workforce

Find Out About IMAGE – ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers

For many companies around the country, building a successful business starts with hiring a capable workforce.

It can be a tedious process. One that begins with the recruitment of qualified candidates and continues with the subsequent steps of taking those potential employees through the hiring process, all while ensuring that all documentation is in compliance with the law.

As part of the hiring process, companies must conduct regular self-assessments to uncover flaws that could be exploited by unauthorized workers who create vulnerabilities in today’s marketplace by presenting false documents to gain employment, completing applications for fraudulent benefits and stealing identities of legal United States workers.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducts outreach through the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, or IMAGE program, to instill a culture of compliance and accountability.

Read more https://www.ice.gov/features/image 

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The Council of Industry’s Collaborative Recruiting Program Is Helping Hudson Valley Manufacturers Find the Talent they Need

When Johnnieanne Hansen began her role as Director of Workforce Development and Apprentice Coordinator for the Council of Industry her first priority was to recruit companies to participate in the newly formed Intermediary Apprentice Program. Her first order of business was to visit with member CEO’s and HR professionals to pitch the idea.  What she heard from them, while not completely surprising, did raise some alarm bells in her head and prompted her to rethink her priorities.

“They loved the apprentice idea, they really did.  They recognized that it was one solution to finding the skilled workers they needed.” Ms. Hansen remembers. “But they also said that they did not have the time to think about apprentices or to take on a project like that because they ‘need people now!’  So unless I was walking in with people on my shoulders for them to hire, they had more pressing recruiting problems.”

She prodded them further about how they were recruiting and where they were finding candidates.  As she did so an idea began take shape in her mind that these small and mid-sized manufacturers, all different, yet all a little alike, could pool their resources to market careers with Hudson Valley manufacturers and develop a system to organize and manage candidates.

Thus, in March of 2018 the Collaborative Recruiting Initiative was hatched.

“In my previous positions as a recruiter and corporate trainer I had done some research into Applicant Tracking Systems. It occurred to me that the Council could purchase a subscription and make the service available to participating members.”  Hansen said.  “Hiring managers get a system where they can post jobs, sort and track candidates and get other resources and support throughout the hiring process. Posted jobs are distributed to over 100 job boards like: Indeed, Hotjobs, Monster, Zip Recruiter, LinkedIn and Glassdoor.”

Additionally, all the jobs are listed in one place www.HVMfgJobs.com  and a social media marketing campaign is in place to encourage people to visit the site.  The campaign is designed to target individuals most likely to be interested in careers in manufacturing.

“We thought that this might be a valuable tool for our members.  A way to give them some resources that are otherwise not accessible to them, or at least cost probative.” Hansen added.

The program launched in March 2018 with 10 companies posting about 25 jobs. Today 29 participating companies keep roughly 100 jobs posted at any point in time at www.HVMfgJobs.com.  There have been more than 100 positions filled in that time from nearly 5,000 applicants.

“It’s working.” Says Hansen. “Of course it could be better.”  She suggests that more could be done to take advantage of the applicant pool and that marketing the positions and Hudson Valley Manufacturing, in general, could be stronger.   “Every additional company that participates, every additional job that gets posted makes the program stronger,” Hansen said. “We’re good, it’s solid and it will be even better in 12 more months.”

All Council members are welcome to participate in the Collaborative Recruiting Program and its new pricing model will make it easier for any firm to participate. If you want to learn more visit https://careers.councilofindustry.org/manufacturing or email Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org

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The Blue-Collar Drought

 

Many people believed that robots and machines would one day take over blue-collar jobs, however, it’s actually resulted in the exact opposite. Artificial intelligence, robotics and the internet have only created more jobs. Blue-collar Industries still need workers to make sure those robots are designed, built, maintained and run efficiently.

However, today’s candidate-driven job market is falling short on delivering the blue-collar workers that many industries need.  Unemployment continues to fall, as well as the number of workers entering the blue-collar sector. By 2028 its expected that there could be as many as 2.4 million unfilled manufacturing jobs, which could result in an estimated $2.5 trillion negative economic impact on the US.

The amount of job openings in manufacturing is increasing each year, and the percentage of workers in manufacturing positions has fallen to less than 13 percent of the labor force. There are variety of causes to this shortage. Many people believe that the term “blue-collar worker” now has a negative connotation. People associate blue-collar jobs with difficult, dirty work, and it’s discouraging people from applying. The use of “skilled trades worker” or “technical careerist” is being recommended instead.

Another contributing factor to this issue is the increasing number of students getting four-year college degrees after high school. Enrollment rates continue to go up each year, reaching 20 million in 2015. This is likely due to parent’s perception of blue-collar jobs and the mind-set that college will lead to a better life. Yet many students leave college with substantial debt and enter the workforce with low-paying jobs. A college degree no longer guarantees a secure or well-paying job like it once did.

“Overseas, countries are promoting and capitalizing on skills training, while we [in the U.S.] started promoting college degrees. That’s what we put in front of our kids every day. That’s what they see on TV. Overseas they said, ‘Hey we’re going to gain on the U.S. by teaching manufacturing.”

Many people also don’t fully understand the benefits of a blue-collar job. There is a misconception that they’re low-paying jobs that require a low skill level. However, many of these jobs require less than a college degree but pay more than some professional “white-collar” positions.

The nationwide skills-gap is another obstacle that gets repeatedly discussed. Vocational education programs are disappearing in high schools, and many companies aren’t willing to invest in programs that can help develop skills in young-employees. Many manufacturing companies want and need employees with up to 5 years of past experience, but that’s increasingly rare to find.

However, even with all of this there are many positive initiatives being put into place across the county that are helping to promote these jobs. Many high schools are beginning to invest more heavily in STEM programs and trade-skills training. Companies are putting apprentice programs into place to help develop vocational skills internally. By opening up these apprenticeships to high school students they’re also exposing young adults to the manufacturing industry early and helping to prevents those stigmas from ever being formed.

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) is involved in apprenticeship and skilled-trade training programs to help build the future workforce. And in the summer of 2018 the President also signed an executive order designed to better align government training programs and retaining older workers without college degrees. All of these efforts together are working to close the skills-gap and eliminate misconceptions about blue-collar workers.

 The Council of Industry is also making efforts to combat the skills-gap right here in the Hudson Valley with their NYS Registered Apprentice Program. The program consists of both related instruction and on-the-job training. It typically takes about four years to complete the program, and there are currently 6 registered trades to choose from: Machinist (CNC), Electro-Mechanical Technician, Maintenance Mechanic, Quality Assurance Auditor, Toolmaker, and Industrial Manufacturing Technician. If you’re a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information, or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or (845) 565-1355 to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

For more information read the full article here.  

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Council Will Use its Collaborative Recruiting Program to Help you Recruit The Best Summer Intern Talent

One of the cool features of the Council of Industry’s Collaborative Recruiting Initiative  (CRI) is called “Job Target.”  In enables jobs posted on our board to be sent automatically to specified Job Boards such as those at Colleges and Universities.  In the coming months, we intend to use this feature to help you find the best interns for your company this summer.

We know that providing internships is one of the best recruitment strategies a company can have.  It opens a channel from a school to your company, serves as a “get to know you” period where both parties get a chance to see if there is a good fit, while at the same time enables you to get some needed work done at your business. To help our members find the best intern candidates for this summer we will:

  • Encourage companies participating in the CRI to post their internships on our site
  • Offer non-participating companies the opportunity to place their intern posting on the site at a reduced cost
  • Use “Job Target” to post these jobs on key college and University job boards such as SUNY Binghamton, Clarkson, RPI, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Buffalo and RIT to name a few.

