Monthly Archives: July 2017

What Employers Can and Can’t Highlight In Online Job Applications

As a HR professional, you likely have questions about what you legally can and can’t say in an online job application. Ninja Gig will help highlight some basic job application rules.

Things to Avoid in Job Postings

Employers cannot discriminate and screen candidates that have traditional high school diplomas versus GEDs. Additionally, nearly half of all U.S. states prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation. While there are no federal laws that prohibit this, federal job postings should not reference sexual orientation.

Job applications cannot request that applicants that currently have jobs and are not receiving unemployment benefits apply. In fact, New York City has legislation that bans employers from discriminating against unemployed applicants.

Certain Types of Applicants

Most companies know that they cannot violate federal and state laws by requesting something as ludicrous as “Only married men should apply for the position.” Common violations seen in online job postings include inadvertent discrimination for protected classes of people. An example of this is “candidates with a strong family orientation” or “looking for applicants that have a young perspective on marketing and social media habits.”

Some companies do not have discriminating language in the job description but may post mission statements that make applicants assume they are looking for particular types of candidates. For example, “Our business mission is to know Jesus Christ and to live a fulfilling life within the Church.”

One way to avoid any potential misunderstandings is for businesses to state: “Women and men, and members of all ethnic and racial groups are encouraged to apply. We are interested in hiring all individuals, women and men, including those with disabilities and persons who are gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual or intersex.”

There are rare discrimination law exceptions. If someone is disabled and the physical requirements and accommodations would make it physically challenging for the applicant to carry out the job duties, employers do not have to accommodate these types of requests.

Religious groups are permitted to give preference to a specific gender. Additionally, religious organizations are allowed to ask people with particular beliefs to apply, if the doctrine of the group requires a certain spiritual practice to sufficiently carry out job duties. For example, Lutheran Ministers are of the Lutheran faith, and Catholic Ministers are of the Catholic faith.

In very rare circumstances, if the connection of someone’s age is relevant to the job, an employer may be permitted to imply certain age limits. For example: “Applicants must be able to complete 25 years of service before the age of 62.”

If businesses have any questions related to what is and isn’t legal to incorporate into online job applications or employment postings, it is best to contact the federal and/or state government for additional information. Ninja Gig also recommends obtaining legal advice to ensure that all compliance requirements and laws are met.

Ninja Gig specializes in helping companies create unique online job applications. Whether you are looking to hire cashiers, registered nurses, teachers, insurance agents or build your customer service department, having a detailed employment application can help you find qualified applicants for your company.  By signing up for a free trial today, you can start accepting employment applications online immediately!

How Health Incentives Can Leave Employers Open to Legal Issues

Most large companies offer some health-improvement programs. Whether it’s education, weight loss, biometric screening or walking programs, there are wide varieties of wellness programs that are very easy for businesses to administer. However, these types of plans may seem beneficial to companies, but they are wrought with compliance issues.

Human resources departments are aware that wellness plans are subject to laws, such as HIPAA and ACA. What most companies do not know is that there are nine different federal statutes that wellness plans can be subject to accommodating. This includes the following:

 

  1. ACA (Affordable Care Act)
  2. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996)
  3. ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974)
  4. COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act)
  5. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
  6. GINA (Generic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008)
  7. FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act)
  8. IRC (Internal Revenue Code)
  9. NLRA (National Labor Relations Act)

 

Additionally, some states have even stricter laws, federal regulations create confusion and acts even contradict one another.

 

For example, both ACA and ADA have financial incentives for wellness initiatives, up to 30-percent of the employee-only costs for coverage. After that, each regulation differs in how they calculate the 30-percent incentive. This means that ironically both ACA and ADA can be in violation of each other. Ultimately, employers will need to look at each incentive separately under both plans to make sure they are in compliance. If you are not sure, it may be best to contact your company’s legal department for an assessment and advice.

 

Another important IRC change is that all non-group health plan incentives, whether it’s gift cards, cash or even a gym membership is subject to taxable W2 wages and subject to income tax withholding, FICA and FUTA. This is also true if a health insurer and not the company provide the incentives.

