Tag: remote work

13 Sep 2021
Compliance training

Why is HR compliance training necessary to handle remote work laws?

There has been a lot of emphasis on compliance training recently. The employees indeed enjoy the freedom with remote work, but there are so many compliance laws governing it. Employers have to follow so many laws when they allow remote work.

Reimbursable necessary expenses laws

The states have also formulated laws on expense reimbursements even if employees are working remotely and don’t incur any travel expenses. But there are other expenses such as the internet expenses borne by the employees.

In that case, as per the Fair Labor Standards Act(FLSA), an employer is not supposed to provide any work-related expenses for employees who work remotely. However, when due to such expenses, an employee’s monthly income goes below $684 per week, and then the employee has to reimburse the work-related expenses of such employees.

So, Compliance training for HR becomes mandatory in these situations so that their company does not violate any law.

State laws

However, ten states have enacted laws that remote workers be reimbursed for their work-related expenses, including California, Illinois, Montana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania, and North Dakota. Apart from all these states and the District of Columbia which have also implemented, employee reimbursement laws, the FLSA is applicable everywhere.

For example, California has the most rigid rules in this context. As per Section 2802 about the Labor Code of California, employers have to reimburse employees for all pertinent work-related expenditures including a percentage of money expended on home utilities.

However, the definition of such expenses differs with the type of job. As per the interpretation of this law, employers have to reimburse employees a specific percent of internet bill even if the employee has an unlimited data plan. However, in cases where employees are working from offices, such expenses don’t have to be paid back to them. But again due to ADA regulations, the employees might have to work from home because their disability makes them more vulnerable to contracting the disease during office work. But employees are not required to reimburse such necessary expenses incurred during remote work when the employees voluntarily choose to work from home and there is no compulsion.

The HR’s can know through compliance training what is considered as a necessary expense so that it’s reimbursable.

The employer should send an employee a reminder when it’s time for them to provide the reimbursement requests because, in case of non-repayment to such employees, a lawsuit can be filed against them.

Illinois has similar reimbursement laws and employers have to repay the internet and cell phone bills caused due to remote work. This state has the law that the employees have to submit all their reimbursement requests within a month of paying, corroborated by relevant documentation. Necessary expenses are those expenses that have to be done requisite to performing the job. Internet and mobile phone bills are considered necessary apart from the cost of buying IT equipment such as printers and laptops. But if an employee gets an ergonomic chair for a comfortable working position, then he won’t be reimbursed for it because it’s not necessary to carry out his duties.

Paid meal breaks

An employee can be paid for his meal periods once he has taken a twenty-minute or lesser-minute break for the same. So, it’s high time that HR employees of US states are informed about such laws.

Tax benefits for employers

There are benefits for employers also, in reimbursing necessary expenses such as, they are tax-deductible. This is only possible when the employer can prove he is on an Accounting Plan, provided the reimbursed expenses fulfill these 3 conditions:

  • The employees must have incurred such expenses while they were working
  • The employees must be able to prove such expenses within 60 days of incurring them. So, they must provide the employer with a reimbursement form while asking for repayment of such expenses.
  • Any expenses reimbursed over and above the allowed necessary expenses must be repaid by the employee within 120 days. These expenses are invalidated expenses for which the employee is not able to supply any proof.

All the ways, in which an employee can ensure that his employee’s reimbursed expenses are tax-deductible can be brought to his knowledge by the company’s HR or the Accounting department enlightened by compliance training.

When an employee is unable to corroborate his expenses with proof, they are regarded as non-reimbursable expenses, as supplemental wages, and are not tax-deductible.</span

18 May 2021
remote work

How to manage mental health in remote work?

The recent pandemic has taken a huge toll on a person’s mental health. But there has been some research going on about it. There has been some data released about it, according to which the US workers are spending a lot of money on their mental health problems in terms of psychiatric visits and medicines.

So, how does remote work affect the mental health of the employees.

Although people have become more aware of mental health now, there is a lot more required. The people should not attach any taboo to the mental health of employees. When people don’t think going to a psychiatrist is derogatory, and then it can lead to positive results for those who are suffering from depression.

 There have been reports released by WHO as per which employees sometimes suffer from increased stress due to workplace problems. This can cause a decrease in enthusiasm and result in outcomes like reduced performance, problems with other coworkers, and increased leaves. The companies are then left with no choice but to fire such employees. Also, companies do some checks on the background of employees to know about their mental health issues. Therefore, people with such problems are unable to get employment. But, the solution is the opposite, i.e. employees with such problems should be reemployed to help them recover from this problem.

So, it is kind of a challenge before a company to make sure that the employees don’t suffer from such problems in the first place.