Interested?  We hope you are because together we can attract some top talent to the region and maybe get some of the young people who live in the Hudson Valley, but attend these schools, to find a meaningful internship with you. If you are a CRI participant all you need to do is post your job and we’ll do the rest.  If you are not a CRI participant contact Serena Cascarano or Johnnieanne Hansen to get your intern job posted.

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New York Legislative Update — 2019 Starts With a Roar

From Jackson Lewis PC, a Council of Industry Associate Member
By Jonathan L. BingRichard I. GreenbergLisa M. MarrelloMichelle E. PhillipsDaniel J. Jacobs and Thomas Buchan

The New York State Legislature gaveled in for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session on January 9, 2019, with Democrats in control of all three chambers of New York State government for the first time since the 2008-2009 session. As expected, the Democrats are flexing their muscles and progressive legislation traditionally stalled in a Republican-controlled Senate has been given new life. For example, two long-stalled progressive pieces of legislation, Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and the Child Victims Act (discussed below), were quickly passed by the Legislature.

Jackson Lewis is tracking a number of proposals affecting employers that are going through the FY 2020 State Budget Process and 2019 Legislative Session.

Passed Legislation

GENDA – S.1047 (Hoylman) / A.747 (Gottfried)

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act into law. GENDA will go into effect on February 24, 2019. GENDA prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression and includes such offenses under the hate crimes statute. The legislation codifies the position taken by the New York State Division of Human Rights. “Gender identity or expression” is defined as “a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-based characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including but not limited to the status of being transgender.”

Child Victims Act – S.2440 (Hoylman) / A.2683 (Rosenthal)

Passed by the Legislature, the Child Victims Act extends the criminal statute of limitations for prosecuting sex crimes against children to when the child reaches 23 years of age. The legislation also extends the civil statute of limitations to allow commencement of child sex abuse cases until the alleged victim turns 55 years old. The law further creates a one-year opener or window for filing previously time-barred civil claims arising out of child sexual abuse, including negligence actions against employers, applicable to both public and private entities.

Discrimination based on Reproductive Health Decision – S.660 (Metzger) / A.584 (Jaffee)

Both houses of the Legislature passed legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination based on an employee’s or an employee’s dependent’s reproductive health decisions. The legislation creates a civil cause of action against employers alleged to violate the law, requires employers to include remedies provided under the law in their handbooks, and prescribes remedies, including liquidated damages, for relief. The bill has not yet been delivered to the Governor.

Policies in Governor’s FY 2020 Executive Budget Proposal

The Governor’s FY 2020 New York State Executive Budget Proposal includes many ideas that would affect employers. We highlight some that will be considered through the negotiation process with the Legislature that is expected to conclude on or about the State Constitution-mandated deadline of April 1. Many of these already are effective under New York City law.

Equal Pay; Salary History Ban

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal would amend the Human Rights Law to prohibit employers from inquiring about salary history or using salary history information as a factor in determining whether to offer employment to an individual. Currently, such a ban does not apply statewide, but only in certain localities, such as New York City and Westchester County.

The Executive Budget Proposal would further amend the Labor Law to require that members of a protected class receive “equal pay for equal work” in both the public and private sectors.

Workplace Harassment Protections

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal advances language to increase protections against workplace harassment by eliminating the restriction that the harassment be “severe or pervasive.” This standard, which tracks the New York City Human Rights Law, would expand the scope of potential harassment claims greatly.

The proposal also would amend the General Obligations Law to mandate that all pre-dispute non-disclosure provisions in an employment agreement allow the filing of a civil complaint. It would further require employers to conspicuously post a sexual harassment educational poster in the workplace.

Protect Breastfeeding in Workplace

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal includes a provision that would guarantee breastfeeding rights in the workplace and protect those rights under the Human Rights Law. The proposal also would require an employer to make reasonable accommodations for breastfeeding in the workplace. New York City already has enacted expansive legislation in this regard, including a policy requirement, effective this spring. (See our article, New York City to Require Private Employers to Establish Lactation Rooms and Policies.)

Wage Theft

The Executive Budget Proposal includes a provision that would increase the criminal penalties for wage theft and violations of other labor laws to align with comparable criminal offenses. The proposal would amend sections 198-a and 213 of the Labor Law to increase criminal penalties for employers who knowingly engage in wage theft. The class of penalty of which an employer would be guilty will be based on specified amounts of wage theft per employee. In addition, payment of lost wages to employees would be required as restitution.

Unemployment Benefits, Penalties

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal intends to minimize the financial impact on Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants who work part-time while they seek full-time employment. Among other things, the proposal would permit a claimant who is partially unemployed and eligible for UI benefits to be paid a reduced benefit amount based upon the difference between the weekly benefit rate if totally unemployed and two-thirds of total remuneration of any nature payable to the claimant for services of any kind during such week. In addition, the proposal would amend section 594 of the Labor Law (“Reduction and recovery of benefits and penalties for wilful false statement”) to eliminate forfeit day penalties and to increase the monetary penalties.

Extend Workers with Disability Tax Credit

The Executive Budget Proposal would extend for three years the credits for qualified employers, including for-profit businesses, that employ individuals with developmental disabilities.

Employer Recovery Hiring Tax Credit

The Governor proposed the creation of an “Employer Recovery Hiring Tax Credit,” a credit of up to $2,000 per employee in drug abuse recovery that a business employs.

Workers’ Compensation Reform

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal would permit the New York State Insurance Fund (SIF) to cancel a workers’ compensation policy based on the policyholder’s failure to cooperate with a payroll audit. Prior to cancellation, the SIF would be required to provide policyholders with 45 days’ notice, aiming to pressure policyholders to act to avoid losing coverage.

Prohibiting Public Employers from Disclosing Union Members’ Personal Information

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal contains language that would prohibit public employers, including local governments, from disclosing the personal information of public sector employees. The Governor said this proposal aims to protect public employees from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision that public sector employees who are non-members of a union cannot be legally required to pay agency or “fair share” fees as a condition of employment. (See our article, Supreme Court Rules Unconstitutional Mandatory Fees Imposed on Non-Union, Public Sector Employees.)

Newly Proposed Sexual Harassment Package

Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblymember Aravella Simotas introduced a series of bills that aims to address issues related to sexual harassment in employment. S.2035/A.1115 would amend the Labor Law to require employers to inform employees that non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions in employment contracts cannot prevent employees from speaking with law enforcement, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights, or a local commission on human rights. The legislation is in the Labor Committees in both the Senate and Assembly.

S.2036/A.1042 would amend the Human Rights Law to extend the filing period for a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights from one year to three years after the alleged unlawful discrimination practice. The bill also would toll the statute of limitations during ongoing proceedings from the earlier of the commencement of an investigation or the filing of a complaint through the conclusion of an investigation. The legislation also would amend the Court of Claims Act to extend the filing period for a claim against the State and apply the same tolling provision in cases against New York State. The legislation is in the Government Operations Committees of both houses.

S.2037/A.869 would amend the General Obligations Law to demand that a person signing a confidential settlement agreement be fully informed of the rights she will be giving up and require a signed, written waiver before those rights are waived. The legislation would void confidentiality agreements that prohibit or restrict a party from lodging a complaint with the appropriate local, state, or federal agency; participating in an investigation conducted with a local, federal, or state agency; or filing or disclosing any facts necessary to receive unemployment insurance, Medicaid, or any other public benefit to which the party is entitled. The legislation is in the Judiciary Committee of both houses.

