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Employment Resources Bulletin
Tips To Create A Pet-friendly Workplace
Although your workplace is designated for business activities, pets at work can provide many benefits. They lower stress and boost morale and job satisfaction. Before allowing your employees to bring their pets to work, implement a few guidelines to help your new venture succeed.
Verify Employee Allergies
Only allow pets after you confirm that none of your employees suffers from a pet allergy or other related condition. Despite the benefits of pets at work, you must first ensure the workplace is safe and healthy for current employees.
Check your Insurance Policy
Even well-behaved pets may feel stress in an unfamiliar environment and act out or have an accident. Verify that your commercial business insurance policy covers damages or liabilities caused by pets.
Create an Application
Know details about the pets you’ll welcome at work. The pet application should include information about the pet’s noise tolerance, behavior around other pets and experience with new situations. Employees should also provide their pet’s medical records with proof that the pet is vaccinated, spayed or neutered, treated for fleas and ticks, and free of contagious illnesses.
Write a Conduct Policy
All pets and their owners should behave properly for everyone’s safety and health. Your pet conduct code can include guidelines for pet behavior, care, supervision and clean up, and the consequences of pet or owner misbehavior.
Designate a Pet Committee
Select several employees to form a pet committee. These individuals will review applications, handle pet-related incidents, such as bad behavior, collect updated medical records at least annually, and plan pet-friendly activities.
Handle Pet Concerns Promptly
Plan to handle pet concerns as soon as possible to prevent further challenges. These concerns may include questions about the pet policy or behavior issues.
Pet-Proof the Office
Look around the workplace and ensure it’s safe for pets. Remove any hazards like plants and cover cords or other chewing temptations. You may also create a designated area for pets where they’re welcome to wander and remain safe.
Prepare for Emergencies
Like people, pets can have emergencies at any time. Contract with a local veterinarian you can call with medical or behavior questions or if you need other assistance with your workplace pets. Add pets to your evacuation procedure, too, so they’re protected during a natural disaster, fire or other emergency.
A pet-friendly workplace may not be feasible for your company. You can still support pets and their owners in several ways, though. Consider pet-friendly days once a month or volunteer as a company at an animal shelter.
Pets in the workplace can lighten the mood and improve employee health. Implement these helpful tips as you invite employees to bring their pets to work and protect your company, employees and pets.
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What You Need To Know About Employee Sick Leave
Federal laws may not mandate that your employer gives you sick leave, but some
require it, and individual employers may offer this benefit as part of a comprehensive benefits package.
Learn more about this valuable benefit as you maximize your employee sick leave.
What is Employee Sick Leave?
If you’re ill or injured, you can’t perform to the best of your ability and may compromise safety. For these reasons, some employers offer paid or unpaid time off work so you can seek medical treatment or rest and recover.
To accumulate sick leave, you may first need to work a certain number of hours or achieve a certain level in the company. You may lose unused sick leave time at the end of the year or roll it over to the next year. Sometimes, employees also reimburse you for any sick time you don’t use.
Reasons to use Your Employee Sick Leave
Depending on your employer, you may be restricted and only allowed to take sick leave if you’re ill or injured. Other employers offer paid leave if you need to care for sick children or nurture your mental health. Also, some employees lump sick leave in with your personal or vacation days, allowing you to use your time for whatever you want.
Remember that sick leave is different from Workers’ Compensation. If your illness or injury occurred because of a work-related task, file a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Options if you Need More Time Off
Even if your employer doesn’t offer sick leave, you do have options if you must take time off work for an illness or injury.
Take advantage of the
Family Medical Leave Act
(FMLA). You could receive up to 12 weeks off to care for yourself or a family member who faces an illness or another medical emergency.
Check to see if you have disability leave, particularly if you need to take an extended time off work.
Ask your employer if you can take unpaid leave until you feel well enough to return to work.
Where to Find Details About Your Sick Leave Benefits
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requires all employers to prepare a description of their specific employment practices and policies. This written or posted description includes details about your sick leave, paid vacations, personal days, holidays, bonuses, severance pay and other benefits. Review your employer’s policy to verify the type of benefits you’re eligible to receive and details about how to request that time off.
The next time you’re too sick or injured to go to work, take a sick day. It’s a valuable benefit your employer may offer.
