Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Vacation Deprivation

According to a recent study by online travel site, Expedia.com, Americans left over 421 million vacation days unused in 2005.

"American workers receive the least amount of vacation days (12 on
average) among all the countries that we surveyed," said Kari Swartz, Expedia.com product manager for leisure travel. "Yet we still, unbelievably,don't use up all of our days, with each American worker estimated to give back an average of 3 vacation days in 2005."

So what about those workers who are sticking with their new year's resolution to travel in 2006? According to Expedia.com's current bookings, the destinations are mostly warm and sunny. The top ten destinations for travel between January - March 2006 include:

1. Las Vegas, NV
2. Orlando, FL
3. New York, NY
4. Honolulu, Hawaii
5. Paris, France
6. Maui, Hawaii
7. Jamaica
8. Puerto Vallarta
9. Rome, Italy
10. The Bahamas

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Anthropologist, Hurdler, Experimenter...Positive Roles that Should be Found in Every Workplace

The Globe and Mail: Populate your workplace with 10 positive roles

Tom Kelley's new book, The Ten Faces of Innovation explores unique job roles that should be found in foward-thinking organizations. You may already have individuals in the roles (most likely they have boring titles like, VP, Manager, and Customer Service Rep). Perhaps it's time to think a little differently to encourage true innovation in your workplace.

Here are brief descriptions of each vital role from Canada's Globe and Mail...

The anthropologist observes human behaviour in order to develop a deep understanding of how people interact physically and emotionally with products, services, and spaces.

The experimenter prototypes new ideas continuously, learning through trial and error. Those experiments can be quick and dirty -- they don't need to be expensive -- and need not just be about products or services but about marketing, sales and distribution options.

The cross-pollinator explores other industries and cultures, translating the findings into your company's systems or products. Ideas from the piano and the sewing machine helped in creating the typewriter.

The hurdler knows how to get past the many obstacles that can prevent an idea from seeing the light of day. After the idea of Scotch tape was initially rejected, its inventor used subterfuge to get the equipment to build the first batch, paying for it in $99 installments to keep below his $100 authorization limit.

The collaborator helps bring people together, leading from the middle of the pack and encouraging others to see merit in a proposal. On teams, the collaborator uses his or her diplomatic skills to hold the group together if it threatens to splinter or disband.

The director gathers a talented cast and crew and helps to spark their talents, like Steven Spielberg.

The experience architect designs compelling experiences to connect at a deep level with customers' needs, or to make the workplace better for employees. He or she sets the stage for positive encounters with your organization through products, services, digital interactions, spaces, or events.

The set designer creates a stage on which people can do their best work. After watching students at the University of California's Irvine campus, IDEO staff turned from anthropologists into set designers and created door-less alcoves with whiteboards, plug-ins for laptops, and flat-panel monitors for collaboration throughout the central hallways so students could work together.

The caregiver anticipates needs to make sure customers and team members are properly cared for.

The storyteller builds internal morale and external awareness through compelling narratives that communicate a fundamental human value or reinforce a specific cultural trait.

To learn more about Tom Kelley and The Ten Faces of Innovation, be sure to visit his website.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

New OFCCP Rule Goes Into Effect February 6th, 2006

The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued a final rule that clarifies the definition of an "Internet Job Applicant" and outlines guidelines regarding the new law.

On February 6th, all federal contractors and subcontractors covered under Executive Order 11246 will be required to maintain strict records on individuals that qualify as Internet Applicants.

An individual is considered an "Internet Applicant" if each of the following four criteria are met:
• The individual submits an expression of interest in employment through the Internet or related electronic data technologies
• The contractor considers the individual for employment in a particular position
• The individual's expression of interest indicates the individual possesses the basic qualifications for the position
• The individual at no point in the contractor's selection process prior to receiving an offer of
employment from the contractor, removes himself or herself from further consideration or otherwise indicates that he or she is no longer interested in the position.

Individuals who meet all four criteria of this definition must be solicited for race/ethnicity and
gender information, and be included in an adverse impact analysis.

For an indepth look at what the new law entails, we recommend that you check out Monster's "Pathway to Compliance" PDF.

Monday, January 23, 2006

"Wal-Mart Bill" Becomes Law on 01/01/07

Legal Info Service (US)

The "Wal-Mart Bill" which was orginally vetoed by Gov. Bob Ehrlich, was overriden by Maryland lawmakers. The new law, which requires that large employers with at least 10,000 workers in the state must spend a set percentage of payroll on employee health coverage or else pay into a state health care fund, will go into effect on January 1st, 2007. Noncompliant employers can face penalties of up to $250,000. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

New Jersey Becomes Nation's 11th Smokefree Workplace State

New Jersey Becomes Nation's 11th Smokefree Workplace State

New Jersians will soon be breathing a little easier now that acting Governor Richard J. Codey signed the smokefree workplace bill into law.