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Please contact the authors or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work with any questions you may have regarding your New York State legal compliance.

The Jackson Lewis Government Relations practice monitors and tracks all legislation introduced in New York and advocates for client positions at all levels of city and state government.

©2019 Jackson Lewis P.C. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between Jackson Lewis and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of Jackson Lewis.

This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Jackson Lewis P.C. represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Our attorneys are available to assist employers in their compliance efforts and to represent employers in matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. For more information, please contact the attorney(s) listed or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

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EEO-1 Reporting Deadline Extended

From Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, a Council of Industry Associate Member
By: Subhash Viswanathan

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Friday in a press release that the opening of the EEO-1 Survey for 2018 has been postponed until March 2019 and the deadline for submitting EEO-1 data will be extended until May 31, 2019.

The EEO-1 report must be filed by:  (1) private employers with 100 or more employees, excluding state and local governments, primary and secondary school systems, institutions of higher education, Indian tribes, and tax-exempt private membership clubs other than labor organizations; and (2) federal government contractors or first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a contract, subcontract, or purchase order amounting to $50,000 or more.

Filers should check the EEOC web page pertaining to the EEO-1 Survey in the coming weeks for details, instructions, and schedule updates.

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Manufacturing Alliance to Focus on Workforce and Taxes this Legislative Session

 

The New York State Manufacturing Alliance, of which the Council of Industry is a founding partner, is focusing on two issues of vital importance to manufacturing businesses across the Hudson Valley and the State – Workforce Development and Taxes.

On the Workforce development front, we are advocating for continued support of the P-TECH program, Career and Technical Education programs, and community colleges. Of particular importance to the Alliance is the expansion of the hugely successful Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP).

Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program

In 2016, New York State provided funding for MIAP program in Central New York.  This program was met with great interest by both manufacturers and their employees.  Since 2016, this program has grown from Central New York where there are over 30 companies formally participating in Registered Apprenticeship and 115 apprentices in seven unique occupations plus another 50 anticipated in 2019.

In 2017, the program rolled out to the Hudson Valley (Council of Industry) and the Rochester Region (through Rochester Tooling & Machine Association).  In these 2 regions there are now more than, 75 apprentices at 30 companies, in 10 different trades.

Manufacturers in the Western Southern Tier are now also beginning to participate in the program, and in the Albany region manufacturers are working with the Center for Economic Growth (CEG).  This momentum has motivated the New York City and Long Island areas to also request help in establishing themselves as intermediaries, proving the model is not only effective but expanding, therefore positively impacting the sector and our state’s business and workforce development as a whole.   In fact, we recently enrolled the first company on Long Island, Estee Lauder.

This model with its use of trusted associations as “intermediaries” and its collaborative partnering is a unique model of apprenticeship and is working for small and mid-sized manufacturers.  In traditional training programs, students are trained and seek employment when they are done – in an apprenticeship, a job comes first and training is supplied by an employer.  Industry participants see an increase in productivity, reduced turnover, and increased employee retention. Ultimately, we see it as a technique for improved recruitment and candidate selection. As employers struggle to fill open positions, apprenticeships are an important tool in addressing workforce development needs. MIAP helps manufacturers build effective apprentice programs.

 Given the tremendous success to date, we feel MIAP is a critical tool for continuing to build a skilled workforce throughout New York State.  This program is an essential component of a workforce development strategy to grow a stronger New York State economy through advanced manufacturing.

We are seeking $1.25 million to expand the program across the state.

A 0% Income Tax Rate for All New York Manufactures

The Manufacturers Alliance has also put forward and is seeking support for a 0% income tax rate for all manufacturers to be included in the 2019-2020 State Budget.

In 2014, we were successful in getting included in the final State Budget a reduction in the tax rate for manufacturers incorporated as C-corps.  This single action propelled New York from the bottom ten to the top 10 states for manufacturing and sent a message to large manufacturers, that New York was the place to invest.  It was a proven and effective tool to retain and grow manufacturing jobs across New York State. 

However, the vast majority of manufacturers in the Hudson Valley and across New York State are small to medium-sized manufacturers organized as S corps, proprietorships, LLCs and partnerships (pass-through entities).  These small to medium size manufacturers do not currently benefit from the existing zero percent rate and actually pay the 2nd highest income tax rate in the United States.   They are constantly being enticed by other states with friendlier tax climates to move operations and invest there.  These manufacturers are looking to their home state, New York, to demonstrate that they should stay in New York and continue to grow and invest here. 

In response to the pleas from our small to medium-size manufacturers, the Manufacturing Research Institute of New York State, commissioned a study to analyze the impact of extending the zero percent corporate franchise tax rate to these small and medium manufacturers.  According to a study by the Beacon Institute in September 2018, “the elimination of the PIT for pass-through manufacturers would increase private sector jobs by 4,660 in the first full-year and by 5,850 in 2023.   It would cause investment to rise by $118 million in 2019 and by $147 million in 2023. The increase in employment and investment would boost real disposable income by $345 million in 2019 and $503 million in 2022”. 

Extending a 0% tax rate to small and medium-sized manufacturers would send a strong signal to manufacturers that New York State is not only open for business but making a solid investment in their economic future.

We are working hard, meeting with legislators and administration officials, to get this change included in the 2019-20 State Budget.

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What To Do About Millennials & Generation Z in the Manufacturing Workplace

 

By Guest Blogger: Skip Weisman 

I continue to hear complaints from business owners about the younger “millennial” generation in the workplace. I find it comical. I really do.

There are a couple of reasons for this:

1) The “younger” generation has always been a problem in the workplace. Even the more senior/veteran generation in the current workplace was the problem in the workplace when they were the younger generation.

2) This “younger” millennial generation is currently leading some of the largest, most highly valued companies in the world, so they can’t be all bad. I’m talking about people like, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and:

  • Lyft found John Zimmer, 34
  • Spotify founder Daniel Ek, 35
  • Instagram founder, Mike Krieger, 32
  • WordPress founder, Matthew Mullenweg, 34

Before you give me a hard time that it’s all men in that list, check out this list of 15 female millennial and Generation Z (the generation after the Millennials) entrepreneurs you haven’t heard of yet, but you may very soon.

3) A generation is a very long window of time, between 15-20 years. As I have posited to my audiences in my seminars on this topic, “do you think an older Millennial at 35 years of age, has the same needs, desires, and interests as a 21 year old Millennial?” They all agree the answer is “no.”

My point is that there are good and bad people in every generation, there are wide variances in needs, desires, and interests across the timeline of people in each generation. It’s time to stop blasting an entire generation.

Do those in the Millennial generation and Generation Z have different attitudes, habits, work ethics, and interests than those in the older generation? Absolutely! 

Is the younger generation growing up without an interest in working with their hands beyond typing on a keyboard or using their thumbs to communicate? Absolutely!

Is this going to make it harder for manufacturing companies to find qualified, skilled, and already trained workers to step into roles? Absolutely!

Just like every younger generation always has different quirks than the older generation. 

Yes, it may be more acute than ever for manufacturers and other trade industries because of the dearth in fundamental skills required in those work environments, but it’s not impossible to overcome.

It starts with a mindset shift on the part of the leaders of the manufacturing firms. Instead of expecting ready made machinists, welders, and others needed in a manufacturing process, it may require an expectation of finding those who want an opportunity to learn a trade and invest in them first.

