Category: Work Place Tips

Netflix Has a New Paternity and Maternity Leave Policy

HealthMiles, a workplace health company, released a survey in 2013 of about 10,000 employees in which 77% of employees agreed that “health and wellness programs positively impact the culture at work.” Following these findings, streaming giant Netflix has introduced a new unlimited paternity and maternity leave policy to promote the healthy morale of employees.

New parents, both mothers and fathers, are now entitled to take unlimited leave for the first year of a child’s birth or adoption. Netflix employees will receive normal pay and have the option of returning to work either full or part time. If additional time off is necessary, the company will allow employees to take that time.

This new paternity and maternity leave policy joins the company’s already unlimited time off policy. It aims to eliminate the hassle and confusion of going out on a disability leave or an FMLA leave.

“Netflix’s continued success hinges on us competing for and keeping the most talented individuals in their field. This new policy…allows employees to be supported during the changes in their lives and return to work more focused and dedicated,” commented Tawni Cranz, the chief talent officer.

Netflix took the lenient leave policies of other companies and ran with it. Google, for example, extended their paid maternity leave policy from 12 weeks to 18 weeks about 8 years ago. When that occurred, Google saw an increase of retention of returning new mothers.

Source: NY Times and Forbes Magazine

The Anatomy of Orange County’s Labor Market

When the recession hit Orange County in 2008, it hit hard. The county’s two largest industries—the mortgage business and construction—both took a nose dive. We saw halted projects, loss of jobs, and lower wages. But not to fear; here comes the sun.

Though it took the better part of a decade to recover, Orange County’s economic boom is becoming tangible with new office spaces constructed and a surge of jobs back on the market. The first half of 2015 saw a 3.3% rate of growth in jobs—only Silicon Valley and the Inland Empire can rival that figure.

All signs point to a revitalized economy—office spaces are in high demand and occupancy continues to climb, recreational parks (like Disney) are seeing record breaking attendance numbers, and John Wayne Airport has transformed from a sleepy regional airport to a large hub where traffic has increased over the last couple of years.

Many industries are on their way to restoring themselves to their previous capacity, with other industries new to Orange County enjoying the economic growth. Construction, plumbing, and electrical companies are adding jobs and helping revive stopped projects like the Pacifica San Juan housing development in San Juan Capistrano. Meanwhile, IT and tech companies’ presence in Orange County has increased dramatically. Tech startups and millennial driven app labs are popping up around the county. The healthcare industry has also added a significant number of jobs as the age of the overall population is increasing, and with that the demand for medical care professionals.

Salary and wage increases remain steady and may outpace inflation if projections for the rest of 2015 and 2016 come to fruition. In the next three years, the anticipated median household income should be in excess of $90,000 annually.

Source: LA Times and the OC Register

Breaking Down New FLSA Regulations—What Does it Mean?

Every employee should know what their rights are, especially when it comes to their wages and salary. The federal government just released new proposed regulations that will make more than 5 million employees eligible for overtime pay. So, starting from the beginning, who creates these regulations? Why is overtime a good thing? How will this affect my pay?

The country’s labor and employment laws are governed by the United States Department of Labor, a part of the federal government. Within the US Department of Labor, there are various divisions that focus on particular parts of labor laws. For today’s discussion, we’ll use the WHD as an example. The WHD stands for the Wage and Hour Division, and their governing doctrine or act is the FLSA (Fair Labor and Standards Act).

The WHD and FLSA establishes national minimum wage rates, overtime regulations, etc. States must first abide by the FLSA and then can implement any other state wide regulations on top of the national law. (i.e. state minimum wages can be higher than the national minimum wage).

In California, we have our own state department of labor, aptly named the California Department of Industrial Relations. Within the CA DIR, wage and hour regulations are enforced by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (known commonly as the Labor Commissioner). Their governing doctrine or act is the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders. The Wage Orders outline similar regulations as the FLSA but with California labor law.

