Posts tagged SHRM
Navigating the Patchwork of Paid Family Leave Laws: An HR Challenge Met

HR professionals are on the front lines of the need for, and implementing requirements around, paid family leave. Given the uncertainty at the federal level in the policy area of paid family leave (PFL), with a recent proposal being floated that would open up workers’ social security benefits for them to “borrow” against their own federal retirement benefits to fund their current PFL time, it’s no wonder that states are stepping in to fill what they see as a gap in employees’ very real and unmet needs in this area. The results are creating significant business, compliance and human resources challenges in implementing a patchwork of legal requirements across the United States.

New York’s state paid family leave requirements became effective on January 1, 2018. A very thorough state-specific overview was recently posted by Megan Holstein on the Jackson Lewis blog here, so please be sure to check that out if you are looking for particular New York PFL guidance. More generally, however, it’s important to consider how operationalizing legal requirements for paid family leave is not as simple as it seems. These are some of the challenging issues that must be resolved by HR:

·       Alignment of current paid leave programs such as PTO, short-term disability benefits, FMLA, and sick leave with the state and local requirements

·       Updating technological systems such as payroll programs and solutions for those in affected states so that accruals, usage and notifications are compliant with the law

·       Changing processes, documentation and protocols for leave requests so that legal requirements are fulfilled

·       Training HR, management and others on new processes and requirements

·       Ensuring that sufficient staff capacity is available to handle state-based processing requirements

·       Recognizing the complex situations that arise where state, local and federal law, as well as collective bargaining agreements and other requirements create the potential for complying with one set up requirements but violating another, and coming up with ways to avert this risk

·       Building the internal expertise and relationships across siloed departments to effectively handle novel issues that may arise, in a way that treats employees like human beings and not problems

Other states where paid family leave is already in effect include California, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Washington state passed PFL in 2007 but it has never been implemented. Washington, DC has a new PFL provision that will roll out in 2020. Continued proposals are being brought forward, including the Colorado FAMLI Act, which would apply to every employer with employees working in the state, including very small businesses without HR support to handle the challenges above.

One solution that has been advanced is also called Workflex in the 21st Century Act, also called the #workflexbill. The act, recommended by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to the patchwork of complex requirements continues to impact multi-state employers, amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to allow employers to opt out of state and local requirements as long as they provide paid leave to all full- and part-time employees with at least 90 days’ tenure. The leave would be provided at the cost of the employer, not the taxpayers or employees. Part-time workers would receive paid leave proportional to the hours worked for their employer.

For HR professionals who are helping employers implement paid leave benefits and operationalize regulatory requirements, being aware of the legal landscape and solving the operational challenges are both critical. Whether benefits are required by law or not, it is up to HR to ensure that employers are meeting the needs of their employees. In addition, smart HR professionals work to align leave with other compensation and benefits options to support the strategic plans of their organizations and capture the benefit to their employer brands that comes with nurturing employees’ needs for paid family leave.  

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#SHRM17 Recap and Cutting the Cord
Jackson Square, New Orleans (photo by Kelly Marinelli)

Jackson Square, New Orleans (photo by Kelly Marinelli)

I brought a cold back to Boulder with me from #SHRM17. Luckily, it wasn’t the only thing I brought back! I also returned with t-shirts from generous resource partners from the Expo-enough for my board at the Boulder Area HR Association. And wisdom (and laughter) from Steve Browne, which seems boundless-now that he has written a book, #HROnPurpose, even more of us can share his thoughts on practicing HR with a human touch.  

But really what stayed with me from the annual conference was inspiration. Nuts, bolts, and updates I can get throughout the year, especially with the tools, articles and blogs that SHRM consistently offers for its members. I feel like the volume of material I consume every day just keeps growing. These basics are also on offer at the SHRM Annual Conference, and that’s why I recommend it to rising professionals all the time. The general sessions were tops this year. I’ve already taken Patrick Lencioni’s advice about considering where we are as a team in the key aspects of humility, hunger and people smarts. It’s helping me communicate with my clients and nudge them toward better performance and satisfaction among their teams, and be sure they are hiring well. Kat Cole shared her triumphs, and her missteps with us-I loved her story and am inspired by her commitment to integrity and trust in leadership. I’m still a huge fan of Lazslo Bock, and have already read his great book, Work Rules. Laila Ali celebrated her victories, and her competitive spirit was infectious!

What I was looking for, and what I found this year in New Orleans, was connection. I met wonderful people in real life that I had already been interacting with online (especially my #nextchat buddies, SHRM staff and Special Expertise Panel colleagues). I had chance encounters with new HR pros I never would have come in contact with if I hadn’t been at the conference. The first was an HR Manager from a small city in Alberta, Canada, who is getting ready to handle the legalization of marijuana, and how it might affect safety sensitive jobs at the city. I also met HR pros from a small municipal electric utility in Lincoln, Nebraska (my college stomping grounds) and talked with them about how different the needs of a 24/7/365 workforce are. And I finally met fellow introvert and amazing HR leader from Colorado, Mary Faulkner, in person. I only had to fly to NOLA to do it!