This may have some advantages:

  • They come with little or no bad habits in doing your type of work.
  • You can mold them to be what you need them to be and teach them your way from the beginning.
  • They become pretty loyal since you and those at your company gave them a chance and became their mentor.

Every generation comes into the work environment with some deficiencies that cause challenges for those in charge and need to get things done. It’s just our turn now to be on that side.

Some may remember that back in the 1950s and early 60s when the older generation was thinking Elvis Presley and the Beatles were undermining society?

At the beginning of the 1970s the flower children of the late 60s came into the workforce with an attitude to “not trust anyone over 30.”

Not long after I started my small business coaching and consulting,  about 10 years ago, I had a client who complained to me about the work ethic and the focus of his Gen Y employees.

His complaint was that they weren’t motivated enough for advancement. They were too complacent and comfortable and only wanted to focus on their personal life and family. They weren’t ambitious enough for him.

Now, this generation, for some, is too ambitious. They have an “entitlement” mentality, think they know it all and should be advancing before they’re ready.*

You can’t have it both ways.  And, I will argue you should want more of the latter and less of the former. They’re easier to mold and coach to become what they want and what you may need.

I say embrace that latter mentality and use it to your company’s advantage.

Every one of my clients has at least one young millennial who is a superstar at their company, pushing older generation folks to get better, faster, up to speed on technology.

I think that’s a good thing.

Maybe the problem isn’t the younger generation in the workforce but the older generation doing the hiring.

And, remember, if you’re still worried about the Millennial generation in the workplace, it’s too late. You better start learning about Generation Z, which is already starting to infiltrate the workplace.  

*(SIDE NOTE: You may also have the alternative “entitlement” mentality. That’s the other end of the generation scale with veteran employees who expect to have their job and their salary increases without improving their skills, keeping up with technology, not expecting to have to bring any additional value to the company as they wait for the calendar to turn the page to retirement.)

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New York Minimum Wage Increases

 

From Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions, a Council of Industry Associate Member

An increase in the minimum wage, intended to eventually bring New York’s state minimum wage to $15 an hour, went into effect on December 31.

As a result of a measure signed into law in April 2016, the state will continue to see minimum wage increases implemented on a regional basis. The state’s current basic minimum wage is $10.40 an hour.

Under this law, New York City employers with 11 or more employees will see the minimum wage go to $15 an hour on December 31. New York City employers with fewer than 11 employees will see the minimum wage increase to $13.50 on December 31 and rise $1.50 next year, reaching $15 at the end of 2019.

Long Island and Westchester counties will see the minimum wage rise to $12 on December 31 and then go up $1 per year, reaching $15 at the end of 2021.

The rest of the state will see the minimum wage hit $11.10 on December 31 and go up 70 cents per year until it reaches $12.50 at the end of 2020. After that, the minimum wage will continue to increase to $15 an hour on an indexed schedule.

The law contains a “safety valve” that will allow state officials beginning in 2019 to consider the effects of wage increases on regional economies before permitting scheduled increases to go into effect.

The minimum salary required for administrative and executive employees to be exempt from overtime pay in New York State is set to increase as well. Beginning December 31, 2018, the salary thresholds are as follows:

  •             NYC employers with 11 or more employees, $1,125 per week.
  •             NYS employers with 10 or fewer employees, $1,012.50 per week.
  •             For Nassau, Westchester, and Suffolk County employers, $900 per week.
  •             For other employers, $832 per week.

We are currently reviewing all employee pay rates and will be in touch shortly to discuss any necessary pay adjustments. If you have any questions, please contact us at 845-471-1200

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Having Trouble Finding Candidates? Have You Considered Attracting Veterans?

By Guest Blogger Michaela Ryan, Council of Industry Intern

In the manufacturing industry, one of the challenges that we all face is attracting quality candidates. Have you ever thought about trying to reach veterans through your candidate search? Did you know that jobs can be made searchable by MOS code? MOS codes are a specific code used in the military that identifies a particular job. Each MOS code has its own job description. Active members and veterans typically know their MOS code like the back of their hand. Therefore, when a veteran is searching for a civilian job, they know that they have the qualified skills and experience if it aligns with their MOS code. This information is being implemented in various recruitment strategies when trying to attract veterans for job openings.

The Manufacturing Industry aligns nicely with many of these MOS code job descriptions. Much of the work they do is hands-on work with machines, which fits perfectly into the Manufacturing Industry. Finding information on this is simple. When you search “MOS code job search” in Google, MOS translators for civilian jobs are the first links to pop up. For example, MOS code 44E is the code for a Machinist in the Army. A veteran could type “44E” into the MOS translator and it would present a list of job openings that align with their background as a machinist in the Army. It allows veterans to use their gained experiences and skills from the military and put those skills and experiences to use in civilian jobs.

Recruiters, such as yourselves,  can implement MOS code compatibility into your recruitment process by providing applicable MOS codes into your job postings. Multiple MOS codes can align with a single job. You can find a list of MOS codes categorized by military branch, for example, an Army MOS code list and a Marine MOS code list can be found here. There are numerous resources online when trying to figure out which MOS codes could apply to your job openings. This can help veterans find jobs faster that align with their prior experience and it can help you find qualified candidates by reaching a new market. This could open new doors for access to skilled candidates!

The Council of Industry started matching the jobs in our Recruiting Initiative to corresponding MOS codes. We started this to open new doors for our members to try and help solve this problem of finding qualified candidates. All of the applicable jobs will have a list of corresponding MOS code(s) implemented into the job description/posting. This will allow veterans to know that they qualify for that particular job and it will also make the job searchable by MOS code. Anyone can go to our website (Link Here) and search an MOS code and all applicable jobs will appear for candidates to easily apply. Our hope is to reach a broader candidate base for our members, as well as, assist veterans in their job search.

The Council of Industry started this process and implemented a few MOS codes into some applicable jobs already, but we need your help! As you know the jobs and qualifications better than anyone, we encourage you, as our members to follow suit and start thinking about this idea when creating a new job post. You can do this by going to the links above and searching for titles and job descriptions that are most relevant to your openings. Once you do this, you can add those applicable MOS codes into the job description. If you are apart of our Recruiting Initiative and joined iCIMS, once the MOS codes are implemented into the job posting, veterans can go to our website and search for their MOS code. If your job lists their MOS code, it will immediately show up. This will help you reach a new market of qualified candidates, in hope to help with your recruiting process.

Making MOS codes searchable with job openings is a new opportunity for you, as members, to attract veterans. By simply implementing this into your recruiting process, you can increase your likelihood of finding the quality candidate you’ve been looking for. Many other companies within various industries have already started to implement this into their recruitment process and there are a variety of tools readily available to assist in the implementation of this process. If you would like to attract veterans or find a new market of candidates during your recruitment process, this could be what you are looking for. If you have any questions or need help starting this process, feel free to reach out to us! We will be more than happy to help.

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COI Collaborate Recruitment Initiative Success Story

 

Hiring competent, high quality candidates for open positions is a challenge for all organizations. In an effort to simplify the process for our members the Council of Industry recently began using the applicant tracking software, iCIMS. iCIMS allows Human Resource professionals to more efficiently manage the recruitment process, and helps lessen some of the challenges associated with filling open positions. Debra Sherman, the Human Resources Director at Fair-Rite Products for the last 19 years, started using the program about 10 months ago and is extremely satisfied with the results.