Now that the background is out of the way, let’s discuss the regulation changes that the FLSA will enact which that will lead to changes on the state level as well. In the workforce, there are two main classifications for wage earners: hourly, non-exempt or salary, exempt. The former is paid on an hourly basis and is eligible to get paid overtime for any hours worked over eight in a day and/or forty in a week.

An employee’s job description has to meet a duties test, among other things, to determine whether or not they are exempt from overtime (and therefore on a salary). If the employee meets that exemption, then the employee must also be paid a minimum threshold for salaried employees; in California, it’s approximately $37,000 per year and nationally, it was $23,660. Last week, this all changed.

On Monday, June 29, 2015, the WHD released a new proposal to amend the FLSA and increase the base salary requirement for exempt employees. The requirement could jump from $23,660 to as much as $50,440. So what does this mean?

If you a salaried, exempt worker, it could mean a couple of outcomes. First, you might be reclassified into being a non-exempt worker, which means you are eligible for overtime. So for all of you salaried workers out there that were working more than 40 hours a week or 8 hours in a day and not receiving overtime because you were exempt, you may be getting paid your extra hours worked. The other scenario is that you stay exempt, but are given a raise to meet the threshold—in California, that maybe close to a $13,000 raise! Almost five million workers can be affected as a result of this proposal.

Companies Burn Out Employees-See Disastrous Consequences

Goldman Sachs runs an annual summer internship program which spans across company lines to Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays Bank. This year, the companies took an impressive 2,900 summer interns. The internship, which is infamous for being tough and unsympathetic, had to take a close look at itself after one intern, a 21 year old, was found unconscious in his shower two years ago.

The intern had purportedly worked a 72 hour straight shift for the company in their London offices. When he came home to shower, he suffered from epileptic seizures as a result of sleep deprivation and the bank’s consistent all-nighters. The intern had been taking medication for his epilepsy, but the marathon work session led to a seizure that took his life.

Since the intern’s passing, Goldman Sach announced that an intern’s day must be capped at 17 hours, meaning they needed to spend at least 7 hours a night away from the job. Still, 17 hours straight seems excessive, especially for our friends across the pond.

Here in America, the sentiment of work life balance still seems lost, though maybe not as egregiously as in the banking industry in London. According to the 2015 Workplace Index as compiled by Staples, 40% of employees seek employment elsewhere due to workplace burnout. Almost half of those who participated in the survey expressed hope that their workload would decrease in order to minimize burnout. Workers also expressed that workplace flexibility and understanding would motivate them to work productively for the company. When faced with an opportunity to rise in the company or organization, 86% of employees felt motivated to succeed and were happier.

In a world where we are constantly plugged in, the common work week has stretched from 40 hours to 47 hours, tacking on almost one full day more worth of work. “It’s not a surprise that employees are feeling overworked and burn out…Businesses nationwide are tasked to do more with less…employers need to adjust to win the war for talent and optimize productivity, engagement, and loyalty with employees,” says workplace expert Dan Schawbel.

Source: Salon.com and Staples Advantage Workplace Index

Virgin is at it Again—Revolutionary Employee-Friendly Policies

Virgin Group—comprised of names like Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, and Virgin Galactic—is pioneering a new approach to paternity and maternity leave. Last year, founder Sir Richard Branson announced the company’s new vacation “non-policy” which allowed for unlimited vacation time. This year, Branson is catering to new fathers and mothers.

Virgin’s new paternity/maternity leave policy allows employees in the Virgin Management sector to take a full year of leave with 100% pay benefits. Those 140 employees in the London and Geneva offices are eligible to take the leave, which extends to mothers and fathers, as well as adoptive parents.

The only caveat, if it can even be called that, is the length of time an employee as worked for the company; an employee who has less than 2 years with the company is only eligible for 25% of their year pay, while an employee who has been with Virgin Management for at least four years is eligible for his or her full pay.

According to Branson, “if you take care of your employees they will take care of your business.”

Source: The Independent & Business Insider