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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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How can we manage conflicting vacation requests?

Q. We are a small company. Two of our employees in the same department have asked to take vacation at the same time. We’re afraid that we will be short-staffed if both employees are out at the same time. Can we institute a policy preventing employees from being out simultaneously?

Privacy concern: Are ‘group’ time sheets legal?

Q. Currently, we require each individual employee to fill out his or her own time sheet. But we’re considering a new format that lists all employees on one time sheet. Is this legal? Or should each employee’s time sheet be kept confidential?

Must we pay for our employees’ uniforms?

Q. Our organization requires employees to wear uniforms on the job. Do we have an obligation to pay for the uniforms?

What’s the word on the kind of work high school students are allowed to perform?

Q. Our company owns a number of hardware stores and we plan to hire some high school students this fall. Are there certain limitations under child labor laws that restrict the types of duties that minors can be allowed to perform?

In our company, sleeping on the job is OK, but do we have to pay employees for it?

Q. We operate a home health care business. Our employees frequently are on duty for more than 24 hours. If employees are able to sleep during shifts that are 24 hours or more, do we have to pay them for those hours?

What are the rules on paying for weekend travel time?

It’s one of the trickier wage-and-hour questions: How to pay hourly employees who travel on days they usually don’t work, such as Saturdays and Sundays. Learn the intricacies of determining which hours are paid, which are not and how the Portal-to-Portal Act exception to the Fair Labor Standards Act comes into play.

Do I now have to provide long-term care insurance to my employees’ same-sex domestic partners?

Q. I recently heard that same-sex domestic partners of employees are now eligible for the long-term care insurance. Is that true?

How do we know if we must pay interns?

Q. Our company would like to hire interns to work in our office this fall, but we’re not sure if we have to pay them. What are some guidelines as to whether or not we need to put them on the payroll?

Are there special requirements for training employees who do not speak English well?

Q. Our company recently hired some employees who do not speak English as their first language. What are our obligations in training these employees?

Are we eligible for new state job tax credits?

Q. Our company wants to apply for tax credits under Illinois Senate Bill 1578. How do we know if we’re eligible?