Prior to using iCIMS Debra was using Excel Spreadsheets to manage her applicants, and filed resumes manually. She noted the difficulty with sorting through paper resumes and trying to remember which candidates possessed the qualifications she was looking for. During her search to find an applicant tracking system that met her needs the Council of Industry introduced her to iCIMS. The ease of use, and ability to simply search for specific skill sets listed on candidates’ resumes, sparked her interest in the software. She posted her first job on the system 10 months ago, which also published the position to Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and several other employment-oriented platforms. Since that date Fair-Rite Products has posted 29 open positions, received over 560 applications, and filled 16 of those positions.

Debra knew that the software was going to be a success when iCIMS helped her fill a position that Fair-Rite had open for over a year. She was struggling to find a qualified candidate to fill an Applications Engineer position, and had little success uploading the job to LinkedIn and other platforms herself. Once she uploaded the job to iCIMS she finally found the right candidate for the position, and filled the job in just a few short months. Debra believes that iCIMS played a big role in finally finding the ideal person for the job.

iCIMS has vast capabilities, and the Council of Industry continues to assist its members in understanding how to fully utilize the software in order to get the best results. Debra described the system as “robust” and likes that it gives her the ability to easily weed out non-qualified candidates. She also commented on the convenience of always knowing the number of candidates who applied for a job, having the ability to sort candidates by their commuting distance, reviewing the number of days it took to fill a position, and quickly emailing applicants through the system’s email templates. Debra believes that the ability to notify rejected candidates when a position has been filled is a common courtesy that was difficult, if not impossible, to do before she had access to the iCIMS automatic email templates. Now she can easily contact all rejected candidates with just a few clicks.

The success that Debra has experienced at Fair-Rite is a prime example of how beneficial the collaborative recruitment initiative can be for our members. Debra stated that, “The Council of Industry’s solution to our applicant tracking needs has been a huge success and has far surpassed my expectations.” Moving forward she hopes to fully eliminate the paper application with the help of the Council of Industry.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Collaborative Recruitment Initiative please contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or (845) 565- 1355 to discuss your recruitment obstacles and decided if this initiative is right for you. We are always willing to set up a time to speak with you about the capabilities of iCIMS and provide a demonstration of the system.

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NAM Outlook Survey Results Show Record Breaking Optimism in 2018

 

For the last 20 years the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has conducted the Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey with the help of their over 14,000 large and small manufacturing members. The survey is conducted once a quarter to gain insight on manufacturers’ economic outlook, hiring and investment decisions, and business concerns. This year manufacturers reported record breaking optimism.

In the fourth quarter of 2018 there were 539 manufacturing companies who responded to the survey, which was conducted from November 28th to December 12th. The amount of responses from small, medium and large sized manufactures was nearly even, with a slight majority coming from medium sized companies.

The average percentage of respondents that were positive about their own company’s outlook was 92.4% in 2018, an all-time high. Manufacturers are also predicting positive growth rates in sales (4.3 percent), production (4.3 percent), capital investments (2.6 percent) and full-time employment (2.2 percent) over the next 12 months. Manufacturers are very optimistic about business conditions overall, which is likely influenced by their expectation of pro-growth policies like tax reform and regulatory certainty. You can view the full survey results here.

It was no surprise that the major concern of manufacturers was the inability to attract and retain a quality workforce. In the fourth quarter 68.2 percent of companies reported that this was their top concern. Other top concerns included the increasing cost of raw materials and trade uncertainties. According to government data there are now 522,000 open manufacturing jobs in America, which some manufacturers reported as the reason for turning down new business opportunities this year.

If this workforce crisis isn’t resolved the United States is on track to have as many as 2.4 million manufacturing jobs unfilled by 2028. This challenge will continue to have an impact on manufacturing companies in the years to come. For now we are optimistically looking forward to 2019 and all of the growth that is to come.

Read the full article here.

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New York State Apprentice Program Information Session

On December 6th the Council of Industry held an information session for members interested in the New York State Registered Apprenticeship Program. While it was well attended, there maybe be some members that were not able to attend but are interested in receiving more information.  

The NYS registered apprenticeship program has two basic requirements. The first, On-the-Job Training (OJT), consists of a journey-level, skilled worker capable and willing to share their experience with an apprentice, in a hands-on manner.

The second, Related Instruction (RI), consists of learning more theoretical or knowledge-based aspects of a trade. This related instruction component requires apprentices to complete 144 hours of classroom or online training per year.

The process to complete an apprenticeship can take between 16 months and 4 years, but exceptions can be made for someone with previous experience.

Available Trades:

 

Where do the apprentices come from?

Existing Employees – Tools for Retention

An apprentice can be an existing employee who you are seeking to retain or develop for advancement. In this case, your current employee would have access to free online and classroom training to augment the on the job training provided. This model lends itself to the continuous development of employees while backfilling entry-level staff with a clear path for skills development.

New Employee – Career Path Opportunity

Companies can enroll their newly hired employee into an apprenticeship program. This allows new employees a formalized skills development path, access to additional training resources and onboarding assistance.

Searching for New Talent – Recruiting Tool

Job seekers are looking for steady work with the opportunity for advancement. Many job seekers are drawn to apprenticeships and jobs posted as ‘apprenticeable’ traditionally receive more applicants. If you are unsure where to start to recruit potential apprentices, learn more about our recruiting initiative and our candidate pool resources.


Incentives…Incentives and More Incentives

It’s a great time to implement an apprenticeship program. We have partnered with various organizations to offer incentives to registered apprentices.

  • SUNY Apprenticeship Grant – Registered apprentices may have the opportunity to receive up $5,000 worth of courses at SUNY Community Colleges.
  • WDI, Workforce Development Institute – WDI is offering up to $2,000 per registered apprentice to offset the trainers time.
  • NYS Tax Credits – NYS offers $2,000+ tax credit per apprentice; this amount increases each year eventually offer $5,000 per apprentice.
  • Free online training – Each registered apprentice receives a Tooling U license to complete online trade specific training. $500+ value.
  • Administrative help – The Council of Industry manages the administrative aspects of the program. This includes registration, department of labor requirements and setup.

What’s in it for the apprentice?

Upon completion, the apprentice will be registered with the department of labor as a certified tradesman. For example, an apprentice who completes 8,000 hours as a CNC apprentice will receive a certification from NYS DOL and a pocket card identifying him as a Certified CNC Machinist. The apprentice will also earn foundational knowledge and skills to increase their income and potentially qualify for future advancement.

What’s in it for the company?

Most of our members indicate that workforce is their number one concern. Many of them also indicate they are hiring and training on the job. The apprentice program allows companies to enhance their current training program while creating a clear pathway that makes sense to job seekers and employees alike. Companies participating in the program are always training and developing the skills of their employees, this allows them to fill jobs from within and build the talent they need instead of hoping to find the unique skills necessary to fill positions. It is a retention tool to keep employees engaged and a recruiting tool to help differentiate your company.

The on-the-job training is done with someone from your company that already performs that trade and can be the journeyman for the apprentice to learn from. The program requires between 4,000 and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training dependant on the trade. An internship or previous training in that trade can count towards these hours. Much of this time is not instructional but time that the apprentice practices the skills taught by the journeyman while performing his work tasks. Hours are logged each day by the apprentice in relation to which skill was covered during that day’s labor.

The related instruction portion of the training can be done through an online training program called Tooling U, which is free to registered apprentices or through the local community colleges which also are offering related instruction free to registered apprentices. Time spent on this instruction can be paid or unpaid as determined by the company. The apprentice is required to complete 144 hours of related instruction each year.

