New Starts Continue Upward Trend
ASA Staffing Index Monthly Report, November 2020
Staffing employment for the week of Nov. 9–15 edged up 0.4% from the prior week, holding at a value of 88 despite the Veterans Day holiday, according to the ASA Staffing Index. November marks a ten-month high for staffing jobs, as the index reached a value of 88 for the first time since January. Staffing employment was down 9.0% from the same week last year, which also included Veterans Day.

New starts were up for the ninth consecutive week, increasing 8.0% on average, with nearly half (48%) of staffing companies reporting gains in new assignments week-to-week.

“Despite the holiday and political uncertainty, the recovery of temporary jobs continues with steady increases week-to-week and solid advancement in new assignments,” said Cynthia Davidson, ASA senior director of research.

The ASA Staffing Index four-week moving average rose to a rounded value of 87. Temporary and contract staffing employment for the four weeks ending Nov. 15 was 9.9% lower than the same period last year.

This week, containing the 12th day of the month, will be used in the November monthly employment situation report scheduled to be issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Dec. 4.

The ASA Staffing Index is reported nine days after each workweek, making it a near real-time measure of staffing employment trends. ASA Staffing Starts are the number of temporary and contract employees placed in new assignments during the reporting week. ASA research shows that staffing employment has historically been a coincident economic indicator.

For more information, visit americanstaffing.net/index. Or follow ASA research on Twitter.

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About the American Staffing Association

The American Staffing Association is the voice of the U.S. staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry. ASA and its state affiliates advance the interests of the industry across all sectors through advocacy, research, education, and the promotion of high standards of legal, ethical, and professional practices. For more information about ASA, visit americanstaffing.net.

The post Staffing Jobs Reach Ten-Month High in November appeared first on American Staffing Association.

On Nov. 19, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted on and approved an emergency COVID-19 regulation governing employers and workplaces.
California’s gradual climb to a $15 minimum wage will continue on Jan. 1, 2021, and some local minimum wages will increase at the same time.
Federal coronavirus-related paid-leave benefits are set to expire at the end of the year, and if those benefits aren’t extended, some workers may be left without coverage as the pandemic persists through the winter months. There are also longer-term considerations of whether a lasting nationwide paid-leave law may garner bipartisan support.

I have an employee who has threatened to commit suicide. We are very concerned. What should we do, and do we have any obligations?

These are chaotic times and this question is occurring far too frequently. There are no laws directing employers on how to handle such a situation.

However, if you have an intense situation where it appears the employee is about to commit harm to him/herself, you should call 911 immediately.

Alternatively, you can take the individual to an emergency room after ascertaining he/she has no ways to commit such harm.

Evaluation by Experts

At a hospital, experts can determine whether the individual needs to be placed on a three-day hold, which describes a medical stay at the hospital or a psychiatric facility in which the person’s mental state is evaluated.

Clinical psychologists or psychiatrists make determinations about the nature of the person’s mental illness and the ability of the individual to function independently.

Suicide Prevention Helpline

Another possibility is to provide the employee with a suicide prevention telephone number.

The National Suicide Prevention Helpline number is: (800) 273-8255. It is a United States-based suicide prevention network of more than 160 crisis centers that provide 24/7 service, available to anyone in suicidal crisis.

Employee Assistance Program

Many employers provide employees with an employee assistance program (EAP) benefit. The EAP assists employees with personal problems and/or work-related problems that may have an impact on the employees’ job performance, health, or mental and emotional well-being.

EAPs generally offer free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals and follow-up services for employees.

Wellness Check

When an employee has expressed threats of suicide, be it to his/her employer/fellow employees or on social media, then doesn’t come in to work, another option is a police wellness check.

A wellness check is an in-person call from local law enforcement to someone whose behavior has become suspicious in some way. Usually requested by a friend or family member, the service is available to everyone and is something that cops take seriously. An employer often is in a position to make such a request.

During the tumultuous year 2020 became, this has become an increasingly asked question, and employers are wise to heed the threats.

