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An Open Letter to HR

An Open Letter to HR

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Dear HR,

We know you are juggling the challenges of managing benefits, payroll, hiring and onboarding. The struggle is real, right? We understand these tasks are crucial to the success of the organization, but we need information.

When do we need it? Typically, at 4:50 p.m. on a Friday, when all you want to do is to get out the door and scream, “TGIF!”

We get it: We can be needy. Whether it’s last-minute requests for pay stubs for income verification because we’re buying our first home, or needing our sick time because the school just called and little Joey is the latest victim of the classroom funk.

In true fashion, you help us because it’s what you do.

We know you can handle the workload, but the truth is you shouldn’t have to answer every menial question that comes across your desk or lands in your inbox.

What if there was a different way? What if employees took these burdens off HR’s plate?

Do any of these common questions sound familiar?

  • “Can I get a copy of my W-2?”
  • “How many vacation days do I have left?”
  • “And when do I have to take them by?”
  • “What steps do I need take in order to level up in the company?”
  • “Do my benefits cover this procedure?”
  • “Hey, how much would adding a dependent cost me? Ballpark’s fine.”

Honestly, we don’t want to have to ask you these questions, but you hold the answers. How many hours would you estimate you spend answering these questions a month? A week? A year?

The right HR technology could take these simple requests off your plate. If only we had such technology, we could:

  • access pay rates, schedule earnings, deductions and pay vouchers at any time;
  • submit W-4s, I-9s and direct-deposit forms securely;
  • change contact information and have it automatically update throughout the system;
  • punch web time clocks or input hours into an online time sheet;
  • submit and approve time sheets;
  • monitor paid-time-off accruals and submit time-off requests;
  • enroll in benefits with decision-making tools like a sample paycheck with new deduction amounts; and
  • access, complete and sign performance reviews.

And you? You would have more time to be strategic, to drink your coffee before it gets cold and even to take a vacation! (We assume you get those, too, right?)

HR Technology Optimized for Mobile Access

Look, we’ve transitioned to an on-demand and mobile society. Millennials are no longer the only ones with expectations of immediate access to their data, information and content. People now can manage everything, from their retirement accounts and hair appointments to banking, all while watching television, all from their mobile devices. As organizations continue to gear up for a mobile workforce, on-demand and self-service solutions are setting a new standard. HR departments like yours are under immense pressure to ensure employees have access to their own information.

We don’t want you to carry that burden alone, so we’re here with a suggestion: Leverage new HR technology that will enable us to carry out self-service functions. Such a solution would empower us to review our benefits, submit time-off requests and access the documentation we need to make informed decisions. More importantly, we’ll get the information we need, when we need it, from wherever we may be, without constantly pulling your focus from strategic programs with endless menial tasks and inquiries.

Trust us to handle our own information; we are willing to take on that responsibility, freeing up your time to strategize the next big thing. Or to simply enjoy that cup of coffee. Cream or sugar?

With gratitude,

– Your Employees

For more information about employee self-service, download this free Infographic: Engage and Empower Your Employees. Or to learn more about how Paycom’s HR technology can help your business grow, contact us today.


Williams Espino

by Williams Espino


Author Bio: Williams Espino has worked in HR Technology across multiple industries for almost 20 years. His career has included director level positions in the hospitality, education, and oil and gas industries and he now serves as the director of product management at Paycom.

Millennial Workplace

4 Truths About the Ideal Millennial Workplace

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In today’s increasingly technology-heavy workplace, the millennial workforce continues to grow and thrive.

According to the Pew Research Center, the millennial labor force surpassed Generation X as the largest in the workforce in 2015. In fact, Pricewaterhouse Coopers estimates that millennials will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020.

Listen now to our HR Break Room podcast episode, A Hire Purpose: Build a Thriving Culture for Millennials

As they continue to grow and baby boomers increasingly retire, more millennials will assume management positions. In the recent two-part episode of Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast, guest Adam Smiley Poswolsky, author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, spoke about what businesses must do in order to make that transition as seamlessly as possible.

Here are four key takeaways from that conversation.

1. Purpose-driven workplaces draw millennials.

With 90% of millennials wanting to use their skills for good, they are demanding that companies provide purpose and meaning, so that their day-to-day work is not just an 8-to-5 job, but also something that defines them. They want to feel valued in their work and that their work is making a difference, so much so that half of them will take a pay cut to find work that matches their values!

In order to attract and retain top talent from this generation, creating a culture of purpose and meaning is essential to organizational success.

