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Informed Employer: October 12, 2016 Informed Employer: October 12, 2016

Informed Employer: October 12, 2016

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DOL Requires Certain Contractors to Provide Workers with Paid Sick Leave
The Obama administration, in its latest effort to update workplace policies it says have lagged far behind the realities of Americans' lives, will require federal government contractors to provide paid sick leave to their workers. The rule, which the Labor Department estimates will directly impact more than 1.1 million people once fully in effect, enables workers to accrue up to seven days of paid sick leave a year.
(Source: The New York Times, 2016-09-29) Read the full article
Court Says NLRB Wrong in Ruling on Flyers in 'Mixed Use' Areas
A divided U.S. appeals court said the National Labor Relations Board erred in finding that Mercedes-Benz's U.S. subsidiary broke the law by prohibiting workers from distributing pro-union flyers in rooms they used both during work and down time.
(Source: Reuters, 2016-10-04) Read the full article
DOL Looking at Federal Oversight of State Workers' Comp Laws
A "race to the bottom" in state workers' compensation laws has the Labor Department calling for "exploration" of federal oversight and federal minimum benefits. In the last decade, the report notes, states across the country have enacted new laws, policies and procedures "which have limited benefits, reduced the likelihood of successful application for workers' compensation benefits, and/or discouraged injured workers from applying for benefits."
(Source: NPR, 2016-10-05) Read the full article
Study Says Obese Workers More Likely to Raise Workers' Comp Costs
Obese and overweight workers are more likely to incur high costs related to workers' compensation claims for major injuries, reports a study in the September Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM). After adjustment for other factors -- including high-cost spinal surgeries or injections -- obese or overweight workers with major injuries were about twice as likely to incur costs of $100,000 or higher.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2016-09-30) Read the full article
More Companies Setting Up Workers with Value-Based Health Care
A growing number of employers seeking to achieve better health outcomes for employees at a lower cost are implementing value-based reimbursement and payment arrangements with their health insurers and medical service providers. This is according to the 21st Annual Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey by Willis Towers Watson.
(Source: Plan Sponsor, 2016-10-07) Read the full article
Companies Adding Paid Time Off to Care for Sick Relatives
Companies have found a powerful new benefit to add to their arsenal of perks: paid time off to care for sick spouses, parents, and children. As the hiring market has tightened over the past year, companies have beefed up their benefits packages, adopting more generous parental leave policies and student debt repayment benefits to attract and keep employees.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2016-10-05) Read the full article
Firms Increase Telemedicine Offerings, But Workers Not Yet Buying In
Employees across the country might notice their employers touting telemedicine -- in which health care is delivered remotely via phone, video, or other technologies -- as they gear up for insurance open enrollment. So far, employees haven't warmed to the idea, either because they don't understand it, don't know it's available, or because they're skeptical of getting a doctor's opinion via telephone.
(Source: Chicago Tribune, 2016-10-07) Read the full article
Survey Finds Average Worker Would Take 8% Pay Cut to Work at Home
Given the choice, most workers don't care about having the flexibility to set their own hours if the trade-off is lower pay, a new study finds. Workers were willing to accept eight percent lower pay, on average, to work at home, the study found.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2016-10-07) Read the full article
Clean Air Can Help Businesses Boost Workers' Productivity
Businesses invest a great deal of time and money in interventions that claim to increase workers' productivity through on-the-job training, new protocols, advice from consultants, and so on. Recent research suggests that there's a surprising input into productivity that no one ever thinks about: clean air.
(Source: Harvard Business Review, 2016-09-29) Read the full article
Discrimination Claims: Focus on What Really Matters, Not a “Rat’s Nest of Surplus Tests”

Paul Sweeney

In Ortiz v. Werner Enter., Inc., the Seventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals recently admonished both sides of the employment law bar as well as district court judges in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin for being too formulaic in their approach, presentation and analysis of discrimination cases – calling the same a “rat’s nest of surplus ‘tests.'” The Court said,
[S]top separating “direct” from “indirect” evidence because the “direct-and-indirect framework does nothing to simplify the analysis” and actually “complicates matters by forcing parties to consider the same evidence in multiple ways.”

Now, I am sure that you are now wondering, so what? Or, as an employer, you may be asking yourself, why should I care? Well, you should care because attorneys, judges and employers in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin are now on notice of how to approach claims, complaints and lawsuits dealing with discrimination. Yes, I meant to include “employers” in the “folks” put on notice by the Ortiz decision.

Read more here.


Tips for Managing Your Workers’ Compensation Claims

Jennifer McDaniel

A good accident response program can be essential to managing your workers’ compensation claims. Implementing these tips may help reduce questionable claims and costs associated with workplace injuries:

  • Knowledgeable Supervisors/Managers – make sure supervisors know how to handle and properly investigate workers’ compensation claims.
  • Effective Communication – Train your personnel on how to thoroughly document a reported injury and keep in communication with the employee regarding the status of their condition.  
  • Establish Preventive Practices – reenacting accidents can be helpful in determining exactly what happened and how the hazard can be avoided in the future.  
  • Return to Work Program – create a program to get employees back to work as quickly as possible following an injury.  
  • Maintain a Safe Workplace – the main purpose of your safety program should be the prevention of injuries to your employees by the removal of hazards, proper training and the strict enforcement of safe work habits.


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