The Top 4 Concerns for Employers During Summer Months

top 4 concerns for employers in summer

We are right in the middle of summer and this time of year can bring about some unique challenges for employers.  Here are the 4 “Hot” Topics many companies are addressing right now.

Casual Dress

During the warm summer months, some employers may relax their dress codes.  It’s also typically the time when employees relax their idea about what is considered professional work attire.   Whether you allow for casual dress between Memorial Day through Labor Day or allow for the weekly “casual Friday,” keep these tips in mind:

  • Be sure your dress code is documented and includes the consequences for abuses to the policy
  • Define what is and isn’t permissible
  • Outline specific guidelines for variations to summer dress codes or casual days, if any
  • Be consistent in how you handle violations.  Regardless of generation or class of employee, the same standards should apply to all.

Heat Safety

Each year thousands of employees become hurt or sick due to extreme summer temperatures – some even die.   When you have employees working outside or in other hot environments, it’s important to be prepared to maintain worker safety.

Follow these guidelines to avoid heat-related illness and potentially save lives:

  • Have a written heat-related illness safety plan and share it with all employees
  • Conduct periodic training (at least annually)
  • Provide water and encourage employees to stay hydrated
  • Ensure that shade is accessible and urge employees to take shade breaks
  • Be sure that employees understand the benefits of wearing sun-protective or other suitable safety gear and provide such items, if appropriate

Read more about heat stress awareness here.

The State of California even implemented its own heat-related illness prevention standard in 2005.  They may be paving the way for other states, so we’ve included the link to their plan:  http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/heatillnessinfo.html

Coordinating Vacations

There are a number of benefits to providing time off for employees.  Vacations are crucial for re-energizing workers and boosting employee morale.  It may become challenging to keep your business staffed appropriately, especially during the summer months when everyone wants to take time off.  The key to proactively addressing a situation like this is having a comprehensive PTO policy in place.

Here are some tips for staying productive while allowing your employees their needed respite:

  • Require a specific advanced notification period
  • Determine the number of employees that can be off at the same time
  • Reward seniority if multiple employees request vacation at the same time
  • Create a first-come-first-serve system
  • Address any blackout periods in the event there is a particularly busy time or special project that requires “all hands on deck”

Interns

First and foremost, if you are going to use interns you should be sure that you understand all the legalities of employing them.  The Department of Labor has been cracking down on this type of arrangement and penalties can be steep.  Interns may be required to receive minimum wage and overtime pay, depending on State and Federal law.  All the following factors must be present for the internship to be unpaid:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

(From the United States Department of Labor)

Check out our recent eBook, “The Ultimate Internship Guide for Employers“.

If you would like further information or guidance on any of these topics, contact your Employers Resource branch office.

 

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