January 2022 – TogetHR Times

Millennials Hit Middle Age

Happy birthday to the oldest Millennials. They’ve hit the Big 4-0 this year and deserve a party for surviving their early careers. They’ve endured two economic downturns, including the Great Recession; the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks; the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and the COVID-19 pandemic. Add to that climate change, massive student loan debt, and increasing social and political strife and it’s hardly surprising that Millennials are burdened with monumental levels of stress. That backdrop has led Millennials, who range in age from 25 to 40, to become skeptical of institutions, including their employers. Many members of this generation also have healthy self-confidence due to being raised by so-called helicopter parents who shielded them from disappointment, according to research. This combination, critics claim, has produced a generation with a large proportion of people who feel entitled: They demand to know when they will be promoted, continually question established protocols and constantly hunger for praise. Millennials and their allies counter that they’re not so much entitled as emboldened. Realizing that job security is practically nonexistent, members of this generation are hoping to learn as much as possible from their current employers as they proactively plan their careers and seek new opportunities. As the largest generation in the workplace today, Millennials have forced employers to bend to their will. And while sometimes maligned by those from older generations for doing so, they have pushed for policies that create a more employee-centered workplace benefiting people of all ages. Paid parental leave, diversity programs, mental health benefits and corporate responsibility efforts, for example, have expanded as companies fight to attract and retain members of this coveted group. Some companies have also developed student loan repayment benefits to help them. Millennials are very tough on themselves and are vexed by the slow pace of change, research shows. Members of this generation want their jobs to have meaning beyond just paying the bills. They worry about their finances, their health and their families. Roughly 40 percent of Millennials say they are stressed all or most of the time, according to Deloitte’s 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey report. Millennials are now the most diverse adult generation in history, according to the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. Generation Z is more diverse, but the oldest members of that generation are 24 this year and don’t yet make up a significant part of the workforce. Showing Millennials that their ideas are valued is key to keeping them.

Changes to the Montana Wage Protection Act

The amendments to Montana’s Wage Protection Act include employer-friendly changes to Montana’s tip-pooling statute. Previously, Montana was one of the few states that allowed only voluntary tip-pooling. Under the amended WPA, however, Montana employers generally may now require tip pooling, but must adhere to the following requirements:

  • An employer must notify its employees of any mandatory tip-pooling arrangement
  • A tip-pooling arrangement may include employees involved in providing customer service or food preparation, including servers, hosts, bussers, dishwashers, and cooks. Employers and exempt salaried supervisors or managers, however, cannot participate in a tip pool but may keep tips they receive directly from customers based on service they directly provided to the customers
  • There is no minimum or maximum contribution limits for mandatory tip pools, provided that an employer does not require employees to contribute more than the amount of tips they actually receive to a tip pool
  • An employer that collects and redistributes employee tips as part of a tip pool must fully distribute any tips collected no later than the regular payday for the workweek in which the tips were collected
  • An employer must maintain payroll and other records showing the tips received and distributed under the tip-pooling arrangement

Illegal to Contact Employees During Time Off?

Data has shown that people have been working longer hours while at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Portugal has passed new labor laws which include a ban on bosses contacting employees outside of working hours. Sound outrageous?! The new labor laws were passed by Portugal’s Parliament in early November and were introduced following an increase in people working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic. Including these provisions:

  • Workers should have the right to at least 11 consecutive hours of “night rest,” during which they should not be interrupted unless for emergencies
  • Employers to contribute to their staff’s work-from-home expenses, such as internet and electricity
  • Bosses will be expected to meet with members of staff face-to-face every two months

Notably – not all of the proposed rules were approved, for instance, employees may not “disconnect” entirely in the event of an emergency and may not turn off their devices at the end of the day. This law has already been introduced in other countries, including France, Spain & the U.K. What does your “Time Off” policy entail? Want to get something outlined for your team?

COVID Corner

Is your workplace ready?  Omicron variant is here.. and the number of deaths in the US has topped 821,000.  Approximately 3 US Citizens are infected with COVID every second.

Masking, again: The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering as a measure to contain the wearer’s respiratory droplets and help protect others. Employees should not wear a cloth face covering if they have trouble breathing, cannot tolerate wearing it, or can’t remove it without help.

  • Cloth face coverings are not considered personal protective equipment and may not protect the wearers from exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. However, cloth face coverings may prevent workers, including those who don’t know they have the virus, from spreading it to others.
  • Remind employees and clients that CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are hard to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Wearing a cloth face covering, however, does not replace the need to practice social distancing.

Disability?: An employee’s or job applicant’s COVID-19-related impairment may qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) even if the worker’s initial COVID-19 illness was not covered, according to updated guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC reminded employers that the ADA’s three-part definition of disability applies to COVID-19 in the same way it applies to other medical conditions. The ADA definition of “disability” includes the following:

  • An actual disability, which is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity (such as walking, talking, seeing or hearing).
  • A history or record of an actual disability (such as cancer that is in remission).
  • A perception that a worker has a disability or is regarded as having a disability.

Additionally, the EEOC noted, certain conditions can be caused or worsened by COVID-19. Your HR Representative can help you navigate COVID and possible ADA considerations.

Vaccination mandates:  On Dec. 17, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay on the federal government’s rule requiring covered employers to ensure workers are vaccinated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. Thus, standards that would have taken effect on Dec. 6, such as vaccination verification rules and indoor masking requirements for unvaccinated workers, will begin on Jan. 10. Weekly COVID-19 testing policies for unvaccinated workers must be implemented by Feb. 9 if the rule is upheld.  The directive is expected to cover more than 80 million private-sector workers. 

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