There is a wage progression required as the apprentice becomes more skilled, but the company sets the starting wage and the rate of progression. Since this is a government backed program anyone that completes it will have a national certification. This is an excellent tool for companies looking to recruit people into these trades and a good way to keep people that are already showing potential.

The Council of Industry is the only organization in the Hudson Valley able to act as a sponsor and administrate this program. We are also in the process of creating a pipeline of possible apprentices but for now, it is best to consider someone you already have working at your company that has potential and interest in becoming a master of one of the trades above.

Even if you are on the fence about registering an apprentice you can still start the paperwork so that once you are ready to go it is a shorter process. There currently is no charge to register an apprentice but there this is something that may change in the future. There is also no penalty for changing your mind. If an apprentice is not working out, you can discontinue the program or switch to a new person and start over. It is relatively painless to register and just requires meeting with Johnnieanne, the Apprentice Coordinator for The Council of Industry, and signing a few papers. If you still have a question or better yet are ready to sign up, contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or call (845) 565-1355.

 

 

 

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Job Openings Hit a High With 488,000 Unfilled Manufacturing Jobs

Job openings hit a record in August while the total number of hires also reached a record number. Of those job openings, manufacturers are creating a historic number of new jobs. Unfortunately, the manufacturing industry faces a workforce crisis that could leave millions of lucrative jobs unfilled in the years to come. The number of unfilled manufacturing jobs is projected to continue to grow in the coming years, which could have a dampening effect on both manufacturing in the United States and broader economic growth in our country. Below are links to two articles that explore this topic in more depth.

From NAM (National Association of Manufacturers):

There Are Still 488,000 Unfilled Manufacturing Jobs in the U.S. Manufacturers Are Working to Fix It.

From CNBC:

Another great sign for the economy: Job openings hit an all-time high in August

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Recruiting Reboot and Wage & Benefits Data

Workforce has been one of the top issues for our members recently. The Council of Industry has put together an HR Network meeting to help with recruitment and we are conducting our annual Wage & Benefit Survey to help members see where their numbers fall in comparison to others in the Hudson Valley.

We have set up a presentation to help you update and upgrade your recruiting process with Recruitment Reboot a presentation by Rebecca Mazin from Recruit Right. Rebecca is also the instructor of some of our most popular Certificate in Manufacturing Leadership classes: Fundamentals of Leadership, Business Communication, and Positive Motivation & Discipline. She will identify tools and tips to change your approach to recruitment with the potential to attract the talent you are looking for. The meeting is free for all Council of Industry Members and will be held on November 2, at our offices at The Desmond Campus of Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh. Please register online so we know who will be attending: https://www.councilofindustry.org/event-seminar/hr-network-recruitment-reboot/

The CI Wage & Benefit Survey is well underway but there is still time for you to participate. With the help of Marist College’s Dr. Ken Sloan, Ethan Allen Personnel Group, The Council of Industry has developed a Wage and Benefits survey which provides meaningful results while at the same time is easy to complete. Email Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org for a survey link or questions.

Participation in the survey is critical to its usefulness. The more companies that participate the more valuable and reliable the data will be. As the market for manufacturing workers at all levels becomes tighter the data generated from this survey becomes increasingly important.

  • Position Descriptions can be downloaded and contain the benchmark descriptions to use in matching your positions to the proper survey entry.
  • Wage data should be reported as of September 30, 2018 (or as close to that date as is possible) to insure comparability of reported statistics. Wage data can be entered as hourly, weekly, monthly or annually.
  • The survey is set up so that you can save and complete later so that you do not need to finish the entire survey at one time.
  • Completed surveys should be submitted by November 9th.
  • Results should be available early December.

*NEW THIS YEAR*

Help Us – Help You… Join our ad-hoc Survey Committee to help restructure and plan the 2019 wage and benefit survey and explore other survey topics to help meet YOUR needs. Click here to learn more and sign up for our committee meeting.

Full Results will be shared only with Council member companies that submit surveys.

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Increase Hiring Success in 5 Simple Steps

 

Today’s job market is candidate-driven, and with the unemployment rate steadily falling companies need to competitively pursue quality candidates. Especially in the manufacturing industry where companies are struggling to catch these quality candidates before they’re snatched up. This means that old hiring practices must be updated to better suit the market. However, completely revising these processes takes significant time and money. Luckily there are five simple adjustments that hiring managers can implement today to increase success.

Accelerating the interview process can make a major difference. When the process gets dragged on candidates can lose interest or accept a position elsewhere. An easy first step to making this a reality is examining the current timeline and finding potential hold ups. A shorter hiring process can go a long way in the eyes of a candidate.

Consistent communication is also important. Communicating with candidates constantly will keep them engaged and reduce ambiguity. This is especially critical when there is a delay in the process. Communicating at least once a week is recommended, even when there is nothing new to report.

Posting jobs on mobile platforms is a more convenient way to reach candidates. When candidates have the ability to view a positions from a mobile devise they’re more likely to apply. Eliminating the need for candidates to access a computer will increase the amount of applicants.

Transparency is key! Be upfront with candidates about salary and benefits. Waiting until you extend an offer is too late to inform candidates of these details.

Finally, make a competitive offer. Do the research to find out what other companies are offering candidates for similar positions. It would be a waste of time to go through the entire interview process and make an offer that isn’t competitive. Being informed will allow you to make a competitive offer the first time.

For more details read the full article here.

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Using Criminal Histories, Arrest Records, and Background Checks in Employment

By: Stephanie H. Fedorka, Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC, A Council of Industry Associate Member

Every employer wants to promote and sustain a safe workplace. One way in which employers try to accomplish this goal is to conduct background checks on its applicants or new hires to assess whether they might pose a risk to other employees, customers, or other individuals they might encounter during their employment. However, when inquiring about applicants’ criminal histories or arrest records and when basing employment decisions on information obtained through background checks, employers should make sure that they are in compliance with relevant federal, state, and local laws.

Federal Law

Currently, there are no federal statutes or laws that prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history. However, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act expressly requires employers to provide a stand-alone disclosure and obtain a signed authorization form prior to conducting a background check. The authorization form must be separate from the application.

Although there is no specific federal law that precludes an employer from considering an applicant’s criminal history in making an employment decision, employers should nevertheless be careful not to treat applicants with similar criminal records differently, because such differential treatment could result in a discrimination claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or another federal employment discrimination statute. For example, if a female applicant is rejected for a particular position because of a DWI conviction, but a male applicant is later hired for the same position despite having a DWI conviction, the female applicant might have a potential sex discrimination claim under Title VII.

Employers also should make sure that they can defend against any disparate impact claims that might arise from screening applicants based on their criminal history. If individuals in a particular protected category are disproportionately disadvantaged by the employer’s policy or practice, then the employer must be able to articulate a legitimate business justification for the policy or practice. In other words, an employer must be able to demonstrate that its policy of considering certain types of criminal convictions in making hiring decisions helps to accurately predict whether the applicant is likely to be a responsible, reliable, and safe employee.

