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Work / Life Issues

Lights out means it’s lunch time in Seattle


Lights out signals lunch time at the NRG::Seattle insurance company. Every day at 11:30 am, the lights go off and all employees must stop working. This one-hour break gives employees the chance to eat together and take a breather before the second half of the workday …

EEOC Focuses on ‘Family-Responsibilities Bias’


The EEOC recently issued enforcement guidance declaring that disparate treatment of employees who care for children, parents or other family members violates federal law. “Disparate treatment” generally means an employer intentionally treated employees differently because of a protected factor such as race, gender, age or—in this case—their need to care for family members …

How much time off for children’s school activities?


Q. With school starting, can you remind us what our obligations are to grant workers time off to participate in their children’s school-related activities? …

Consulting firm’s ‘Full circle’ program lets new moms put careers on hold for 5 years


At New York-based PricewaterhouseCoopers,  the HR staff realized there was a group of women who wanted to step out of the work force and into parenthood while keeping their jobs. The result: It created the "Full Circle" program …

Keep parents at work with backup child care benefit


If too many of your employees are using their leave to stay home with sick children, it might be time to add back-up child care to your menu of benefits …

Let workers personalize their flex schedules: 3 case studies


When 10 companies asked small groups of employees to figure out how to flex their hours while improving their teams’ productivity, they jumped at the chance. Here are three creative solutions …

IBM begins big investment in financial-Planning perks


When Armonk, NY-based IBM announced it would change its pension programs in 2008, the company promised employees a financial-planning and education-benefit program to ease the transition …

Atlanta ranks second in combined housing & transportation costs


For families earning between $20,000 and $50,000 a year, Hotlanta may not be so hot …

Georgia limits workplace rights for breast-Feeding mothers


Q An administrative staff member who recently gave birth is scheduled to return to work in a few weeks. She plans to have her mother bring the baby to the office several times a day so she can breastfeed. Our office manager says that’s not going to happen. Doesn’t Georgia law give women the right to breastfeed in the workplace?

Employees’ kids in the workplace: To ban or not?


A participant in the Forum section of our HR Weekly e-letter (www.theHRSpecialist.com/weekly) complained of the “constant, low-grade distraction” of employees’ children in the office—particularly in summer. He posed this question: “Is it best to ban employees’ kids from the workplace?” Here are some of the comments from other HR professionals …