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EMPLOYEE MENTAL HEALTH

Is it poor performance or a personal crisis?

By Paul Edwards Those in the healthcare industry are bound to be ahead of the curve in understanding that mental illness is not a character defect and can be a serious health condition that requires intervention. Despite having a good comprehension of the importance of good mental health hygiene, healthcare professionals tend to fare badly in terms of psychological self-care. While nurses and physicians are at a higher risk of suicide than the general population, this article is focused on employees and how can take the mental health of employees in crisis into account when talking to individuals about their performance at work. Given this past year, just about everyone associated with providing health care, when asked, will tell you they are burned out and tired. Overall, it seems most are facing… . . . read more.

BENEFITS BRIEFING

Better primary care relationships save healthcare dollars

By David Fortosis The medical office manager has always worn multiple hats. From administrative oversight of payroll, talent acquisition, performance reviews, finance and human resource management to providing guidance to leadership regarding employee benefits—the office manager looks after it all. This briefing will address one of those topics—how to support and encourage employees to build even better relationships with primary care providers. Primary care has always been the gateway into the healthcare system. Internists, general and family practice, pediatrics and, in some cases, gynecology have been a patient/consumer’s first stop if they have an illness, medical concern, or the presence of physical or mental health symptoms that need attention. The primary care physician 1) shares co-responsibility for her/his patient’s health, and 2) is highly skilled at providing the first and… . . . read more.

MANAGING STAFF

Staffers push back about returning to work

By Lynne Curry Question: We’re getting enormous pushback from our staff to an email we sent out stating that billing and clerical employees need to return to the workplace. At the same time, our organization can’t survive if we let all the employees who want to work from home do so. It’s not fair to our patients or the employees who show up at work. Further, when I call those who allegedly work full time but at home during the workday, they often let slip the fact that they’re not working. I’ve been told, “let me turn down the TV” or “sorry I didn’t answer right away, I was out in the garden.” Those who want to work from home insist they’re afraid they’ll catch COVID if they return to… . . . read more.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

Burnout building for 43% of workers, research shows

Many workers are worn out and ready to make up for lost vacation time, new research shows. More than 4 in 10 professionals surveyed (43 per cent) said they are more burned out on the job today compared to a year ago, up from 33 per cent in a similar 2020 poll. The new survey by global staffing firm Robert Half shows employees experiencing increased fatigue, with 42 per cent blame it on a heavier workload. 1 “For the past 14 months, many professionals have dealt with increased workloads, longer hours, minimal vacation time, and juggling personal and professional responsibilities,” said David King,  senior district president of Robert Half. “With burnout clearly on the rise, now is the time for organizations to encourage their employees to prioritize mental health and well-being,… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE WELLNESS

Survey: 60 percent of US workers concerned about their mental health in pandemic’s aftermath

Amid growing anxiety about the pandemic’s impact on wellbeing, a new survey finds that US workers rank mental and psychological wellbeing as one of their biggest wellness concerns. Despite these worries, The Conference Board survey reveals that participation in programs including mental health resources and Employee Assistance programs has dropped. On the upside, the nationwide survey found that most respondents continued routine doctor’s visits to some degree during the pandemic—although women struggled more. Employees also report that they aren’t suffering in silence: An overwhelming majority feel their supervisor genuinely cares about their wellbeing—a likely basis for their comfort speaking of wellbeing challenges at work. Conducted from early to mid-March, the online survey polled more than 1,100 US workers representing a cross-section of people across industries, from lower-level employees to the CEO. Key findings include:… . . . read more.

MANAGING STAFF

1 in 3 remote workers may quit if required to return to the office full time

More employers are calling workers back to the office, but will they readily return? A new study by a global staffing firm shows that about one in three professionals (33 per cent) currently working from home due to the pandemic would look for a new job if required to be in the office full time. What workers want More than half of all employees surveyed (51 per cent) said they prefer a hybrid work arrangement, where they can divide time between the office and another location. Professionals also expressed the following hesitations about working from home full time, underscoring the need for organizations to offer flexibility: Relationships with co-workers could suffer: 39 per cent Fewer career advancement opportunities due to a lack of visibility: 21 per cent Decreased productivity while… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Three White House announcements for employers

President Biden calls on employers to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated In a White House press release dated April 21, 2021, President Biden called “on every employer in America to offer full pay to their employees for any time off needed to get vaccinated and for any time it takes to recover from the after-effects of vaccination.” The White House statement adds that President Biden will announce “a paid leave tax credit that will offset the cost for employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide full payment for any time their employees need to get a COVID-19 vaccination or recover from that vaccination.” By Executive Order, President Biden increases the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15/hour On April 27 President Biden signed an executive… . . . read more.

Do employers owe employees paid sick leave when they self-quarantine?

By Lynne Curry bio Question: After I spent a weekend bar hopping, I felt remorseful, and self-quarantined so I wouldn’t bring COVID into my workplace and make others ill. I also took a COVID test and luckily tested negative. Since my employer had moved everyone back on-site, I couldn’t work remotely and labeled my time off as sick leave. I just got my paycheck and apparently my employer has denied my sick leave. What’s my recourse? Answer: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) allows most private sector employees up to 80 hours of paid sick leave in five instances. A health care provider advises the employee to self-quarantine; the employee is seeking a diagnosis for COVID-19 symptoms; the employee or someone the employee is caring for is under a… . . . read more.

COVID & TELEWORK

Are employers responsible/liable for an employee’s home ergonomics, safety and expenses?

By Lynne Curry bio Question: COVID-19 has caused employers large and small to require the employers work from home rather than their employer’s worksites. Word has it that this may continue beyond weeks and months and become the new normal. What is my employer’s responsibility/liability for workplace ergonomics and safety when my home becomes my workplace? Do they need to compensate me for my expenses in upgrading my Wifi and getting a new office chair? Answer: “That depends,” says FisherBroyles management-side employment attorney Eric Meyer. According to Meyer, because the “Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) ensures safe and healthful working conditions–even outside of the normal workplace, employers technically have a duty to protect remote workers at home.” “But in reality,” notes Meyer, OSHA won’t inspect employees’ home offices. Additionally, OSHA… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Employment law changing on the fly in response to COVID-19

By Mike O’Brien bio COVID-19 has ushered in a variety of new, and fast-evolving employment law changes, from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). EMPLOYEE RETENTION TAX CREDIT:  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes a tax credit for employers that retain employees during the COVID-19 crisis.  The credit generally provides relief to employers of all sizes in the form of a refundable payroll tax credit of 50% of all “qualified wages” paid (up to $10,000 per employee) during the COVID-19 crisis if (i) operations were fully or partially suspended or subject to a shut-down order; or (ii) gross receipts declined more than 50% compared to the same quarter in the prior year.  Note… . . . read more.


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