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News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

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Recent studies outline benefits and risks of telecommuting

The workplace landscape has drastically changed, and we’re not just talking stand-up desks and exercise balls for chairs. It might come as a shock that as of 2010, over 2.6 million Americans telecommute. That’s over 20 percent of the U.S. working adult population. On a global scale, 20 percent telecommute, and 10 percent of those telecommute everyday…

 

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Returning from parental leave and accommodating family status

After 20 weeks of parental leave, I’m back in front of my computer, checking my email, catching up on workplace changes, putting together a schedule and generally getting back into the swing of things. Per the law, my employer has reinstated me to the same position I left (at the same wage), although with some accommodation to ease my transition, and I will no doubt be expected to perform up to my previous standard. I know I’ll need the help!

 

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Human Rights Tribunal scrutinizes medical note in allegation of discrimination on the basis of disability

Human Resources practitioners are constantly confronted with medical notes from employees that do not provide any meaningful medical information (i.e. Bob is off work for 2 weeks because he is under doctor’s care). In addition, some employees who are disciplined or terminated after submitting these less than informative medical notes will file human rights complaints alleging discrimination in employment on the basis of a disability. Recently, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (“Tribunal”) had a chance to comment on these all too common issues…

 

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Employee burnout: how employers can help avoid it

Is there a law that says employers must prevent employee burnout? No, not really, but occupational health and safety legislation across Canada provides that an employer must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect a worker. That could include ensuring that an employee does not suffer from full blown burnout. When employers assist in this regard, they are also ensuring that their workplaces remain healthy and productive, and have higher morale.

 

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More news on Air Canada: pilots challenge the back-to-work legislation

The Air Canada pre-emptive back-to-work legislation saga continues. Now the pilots have challenged the pre-emptive back-to-work legislation in court arguing that it prevents strikes or lockouts, forces the pilots to keep flying, and coerces the pilots to accept a contract imposed by arbitration in a process that is completely skewed given it was designed to favour the airline’s position…

 

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Do we place too much emphasis on stress at work?

Seventy-three percent of working Canadians experience almost daily stress in their jobs, according to a recent study by Statistics Canada. That’s approximately 10 million people, or nearly one-third of Canada’s population. More than one-quarter of workers say their job is “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressful; close to half say they experience “a bit” of stress. But where is all the stress coming from, and is it affecting workers’ productivity?

Morever, should employers be aiming for stress-free workplaces?

 

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Does over-sensitivity lead to harassment? The preventive value of respect

“Excessive claims of workplace harassment are a sign that our society has become far too sensitive and it really needs to stop.” This is the message I received from workshop participants this week during a group discussion on the topic of the prevention of workplace harassment and discrimination. But is it true?

 

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Volunteering: a pleasure or a burden?

After I joined the board of directors at a not-for-profit arts organization, it didn’t take long for me to wonder how I’d balance my new obligations with the rest of my day-to-day life. I’d volunteered before, but only informally. Now I have regular responsibilities, mainly meetings and fundraising. I’ll probably invest 70 to 80 hours volunteering with the organization this year. It’s a worthy cause, but it’s also worthwhile to question the time commitment.

 

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Conflicting views on engagement?

There are a lot of factors to employee engagement. Some employees need recognition, in the form of pay, benefits, seniority or favour. Others need to feel that they are part of the company and have a stake in its success. Still others need to feel a connection to their work; it must be creative and challenging. Most workers probably need some balance of all these factors. I know I wouldn’t last long in a dull and repetitive environment. But I also would feel unappreciated if I weren’t remunerated appropriately.

 

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Knowledge of disability triggers employer’s duty to accommodate

A recent Ontario Human Rights Tribunal case offers a clear message to employees: you have to make your employer aware of a disability if you want to trigger the employer’s duty to accommodate.

 

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Are our devices harming our health?

I’ve caved. The end of my phone contract has been looming large, and as I pondered my options, somehow I thought, “I’d really like to be more connected.” So I’m ditching my two-year-old, decidedly not smart, flip phone and getting an iPhone—and a data plan. Soon I’ll be able to tweet and update my Facebook status and share photos wherever I am. And I’m afraid.

 

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The season of stress?

What types of pressures you’re feeling this season—both at and away from work—and how do you deal with them? My coping method is to pray desperately for vacation (four days away!) and think about how great I’ll feel in the new year.

 

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Do vacations stress you out? (Part two)

So it’s practically summer and I can’t help thinking of the days off I’ll be taking here and there, the chunk of vacation time I still have left and the various long weekends remaining. (But I don’t let my daydreams affect my work!) I might not have a lot of vacation days left, but I’m sure going to use them.

 

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Do vacations stress you out?

Have you ever had a vacation that was just long enough? At the end of a week off, have you ever thought, “That was perfect, and now I can’t wait to get back to work”?

 

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