creates happier, smarter employees.
Spend time on ensuring you retain your top talent. A positive company culture is an absolute must.
Accept that people do leave. Have a great process in place to learn from the experience, and continue a good morale within your team.
All the best in building a great, motivated and productive team!
Thank You For Reading !!!!!!!
Posted on September 18, 2018
It was a busy week for the DOL — not only did the agency release a new set of FMLA forms for employers, but it wrote four opinion letters addressing several FMLA and FLSA concerns.
As far as the forms go, the only thing that changed is the expiration date. The updated FMLA forms are exactly the same as the previous set.
The opinion letters will be of more interest to employers, as they address tricky scenarios managers may run into when dealing with the FMLA or FLSA.
Here’s a rundown of the situations the DOL addressed in the letters:
1. Organ donation is covered under the FMLA
In FMLA 2018-2-A, an employer asked whether an employee could use FMLA leave for undergoing organ donation surgery. The DOL says yes. Even if the employee was in good health before the surgery, organ donation still qualifies as a “serious health condition,” and therefore is covered under the FMLA.
A serious health condition is defined as an illness or physical condition that requires inpatient care at a hospital. Since the typical hospital stay after organ donation surgery is four to seven days, this certainly qualifies as a serious health condition.
2. FMLA leave “freezes” no-fault attendance policies.
In FMLA 2018-1-A, an employer detailed its attendance policy. Employees would accrue points for absences, and if those absences added up to a certain number in a year, they’d be terminated. But employees could also shave some points off with consistent good attendance. The employer’s question? If an employee takes FMLA leave, does that mean they cannot accrue or lose any absence points?
The DOL said yes, employers are permitted to “freeze” the absence points of employees on FMLA leave. It’d be an FMLA violation to give employees absence points while on leave, but it’d also be an unfair benefit to remove points while employees were not working.
Note: This freezing policy must apply equally to all types of leave, such as vacation and worker’s comp.
3. Voluntary health and wellness events can be unpaid.
In FLSA 2018-20, an employer asked if employees needed to be paid for attending voluntary biometric screenings during the work day. The DOL says no. Since the event is voluntary, and is primarily for the benefit of the employee, it isn’t compensable. When an employee is attending a wellness event, they are relieved of their job duties.
4. Clarification on retail or service establishment exemption
In FLSA 2018-21, an employer wanted to know if the “retail or service establishment” exemption applied to sales reps at their business. The company sold a unique technology platform to a variety of clients, and not in large quantities. The DOL decided this type of business qualified for the exemption.
The retail or service establishment exemption says employees don’t receive overtime pay if they meet the following requirements:
- they work at a retail or service establishment
- their regular rate of pay exceeds one and a half times the minimum wage, and
- more than half their earnings consist of commissions.
Marijan Pavisic MS SPHR