2. A transparent workplace is critical.

 In order to meet the needs of today’s workforce, employers should strive to be clear about what working there is like. The most forward-thinking organizations realize that millennials are going to research company culture, whether through Glassdoor or the grapevine, so recruitment efforts should clearly communicate the benefits and mission. Training and technology are especially popular among millennials, who are seeking purpose-driven opportunities that offer the opportunity to leave an impact.

With so many young people in the workforce, the workplace has become an extension of the classroom. Unlike baby boomers and earlier generations, millennials have to do more than to be good at just one thing and ride that skill for the next 40 years, thanks to the nature of technology and the state of the economy. In order to retain the most ambitious employees, you have to keep teaching them new desirable skills.

3. Millennials operate by a management style all their own.

A Global Workforce report states that 25% of millennials in the workforce will take on management positions. With the same report indicating that 3.6 million baby boomers will retire by the end of this year, it is essential for organizations nationwide to begin adjusting to the needs of the millennial management style.

Millennials are huge fans of collaboration and always looking for new ideas to get things done faster and more efficiently. They prefer co-leadership to more traditional hierarchical structures and are not as interested in doing things because “that’s how it’s always been done.” Even if not every idea is accepted, millennial managers like to give their talent room to try new things … and even room to fail.

This emerging style is going to prove especially important as the next generation of employees, Generation Z (born between 1994 and 2010), begin to enter the workforce. They value authenticity and want to work in an organization where their ideas are heard, regardless of job title. This interest in transparency and innovation makes them a more natural fit to be led by millennial managers.

Under New Management: The Rise of Millennial Managers and Generation Z

4. Millennials and Generation Z embrace learning through technology.

Collaboration and transparency are easier to achieve through technology, a key building block to any successful employee experience. Today’s top talent find and apply jobs through the internet, and then learn more about prospective employers the same way. Once they set themselves on a career path, they have become accustomed to learning new skills through YouTube videos or listening to podcasts.

 

Both Millennials and Generation Z have grown up having instant messaging tools, video streams and high-speed internet connections at their fingertips at all times. To create a seamless and attractive employee experience, employers should ensure such tools be incorporated into the workplace, at every stage from onboarding to retirement. Companies that truly understand how to use such tech tools as online learning platforms and surveys will be able to create an organization that is transparent and collaborative, and a culture that is efficient and goal-driven.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Millennials

caleb.masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio: Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

Pregnancy Discrimination

EEOC Cracks Down on Pregnancy Discrimination

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In October 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) approved an updated Strategic Enforcement Plan from 2017 to 2021, to further its commitment to focus on “activities that are likely to have an impact in advancing equal opportunity and freedom from discrimination in the workplace.”

One area of focus is accommodations for pregnancy-related limitations. Although the EEOC’s focus on pregnancy discrimination dates back to 2012, the growing number of charges filed and the increased complexity of discrimination laws has made the issue a continued priority.

A Growing Trend

The EEOC receives an average of over 3,500 charges of pregnancy discrimination each year.[1] Issues involved in lawsuits have been fairly consistent and mainly include charges of discharge based on pregnancy, and differing terms and conditions of employment based on pregnancy, such as closer scrutiny and harsher discipline for pregnant individuals, suspensions pending receipt of medical releases, medical examinations that are not job-related or consistent with business necessity, and forced leave.

In 2017 alone, thus far, the EEOC has settled multiple pregnancy discrimination cases for a total amount exceeding $400,000 in monetary damages. Additionally, the EEOC referred a lawsuit, United States of America v. School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, to the Department of Justice, which settled early this year for $350,000. These numbers indicate a huge liability that employers may face and reiterate the importance of understanding laws that affect pregnancy in the workplace and the need to implement best practices to ensure compliance with such laws.

The EEOC enforces multiple laws that affect pregnancy in the workplace, namely the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA), other requirements under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and various state laws.  However, the EEOC has indicated its main focus to be centered on accommodating pregnancy-related limitations under the ADAAA and the PDA, so this post centers on those two laws.

 Understanding Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The PDA generally prohibits a broad range of discriminatory employer conduct in the same way that discrimination based upon other protected class characteristics is prohibited under Title VII. Therefore, the PDA covers pregnancy and the whole childbearing process in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, benefits and treatment in comparison to nonpregnant employees.

Adverse treatment of pregnant women often stems from stereotypes and assumptions regarding job capabilities and commitment to the individual’s job. Decisions based upon these stereotypes and assumptions are violation of the PDA, even if they are made unconsciously or with the intent of benefiting the employee For instance, assigning an employee to light duty without their request, because the employer feels it would be in the best interest of the pregnancy.