Dana Leisinger, HR Adviser, CalChamber

Read more about how Improving Employees’ Mental Health Helps Businesses’ Bottom Line. CalChamber members can read more about How to Enhance Employee Mental Health in the HR Library. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.

The post Options to Consider When an Employee Threatens to Commit Suicide appeared first on HRWatchdog by HRWatchdog.

On November 19, 2020, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) voted to adopt a comprehensive and complex COVID-19 emergency regulation addressing a variety of issues related to COVID-19 in the workplace. As previously reported, the OSHSB, the standards-setting agency within the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), had released the draft regulation text last week.

Throughout the pandemic, employers have been implementing infection prevention measures based on existing laws, executive orders, local directives and guidance from Cal/OSHA and public health departments. Now, under the new emergency regulation, employers must establish and implement a comprehensive written COVID-19 Prevention Program, which mirrors in many ways California’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) requirements and can be integrated with employers’ existing IIPPs. The following is only a brief summary of some key provisions. Employers should review the regulation and monitor Cal/OSHA’s website for guidance on the details.

The new regulation requires employers’ COVID-19 Prevention Program to be comprehensive and include:

  • System for communicating;
  • Identification and evaluation of COVID-19 hazards;
  • Investigating and responding to COVID-19 cases in the workplace;
  • Correction of COVID-19 hazards;
  • Training and instruction;
  • Physical distancing;
  • Face coverings;
  • Other engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment;
  • Reporting, recordkeeping and access;
  • Exclusion of COVID-19 cases; and
  • Return-to-work criteria.

The new emergency standard contains notification requirements similar to those in AB 685, California’s new COVID-19 notice and reporting requirement law. Employers must give notice of potential exposure to COVID-19 within one business day to all employees who may have been exposed and their authorized representatives as well as independent contractors and other employers present during the exposure period. Employers should note that the differences in language, definitions and terminology between AB 685 and the new Cal/OSHA standard raise uncertainty about when the notice requirements are triggered and to whom notice should be given under which rule. Employers should consult with legal counsel to clarify their obligations and ensure compliance with both rules.

Other notable provisions include specific infection control and safety requirements for employer-provided housing and transportation as well as “outbreak” provisions that are triggered when three or more COVID-19 cases occur in the workplace within a two-week period. Among other things, when an outbreak occurs, employers must provide notice to their local public health department within 48 hours and provide COVID-19 testing to exposed employees.

Lastly, employers should take note of the regulation’s exclusion provisions. The regulation requires employers to exclude employees with COVID-19 and those who were exposed to COVID-19 from the workplace until they satisfy certain return-to-work criteria. But, for exposed employees who may not have COVID-19, employers must continue and maintain the employee’s earnings, seniority and benefits while they are off work. This is essentially a new paid time off requirement. It doesn’t apply if the employee is unable to work for reasons other than preventing COVID-19 transmission or the employer can demonstrate that the COVID-19 exposure was not work related. Other than those exceptions, the requirement has no limiting language, meaning, for example, an employee who is excluded from the worksite multiple times must be paid each time.

Cal/OSHA is submitting the new COVID-19 prevention standard to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for immediate review. As an emergency regulation, the OAL has ten days to review and approve the regulation, meaning this new standard could go into effect as early as November 29, 2020. It will last 180 days and may be renewed beyond that time. Cal/OSHA is expected to issue compliance guidance on the new rules and will likely move forward with permanent rulemaking next year.

Employers should begin reviewing these new requirements immediately. Some of the emergency provisions reflect standards and practices already adopted under previous guidance and mandates, but many are new as well. Employers should consult with legal counsel on developing their written COVID-19 Prevention Program as well as developing or amending their policies to account for the new requirements.

James W. Ward, Employment Law Subject Matter Expert/Legal Writer and Editor

CalChamber members can read more about Injury and Illness Prevention Programs in the HR Library. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.

The post COVID-19 Prevention Program Emergency Regulation Adopted appeared first on HRWatchdog by James W. Ward.

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