The HR Specialist

If you mail HR-related info to applicants and employees, budget higher costs in 2006. The Postal Rate Commission last month approved a 2-cent increase in first-class stamps, pushing them up to …

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Starting Jan. 1, employers can offer Roth 401(k)s, which are a hybrid of the basic 401(k) plan and the wildly popular Roth IRA accounts. With Roth 401(k)s, employees invest taxed dollars …

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To persuade employees to switch from expensive brand-name prescription drugs to generics, some employers are eliminating co-payments for generic drugs. Others are waiving the first two or three months of generic …

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Issue: Courts are cracking down on employers that tolerate customer harassment of foreign-born employees.
Risk: Supervisors sometimes are more lenient with harassment by customers than by employees. That’s a big …

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Issue: Scheduling employees during the holidays can cause logistical and legal headaches.
Risk: At the least, hurt feelings and dampened morale. At the worst, a messy religious-discrimination lawsuit.
Action: …

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Issue: The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) makes it illegal to punish employees for discussing pay, benefits or working conditions.
Risk: Many employers believe that such NLRA restrictions apply only …

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Issue: Safety-conscious companies look beyond the bottom line.
Benefit: In addition to reducing costs and boosting morale, safety can be promoted as a recruiting tool to applicants.
Action: Reduce …

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Issue: More employers are offering voluntary supplemental medical insurance, and insurers are offering more products.
Benefit/risk: Such plans can fill gaps left by medical coverage cutbacks, but the strategy can …

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At first glance, the federal Age Discrimi-nation in Employment Act (ADEA) appears pretty straightforward: It protects people age 40 and older from employment discrimination based on their age. But the law isn’t as simple as it appears; it affects managers in everything from questions asked in job interviews to assigning job duties. Here’s a description [...]

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Issue: How do you calculate overtime pay for employees who perform two separate jobs at separate hourly rates?
Benefit: New Labor Department rulings clarify this confusing part of wage-and-hour law. …

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