flu season ahead

Managing Flu Season In The Workplace

Employers cannot predict what this flu season will be like or how it will impact productivity. While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season usually varies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity typically peaks in the United States between December and February, but seasonal … Read more

Potential Liability From Your Overlooked PTO Policy

Often employers will neglect or overlook revising their vacation and/or paid time off (PTO) policies, which are buried in the employee handbook that was last revised a half-dozen years ago. For many, this is a big mistake. Depending on your jurisdiction, a poorly drafted PTO policy can carry significant potential liability. If a company’s PTO policies are unclear or, worse, there are no such policies, its employees may be able to claim they are entitled to payment for their accrued but unused vacation upon termination.

For example, in New York, if there is no clear statement that accrued but unused PTO time is forfeited upon termination, employees can potentially claim payment for all accrued but unused PTO. In addition, the company may be left unable to “correct” (i.e. take away) already accrued PTO time payable under these policies. In other jurisdictions, policies that deny payment for accrued PTO may be prohibited altogether (e.g. California).

Employers must also be cautious of the interplay of state and local paid sick (or other) leave laws in order to ensure any legally required leave does not become payable upon termination.

What should you do? First, it is important to know your state and local laws regarding vacation/PTO/paid leave accrual, usage, and payout. Next, you should review all prior versions of your PTO policies to determine what exactly has been provided and whether or not you can correct those policies retroactively. In jurisdictions that allow it, PTO policies should be revised and tailored as much as possible to prevent the excessive accrual and payout of PTO upon termination and reduce the company’s potential liability.

Some companies believe in their business judgment that it is beneficial to provide some form of economic payout to departing employees, ostensibly rewarding them for years of loyal service. This is admirable, however automatic PTO payouts reward both good and bad employees alike. As an alternative, offering severance, and conditioning it upon the signature of a general release agreement, is a better course of action. This allows the company to retain discretion over how much will be paid to each departing employee depending on the circumstances and also helps limit potential legal claims. As always, we suggest speaking to a Tarpey Group HR Consultant about any contemplated practices in order to ensure they are implemented effectively.

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7 Tips to Enhance Your Annual Benefits Communications Program

Your company’s benefit package is a significant investment in your employees. Properly designed, positioned, and communicated, it is one of the best tools in your arsenal to attract the right talent, enhance employee engagement, and retain your most valuable employees. As you head into your annual open enrollment, it is more important than ever to … Read more

Implications for Employers Following the Obergefell Decision

On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) made the monumental decision ruling that the Fourteenth Amendement of the United States Constitution requires that all states permit marriage between same-sex couples as well as recognize marriages performed in other states between same-sex couples. The decision was close at 5-4, with Justice Kennedy joined by … Read more

Possible Effects of Proposed FLSA Regulations

On June 30, 2015, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) proposed to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Regulations, specifically those regulations involving “white collar” exemption for executive, administrative, and professional employees. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking outlines the proposed changes to the FLSA regulations, what would remain the same, and … Read more

New Jersey Focused On Paid Sick Leave

Last year, the New Jersey Assembly introduced a bill that would require employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Under the proposed bill, employers with less than ten employees would be required to permit employees to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked and up to 40 hours … Read more

Five HR Errors That Can Cost Your Company

Five easy-to-reverse errors that can cost your company in an employment lawsuit: No Documentation The importance of maintaining office documents is often overlooked by many employers. Whether your company is facing harassment claims or Wage and Hour discrepancies, documentation can dramatically influence an employer’s chance of success when facing company lawsuits. The likelihood of successfully … Read more

Workplace Bullying – A Serious Form of Harassment

Over the past decade, the dangers of bullying in both middle and high school environments have become increasingly apparent. While seminars are frequently given on harassment and discrimination in the workplace, bullying is often overlooked as a form of harassment. However the Workplace Bullying Institute reported that in a 2014 survey, 27% of respondents reported … Read more


Why Do You Need A Broker?

With the introduction of online insurance and HR services, technology, without a doubt, is a force to be reckoned with. While growing technology has some people questioning the need for brokers, the importance of personalized, face-to-face communication is clearer now than ever before. With massive adjustments in the insurance industry being implemented by the Affordable … Read more

Web Marketplace Delay May Hinder Obamacare’s Goals

  With under 90 days left until Obamacare’s government-run health exchanges are due to begin, Web insurers are “still being locked out of” offering plans on the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. This lag could potentially “depress enrollments, and jack up insurance rates.” At this point, no Federally-run, state-based, or partnership exchanges have “given ehealthinsurance.com and … Read more