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WORKFACT WEDNESDAY: Facts About Holiday Hours & Time Off

With the holiday season upon us, you, as an employer, may have questions about providing time off for certain holidays, how to handle pay for company recognized holidays, and how best to manage time off requests and scheduling issues. To help clarify these issues, we’ve addressed several myths concerning company holidays.

Myth: Employers are required to observe certain holidays.

Fact: You may be surprised to learn that, under federal law, employers in the private sector can choose whether or not to observe Santa beachholidays such as New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Note that some states require certain types of businesses to be closed on legal holidays and certain employees to be able to take off on certain holidays (e.g., veterans on Veteran’s Day). Check your state law to ensure compliance.

Myth: Employers cannot require employees to work on a holiday.

Fact: Under federal law, an employer generally may require employees to work on a holiday. Employers should remember, however, that they may need to consider providing reasonable accommodations for employees’ religious beliefs and practices. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers with 15 or more employees are generally required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs and practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship. This may include providing unpaid time off. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Compliance Manual has a number of best practices for providing religious accommodations, such as encouraging and facilitating voluntary shift swaps and permitting flexible scheduling.

Myth: Employers must pay non-exempt employees for time off on company holidays.

Fact: Employers generally are not required to pay non-exempt employees when they do not work on a holiday, unless the employer has a policy or practice stating otherwise. However, most employers do offer paid holidays to full-time, non-exempt employees.

Myth: Employers can make deductions from exempt employees’ salaries when the company is closed on a holiday.

Fact: But for a few very limited exceptions, exempt employees must receive their full salary for any workweek in which they perform any work. This means that if the company is closed on a holiday and the employee works any part of the workweek, he or she must still receive their full salary, regardless of whether the employer offers paid holidays.

Myth: Non-exempt employees who work from home on a company recognized holiday without prior authorization are not entitled to pay.

Fact: Employers must pay employees for all hours worked, regardless of whether the time was authorized in advance. The employer, however, may consistently apply their disciplinary action policy to employees who work without prior authorization, but in no case may the employer withhold pay.

Myth: All non-exempt employees must receive “premium pay” when they work on a holiday.

Fact: Under federal law, private sector employers are not generally required to provide premium pay for work performed on holidays (other than the overtime premium required for work in excess of 40 hours in a workweek). While the majority of states do not require premium pay for work on a holiday either, there are exceptions for certain employers in states such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Be sure to check your state law to ensure compliance. Even if not required, some employers voluntarily provide premium pay for working on a holiday as an incentive to employees, typically either 1.5 times or 2 times an employee’s normal pay rate.

Myth: Paid holidays must be included when determining whether overtime is due.

Fact: Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime for “hours worked” in excess of 40 in a workweek. Paid time off, including time off for holidays, is not considered “hours worked” under the FLSA. For example, consider the situation where an employee works 30 hours during the workweek of Christmas, receives December 24 and December 25 off as paid holidays, and is paid for 46 hours. Under federal law, the employee would not be entitled to overtime pay because his or her actual hours worked is 30. Some employers, however, choose to voluntarily count paid holiday time off as hours worked.

Myth: If a company holiday falls on an employee’s regular day off, an employer must offer the employee another day off.

Fact: If a holiday falls on an employee’s day off, employers are not required to offer another day off, but some employers do so voluntarily. For instance, consider when an employee regularly has Wednesday off and your company offers Christmas (which falls on a Wednesday this year) as a paid holiday. You may choose to provide the employee with another paid day off (e.g., the day after Christmas) since the employee’s schedule would have had him or her off for Christmas anyway.

Myth: Employers cannot require non-exempt employees to work the day before and after a company holiday to be paid for the holiday.

Fact: Under federal law, employers are generally permitted to require non-exempt employees to work the day before and after a company holiday in order to receive pay for the holiday time off. Typically, employers do not apply this policy to employees who scheduled the time off in advance. Note: This practice may not be applied to exempt employees.

WORKFACT WEDNESDAY: Resumes, Recruiting & HR

Whether looking for a new job, need help with your resume or are ready to build your team, you can appreciate some of these fun facts as they relate to recruiting and human resources.