The #Take10 stage and the #SmartStage were so appealing to me at #SHRM17, because I was able to interact with speakers, find topics that resonated with me, and expose myself to more sessions because they were shorter and easy to fit into my busy schedule of networking and having a great time. The general sessions and concurrent sessions were also amazing. I chose certain topics and speakers I wanted to learn from, and was able to fit a crazy amount of learning into a short period, and still have time for unique experiences like a running tour of the city, and two out-of-this-world vegan meals at fabulous restaurants, Green Goddess and Seed, with my buddies, Sylvia, Dani, Robert and Rhae.

When I got back to Boulder, I realized that my husband had cut the cord to cable. Bye bye, Comcast! We’ve been wanting to do this for years, and we were playing chicken with each other to see who would actually have to pick up the phone and call customer service to do it. Our last bill ($150 for basic digital cable and internet-not even HBO or Showtime) was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and he made the call.

Without the constant barrage of news about the president’s latest tweet, blaring commercials, or reality trash TV, my mind has room for a little more of something else. Coming home from #SHRM17, and cutting the cord, has had the effect of hitting the reset button on my outlook. Doing HR day in and day out takes its toll if we don’t stop to recharge, learn and share energy with each other. The SHRM Annual conference does that for me, and that inspiration is what will keep me coming back year after year. I’ve decided I’m going to use my extra brain space for creativity, and this year I'll push myself beyond what I think I'm capable of doing.

What will you do with your inspiration from #SHRM17? Be sure to meet me in Chicago next year at #SHRM18!  


10 Tips for #SHRM17 Final Prep

It's time to make final plans for #SHRM17 in New Orleans. SHRM has an amazing experience ready for us this year! If you have attended before, then you know that just a little bit of planning on the front end will ensure you capture all of the many benefits of the conference. Follow these ten tips to help you get the most out of your #SHRM17 experience.

1.       Figure out how you’re getting from the airport to your hotel. Many hotels have their own shuttles, but the timing varies, and may not meet your needs. A recent ordinance requiring ride sharing services to adhere to a minimum ride charge from the airport will not take effect for six months, so you may still find that these services have better pricing than taxis-probably around $24-33 one way (depending on distance and demand). A taxi from the airport to the Central Business District or the French Quarter costs $36 for one or two people, or for three or more, it's $15 per person. Share a ride to save money and network at the same time.Or for the ultimate in convenience, book a car service in advance and forget it!

2.       Check out activities to explore New Orleans for downtime. (If you’ve got any!) There are cemetery tours, architecture tours, food tours, ghost and voodoo tours, or all of the above! I am choosing a running tour to get in a workout and some sightseeing. #2Birds1Stone

3.       Download the #SHRM17 App and begin to build out your schedule. I’m glad the app also allows me to add events to my calendar to help me integrate with other work & networking activities during the conference!

4.       Identify not only which sessions are of interest to you, but also which speakers you might want to learn about and network with. Some speakers have books in the SHRM bookstore at the conference, and there will be book signings in the schedule.

5.       Think about food & friends! Plan to check out the “Meet to Eat” reservations as soon as you get to the conference – in Hall F of the convention center, and sign up to connect with other attendees for dinners. This is a terrific way to meet new friends and connect with HR Pros.

6.       Plan for your development activities at the conference: This SHRM article  is a great place to start. You can pick up a copy of the Competency Development Plan in the Certification Lounge or at the SHRM Booth (#1733) at the Expo.

7.       Put together your FMLA, Compensation and other HR questions now so you can bring them to the HR Advisor Central at the Connection Zone at #SHRM17 – it will be open Monday and Tuesday from 7:00 am-5:30 pm, and Wednesday from 9:30 am-1:00 pm. What a fantastic opportunity to consult with HR experts on timely topics that impact your organization!

8.       Follow ALL of the #SHRM17 Bloggers on Twitter (you can find a list here) and get ready to network with them at #Take10 sessions in the Connection Zone in Hall F of the convention center. If you keep an eye on the #Take10 hashtag, you’ll know when these HR pros are leading 10-minute interactive sessions. I’m especially excited for this new addition to the conference!

9.       Join the SHRM Foundation’s #ALLinSTEP challenge now! I have already burned through two Fitbits, but luckily you can get one at a discount now, or use your phone to track your steps. This year, you get to choose your team-get on board and start stepping beginning June 18th!

10.   Make a list of events. Get a handle on the events you know you want to attend. SHRM certified HR pros have their own special event. Regional councils are hosting dinners and parties. And many industries and HR sub-specialties are putting together their own events. Check out the SHRM Annual Conference and Expo Community to find out more.

11.   BONUS! One more step for final #SHRM17 planning – review the list of resource partners who will be at the Expo and choose which ones you would like to make sure to visit. SHRM makes it easy for you to plan, by listing exhibitors by category in the app. You can easily add them to a list of “my exhibitors” and keep track of your list. But don’t forget to wander around the Expo and get to know new potential partners as well.