Strategic HR Partners
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Written by:  Judith J. Giddings, PHR

NLRA New Poster Requirement Delayed Until January 31, 2012

The National Labor Relations Act is a 76-year-old law that outlines workers' rights to unionize and bargain collectively in most private-sector workplaces. The fact that the board would want Americans aware of these rights is apparently seen by some as catering to labor unions.

The National Labor Relations Board announced on October 5, 2011, that it will delay the requirement that most private employers in the U.S. post a controversial new notice until January 31, 2012. The Notice informs employees of their legal rights under the National Labor Relations Act, and essentially gives them a road map for filing unfair labor practice charges against their employers.  The Notice was, and is, strongly opposed by many employers, chambers of commerce and other organizations. 

Make no mistake.  The intention of the notice posting rulemaking is to increase the number of union organizing attempts against companies across the United States. However, there will be many unintended consequences of the NLRB’s rulemaking.  As frustrating as it will be for employers to post a road-map for organizing in their break room, this rule also gives companies a unique opportunity to invest in their direct relationship with employees. It provides a reason to reaffirm your commitment to creating a great place to work.

Ultimately this is an opportunity. Your company can turn this onslaught of administrative activity into a chance to reinforce your direct relationship with your employees. This is not what unions expect, but it is a great opportunity to reinforce positive employee relations within your companies.

Questions?  Contact Strategic HR Partners.  We'll work with you to help you with this process!

. . .Is Worth a Pound of Cure”.  Ben Franklin
Monday, August 1, 2011

Written By:  Charles L. Little, SPHR

A Major Breakthrough in Healthcare - Now This is Fair!

Pharmacy has been one of the most frustrating and confusing pieces of healthcare and, at the same time, has been the cause of incredible costs due to non-compliance.  Prices continue to rise and this segment of healthcare represents an average of 22 cents of every dollar spent.

In today’s environment, there are those who simply cannot afford prescribed medications and have to choose necessities, such as food, versus being compliant with their treatment plan.  For those in this category, the inequity is enormous. If you can afford a health plan with a drug component, there are negotiated discounts by the carrier or the plan and there is copay generally much less than the cost of the drug. 

Those unfortunate individuals who cannot afford the cost of a medical plan are unfairly subjected to the retail price of a drug and end up paying much more than those more fortunate.  How much sense does this make?  You can’t pay so it will cost you more – are you kidding?

There is no sense in going into the many details of this industry except to say that behind the scenes there are many games going on that significantly increase the price of drugs and benefit everyone - but the patient.  The primary players of the game include the manufacturers, carriers and the PBMs with the patient or the medical plan having to pay the price.

Enter the pure transparent model of a PBM (Pharmacy Benefit Management) where all is disclosed, pricing is fair and rebates are returned where they should go – to the patient. DataRx, a national transparent PBM, has developed an approach that makes sense to the patient, the pharmacist and the manufacturer.

Now an uninsured, underinsured or member of a high deductible plan can take advantage of the same significant discounts afforded individuals covered under large negotiated arrangements – and receive rebates on over 1,000 name brand drugs sent right to an individually issued VISA stored-value card to be used any way the patient sees fit.

In a separate arrangement, these same individuals can receive not only pharmacy negotiated discounts, but also favorable pricing on telephonic medicine,  dental, x-rays and lab, vision, hearing and other benefits for a small monthly cost.

This is a unique offering that will address the terrible inequities for many low paid Americans and can help avert financial disaster.

. . .Is Worth a Pound of Cure”.  Ben Frankli

For more information contact call Charles Little, SPHR or Judy Giddings, PHR (706)-561-2465 

Visit www.strategichrpartners.com

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Written by:  Charles E. Little, Jr., SPHR

Performance Management Programs

Many companies lack a formal program to evaluate their employee’s job performance.

This is bad for many reasons. Two reasons are basic.

First, Employees should know if they are performing the duties of their job, and how well they are executing those duties. Second, the lack of a formal performance management or appraisal program can lead to law suits based on the fact that management has no record showing an employee did or did not perform the duties of their job in a satisfactory manner. Having no performance management measurements is a good way to open a company to charges of favoritism, racial or sexual discrimination and class action forms of litigation.