  • 79% of candidates are likely to use social media in their job search
  • 65% of recruiters use Facebook in recruiting
  • 18% search for jobs from a restroom
  • 30% search for new jobs while at work
  • 38% search during their commute
  • 41% of job seekers search for jobs while in bed
  • 93% of companies use LinkedIn for recruiting
  • 89% of recruiters have hired someone through LinkedIn
  • 70% of candidates use a mobile device to find jobs
  • Average time spent by recruiters looking at a resume: 5 to 7 seconds
  • 76% of resumes are discarded for an unprofessional email address
  • More than 90% of resumes are now posted online or sent via email

TIP TUESDAY: The Secret to a Great Resume

Let’s be honest: the job hunt can feel excruciatingly painful—and intimidating. Sure, your Linkedin profile could be airtight, your references flawless. But if your resume bombs, so does your chance at acing your interview. On top of that, hiring managers only spend about six seconds on a resume—research says so!—which makes creating the perfect one even more crucial. What is the typical job seeker to do?

Forget everything you thought you knew about resumes, including summaries and volunteer experience. According to experts, the secret to a great resume lies in the results.

Here’s what they mean: Listing your accomplishments on your resume with adjectives like “detail-oriented” or “self-motivated” might seem impressive to you. But odds are the employer won’t believe it until you prove your worth with numbers.

“If you want to make that indelible first impression on a hiring manager, you must show movement and real progress, and quantify your accomplishments with real, hard data,” Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha!, wrote for Huffington Post. “Your results-focused resume will present a more accurate snapshot of who you are and what you can do—and clear the way for others to see that too.”

Take, for example, a descriptor like “Successfully trained the customer success team to improve customer communications.” Although the task itself sounds impressive, de Haaff suggests trying this instead: “Created 25 template responses and trained the customer success team, reducing average response time to under two hours.”

See the difference? According to de Haaff, the second descriptor provides a clearer picture of the direct impact you made on the company. Plus, quantifiable achievements do more than spice up your resume. Regardless of whether you’re a new grad or an experienced job hunter, they also tell a story about your past success, work ethic, and credibility, de Haaff says. And for employers, that detail can make or break your chances of landing the all-important interview (not to mention the job).

{from Reader’s Digest}

WEDNESDAY WORKFACT: Unemployment in the U.S. and Illinois

The table in the article ranks the 50 states of the United States by unemployment rate. In July 2017, about 2.2% of the North Dakota population was unemployed, the lowest among the states; the highest unemployment rate was recorded in Alaska, at 7.0%. Illinois has the 14th highest unemployment rate, at 4.4%, or 183.3 million. In May of 2016, Illinois had the highest unemployment rate in the nation, at 6.6%.

A person is considered unemployed if they have no job and are currently looking for a job and available to work. The U.S. unemployment rate varies unemployment-rateacross states. Nation-wide unemployment was 4.4 percent as of April 2017 and has remained almost the same over the last year. Unemployment can be affected by various factors including economic conditions and global competition. During economic prosperity unemployment rates generally decrease and during times of recession, rates increase.

Many Americans believe that job creation should be one of the most important priorities set by the government. Since 1990, the country’s unemployment rate reached a low of 4 percent in 2000 and a high in 2010 at 9.6 percent. It has been argued that the definition of unemployment is too narrow and does not include some groups of people, such as the “underemployed” and the “hidden unemployed”, which account for about 3.3 million Americans.

TIP TUESDAY: 7 Words to Delete from Your Cover Letters

Writing a cover letter to pitch your qualifications and your personality in only a few paragraphs is usually the most difficult part of applying for a job. As a general rule of thumb, a cover letter can make or break your likelihood to get called in for an interview.

“Cover letters give you a way to make a first impression and to directly address the key requirements of the position, helping to get you past the initial screening and encouraging the HR officer to read a little deeper,” explains business psychologist and executive career coach Kate Sullivan. “The best cover letters present you as a unique person with valuable skills, telling a story about your background and experience that lets the recruiter immediately envision you fitting into the company culture. It should always be customized to the position and its requirements and should hook your reader in like a great novel.

“The one firm rule for a cover letter is to keep it short: No more than two or three short paragraphs. And don’t revisit every single big job you’ve had, because they can see that on your resume. The cover letter exists purely to distill your achievement and put then in a new light.Take the advice of career experts and coaches who shed light on the type of words you should delete from your cover letter ASAP.