But, with the current situation, mental health has become a recurring problem with employees working from home i.e. the remote work culture. The employees work in a secluded environment with no interaction with their coworkers. The employees don’t have much interaction in a video conferencing call. There must be changes made to remote work to make sure employees don’t suffer psychologically.

How can employees have better mental health? 

Although companies do take care of their employee’s mental health, the programs can be different from each other. Some companies try to lure employees into having better fitness parameters like blood pressure, cholesterol and more exercise. So, employees who attain such parameters get incentives. Employees can also get rewards if they cease smoking. But, in the USA, there are counselling websites which the employees can reach out to through chat messengers and video sessions. On the other hand, when the companies have workplace counsellors they are aware of the company’s ambience also so they are better able to guide employees. The companies can recruit such counsellors on a permanent or temporary basis. 

Some companies in India have appointed counsellors in these times where employees can discuss their problems. These video chats can be asynchronous where employees have talked about their problems. 

For example, Microsoft India is one such company, where counsellors will talk about mental health problems with both managers and employees which can arise with remote work. 

Despite counsellors, employees don’t want to get treatment because it’s considered ludicrous. However, they can be educated about its benefits through instructional designing and elearning. Since the employees don’t have access to workplace counsellors in remote work, the company leaders should take their place. They should be able to detect the symptoms of anxiety in employees. They should be able to offer guidance to employees and resolve their problems with empathy. Leaders should be able to listen to problems employees are facing in remote work without having a negative attitude. The leaders can also provide advice to employees about how they can get rid of their mental health issues in virtual work. 

Role of elearning in improving mental health 

This is the job of the Learning and Development Teams now to make sure that employees don’t have mental health issues when they are working from home. There can be huge effects on a company’s productivity when the employees face mental health problems like depression.

The elearning USA can be a good way to make sure employees don’t feel bad about seeking help for mental health. For example, the elearning vendors or the L&D team of a company can make sure that they develop videos to change the mindset of employees about mental health. They can also make sure that employees are shown elearning videos involving characters and stories about how to deal with their mental health problems. There can also be a communication plan scheduled with leaders for employees to converse about such problems. 

28 Oct 2020

How to have onboarding programs for remote employees?

Today, in the times of Corona, employees are working remotely for the companies. However, these employees need to feel like they are a part of the company. For this, the company can adopt many elearning strategies.
A good onboarding program increases employee satisfaction. They are able to give in real value to the company.

  • Make sure employees feel a part of the company
  • You can create a sense for employees like they are part of your organisation. For this, it’s important that there is a live introduction given through video conferencing to such employees. You can also provide a “buddy” to them through the company. This will be a colleague who will help them with work and rules and regulations of the company till the time they are able to do it themselves. You can also hold some online events where employees can also participate. There can also be elearning tutorials shared with them. This can help them cope up with work.

  • Inform about company culture
  • The employees need to get acquainted with the company culture. The benefit of elearning is that you can include a large number of elements in it to showcase your company culture. You can make videos in Vyond, include some real-life footage to present to remote employees what your company culture is really like. Apart from moments of culture, you can also show what it’s like working in the company. You can also ask older employees to record experiences of how they feel about working in the company.

  • Learning should be factored over time
  • Onboarding can be a great process for remote employees. It’s true that for on the site employees this process can take involve time spent away from the job. In remote employment, the employees don’t have to spend time away from the job as they are onboarding. Onboarding can take weeks. The new employees can learn at levels and one step at a time, as they need time to become part of the organisation. This way they don’t get overburdened with information.

  • Adjust the employee onboarding program
  • There are different kinds of employees which join an organisation. So, different onboarding programs can be prepared for them. Some employees who join an organisation are complete freshers while others are experienced. So, you can prepare elearning modules for employees which are relevant for their experience. There can be modules which are relevant for all employees. The best part is that you can also track how much elearning has been watched by a certain employee

  • Remote onboarding should be a program
  • The best way is to have different onboarding programs shown to employees over a span of time. The programs can be synchronous in which the learner and the trainers are present simultaneously. The onboarding programs can also be asynchronous in which the learners have to learn at their own speed. They don’t have a trainer to guide them. There can be elearning courses given to the learner. The learners can learn through several media and hence their retention rate is boosted.

    So, this is how elearning programs can help learners. The people who have joined a company can benefit from a learning module worth 15 minutes in length. However there has been an increase in virtual learning courses, so it’s better to have modules of proper length so that people don’t get fatigued watching them.

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    DSLR stands for Digital single-lens reflex camera. It has a digital imaging sensor. In this kind of camera, the captured image can be viewed in the viewfinder when the shutter button is pressed. Its shown through the main lens rather than through a secondary lens, so the user knows what has been captured. 

    He was a German psychologist who is known for discovering the forgetting curve. According to this curve, the biggest decline in memory happens within 20 minutes, and then 1 hour.