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The HR Specialist Forum

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Question: “Congratulations to me! I've been tasked with planning our firm's holiday party—but don't have much money to work with. I've got 50 people to please. I think we could afford to go off-site, but I'd rather spend on the food and fun than a hotel ballroom. Does anybody have creative ideas on how to celebrate the season without breaking the bank?”—Sandra, OR
Question: “One of our employees regularly calls in sick because of her child’s medical problems. She has used up all her sick time, so now we have to dock her a day’s pay. How can I get her to improve her attendance so she’s at work more? Can we fire her for poor attendance?”—L.C., New York
Question: “When I started working here, there were four people in the HR department. Now there’s just one—me! There's too much work for one employee. Now my employer has told me I can’t work overtime, but still have to get all my work done. I feel like I have to work overtime with no pay or else lose my job. Other than quitting, do I have any options?”—Michele, CA
Question: “Recently an employee had chest pains at work and was taken to the hospital. To respect his privacy, we did not make an all-staff announcement about what happened, but did tell management. However, some employees who were very concerned about their co-worker got upset that we didn't keep them informed. Did we handle this correctly? What's should our policy be on disclosing an employee’s health issues to other employees?”—Pierre in AZ
Question: Management recently told all my organization’s non-exempt employees that they would no longer be paid for coming in for “on call” emergency situations. There would be no need to clock in as it will be considered “volunteered” time. The time can’t be credited to comp time either. This seems illegal to me all around. Anyone have any thoughts on this?—T.A., Iowa
Question: An employee recently told a co-worker that he thought his “life isn’t worth living.” How should we in HR handle this? Other than asking the employee if he needs a “sounding board,” what else should we be doing?—K.S., Las Vegas
Question: “One of our employees has asked her manager if she can 'job share.' Instead of working full time, she’d work three days, another person would work two days, and they would share the job duties. I’m a little worried—especially about shared responsibility, and who is ultimately accountable for the work. What are the pros and cons? Does anyone else have experience with job sharing?”—Jeanne, MN
Question: “We have operations in several states, and managers in those offices handle local hiring. I run HR from our headquarters, meaning I can't be there to review the original employment-eligibility verification documents new hires have to show when completing I-9 forms. How should I train managers to make sure we comply with the law? Do I need to spell this out in a policy?” — DB, Ohio
Question: “Earlier this year, my boss promised me a salary increase by mid-year. When I reminded him about it, he said he'd forgotten — and then did nothing. (Because part of my job involves checking his e-mail, I know other employees have had similar issues with him.)  How should I approach him about honoring his promise? This is putting a strain on our working relationship!” — Judy, Minneapolis
Question: "As classes start up again this fall, we're looking at how much we spend to reimburse employees for college and technical courses they take. Senior management is happy to offer this benefit, but we wonder what's the standard for:
  • "How much (on a percentage basis) we should reimburse.
  • "The kinds of courses we should offer to reimburse.
"What do your policies say? Are there other issues to consider as we review our policy?" -- Gerry, Indianapolis
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