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Mass Parental Leave Law Effective April 7, 2015

April 21st, 2015

An employee who has completed the initial probationary period, not to exceed 3 months, is entitled to 8 weeks of parental leave for the birth of a child  or  for the placement of a child under the age of 18, or under the age of 23 if the child is mentally or physically disabled, for adoption with the employee adopting or intending to adopt or for the placement of a child with an employee pursuant to a court order.

Two employees of the same employer shall only be entitled to 8 weeks of parental leave in aggregate.
The employee shall give at least two weeks’ notice to the employer of the anticipated date of departure and intention to return or provide notice as soon as practicable if the delay is for reasons beyond the individual’s control.The employee shall be restored to the employee’s previous, or a similar, position with the same status, pay, length of service credit and seniority, wherever applicable, as of the date of the leave.

Parental leave may be with or without pay at the discretion of the employer. If the employer agrees to provide parental leave for longer than 8 weeks, the employer shall not deny the employee the rights under this section unless the employer clearly informs the employee in writing prior to the commencement of the parental leave, and prior to any subsequent extension of that leave, that taking longer than 8 weeks of leave will result in the denial of reinstatement or loss of other rights and benefits.

The employer shall not be required to restore an employee on parental leave to the previous or a similar position if other employees of equal length of service credit and status in the same or similar position have been laid off due to economic conditions or other changes in operating conditions affecting employment during the parental leave; provided, however, that the employee on parental leave shall retain any preferential consideration for another position to which the employee may be entitled as of the date of the leave.

Parental leave shall not affect the employee’s right to receive vacation time, sick leave, bonuses, advancement, seniority, length of service credit, benefits, plans or programs for which the employee was eligible at the date of the leave, and any other advantages or rights of employment incidental to the employment position; provided, however, that the parental leave shall not be included, when applicable, in the computation of the benefits, rights and advantages; and provided, further, that the employer need not provide for the cost of any benefits, plans, or programs during the parental leave unless such employer so provides for all employees who are on leave of absence. Every employer shall post and keep posted in a conspicuous place or places upon its premises a notice describing this section and the employer’s policies related to this section.


IRS Announces 2015 Contribution Limits

November 4th, 2014

Health Flexible Spending Accounts
The maximum employee salary reduction contribution  will be increased to $2,550 from the 2014 level of $2,500.
The increase applies to both full-purpose and limited-purpose health flexible spending accounts.
Dependent Care  Spending Accounts
Remains unchanged as follows:  $5,000 if the employee is married and filing a joint return or if the employee is a single parent ($2,500 if the employee is married but filing separately);

Qualified Transportation/Parking Benefits
There is no increase from the 2014 limit ($130).

There is no increase from the 2014 limit  ($250).

Adoption Assistance Programs
The maximum amount that can be excluded from an employee’s gross income for the amounts paid or expenses incurred by an employer for qualified adoption expenses furnished pursuant to an adoption assistance program for other adoptions by the employee in 2015 is $13,400. This is an increase of $210 over the 2014 maximum.

  2015 Contribution Limits

For a copy of Revenue Procedure 2014-61 please click on the link provided below.


Healthcare Reform Update

January 21st, 2014

When you put lipstick on a Pig it still is a Pig

Yes you can keep your current Health Plan
Many plans have already been cancelled and more will be cancelled at renewal 

Statistic on Success
Almost 80% of consumers selecting an Exchange Plan qualified for some form of Federal subsidy.
70% of consumers selecting an Exchange plan were 35 or older


Success for the Obama regime and increases in costs for the working population who are not receiving Federal or State Welfare Benefits.

Those who have Employer Sponsored Health Plans will receive cost increases to cover the new entrants to the Health System via Health Care Reform. Small, mid and large business are not happy.

HRO can customize your Health Plan to counteract the increase cost levied by Healthcare Reform.

How do you protect your employees and control your Health Costs?  What do you need to know about Health Care Reform?

Contact us at http://thehrorganization.com/contact-hro.html  .


Performance Management

November 7th, 2013

Performance Management is poorly executed in most Companies because the employer and/or management don’t understand what it is and why they are doing it.

Employees are truly the most important asset that any Company has and it is extremely important to know how to give ‘ongoing and regular feedback’ to your employees.