 

If companies offer a health-contingent wellness program and it requires staffers to comply with the standard for a health factor, it is required to meet five conditions under HIPAA. One condition that may prove difficult for employers is that plans are required to provide notice of a reasonable alternative for the reward in plan materials that discuss the terms of the program. This notice must be included in every brochure or booklet about the wellness program. Failure to do so could result in a HIPAA violation.

 

If companies have any questions about these rules and want to make sure they comply with federal and state regulations, it is best to contact government offices or an attorney.

 

Ninja Gig specializes in helping companies streamline their online job application process. We offer the flexibility of customizing online applications for jobs, which can help streamline job searches and the applicant hiring process.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial and you can start accepting employment applications online immediately!

Teachers: The Latest Supply and Demand Statistics

A teacher shortage has been predicted for many years. Once the Great Recession began recovering, districts overcame budget cuts and layoffs and started hiring again. However, many school districts were surprised to find that they had great difficulty hiring qualified teachers. It is especially difficult for districts to find teachers that specialize in science, mathematics, bilingual education, English language development and special education.

There are several different reasons why our nation may be experiencing a teacher shortage.

  • In Demand – After many years of enrollments declining, the demand for teachers increased after the Great Recession.
  • Hiring Trends – The 2017 and 2018 projections anticipate that annual hires will be around 300,000 teachers per year.
  • Enrollment Predictions – The National Center for Education Statistics is predicting that the school population will increase by 3 million in the next decade.
  • Reinstated Programs – Many programs were reduced or cut during the Great Recession. Districts are now reinstating these programs, which are anticipated to generate an additional 145,000 new teacher hires.
  • Student-Teacher Ratios – Districts are also looking to reduce the average student-teacher ratios, which are currently at 16-to-1, but were around 15.3-to-1 before the Great Recession.
  • Teacher Education Enrollments – Between 2009 and 2014, teacher college education enrollments dropped from 691,000 to 451,000. This was a 35% reduction, which equals approximately 240,000 professional teaching positions.
  • Exit Ratios – Only one-third of teachers that leave teaching before the age of retirement will return to this profession.
  • High-Poverty Schools – Schools that have higher-than-average poverty levels are at a risk of losing teachers.

Some key points factor into the above statistics. For example, if teachers are not adequately prepared when they enter their teaching careers, the rate of turnover is significantly higher. This can add valuable costs to the replacement process and can contribute to decreases in overall student achievement.

Long-term solutions to help boost the teacher workforce include having recruitment and retention strategies in place. This will help assist in creating a stronger workforce and prioritize student learning.

Ninja Gig offers online job applications, which are ideal for public and private school districts. These job applications are easy to customize and allow districts to pre-qualify potential applicants.  Sign up for a 30-day free trial and start accepting job applications online immediately!

Why Minimum Wage Jobs Have High Turnover

When companies analyze their turnover rates, they will likely notice that minimum wage jobs have a higher turnover rate than higher paying positions.

There are several different reasons why minimum wage jobs regularly experience these higher-than-average turnover rates.

 

  • Education – Many minimum wage employees are not in working positions where they have long-term dedicated interests. In some cases, employees in these positions may lack the education that is necessary to obtain a better paying job. Sometimes employees are continuing their education and only have a minimum wage job until they receive their degrees. To help overcome this turnover, employers can offer educational opportunities to help employees improve both their personal and professional skills. When companies invest in their employees, they feel more loyalty to businesses.
  • Economic Conditions – The economy plays a significant contributing factor to minimum wage turnover. During exit interviews, one of the most cited reasons for leaving minimum wage jobs is seeking higher-paying employment. When the economy is healthy and ripe with opportunities, there tend to be more opportunities for good paying jobs. When the economy is poor and if businesses are experiencing cutbacks, layoffs, etc., more people are willing to take minimum wage jobs.
  • Turnover – Companies will need to analyze the costs of paying workers minimum wage and having to train new employees for these positions, especially if businesses have high turnover rates. Companies need to determine if they can afford to pay their employees more than minimum wage. Secondly, to help absorb some of these costs, can any expenses be passed down to customers? Finally, if employers want to pay employees minimum wage, they need to determine if they can absorb higher turnover rates.

Ninja Gig offers job applications online. Employers can customize these job application forms, tailoring them to minimum wage positions.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial!