Tag Archives: time off

smartphone

Arizona Executives Don’t Vacation Without Smartphone

BMO Harris Bank released a study today that found that most business owners and executives in Arizona do not truly “get away from it all” when it comes to vacationing. Seventy-three percent of the respondents admit to checking their work emails during their time off; albeit 11 percent lower than the national average.

“Gadgets such as smartphones have been instrumental in making it easier to stay in touch, contributing to increased business productivity,” said Tim Bruckner, Managing Director, Commercial Banking – Arizona, BMO Harris Bank. “The flip side is that same instant access fuels our need to stay connected at all times.”

Nearly half (42 percent) of those surveyed regularly work more than 40 hours each week. That “always on the clock” mentality translates into long hours focused on work. While 61 percent of the Arizona respondents describe themselves as workaholics, only a small percentage of them (six percent) cite their workaholic tendencies as the primary reason for their success.

Time is money

For Employers, Time Is The New Currency

With all the cost cutting employers have had to do during the recent recession to stay afloat, it’s comforting to know that a key employee benefit near and dear to everyone’s heart has survived — paid vacations. According to a WorldatWork research report, Paid Time Off Programs and Practices*, a majority of U.S. employers still offer paid time off. In fact, three out of four survey respondents say it’s necessary to offer paid time off programs and do so in traditional and non-traditional ways.

Three types of paid-time-off programs:

Traditional system — Gives employees separate allotments for vacation, personal and sick days.

PTO banks — Workers receive a pooled number of days off that can be used as needed (generally excluding fixed holidays, jury duty and bereavement).

Unlimited leave – Employees can take as many days off as needed.

The United States is among the minority of countries in the United Nations with no guarantee of paid leave for workers. The WorldatWork study found that a majority of U.S. employers offer it as a key employee benefit even if they are not mandated to do so. With the focus of the Obama Administration and Congress on expanding access to paid leave programs, the research shows that employers recognize the competitive advantage of offering paid time off and believe in continuing these programs, in good times and in bad.

Other key findings:

A vast majority of employers provide paid sick leave.

The average number of paid sick days in a traditional system is nine.

PTO bank systems do not distinguish between vacation and sick time.

Employers offer an average of nine paid holidays each year.

Amidst pay cuts and wage freezes, time is emerging as the new currency, and it’s nice to know employers remain committed to rewarding and motivating employees with paid time off.

*Published in May 2010, data for the WorldatWork Paid Time Off Programs and Practices survey was gathered from Feb. 17-March 5, 2010. Of the 1,036 responses, 37 percent came from companies with 5,000 or more employees.

Arizona Business Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Janet Perez

The Buzz on AZNow.Biz – October 25, 2010

There’s a lot of information headed your way, starting with our Buzz story. There’s a new health-care model that combines a doctor’s regular practice with  special one-on-one care for wealthy patients. It’s called hybrid-concierge care. Our health columnist, Dr. Michael Covalciuc, says we have to create our own health screening strategies. Our work force columnist, Marcia Rhodes, looks at  how cost cutting-employers are keeping paid time off programs.


FMLA

Caring For A Relative Injured During Active Military Service Now Permitted Under FMLA

Most Arizona employers associate the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) with employee time off to care for an ailing parent or spouse or to tend to a newborn baby or newly adopted child.

Since early this year, the list of reasons for granting extended employee leaves has become longer, and in some cases, so has the permitted time off.

As of Jan. 28, when President Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 into law, the FMLA extends coverage to employees who are caring for a spouse, child, parent or “next of kin” injured while on active military duty. It also covers unpaid leave “for any qualifying exigency” arising from a spouse, a child or parent of the eligible employee being on active duty (or being notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the armed forces.

It is well documented that military members who are injured in battle are surviving in record numbers, leaving active duty and requiring short- and long-term care to convalesce. This law recognizes this new fact of life for military families.

Companies with 50 or more employees must now grant up to six months of leave in a 12-month period to an eligible employee who is caring for a wounded service member, and 12-weeks leave to an employee helping a relative with a pressing need related to getting his or her affairs in order in preparation for military service.

The two provisions for military families represent the first expansion of the FMLA in the nearly 15 years since it was enacted. The expansion is expected to have significant impact on companies covered by the FMLA as long as overseas deployment of troops — and resulting casualties — continues.

The law is causing confusion in the business world, especially with regard to the definition of an “exigency.” We believe the intent behind this provision is to offer assistance to families who must now prepare for, and deal with, the service member’s deployment. That could include time off for an employee helping to arrange for childcare, attending pre-deployment briefings, handling legal, economic or financial-planning issues, paying bills, or providing emotional support.

Another area of confusion surrounds certification. What information can an employer properly require, for example, regarding the service member’s active duty status and the employee’s “next of kin” status?

The U.S. Department of Labor has promised to issue regulations to clarify the confusion, but they are not expected before this fall. Until then, employers are required to provide leave to employees caring for wounded relatives and are not required but are being encouraged to provide leave for qualifying exigencies.

We advise employers to amend their FMLA policies and practices immediately to reflect these significant changes in the qualifying reasons and duration of protected leave. In addition, as we await final DOL regulations, employers must proceed with caution in addressing an employee’s request for military-related leave.

Employers with questions about employee-leave rights should consider contacting experienced employment law counsel.

Mark Ogden is the managing shareholder of the Phoenix office of Littler Mendelson, the nation’s largest employment and labor law firm representing management. He can be reached at 602-474-3600 or jmogden@littler.com