We see this as a reoccurring event even with companies the size of WALMART. Recently an attempt was made to file a class action law suit by female employees for equal pay. The charge is that females are making less money for doing the same work as males. Having job performance measured and documented will determine the results of these cases. WALMART is a huge corporation with Human Resource professionals and corporate attorneys to represent them. But if they do not have these basics, they will be in trouble. Small businesses are even more vulnerable when it comes to law suits. Don’t make the headlines. Put in a formal Performance Management Program that measures your employee’s job performance. Also take advantage of Your FREE HR audit through your chamber membership. 

. . . Is Worth a Pound of Cure”.  Ben Franklin 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Written by:  Charles E. Little, Jr., SPHR

FLSA:  What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Your Business

Are you familiar with The Fair Labor Standards Act, or as human resource professionals and attorneys will call it, FLSA?  If not, you should be aware that in all of the hundreds and thousands of dollars of monetary fines that are being issued against businesses, MOST dollars are being lost through law suits whether individual or class action (filed by a large group of current or terminated employees), who were not paid overtime because of being misclassified as exempt employees.

EXEMPT means exempt from having to be paid time and ½ for all hours worked over 40 hours in a weekly pay period. Countless numbers of claims are being filed and won by employees who have been misclassified by their companies.  These employees actually should have been classified as non exempt or hourly employees.

If you feel this kind of problem could possibly hurt your business, please give us a call.

Our member companies include large, medium and small sized businesses throughout the southeast.  Why not receive the same benefits that large companies have?  By joining as a member company, you have certified HR professionals at your fingertips 24/7.    

We are partnered with The Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce and support them as their HR EXPERTS.  For GCCC member companies, we are offering a FREE HR assessment of your company employment practices and procedures. 

. . .Is Worth a Pound of Cure.” Ben Franklin

 

 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Written by:  Charles E. Little, Jr., SPHR

The Value of Measuring the Cost of Turnover and Using Employee Opinion Surveys

 The hidden cost of turnover can be the difference in companies being competitive or even staying in business.   I have been exposed to numerous companies throughout the United States that do not have a clue as to what their turnover cost really is.   In fact, turnover cost comes directly off the company’s bottom line.

 In the book “First Break All the Rules” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, of the Gallup Organization conducted an enormous study of 24 companies with 2,500 business units.  Four business outcomes were measured to show their correlation.  These outcomes were productivity, profit, retention, and customer service.  This study included over 105,000 employees.

The results showed that there was a direct correlation to all four business outcomes and how employees were treated by their manager or supervisor. Poor treatment results in high turnover, lower productivity, efficiency, customer satisfaction, and higher operating costs.

Those companies, who have strong managers and supervisors that treat their employees well, have the highest productivity, best profit margins, best customer service ratings, the best retention and lowest turnover rates.

The formula used to quantify turnover in this study was 1-1/2 times an individual’s annual salary.  This was inclusive of the annual cost of wages, benefits, and the cost of finding and hiring replacements.

All companies should:

·         First:  measure their turnover and convert this cost to dollars.

·         Second:  hold managers and supervisors accountable for turnover through ratings on their own performance appraisals. (Measurement with no accountability is useless).

·         Third:  conduct confidential employee opinion surveys by outside consultants and use these results to make positive changes where necessary. (If you don’t know what your company looks like through the eyes of your employees it can really cost you in more ways than one).

CEOs and senior human resource professionals in world class organizations have been using these human resource measurements and opinion surveys since the early 80’s with the move to continuous improvement or TQM.

Where is your organization today in this process?

Do you really know what your turnover is costing your company’s BOTTOMLINE?

. . .Is Worth a Pound of Cure.”  Ben Franklin

 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Written by:  Charles E. Little, Jr., SPHR

ALERT for all Hospitals and Healthcare Providers

On October 18, 2010, a Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) upheld OFCCP’s decision that the Florida Hospital of Orlando was a government subcontractor.  The ALJ ruled that the hospital’s contract with TRICARE makes it a subcontractor and triggers affirmative action obligations.   Florida Hospital has subsequently appealed the ALJ ruling.  If the ruling stands, numerous health care providers without direct government contracts will be subject to OFCCP’s jurisdiction.  This ruling is significant since many hospitals and health care providers have been operating under the assumption that they are not covered by federal affirmative action regulations.