Ongoing and regular feedback is the key to a successful Company. Every employee needs Positive and Constructive Feedback (the old name for criticism).  One of the major ways we learn is by doing and seeing the results of our actions.  When an employee is performing badly on a task or has poor overall performance and you don’t bring his/her performance to their attention, you are in fact encouraging poor performance (think of Pavlov’s Conditioning Theory).

hro-blog-photo-235x200Consider for a moment the game of ten-pin bowling; you roll the ball down the bowling lane and hit or miss a number of pins. You respond with excitement or disappointment; depending on how you did. You also process information on your bowl, and use the results, to help you perform better during your next turn. This is immediate feedback and really important to improve performance where there is a capacity to learn and improve on the part of the player. Consider not allowing the player to see the result of his/her bowl—no feedback on number of pins down or score.  This is what happens in the real world where Managers and Supervisors do not give feedback and employees are left wondering how they are doing. This lack of information can cause employees to become frustrated and discouraged, which  can lead to further poor performance.

Giving feedback is a regular event and should not wait until the end of a year or end of a review cycle.  TIMELY feedback is critical.  Go back to the bowling situation and see if it would help telling the player a month or even a day later that his scores were terrible. The player would say “If only you told me when I was bowling!”  The information is useless now.

Feedback is a tool for Improvement and a path to Growth. When we call it a ‘Performance Review’ and we are ignorant of its purpose, it simply becomes another HR process which we all hate.  So make sure that your Company understands the power of Performance Management and that it is not a HR Process but the fuel that builds and maintains a Great Organization.

There is much more to discuss on the topic but also consider Situation Based Feedback and balancing carefully Positive and Constructive feedback.  The correct ingredients in the wrong proportions are also problematic.  Consult a HR Business Expert at www.theHRO.com for more information and guidance.


Executive Coaching

June 28th, 2013

Executive Coaches provide a variety of Service to varying degrees of Quality and Effectiveness.   The key element in looking at an Executive Coach is the Qualification, Experience and Life Successes of the Coach.  There are many charlatans masquerading as Executive Coaches; some with great Academic Credentials (and not an ounce of common sense or experience of the real world) and some who have little in the way of Formal Training and are more like ‘snake charmers’ or ‘confidence men’ (no gender bias here).

So when you need an Executive Coach; which any effective Executive has or should have, you need to look carefully at the academic and life experience of the Coach and also look at Business  Success in his/her  life.

The old saying ‘those who can, do and those who cannot, teach’ is not true as it related to Executive Coaching.  There are many Executive Coaches out there who have the Background and Experience to help you on the path to even greater success.

The correct methodology in any Executive Coaching process is for the Coach to identify the areas of strength in the mentee and then analyze these strengths in terms of individual components.

Once this is completed, the Coach will do the same with areas of weakness.  The  Coach should prepare a ‘Effectiveness Map’ and prepare a set of ‘tools’ to get the end point on the Map.  Sounds very simple, and it is.  The critical ingredient is the Skill, Knowledge and Life Success  of the Coach.

Effective Managers and Executives  can achieve greater success and effectiveness by engaging the services of an Executive Coach.  Talk to HRO about the Executive Coaching Service we provide, and reach even greater levels of success in your current position or acquire the skills to reach you next position.



New Health Regulations in 2014

June 21st, 2013

If you have heard the expression ‘ a week is a long time in Politics’, then you can be sure that the very unclear program which is now scheduled for Health Reform in 2014 will be modified and changed many times before it becomes a reality.

Many States have strong objections to the provisions of the Program. The Federal Government doesn’t know the details of how the plan is going to work. It is likely that the date of implementation will be deferred at least a couple of times (False Starts).

Besides the uncertainty and the additional costs that will be levied, an additional concern is the impact of a huge influx of additional patients (who are currently uninsured and who will receive ‘means tested’  Free Health Insurance) to an already overcrowded Health System. Do we have the Medical Staff to support this influx and how will this impact your service?

There has been a lot of hype and hysteria, in relation to Health Care Reform, promoted by some HR Outsourcing Companies; in order to scare Employers into utilizing their Services.
The truth is that they have no idea what is going to happen in 2014.

The devil is in the detail and the details have not been worked out yet.HRO tells Clients what is REAL and in the meantime, we all need to focus on driving our business success.
HRO will be offering a series of self-funded and partially funded Health Plans to accommodate Employers with Healthy Employee Populations.

