1-707-445-9641

Posts by Sequoia Personnel Services

Ask HR: Upholding our Call-in Policy

in News and Features

Dear HR, One of our new hires failed to follow appropriate call-in policy before missing work.  We are aware that they had a death in the family so want to be kind and help our employee through this tough period, but how do we do that while still upholding our company policies and procedures.   HR Answer: Nothing is more frustrating to employers, supervisors, and other staff than when an employee fails to show up to work!  The immediate effects are obvious – it impacts the day’s workflow, burdens co-workers, puts extra work on the supervisor to determine the cause and always, always affects the bottom line of an employer’s profits. It is easy to cast blame on the employee for not notifying the employer.  For many companies, failure to “call-in” is considered job abandonment and is grounds for immediate termination.  But in this labor market, who can afford a high rate of turnover?  There are no California or federal law that regulates the amount of time an employer must hold a job open for an employee who neither appears for work nor calls in to explain their absence. In California, three no-call, no-show days are commonly considered job abandonment.   Time to Review Your “No-Call / No Show” Policy A company handbook must identify and outline a “No-Call / No Show” policy, provide a procedure for calling in, and include a statement about the consequences of not reporting into work.  There will be times, however, when due to a family emergency, calling the company will not be an employee’s priority.  Your handbook should have a paragraph or two defining these “unforeseeable emergency no-call situations” along with a statement concerning the policy of the company on these types of situations. As stated, this was an unforeseeable family emergency, and we believe that situations such as these should always be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.    Annual Review of your “No-Call / No Show” Policy Our suggestion is, when the time seems appropriate, to privately review this policy with your employee. However,  this incident can be a reminder that it is perhaps time to review your company’s “No-Call / No Show” Policy & Procedure with all employees – no exceptions—including...

Read More

Employee Benefits in the 21st Century

in News and Features

The World of Employee Benefits is Evolving   Employees usually say that the most important things they want in a job first and foremost is a good-paying wage, along with “benefits.” The most common form of employee benefit is basic health insurance – with dental and vision still being an optional offering. Health benefits are still the gold standard by which many prospective employees judge a prospective employer. In a tight labor market, an employer will eventually need to offer some sort of access to health care insurance to compete. But the world of employee benefits is evolving—what constitutes a “benefit” is being redefined as the face of the workforce grows younger.   2019 Employee Benefits Report To get an accurate overview of what the rest of the world is offering as an “employee benefit” and what employees are requesting—we need to look no further than the 2019 Employee Benefits Survey compiled by the Society for Human Resource Management [SHRM].  The annual survey examines more than 250 benefits that companies offer, or are requested by their employees. This survey was conducted in April of 2019.   Historically, this report has a reputation for being an accurate window on the trends that start from the top and trickle their way down to eventually impact small business owners. Why is it important to understand these trends? As the labor pool shrinks in America, competition for qualified workers will get fierce, even in rural areas. Rural or nonurban-centered employers will keep losing younger workers to urban areas as educated or trained candidates migrate towards better-paying jobs and better benefits.   Current Trends in Employee Benefits While the top five listed below are the most popular requests and have already been implemented across the business world, others on the list are growing in popularity and may become standard benefit offerings within the next 10 years. The current trends are: Employer match for 401(k) plans. Cost of living adjustment in pay that is not dependent upon performance or seniority. Flexible work schedules (can be remote, compressed work week, or customized hours). Company-provided student loan repayment assistance which could include a 401(k) match for student loan repayments. [IRS has already allowed this.] Childcare assistance programs...

Read More

Ask HR: Employee with Cancer diagnoses.

in News and Features

Dear HR: My employee is being tested for cancer. While there is a definite cancer diagnoses – my employee’s doctors are still doing tests to see what course of treatment will be required. The employee is trying to be proactive and called me to find out about our company benefits. What benefits would apply… disability, medical leave, etc.? This is the first time I’ve had a seriously ill employee whose condition will definitely impact my company. We are a small “mom & pop” shop –so news and gossip travels fast, and any absences due to the employee’s medical treatments will effect everyone’s work schedule.  Please tell me the appropriate steps that I as an employer need to take to minimize this upcoming impact as well as any advice I need to tell my employee.  HR Answer, Sorry to hear that your employee is ill. A cancer diagnosis ranks among the most complex workplace health issues employers have to deal with. Here is a very general outline of the next few steps you will need to take to ensure you stay compliant with state and federal laws regarding an employee’s serious medical condition: 1) Privacy Laws:  First have a private yet frank discussion with your employee, discussing the fact that privacy laws prohibit management from openly discussing the employee’s health status. You will need to determine who on your staff must know about the situation – the supervisor, or any HR staff member that would be directly involved in any of this employee’s medical leave paperwork. Review with your staff the privacy laws that they must adhere to. 2) Applying for Medical Leave: Identify the organization’s work/flex policies and services, such as employee assistance programs services and/or benefits such as paid time off or sick time the employee may be eligible for. Immediately start the process to determine Medical Leave eligibility. Medical Leave as outlined by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law providing eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to attend to a serious illness, such as cancer. Many states have similar family medical leave laws that are equal or more generous for eligible employees such as the California Family Rights...

