HR Leads Business

Apr 28, 2018 | Barry Lawrence, MBA, aPHR, HRCI Staff Writer

Allowing Work During FMLA Leave Can Be an Option

This week in employment news: New tax laws have businesses thinking about new ways to invest in their employees. A court rules that a worker can be allowed to continue working while taking FMLA leave. Employers are urged to be careful with use of biometric data. "Upskilling" is a new training and development buzzword.

Work Allowed During Family LeaveFMLAImage

Is it permissible to let an employee work while taking a leave of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? The U.S Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently ruled (D’Onofrio v. Vacation Publ’ns Inc., 5th Cir., No. 16-20628, 4/24/18) that allowing a salesperson to continue earning commission while caring for a spouse did not interfere with the FMLA.

Insight:

  • "Giving employees the option to work while on leave does not constitute interference with FMLA rights so long as working while on leave is not a condition of continued employment," the court ruled.
  • In general, an employee is entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a spouse with a serious health condition, and an employer may not interfere with an employee’s attempt to take such leave.

    Employees Challenge Use of Fingerprints

    Illinois employees and privacy advocates are challenging the use of fingerprinting and other biometric technologies by businesses to avoid data breaches.

    The state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, "one of the strictest laws of its kind in the nation," has created "a hotbed of lawsuits over alleged misuses," according to the Chicago Tribune. State lawmakers are considering a proposal to reduce protections on the use of people’s biological data.

    Supporters say the proposed changes are necessary to keep pace with technology. Opponents say employees need to have a say in how their data is used.

    Insight:

  • Carefully examine your company’s state rights when using fingerprints, retinal scans, facial recognition, etc.
  • Balance data protection concerns with employee concerns about how the biometric technologies are being used and how the information is being stored.

    Invest Business Tax Savings in Employees

    Research from PwC finds that 80 percent of business leaders will direct tax savings to increased wages, new hiring and bonuses for employees. Experts estimate an average tax savings of 5.16 percent for a business.

    Insight:

  • One-time bonuses and raises are nice, but consider longer-lasting investments as well, such as more training and development for workers. Boeing, for example, is investing $100 million in career learning, training and development programs, reports the Daily Labor Report.

    Upskilling: The New Buzzword for Professional Development

    Google "upskilling" and you’ll find this training and development concept everywhere as organizations and professionals realize that continuous learning is now a non-stop commitment. However, while much upskilling focuses on the technical applications of a job role, ignoring one of the most important competencies of all — people management skills.

    Insight:

  • Emerging top talent is often promoted into positions where they have a larger span of control. However, promoted employees, while "rock stars" in their former rolls, are always equipped to manage people.
  • Build people management training into your upskilling plans. HRCI upSkill is a new suite of e-learning modules with a focus on people management — for HR and non-HR professionals — from HRCI.

What HR or people management news would you like to share? HR Leads Business is always interested in hearing about challenges and successes that relate to helping people and organizations excel. Send your ideas to barry.lawrence@hrci.org.