New York Law

The New York Human Rights Law and the New York Correction Law prohibit an employer from denying employment to any individual based his or her criminal conviction record, unless: (1) there is a direct relationship between one or more of the criminal offenses and the employment sought or held by the individual; or (2) the granting or continuation of employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety of particular individuals or the general public. Employers are required to consider eight factors when evaluating qualified applicants to make a determination regarding whether there is a direct relationship or unreasonable risk. The eight factors to consider are:

  • New York’s public policy of encouraging employment of persons with prior convictions;
  • The specific duties and responsibilities necessarily related to the employment sought;
  • The bearing, if any, the criminal offense(s) for which the person was previously convicted will have on his ability to perform one or more such duties or responsibilities;
  • The time which has elapsed since the occurrence of the criminal offense(s);
  • The age of the person at the time of the occurrence of the criminal offense(s);
  • The seriousness of the offense(s);
  • Any information produced by the person, or produced on his behalf, in regard to his rehabilitation and good conduct;
  • The legitimate interest of the public agency or private employer in protecting property, and the safety and welfare of specific individuals or the general public.

It is best practice to consider each and every one of the factors, balancing the factors that weigh against hiring an applicant against those that support a decision to hire an applicant. No single factor should be determinative of the hiring decision. Employers should document their consideration of each of the factors and the reasoning for their decision not to hire an applicant. It should be noted that this law also protects current employees from adverse employment action based on their criminal conviction record.

The New York Human Rights Law also prohibits employers from inquiring, in a job application or otherwise, about any previous arrest or criminal accusation which was resolved in the individual’s favor or taking any adverse employment action against an individual based on an arrest or criminal accusation that was resolved in the individual’s favor. It is also unlawful to inquire about youthful offender adjudications or certain convictions that have been sealed under the criminal procedure law. It is not unlawful, however, to inquire whether an applicant has any pending arrests or criminal accusations filed against him or her, nor is it unlawful to make an adverse employment decision based on a pending arrest that has not yet been resolved.

Local Laws

Some cities and counties in New York have enacted ordinances that prohibit employers from asking applicants about their criminal record on an employment application or at any time prior to making a conditional job offer to the applicant (often referred to as “ban the box” or “fair chance laws”). Some of the cities and counties that have enacted such ordinances include:

Employers that have employees in the above local areas should confirm with their employment attorney regarding whether the law applies to them, and if so, what the law requires.

Conclusion

Employers should be careful in conducting background checks and using the information obtained when making hiring decisions. If an employer routinely conducts background checks in the course of its hiring practices, the employer should understand the legal limits of using the information. Managers, supervisors, and any other hiring staff who conduct interviews should be trained so that they do not inadvertently make prohibited inquiries regarding an applicant’s criminal convictions or arrest record.

If you have any questions about this Information Memo, please contact Stephanie H. Fedorka, any of the attorneys in our Labor and Employment Law Practice, or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

 

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New York State Issues Draft Guidance on Required Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies and Training

By Lori D. Bauer, Richard I. Greenberg, Samia M. Kirmani, Jonathan L. Bing and Daniel J. Jacobs, Jackson Lewis PC, a Council of Industry Associate Member

The State of New York has issued draft guidance for employers on the mandatory sexual harassment prevention policies and annual employee training required by legislation passed earlier this year. Starting October 9, 2018, the enacted legislative package requires, among other things, that employers in New York adopt the state’s model sexual harassment prevention policy or modify an existing sexual harassment policy to meet the state’s minimum standards, and provide annual sexual harassment prevention training to all employees.

For more, see our previous article, New York Legislature Passes Significant Changes to Laws Combating Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.

Draft Guidance

The state’s newly created dedicated website contains a model sexual harassment prevention policy, an accompanying model complaint form, a “Combating Sexual Harassment: Frequently Asked Questions” publication, and model sexual harassment prevention training materials. Additionally, the website contains proposed “minimum standards” guidelines for employers to use in tailoring their own policies and training programs.

The state’s model policies, complaint form, FAQs, and minimum standard guidelines are in proposed form. New York State has invited comments on the draft guidance. The comment deadline was September 12, 2018.

Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

The state’s model sexual harassment prevention training includes a sample script for trainers, model scenarios, and steps for reporting complaints. While the current guidance does not specify how long the required training must be, it explains that the training must include “some form of employee participation, meaning the training may: be web-based with questions asked of employees as part of the program; accommodate questions asked by employees; include a live trainer made available during the session to answer questions; and/or require feedback from employees about the training and the materials presented.”

For an employer that chooses not to use the model created by the State Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights, the training must meet or exceed the state’s minimum standards, which means that it must:

  1. Be interactive;
  2. Include an explanation of sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the state;
  3. Include examples of conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment;
  4. Include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment and remedies available to victims of sexual harassment;
  5. Include information concerning employees’ rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating complaints; and
  6. Include information addressing conduct by supervisors and any additional responsibilities for such supervisors.

The FAQs clarify that by January 1, 2019, employers must provide all employees with sexual harassment prevention training, either using the model created by the state or a comparable version that meets the state’s minimum standards. Furthermore, new employees or employees who start after January 1 must complete the requisite annual sexual harassment training within 30 calendar days of hire. It is possible that this date will be pushed back based on comments from the employer community. For many industries, completing training in such a short period (October-December) will be very difficult.

Lastly, the FAQs also state that employers are “required to ensure that all employees receive training,” including temporary/transient employees, or even if someone works for one day for the employer.

Note that for New York City employers, these requirements will need to be integrated with New York City training requirements effective in April 1, 2019. For information regarding these requirements and other pieces of the New York City “me too” legislation, please see our articles, New York City Commission on Human Rights Issues Mandatory Sexual Harassment Notice and Fact SheetNew York City Enacts Anti-Sexual Harassment Legislation that Includes Training RequirementNew York City Council Passes Legislative Package Aimed at Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, and New York City Legislation Would Mandate Sexual Harassment Training, Expand Employer Coverage under Human Rights Law.

Model Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

The website also includes a model sexual harassment prevention policy. Employers may choose to distribute this model, which also includes a complaint form for employees to use, or modify an existing written policy to meet or exceed the state’s minimum standards. If so, the sexual harassment prevention policy must:

  1. Prohibit sexual harassment consistent with guidance issued by the state;
  2. Provide examples of prohibited conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment;
  3. Include information concerning the federal and state statutory provisions concerning sexual harassment, remedies available to victims of sexual harassment, and a statement that there may be applicable local laws;
  4. Include a complaint form;
  5. Include a procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensures due process for all parties;
  6. Inform employees of their rights of redress and all available forums for adjudicating sexual harassment complaints administratively and judicially;
  7. State that sexual harassment is considered a form of employee misconduct and that sanctions will be enforced against individuals engaging in sexual harassment and against supervisory and managerial personnel who knowingly allow such behavior to continue; and
  8. State that retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any investigation or proceeding involving sexual harassment is unlawful.

The FAQs clarify certain aspects of the required sexual harassment prevention policy. For example, an employer must provide employees with a policy in writing, but can do so electronically, so long as employees are able to access the policy on a computer provided by the employer during work time and print a copy. Additionally, while the FAQs note that an acknowledgment of receipt of the policy is not required, it is recommended.

New York State contractors also must submit an affirmation that they have a sexual harassment prevention policy and that they have trained all of their employees, beginning January 1, 2019.

Nondisclosure Agreements

The FAQs also address other aspects of the state’s anti-sexual harassment legislation, such as nondisclosure agreements related to sexual harassment. In particular, the legislation allows only nondisclosure agreements related to sexual harassment settlements when the condition of confidentiality is the explicit preference of the complaining party. The law also requires a three-step process to memorialize the complaining party’s preference in a signed agreement:

  1. Any such term or condition must be provided to all parties, and the person who complained shall have 21 days to consider it.
  2. If, after 21 days, such term or condition is the preference of the person who complained, such preference shall be memorialized in an agreement signed by all parties.
  3. For a period of 7 days following the execution of an agreement containing such a term, the person who complained may revoke the agreement and the agreement shall not become effective or be enforceable until such revocation period has expired.