 

TRICARE is a federal health care program for active and retired military personnel that contracts with health care providers and regional administrators to provide health care services to TRICARE participants.  Florida Hospital provides health care services to TRICARE participants through a network managed by Humana Military Health Services (HMHS).  Even though Florida Hospital does not have any direct federal contracts, it receives more than $100,000 annually in federal reimbursements associated with a managed care contract between HMHS and TRICARE.    Florida Hospital argued that it was not a federal subcontractor because it only received financial assistance from the federal government similar to Medicare funding.  [Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements have been consistently considered a grant and not a federal contract and therefore do not subject the health care provider to federal contractor obligations.]  The ALJ disagreed with the Hospital’s assertion and said that the difference is that Medicare only pays for medical services whereas TRICARE provides medical services.  The ALJ also rejected the argument that TRICARE did not consider its network providers to be subcontractors and did not communicate in the contract any federal subcontractor compliance requirements.

 

What should health care providers do immediately?

Health care providers should review their contracts with any HMOs or other healthcare network or insurer to determine if they provide medical services pursuant to a federal contract to administer TRICARE or a similar government sponsored health care program.

 

Compliance Implications for TRICARE (other similar government sponsored program) health care providers

 

As federal subcontractors, TRICARE health care providers must comply with the following regulations.

§  Executive Order 11246 (http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/ca_11246.htm)

§  Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (http://www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-rehab.htm)

§  Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) (http://www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-vevraa.htm)

 

 

If the provider has one or more contracts (subcontracts) greater than $50,000 annually, they are required to develop a written Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) for each of their establishments with more than 50 employees within 120 days from the start of the contract (subcontract).  Additionally, they may be subject to the following requirements:

§  Ensure non-discrimination in employment and support it with a policy statement;

§  File an EEO-1 report annually; (http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1survey/index.cfm)

§  File a VETS100 or VETS100A report annually; (https://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/fcp/main.htm)

§  Maintain records of and conduct impact ratio analyses on personnel activity data (applicants, hires, promotions, and terminations)

§  Engage in good faith efforts (outreach and recruiting efforts) to identify, consider, place, and provide advancement opportunities to people of color, veterans, and individuals with disabilities;

§  Post position vacancies with the state employment delivery system for all positions below the executive level that remain open for more than three days;

§  Comply with recordkeeping requirements and provide OFCCP with access to facilities and records;

§  Provide access to programs and reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities; and

§  Include the equal opportunity clause in subcontracts and purchase orders.

 

         . . .Is Worth a Pound of Cure”. Ben Franklin

 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Written by:  Charles E. Little, Jr., SPHR

Compliance for Government Contractors

In order to play by the rules you must know them.

In our region, there are many companies of all sizes that have contracts with the federal government. Many of these companies do not realize if you have contracts with the federal government, there are certain things that you must do in order to be in compliance with federal laws that are a condition of maintaining these government contracts.

First, all government contractors must be Equal Employment Opportunity Employers (EEO).  All hiring decisions must be free from any and all discrimination made on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital status, military status or any other category protected by federal, state and local laws.

Second, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is the federal agency that both administers and enforces the law.  Executive Order 11246, applies to federal contractors, and federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors who do business with the federal government of over $10,000 annually from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Third, Government Contractors with 50 or more employees and $50,000 per year in government contracts are required by law to have and maintain a written Affirmative Action Plan for all of their locations.

Violations of this law can be extremely costly by way of fines, legal fees, and potential loss of the contracts themselves, as well as being black listed or debarred from ever getting future government contracts.

What this means is, what you don’t know can hurt you, and potentially put you out of business. If you are in business and have contracts with the federal government be sure that you do not discover these requirements only after you receive a letter from OFCCP’s regional office in Atlanta requesting a copy of your EEO 1 report, as well as your current Affirmative Action Program. 

Without these, you are subject to a detailed desk audit at your work site.                                                                                                                         

. . .Is Worth a Pound of Cure.” Ben Franklin

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