Under the new law, employees and customers of restaurant and drinking establishments will now be able to avoid the dangers of secondhand smoke.

"The data says smoking kills. It's not just an annoyance," said New Jersey's Commissioner of Health, Fred M. Jacobs. "That's where we got the traction to get this done."

The new law will go into effect on April 15.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Fortune Reveals the 100 Best Companies to Work For

Fortune: 100 Best Companies to Work For

Fortune magazine has published its list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2006, which are also broken down according to pay, benefits, job growth among other categories.

Genentech, a midsized Biotechnology firm in San Francisco, was selected as the best employer for which to work in 2006. The company received high marks for its benefits package, which includes an employee stock-purchase plan, eligibility for stock options and bonuses, and a six-week paid sabbatical program. Their tremendous growth and low turnover helped make them a likely choice.

Fortune evaluated the policies and culture of each company and surveyed the opinions of the company's employees when determining who would make the list. Visit their site for more information on the rankings.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Calendar Helps Track Disclosures

Keeping track of the numerous federal laws and requirements have just gotten a little easier. The Segal Co. has created a calendar which includes all important reporting and disclosure dates for benefit plans, as well as DOL, IRS, and Pension Benefit Quarantee Corp. requirements. They also made sure the calendar covered HIPAA rules, COBRA notice requirements and Medicare Part D notices. Want to see it for yourself? You can check it out for yourself here.

California Issues Sexual Harassment Training Regulations

HR Legal Update for January 6, 2006 - Distributed by HRN Management Group

California's new sexual harassment law regarding supervisor training for supervisors now has regulations to back it up. Here's the latest from HRN Management Group's HR Legal Update:

The law requires that any employer with 50 or more employees (anywhere) must provide sexual harassment training to supervisors every two years. Supervisors are defined to include anyone supervising an employee in California, whether or not that supervisor lives in California. Thus, if you are a covered employer with just one employee in California supervised by a manager in Utah, you must train that manager. The regulations explain how training must be conducted, how new businesses must comply, how soon new supervisors must be trained and who is qualified to provide the training. Employers of 50 or more persons with any employees in California must be in compliance with this law by December 31, 2005.

To view the proposed regulations, click here.

Friday, January 06, 2006

New USERRA Poster Requirement as of December 19th

From HR.BLR.com ...

Bulletin: USERRA Regulations Changed on December 19, 2005

On December 19, 2005, the U.S. Department of Labor published final regulations interpreting the law that protects employment and reemployment rights and benefits of service members upon their return to civilian life. The DOL also revised the language of the notice employers must provide to workers informing them of their rights under USERRA.

Download a FREE copy of this required poster here.

The final USERRA regulations provide detailed guidance on important (and sometimes confusing) employer obligations under USERRA, such as:

- Treatment of pension plan benefits
- Tax treatment of differential pay, and other compensation and benefits
- Burden of legal proof in USERRA cases
- Treatment of independent contractors and tests to determine contractor status
- Amount of time off employees may take before military service
- Reemployment limitations
- Treatment of bonuses during leave
- Benefits waivers
- Use of vacation or other leave
- Healthcare issues
- Reemployment rules
- Promotions
- Disabled service members
- Rate of pay on return
- Protection against discharge

Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus

HR.COM- The Human Resources Portal

When one thinks of great business leaders, what names come to mind? Most likely names like Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Estee Lauder, John D. Rockefeller, and Santa Claus pop up. Santa Claus you ask? Sure! Who else runs a more productive business, is more committed to customer service, and is as beloved?

Al Lucia was recently interviewed by HR.com about his recent book, "The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus." In it, he puts Santa’s success down to eight secrets: Build A Wonderful Workshop, Choose Your Reindeer Wisely, Make a List and Check it Twice, Listen to the Elves, Get Beyond The Red Wagon, Share the Milk and Cookies, Find Out Who’s Naughty and Nice, and Be Good For Goodness’ Sake.

Be sure to check out the interview on the HR.com site (you will have to first sign up for a free membership in order to access the page.) Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Workplace giving generates more than $3.8 billion annually in the U.S.

Workplace giving grows beyond borders

Are workplaces becoming more charity-minded? A recent survey of 22 U.S. corporations reveal that 86% of corporations surveyed provided employees with a way to give to global disaster relief, 75% offer choices beyond United Way that include payroll deduction, 68% of companies match employee charitable gifts, and 45% are considering making positive changes to their donation campaigns including making better use of technology and expanding choices for charitable giving.

In light of the recent natural disasters in the world, these results make perfect sense. Currently, workplace giving campaigns generate $3.8 billion annually, and can possibly increase in the future. Read the full SHRM Online article here.

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