The FAQs state that as long as the statutory process and timeline are followed, the law does not prohibit the employer from initiating this process.

Next Steps

The state’s guidance is not yet finalized and additional FAQs or guidance may be released after the September 12, 2018, comment period closes.

Jackson Lewis will continue to monitor updates regarding the final versions of these materials and any newly issued guidance. Please contact a Jackson Lewis attorney with any questions related to harassment prevention policies, training, and other preventive practices and for assistance in submitting comments.

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Do We Really Need Job Descriptions?

By Rebecca Mazin, Recruit Right, Council of Industry Certificate in Manufacturing leadership Instructor

On a recent Friday afternoon, I sat down to write a job description. Then I took a nap.

To create a job description, I don’t use a formula and simply change a few words, it’s not a rote task. Good job descriptions include required education, experience, competencies, essential functions and reporting relationships. I know the process takes one to one and a half hours. It’s just a boring task. So, I am likely to procrastinate and wait for a slice of unscheduled time.

The employer reviewed this job description and made only a few suggestions. Revising the document brought a familiar question; do we really need job descriptions? In this situation the job description was written to clarify roles, responsibilities and reporting structure. It will be presented to the incumbent in the job to ensure understanding, making certain everyone is on the same page. So, yes, I think it’s a good idea.

Job Descriptions as Living Documents

Many job descriptions reside on shelves in binders or inhabit personnel files as hard copy or in digital folders. They’re consulted so infrequently they could be hibernating. Job descriptions will be more effective if they are dusted off and checked for accuracy and revised regularly.

For employers who conduct a formal performance rating process the job description can be used as a baseline for responsibilities. Promotions or job postings are also perfect times for a job description check. Systems, structures and responsibilities change, particularly items that related to ever changing technology.

Job descriptions are important parts of any discussion about accommodations for a disability. They form the basis for the interactive conversation that identifies essential tasks and potential modifications.

New hires will appreciate a job description. It should be one they understand and has been checked to make certain it is current. Telling a team member, “Don’t worry about this section, we haven’t done that in years,” is not an engaging onboarding statement.

Other Duties As Assigned

No employer wants to get boxed in by a job description that’s treated as a complete list of all responsibilities. To avoid, or respond to, “it’s not my job,” descriptions include a statement that allows for changes, new assignments, something like, “other duties as assigned.” Good idea but not something that should be stressed as the focus of the job description.

An acknowledgment of receipt of the job description, that often includes language about “other duties” is part of many employer’s documents. If these are used, they too should be user friendly. Don’t hand the job description to the employee with a pen and say, “sign here, I’ll give you a copy.” Think about whether asking for the signed acknowledgment is a welcoming statement and if it is your practice frame it as a benefit for everyone at your workplace.

Flip the Format

There is no one format for a job description. Think outside the usual constraint and use a format that works for your organization. I have written what I called, “Job Expectations.”

These include basic headings and simple language such as:

  • Your job title
  • Who you report to
  • Your work hours
  • Your basic responsibilities
  • Here’s who you interact with
  • Some things you will need to learn

User friendly content can also note that duties can change.

Get Employee Input

Staring at a blank document makes a job description even harder to write. When there are incumbents in a position I use a questionnaire to help identify goals, education/experience required, knowledge and skills needed and major and minor duties. It’s important to remember that a good job description is not simply a reflection of what the incumbent is doing in the role. They may have a non-traditional background and be working to stretch into new tasks.

Having a staff member write their own job description can be a tool for engagement if they too don’t start with a blank page. Provide a format or list of content required to avoid a simple list of daily routines. This exercise could be combined with goal setting to set the stage for growth and contributions.

Job Descriptions as Postings are Boring

Job descriptions are not effective job postings. Particularly in a job seekers market 2 – 3 pages of dry language does not inspire a candidate. We seem to forget that a job posting is an advertisement. Just because online sites give plenty of room for job posting content doesn’t mean it should all be used. When a job seeker is using their phone for a search they may only catch the first 4 lines. Will they really read past a 15+ line description of the company to get to details about the job?

When we make it hard for candidates we shouldn’t be surprised to receive so many resumes from individuals with unrelated backgrounds. So keep a job posting as direct and brief as possible with a compelling 2-3 sentence description of the company.

A Resume is Not a Job Description

On the other side of the job search, too many candidates quote, or cut and paste, a job description to write a resume. Employers can spot these resumes right away. They demonstrate minimal preparation and thought. And let’s remember that resumes are not thrilling documents either, no reason to add content that is truly snooze worthy.

Toss the Poorly Written Job Descriptions

I frequently see organizations copy and use documents from other employers. They cut and past a logo and presto: a performance evaluation, job description, form or even employee handbook.

You are better off having nothing than simply bringing job descriptions from other employers, changing a logo, and putting it in place. The concept doesn’t work on so many levels. There’s the obvious, it’s not accurate and the roll out was so poor that no one understands the document. It becomes embarrassing when employees spot content that still includes the name of the employer that was the document source. Even worse when it includes names of senior managers and/or owners.

As I revise this document I can conclude that we don’t need second-rate job descriptions. When they’re sloppy, poorly written and don’t reflect the jobs, toss them.  Job descriptions are valuable when they’re written well and used effectively.

 

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There’s Gold in the Hills of the Hudson Valley

How Partnering with Education Institutions can Help Identify your Future Workforce

By Guest Blogger Stephen Casa

As I travel around the Hudson Valley meeting with various leaders in industry, I hear the same concern, “We can’t find enough qualified employees to fill the positions that are being left vacant by retirement, innovation, etc.” This is where a value added strategy can benefit employers: developing collaborative partnerships with education.

The value proposition is simple, participate with an educational institution in one of the following ways: content area consulting, curriculum development, field trip provision, guest speaking, mentoring students, job shadowing, providing externship opportunities for educators, providing internships (compensated and non-compensated) for students who demonstrate readiness, sit on advisory boards, etc. All of these opportunities will allow the education institution to provide you with a glimpse of your potential workforce and it will create an opportunity for young people to learn about your business/industry. They will also be trained in your culture. Often these partnerships lead to long term employment, initially they get you what you need, prepared, employable, entry level employees.

Don’t hesitate to act, contact your local BOCES today and ask how you can be a part of the solution.

Stay connected as I will be contributing regularly with more specific instructions for engagement.

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The Potential of Augmented Reality to Reshape Worker Training

Could augmented reality, or AR, be the way forward for the manufacturing workforce? The problems manufacturing faces with building a skilled workforce have been well documented. New workers coming into the plant are faced with having to adapt to a new work environment of collaborative robots and machine learning-driven applications. At the same time, they have to maintain, or in some cases re-learn, the legacy knowledge that is being lost as older generations exit the workforce. Can AR, an interactive experience of a real-world environment whose elements are “augmented” by computer-generated perceptual information, solve that problem?

Plenty of companies, from large entities like Microsoft to smaller companies and even startups, are pointing AR toward the challenge of worker training. In theory, it could allow trainees an up close look at incredibly complicated machines, and give them an opportunity to work with them in a way that simulates the experience far more effectively than a traditional classroom could, while also keeping them from having to operate the real thing before they are ready. The technology though is still new, and until its is more refined there are reasons to be skeptical of how effectively it could replicate the experience.

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