Read More

Sexual Harassment Training Becomes Law for Small Employers: Are You Ready for CA Senate Bill 1343?

in News and Features

With an ever-increasing number of employment laws on the books, it has become  vitally important to stay current with California’s complex landscape of employment law.  Are you aware that doing business in California means paying different minimum wages based on your company’s size or the location?  Or, If you have employees working in California you must provide them with an adequate amount of sick time based on their tenure with your company?  These are just two of the more recent changes to CA employment law that have had wide-ranging implications to most employers.  This year, you will be required to train your entire staff on how to avoid sexual harassment in the workplace. As of January 1st, 2019 California Senate Bill #1343 became law.   Now all California employers who employ five or more people in our state are required to have all of non-supervisory level employees attend a one-hour interactive sexual harassment training course—with no exceptions.  You read that right, under the new law you’ll need to have your entire staff certified by 2020, then again every two years, moving forward.  If this sounds slightly familiar, you may be confusing this bill with CA AB 1825.  CA Assembly Bill 1825 was enacted in 2004 and signed into law by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Under AB 1825 employers with 50 or more employees were mandated to have all supervisors attend an interactive sexual harassment training of at least two hours, once every two years.  Senate Bill 1343 keeps the standard requiring supervisor’s training to be at least two hours, however, the new bill greatly reduces the threshold to include employers with 5 or more employees. If you’re a small employer chances are you don’t have a dedicated HR department or perhaps even a dedicated HR person to help you stay current with the complexities of CA employment laws.   For many small businesses, staying up-to-date with employment law doesn’t take priority amongst the hustle and bustle of day to day business.  I’m here to tell you it should! Violations can lead to fines and penalties that can stack up quickly and be extremely costly!  Employment law is truly one place where Benjamin Franklin’s adage of “an ounce of prevention is worth...

Read More

How Employers Can Reduce “No Call – No Show” Incidents

in News and Features

Nothing is more frustrating to employers, supervisors, HR managers and staff than when an employee fails to show up to work!  The immediate effects are obvious – it impacts the day’s work flow, burdens co-workers, puts extra work on the supervisor to determine cause and always, always affects the bottom line of an employer’s profits. It is easy to cast blame on the employee for not notifying the employer.  For many companies, failure to “call in” is considered job abandonment and is grounds for immediate termination.  But in this labor market, who can afford a high rate of turnover?  We in the staffing business have come to see that many Employers’ don’t help their cause—in fact, employer’s often set themselves up for this kind of employee behavior.  Them’s fighting words you say?  Let’s look at some best practice solutions that deal with this problem—and ask yourself, am I doing all I can to help my employees report their absence? 1. Implement a “No-Call / No Show” Policy & Procedure and publish it in your company handbook.  The handbook must clearly identify and outline the “No-Call / No Show” policy, provide a procedure for calling in, and a statement about the consequences of not reporting into work. 2. Review Policy at New Employee Orientation: When first hired, review the policy and procedure with the new hire and have them sign a document saying they have received instructions and understand the consequences of a “No Call –No Show” incident. 3. Communicate “No-Call / No Show” Policy & Procedure annually with all employees – no exceptions.  This is the Number #1 failure of employers!  When was the last time you let ALL your employees know what the procedure is for “calling in” to report an absence?  Make sure all employees, including long-time workers, staffers, and supervisors get updated. 4. Provide multiple “Call in” Options – this is the key to managing your incidents: A) Supply a laminated, wallet-sized card with a voicemail phone number and instructions on what to do when an employee needs to call in to report an unplanned absence. B) Provide a dedicated “Absent Call-In” voicemail phone number. Employee Responsibility:  Require all employees to use it (yes, even supervisors,...

Read More