These latter groups will be impacted most with increases in costs. Please talk to your HRO Representative for further details.

Don’t waste time speculating on what the Federal Government will come up with for Health Care Reform. If you have some influence with Federal Government, make your voice heard.

In the meantime, grow your business and contact HRO to help you optimize your position as it relates to Health Care Reform.


Criminal Convictions and the Impact on Employment Hiring Decisions

June 21st, 2013

When considering Criminal Convictions and the impact on applicants for Employment, you should review;
The facts or circumstances surrounding the offense or conduct
The number of offenses for which the individual was convicted
Age at the time of conviction, or release from incarceration
Evidence that the individual performed the same type of work, post-conviction, with the same or a different Employer (with no known incidents of criminal conduct)
The length and consistency of Employment History before and after the offense
Rehabilitation efforts (such as Education or Training)
Employment or character references and any other information regarding fitness for the particular position
Whether the individual is bonded under a Federal, State or local Bonding Program.

The EEOC recommends that Employers;

Eliminate Policies or Practices that exclude applicants from employment based on Criminal Record ALONE
Develop a narrowly tailored written Policy and Procedure for screening applicants and employees for Criminal Conduct
Determine the specific offenses that may demonstrate unfitness for performing such jobs
Determine the duration of exclusions for Criminal Conduct
Limit enquiries to job related elements


Please contact your HRO Client Services Manager for further guidance including the impact of a disparate impact analysis.


Severance Agreements in California (Release of Claims, Non-Compete and Non-Solicitation…..)

March 15th, 2013
In California, if a termination is not a covered event
under the WARN Act, there is no requirement to pay Severance to an
Employee-at-Will.  Employees with Specific ‘Contracts of Employment’ and
Notice Periods must be treated in accordance with the terms contained therein.
Union Employees are covered under the terms of the Collective Bargaining
Agreement (CBA).

A  Severance Payment, if offered,  is  offered in exchange for a General Release of all
Claims and an Agreement Not to Litigate. In some cases there are  added
element including; Non Solicitation of Clients &  Employees and
perhaps a Non-Competition Clause. Confidentiality  and Severability
Clauses are also common.

For a Severance Agreement  to be binding, the basic rules of Contract Law
apply…see prior articles on ‘ Law of Contract’ on this Blog (Consensus,
Consideration, Capacity, Formality, Legality….).
For a Severance agreement to be binding the  Employer and the Employee  provide each other with a
Benefit or something of value that is not ordinarily due under another  Contract, under State or Federal Laws (Consideration) or under a

A Severance Agreement in California which requires the employee
to release claims under some Federal and State Laws will only be enforceable in
California if the following AND other conditions are met (see your HRO
HR Consultant for further details);
  1. Specific
    Employment Acts for which the Employer seeks protection are mentioned by the
    correct Title;
  2. The Employee signing the Release is advised to consult Counsel (please consult your
    HRO Representative to review the required period of review time and whether
    there is Revocation Clause).
In general, including California,  claims relating to the following cannot
be released; Workers Comp, Minimum & Overtime Pay and Unemployment
The language used in a Severance Agreement needs to be simple
and comprehensive.  Failing to use the correct wording can cause the
agreement to be invalid.  NOTE that an Unenforceable Agreement  does
not entitle the Company to the return of the funds paid out
(consideration).  In addition, Contracts are generally interpreted in
favor of the individual (Adhesion) as the Contract is almost always written by
the Company.


Updated FMLA Poster

March 1st, 2013

The U.S. Department of Labor has released revised model Family and Medical Leave Act
(“FMLA”) forms to administer Federal FMLA leave. The updated forms should be
used  immediately.

The DOL notice poster
summarizes major provisions of   Federal FMLA. This poster must be
displayed at all locations even if there are no employees eligible for FMLA at
the location (e.g., there are fewer than 50 employees employed within a 75-mile
radius of the worksite).


Flexible Spending Advisory

November 6th, 2012

The $2,500 annual FSA contribution cap set by the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act will not apply for plan years that begin before
Jan. 1, 2013.

The $2,500 limit itself only applies to
salary reduction contributions. The limit does not apply to Health
Reimbursement Arrangements, Health Savings Accounts, Dependent Care FSA’s and
Adoption Assistance.