Under the PDA, an employer may not discriminate in employment decisions against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, and must make those decisions based on the same criteria= as other persons who are similar in their ability or inability to work. However, the PDA contains no reasonable accommodation requirement specific to any condition related to pregnancy. This essentially means that employers should not treat a pregnant woman any differently because of her pregnancy. For example, if a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job duty due to a pregnancy or childbirth-related medical condition, her employer must treat her in the same way as it would treat any other temporarily disabled employee. If an employer allows temporarily disabled employees to take disability leave, then the employer also must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled due to a pregnancy or childbirth-related medical condition to take disability leave. If an employer has a policy which allows injured employees to request light duty assignments, a pregnant employee with medical restrictions should be allowed to request light duty assignments.

So, what then is considered a “pregnancy or childbirth-related medical condition” that would entitle a pregnant employee to accommodations? The ADAAA provides some guidance on this issue.

Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act

The ADAAA protects individuals from employment discrimination based upon disability. Generally, pregnancy itself is not considered a disability under the ADAAA, but impairments related to pregnancy may qualify as disabilities. The threshold for what impairments qualify as a disability has varied among the circuit courts. However, the EEOC provided examples of pregnancy-related impairments that may be substantially limiting under the ADAAA, such as pregnancy-related anemia, pregnancy-related sciatica, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.

An employee may be entitled to reasonable accommodations for limitations resulting from pregnancy-related conditions that rise to the level of a disability under the ADAAA. These accommodations can include, but are not limited to, modifying work schedules, temporary assignment of light duties or altering how a certain job function is performed. Employers may deny a reasonable accommodation to a disabled employee only if it would result in an undue hardship to the employer.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured

Kristin Fisher

by Kristin Fisher


Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Kristin Fisher monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, with a focus on labor and employment laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. Previously, she served as an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Derryberry & Naifeh LLP. Fisher earned a bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Central Missouri, and her Juris Doctor from the Oklahoma City University School of Law. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, hiking, going to the movies and spending time with her fiancé.

New Form I-9

New Form I-9 Released. Again.

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On July 17, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised version of Form I-9, which is used to verify identity and employment authorization of workers and corresponding reference documents.

Didn’t USCIS just release a new I-9?

This is the second revision USCIS has made to the I-9 in less than a year; the last revision was released Nov. 14, 2016, for use by Jan. 14. USCIS first gave notice of this newest form in January, noting that changes would accommodate entrepreneurs granted work authorization through the International Entrepreneur (IE) Rule proposed by the Obama administration, which would enable qualified entrepreneurs to temporarily remain in the country through “parole” to oversee his or her start-up entity. This rule was set to go into effect on July 17 – the same day USCIS stated it would release the new Form I-9.

The Department of Homeland Security, however, announced on July 11 that it was delaying the implementation of the IE Rule from July 17 to March 14, 2018. Despite the delay, USCIS continued with its planned revision of the Form I-9. USCIS did not make changes specific to the IE Rule; rather, it used the new form to address a few other needed updates.

What changes were made?

Form I-9:

      • Form FS-240, the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, was added to the List C acceptable documents.
      • All certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State were combined into selection C #2 in List C.
      • List C documents were renumbered.

Form I-9 Instructions:

      • Revisions were made to reflect the change in name from the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) to the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER).
      • “The end of” was removed from the phrase “the first day of employment” in connection with the Form I-9 timelines.

M-274, Handbook for Employees:

      • The handbook reflects the changes made to the Form I-9 and its instructions.
      • It is now delivered in online format, featuring an interactive table of contents to view sections individually or in one long page under the “print manual” button.
      • A “Table of Changes” was included to help readers locate updates.

A new Form I-9? Am I out of compliance?

While the revised version is available now, you still can use the Form I-9 with a revision date of “11/14/16 N” through Sept. 17. Afterward, all previous versions will be invalid and employers must use only the revised form with a revision date of “7/17/17 N.”

Paycom is dedicated to compliance and will have its Document and Task Management tool updated with the new Form I-9 before Sept. 18. Click here for more information.

Learn more about how we can help reduce your administrative burden with Form I-9 regulations by downloading our How Document Management Systems Advance HR Functions white paper.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Featured, Payroll

Alyssa Looney

by Alyssa Looney


Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Alyssa Looney monitors laws, rules and regulations to ensure that the Paycom software is up to date, specifically regarding immigration law and state law developments in the Western United States. She holds a JD and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys cooking, being active, playing with her puppy and exploring Oklahoma City.

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