The summer sun warming our skin can elicit feelings of happiness, relaxation and, for many, quality time with family. This change in season can also bring about a number of considerations for small businesses. Here are a few pieces of guidance to keep in mind during the summer season.
1. As temperatures rise, employees may want to be anywhere but indoors.
We’ve all been there; your focus starts to drop as the temperature rises. It’s a picture perfect day, but there is work to be done and you’re stuck inside. If you find your employees suffering from a lack of motivation in the summertime, there are a few ways to handle it. In fact, you might find that embracing the season could work to your advantage.
Encourage vacation time – Yes. Studies show that taking a vacation can actually increase productivity. Sixty-four percent of workers say they feel refreshed and excited to get back to their job after a short break.
Be flexible – If possible, hold meetings outside, let your employees work outside for a few hours, or even consider letting them leave early on Fridays. When you allow them to experience that picture perfect day, they’ll spend less time wishing they could.
Revisit goals – Generally, goal setting is reserved for the beginning of a new year. In typical ‘set it and forget it’ fashion, these goals can jump start you into the year, but can fall flat if not closely monitored. Summer may be the perfect midway point to set new challenges for your employees and revamp those goals.
2. Take a look at your dress code policy.
When the heat is on, you may find that your employees tend to dress for the occasion. While your small business might have a more lenient dress code, it’s still worth documenting in your employee handbook so you don’t run into any awkward issues. An articlefrom the Society for Human Resource Management includes a suggestion that a summer dress code policy should be a balance between comfort, health, safety and business needs.
3. Internships – To pay or not to pay?
As schools and colleges increase their emphasis on experiential learning, this area in particular is worth some additional attention. For those small businesses that experience an increase in business during the summer months, hiring an intern can be a great option for additional help. However, before bringing that student onto your staff, be mindful of the latest Department of Labor (DOL) guidance that determines an individual’s employment status. In fact, the new guidance has reversed the DOL’s previous six-part test, which determined whether interns and students were actually employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The new guidance focuses on the “primary beneficiary” test to determine the “economic realities” of the intern-employer relationship. This new flexible test considers the unique circumstances of each situation to determine whether a particular individual, usually a student, may qualify as an unpaid intern, or should be paid as an employee. At the end of the day, a private employer may find it difficult to satisfy the primary beneficiary test, but it is not an insurmountable task if the employer diligently ensures that the primary beneficiary of the intern-employer relationship is the intern.
4. Reduce risk for heat-related illness.
Warehouse workers, landscapers and manufacturers – if your employees are exposed to high temperatures during the summertime, you should be mindful of the risks of heat-related illness. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states employers have a duty to protect workers from recognized serious hazards in the workplace. OSHA’s guide for using the heat indexexplains everything from who is most susceptible to heat-related illness, sources, numbers to be aware of and tips for avoiding and responding to illnesses.
Founded in 1994, Black McLaren Jones Ryland & Griffee, P.C. is a law firm practicing in a wide range of legal practice areas including family law, insurance defense, contract law, civil litigation, vaccine law, estate and probate, subrogation, criminal law, and others. The firm is comprised of attorneys licensed in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri and New York. Our attorneys are admitted to practice in federal courts, including, but not limited to various United States District Courts, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the United States Supreme Court.
For more information, visit: http://www.bmjrglaw.com.
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