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Top Issues Faced By Human Resources 

How does your company handle human resource issues? Do you have a dedicated department or does your company rely on an HR consultant? Either way, there are probably some common issues that every office deals with at some point. Let’s take a look at some of the top legal issues that HR professionals deal with, especially with small or medium-size businesses. 

What is a Human Resource Department? 

Whether you have a dedicated HR staff or a consultant who handles your HR issues, you should know the basics of what they do. Most human resources specialists focus on a number of major areas including: recruiting and staffing, compensation and benefits, training and learning, labor and employee relations, and organization development. Human resources staff is also responsible for advising senior staff about the impact on people (the human resources) of their financial, planning, and performance decisions.

What are the Top HR Issues? 

Confidentiality: 

If you manage a small office you know that word spreads fast whether it is good news or bad. It’s very difficult to keep a secret in a small work environment. Therefore it is one of the top issues that a human resource specialist deals with. It’s critical to the day-to-day functioning of the workplace that complaints, problems, or personal issues remain confidential. It is not only an ethical responsibility, but a legal one as well. 

Labor Rights and Compliance: 

It is the job of a human resources department to stay on top of developing laws that pertain to the rights and protections for employees. This could include a safe work environment for the accessibility for employees with special needs. There are regulations on everything from hiring practices, to wage payment, to workplace safety. Take a few minutes to read through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment Law Guide. If business leadership chooses to ignore the laws or believes that they do not apply to their specific workplace, then there could be audits, lawsuits, and possibly even the demise of your company.

Compensation: 

This is always a touchy subject when it comes time for annual reviews that result in raises, bonuses or, alternatively, a decline in pay or hours. Human resources should always be involved if there is a review that is not stellar. The neutral party can help relay some of the findings and pave the way for improvement in work habits. 

Do you have questions about human resources, especially the legal questions that inevitably crop up? Check out our workshop “Understanding Legal Issues in Human Resources” led by Maureen Pomeroy on November 13 at the Enterprise Center. 

 

BLS Provider CPR (1-day Initial or Renewal Course, multiple sessions available)

(Initial or Renewal Course based on the 2015 AHA Guidelines)
Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. This course teaches both single-rescuer and team basic life support skills for application in both in-facility and prehospital settings. This course is designed for healthcare professionals and other personnel who need to know how to perform CPR and other basic cardiovascular life support skills.

In addition, BLS training can be appropriate for first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, as well as for laypeople whose work brings them into contact with members of the public, such as school, fitness center, or hotel and restaurant employees.

Students must pass a written exam and skills test in order to qualify for a BLS Course Completion Card.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will receive a completion cad valid for 2 years.

Conveniently scheduled on Saturday, please choose the session that works best for you.

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Establishing an Employee Handbook

One of the essential features of a successful business is a trusting and professional relationship between employer and employees.  One of the best ways to ensure that this relationship is properly established from the very beginning is the use of an employee handbook.  While it is definitely not the most interesting document to read(or write for that matter), it is a document that is necessary to establish a uniform, well-defined personnel policy.  It is a convenient method to clearly communicate employer standards, legal obligations of the employer, legal rights of the employee and many times can reduce the risk of employee lawsuits.

Using tips from Human Resources online, the Employment Law Network and the U.S. Small Business Administration, we have crafted a list of items you will want to consider including in your employee handbook.

  • Company Goals and Mission – While reading a lengthy document about company rules and regulations may not sound thrilling,  a short mission statement will help introduce your company to the employee officially.  This list of goals will give the employee a better sense of what should motivate them and where he/she fits in the larger purpose of the company.
  • Anti-Discriminatory Policies – Employers must comply with the equal employment opportunity laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Handbooks are a perfect place to spell out these laws and how employees are expected to comply with them.  Read More about Discrimination and Harassment Policies.
  • General Policies and Procedure – This is a great place to go over the basics such as: dress code, pay periods, time sheets, company holidays, defined work hours/week and other incidentals. This may also include computer use and telephone usage.
  • Employment Policies– This section of the handbook should include items such as: employment eligibility, job classifications, employee referrals, employee records, job postings, probationary periods, termination and resignation procedures. Read more about Labor Laws.
  • Employee Benefits – Detail any benefit programs for employees and eligibility requirement including: health insurance, retirement plans, wellness plans and other optional benefits.  Be sure to include a list of legal benefits.  Here is a list from the US Small Business Administration of required Legal Benefits.
  • Safety and Security – We all want employees to be safe at work so include your policy for creating a safe environment for employees.  Include compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s laws (OSHA) that require employees to report all accidents, injuries, potential safety hazards, safety suggestions and health and safety related issues to management.
  • Leave Policies – Your company’s leave policies should be carefully documented, especially those you are required to provide by law. Family medical leave, maternity leave,  jury duty, military leave, and time off for court cases and voting should all be documented to comply with state and local laws. This is also a good section to include vacation policies.
  • Problem-Resolution Procedure – Even with all of these rules and regulations  spelled out completely in writing, there will always be questions and issues raised throughout the year.  Create a procedure, whether is is within Human Resources (or with someone in a leadership position if your company does not have HR) of how you will deal with such issues.