Do you work in human resources? We’ve gathered all of the latest HR trends and news so you can stay updated on what’s most important in your field right now. Many changes are taking place as employees return to work amid continuing COVID-19 concerns and civil unrest.
1. COVID-19 is Changing HR
As it has many other industries, COVID-19 is changing the face of HR and the Human Resources departments of most, if not all, organizations. Remote work is likely to become a permanent or semi-permanent aspect of most businesses. This requires HR professionals to find new ways to address employee productivity and engagement.
Employment law disputes, retention concerns and shifts in company culture are all real challenges that HR professionals must now face. Recruitment continues to be important for organizations across the board, as well.
“As HR pros struggle to keep employees safe and informed, it helps to think about what changes will be more permanent and how you’ll guide employees and organizational leadership through those changes.” Tim McElgunn
2. Masks Present New Challenges
Mixed signals from authorities at all levels have led many employers to be confused as to whether masks should be worn in the workplace. The consensus is that masks make employees more comfortable at work as an added layer of protection. However, they must be a support to other social distancing measures.
The good news is that masks are become more affordable and accessible. Following proper washing and care instructions can help employers and employees stay safer at work and at home. HR professionals should stay informed of the latest CDC guidelines regarding PPE and social distancing recommendations.
“The CDC notes that masks should cover the mouth and nose, be secured under the chin and fit snugly on all sides. It's important to wash your hands before putting on a mask and after removing it.
In addition, masks should be washed after each use, either in a washing machine or by soaking in a bleach solution for 5 minutes. They should be dried on a high setting or air-dried in the sun, the agency said.” Nancy Cleeland
3. FFCRA Makes FMLA More Burdensome
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is a new act from the DOL. It encourages employers to allow workers to have intermittent time off to care for their children. The FFCRA can be burdensome for HR departments. The main issue is the many gray areas where granting leave is concerned.
The lack of clarity could cause employers to be inconsistent with their new leave policies. This can lead to unintended inequality and similar unfair practices that are bound to cause headaches for many HR professionals.
“The FFCRA gives firms ‘significant leeway” to either approve or deny an intermittent schedule for a worker requesting leave, said [Marjory] Robertson. However, firms need to be consistent when denying leave and document the business reason for the denial to avoid any discrimination lawsuits.” Lynn Cavanaugh
4. SCOTUS’s New Ruling Protects LGBTQ+ Workers
As the result of a landmark decision made by the Supreme Court, sexual orientation is now a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This new ruling makes it illegal to fire an employee because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
The Supreme Court has made it clear that such discrimination is related to — and fundamentally the same as — discrimination based on sex. Sex discrimination has been illegal in the United States since 1964. Protections for LGBTQ+ workers have been notedly absent throughout US history.
“[Justice Neil] Gorsuch went on to say that ‘sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role’ in firing a person due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, which is ‘exactly what Title VII forbids.’” Rachel Mucha
5. Pregnant, Older Workers Shouldn’t Be Excluded From Work
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has cautioned employers about an important element of return-to-work plans. The EEOC recently outlined its concerns regarding employers preventing older or pregnant workers from returning to work.
Even basing the decision on concern for the health and well-being of an employee is considered discrimination in the eyes of the EEOC. Furloughs, lay-offs and involuntary leaves were all examples of discriminatory practices provided by the commission.
“The commission's updates also addressed alternative screening accommodations, best practices for inviting workers to request flexibility and guidance on accommodation requests from pregnant workers or those living with an individual at high-risk for severe illness.” Lisa Burden
Professional Development for HR Professionals
Education is one of the best ways to stay current in your field as an HR professional. You can stay up to date on the latest HR trends with HRWatch’s on-demand HR webinars.