Scurich Insurance Services
Tips to Celebrate National Time Management Month
February marks National Time Management Month. Use this celebration to encourage your employees to rethink their time organization and make changes that improve productivity and satisfaction. Here are some tips you can implement this month.
Identify Time Wasters
Time-tracking software helps you determine exactly how much time you spend doing various tasks throughout the day. Use the data to make tweaks to your schedule.
You decide how to spend your hours at work, so create at least one time management goal this month. It should be SMART:
Schedule your Day
Always create a schedule either on paper or online as you organize your day. Plan your day or it will plan you.
Remember to prioritize important tasks that must get done today. Otherwise, urgent tasks will take over your time, leaving important tasks unfinished.
Set a Timer
Racing the clock to finish a task within a certain amount of time can encourage you to work harder and smarter. A timer can also remind you to take breaks, which are proven to improve productivity, focus and creativity.
Respect your Energy
Like you have limited hours in a day, your energy has limits. Schedule important or tough tasks for high-energy times, and use low-energy times for easy or mundane jobs.
Every interruption affects your focus and wastes valuable time. Close your office door, turn on soft music or wear noise-canceling headphones as you limit distractions and solely focus on each task.
You’re in charge of your time. Learn to say no to tasks that don’t fit into your schedule. You may also need to learn how to advocate for yourself if your boss assigns too many tasks.
Allow Extra Time
After you calculate how much time a task will take, add a few minutes. This extra time serves as a buffer in case you encounter a delay or other issue.
Consider which tasks on your to-do list you can give to someone else. Delegating frees you to focus solely on the projects you alone can do.
Organize your Office
Looking for a misplaced paper or file wastes valuable time. Keep your desk and office area tidy so you everything you need is within easy reach.
Before you schedule a meeting, decide its agenda and invite only essential personnel. Enforce time limits on meetings, too.
Give employees a reward when they achieve their time management goals. A leather planner, clock or timer promotes ongoing efficiency.
Managing time is one way to improve productivity and job satisfaction. Encourage your employees to implement these time management tips this month.
Scurich Insurance Services
Can Your Company Ban Negative Attitudes?
In almost every company, you can find at least one employee who displays a bad attitude. Negative attitudes can poison the entire workplace, though, and decrease morale, motivation, creativity, decision making and productivity.
In 2014, the
National Labor Relations Board
(NLRB) ruled that a Boiling Springs, South Carolina, restaurant owner could fire an employee who complained to customers about the company and its policies. Based on this ruling, your company can take several steps as you address negative employee attitudes, maintain a positive workplace environment and protect your company's future.
Focus on Business Disruption
You may wish to ban negative behavior because it affects your company's reputation. However, keep the bigger picture in mind. An employee’s negative attitude can affect morale and productivity throughout the company, cause you to lose key employees and turn away customers. You could lose income and jeopardize your company, and that business disruption gives you a legitimate reason to ban negative behavior.
Track on Behavior Not Attitude
Attitudes are difficult to measure or discipline. You can measure behavior, though, which allows you to track how the employee affects your company and then take disciplinary steps.
Write a Clear Behavior Policy
To use behavior as a reason for discipline or termination, your employee handbook must include clear language that outlines the exact behavior you will allow. Consider this example. “Our behavior standard requires all employees to maintain a positive work environment through their actions and behavior toward co-workers, management and customers.”
In this example, you focus on teamwork and address your employee's overall attitude and mindset toward their job and the people with whom and for whom they work.
Record Specific Problems With the Negative Behavior
Be specific when addressing behavior problems. For instance, did the employee’s behavior halt progress on a project, disrupt a co-worker’s day or cause a customer to leave the store?
Document Negative Behavior
Always document negative employee behavior in case you need to discipline or terminate the employee. Include details such as who, what, where, when and how.
Screen Potential Employees
As you consider potential employees, screen their attitudes and behaviors. Discern how candidates talk about former employers, co-workers and clients as well as how they respond to you and other team members they meet. Their overall disposition, mood and emotion during the interview can indicate how they will act after they join your company.
Consult Your Attorney and Insurance Agent
While you can include behavior in your employee handbook, be sure your policy meets labor laws and can withstand unlawful termination suits. Your attorney and insurance agent can help you create a policy that protects both your and your employees’ rights as you ban negative attitudes from your company.
Scurich Insurance Services
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