Q&A

Shift assignment is your call, not the employee's

05/01/2005

Q. We're looking to switch an employee to a different shift, which will better serve the entire shift. Can we force an employee to change shifts even if he's not interested? —K.C., New York

Leave FMLA out of your handbook if it doesn't apply

04/01/2005

Q. Our company employs fewer than 50 people, so we don't have to comply with FMLA. Do we need to mention that fact in our employee handbook? —G.R., Michigan

Monthly pay is OK, but keep payday consistent

04/01/2005

Q. Doesn't federal law say employees must be paid within two weeks of completing their work, no matter the excuse (computer glitch, etc.)? —A.L., Virginia

How to nail down a flaky boss

04/01/2005

Q. Our CEO changes his mind constantly. After we agree on a project, he'll come back to me a day or two later with a different plan. How can I pin him down? —L.G., South Carolina

Normal commute isn't covered by workers' comp

04/01/2005

Q. One of our employees was hurt while driving in a company car on her morning commute to work. Would this be considered a workers' compensation claim? —K.S., Michigan

Office business manager: Exempt or nonexempt?

04/01/2005

Q. We're a nine-physician medical clinic, and we employ a salaried business manager. She makes less than $100,000 but more than $23,660 per year. Her duties include personnel, hiring and firing, and office work. We don't give her comp time or overtime pay. If she takes a partial day off, she must use vacation time (paid time off). In light of the new (FLSA, overtime) rules, are we handling this correctly? —B.B., Missouri

Continuing insurance isn't required by workers' comp

04/01/2005

Q. We have several employees out on workers' comp claims. Our policy is to pay for the employee but not dependents. How can we terminate the group insurance for employees who are out on workers' comp for more than three months? —M.O., Washington

Don't automatically fire after FMLA, STD leave expire

04/01/2005

Q. Our policy is to run FMLA and short-term disability (STD) concurrently. FMLA is for 12 weeks of job-protected leave. STD is for 26 weeks, with proper medical documentation. At what point can we terminate an employee, at the end of 12 weeks, when FMLA leave is exhausted? And, if so, do we end short-term disability payments, since the employee has been terminated? —E.A., Georgia

Cite Return-to-Work Tests in Drug/Alcohol Policy

03/01/2005

Q. One of our employees was recently in jail for traffic and drug violations. Before he returns to work, what guidelines can we follow to ensure that he's drug-free? Will we be discriminating if we require a drug test before allowing him back on site, even though we didn't require this test when he was hired? —M.Z., Washington

FMLA for Over-18 Relative Hinges on Self-Care Ability

03/01/2005

Q. Would FMLA leave apply to an employee who requests leave time to care for her daughter who is over age 21 and married? The daughter's illness required hospitalization, but her husband is overseas on active duty with the military. —D.S., Georgia

Request birth date only after conditional job offer

03/01/2005

Q. We don't ask applicants for their age or birth date on our application. But we plan to start conducting background checks on applicants whom we're seriously considering. The company that will conduct the checks for us said the birth date is on all the applications they see and that it's instrumental to conducting the checks. What should we do? —V.T., Wyoming

You can exclude vacation pay from 'Regular rate'

03/01/2005

Q. When we are figuring employees' base pay for overtime calculations, can we exclude their vacation pay? —R.J.D., South Dakota

Keep rejected applications for three years

02/01/2005

Q. I read in your publication that if an applicant isn't hired, we should retain the application for at least three years. I've heard elsewhere that applications should be kept for only one year beyond the date the position is filled. Have the rules changed? —S.C., Washington

You can set weekly vacation rule, but should you?

02/01/2005

Q. I know we're allowed to tell employees which months they can't take vacations, but can we also require that vacations be taken only by the week, and not in daily, hourly or half-day increments? —P.A., Nebraska

Check state law before deducting cost of lost tools

02/01/2005

Q. We want to start a policy that would deduct the cost of tools from employees' final paychecks if the tools aren't returned or if they're returned damaged. Can we legally do this? —M.P., Kansas