By Jennifer Outcelt
Just in the last year, our small company has welcomed four new bouncing babies. As you can imagine, everyone in the office has become very familiar with the maternity (and one paternity) leave drill by now. With the announcement of each new baby, our office was filled with celebration and the parent to be was treated with exceptional respect, support, and fairness. They were all given appropriate legal accommodations in addition to generous company provided perks. So, when I found out that I was pregnant with the 5th baby within that 1 year, I knew that my company would have my back (and my growing front).
Unfortunately, that is not always the case for many women and men in the work place. There are many parents who are not granted their federally mandated rights during pregnancy, maternity leave, and their post-partum return to work. While expecting a new baby should bring you joy, preparing for a leave of absence often brings uncertainty and financial stress. It’s not necessarily that employers are out to rob you of your benefits, but that many employers do not know what they are required to provide and the employees have no idea what they are entitled to. This lack of understanding can leave both employers and employees at risk, albeit in different ways.
The best solution (and honestly the solution to most workplace situations) is awareness, education, and self-advocacy. I wanted to share some resources on maternity and family leave for both parties. Please take a moment to peruse the information and perhaps learn a bit more about employer and employee rights.
(Website with a great overview on workplace maternity rights)
(Broker Briefcase document on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act)
(Broker Briefcase document on the Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination)
(Website with more resources from the DOL about workplace nursing rights)
(US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website about legal rights for pregnant workers)
By Tiffany Stock
Coming back to work after my third child really made me step back and evaluate if I had the elusive work-life balance. Taking a look at the definition provided by businessdictionary.com, work-life balance is defined as, “A comfortable state of equilibrium achieved between an employee’s primary priorities of their employment position and their private lifestyle.” The word equilibrium implies “equal” but is there really such a thing? One of my colleagues did an earlier post about work-life balance and some things you could try to help create that balance, click here if you’d like to check out that post. This post is much more about defining what work-life balance means to you (and to me) which is completely situational.
Depending on the industry you are in, your day-to-day can look very similar, but if it’s anything like mine, every day there is something new. A new piece of legislation or guidance that impacts my clients or the work I do, business changes that impact the benefits our clients provide, changes to our state budget that effect our client’s workforce, internal and employee scenarios, etc. – there are so many variables – you pile that on to a personal life with a working husband and three adolescent children and all their interests, responsibilities and school-life… let’s just say every day is an adventure!
What I’ve learned over the last few years is that work-life balance looks different for everyone and can change from day-to-day. For me, work-life balance is not 9-5. I may have to put in a few extra hours to meet a deadline or attend an event that is important to me, my clients, or my company, but hopefully when that school performance pops-up in the middle of the day, or a doctor’s appointment is needed, I can take the time desired to focus on my family and the personal side of my life. Sometimes this means I put in some extra time after the kids go to bed, or on the weekends, so if you ever see an email from me late in the evening that may be just the reason!
Many articles talk about work-place stress being a big motivator for finding work-life balance, but what about personal stress? There are plenty of times that I can’t wait to get to work and pour myself into a project to task just to take my mind off that side of my life. Regardless, there is stress on both sides and I appreciate having both as an outlet to focus on when appropriate. One particular benefit that I have found very useful in the past, regardless of whether the issue was personal or work related, is an Employee Assistance Program, commonly referred to as an EAP. Many employers offer an EAP as part of their benefits package, usually in conjunction with an employer-sponsored life or disability plan, your major medical plan or in some cases employers offer this benefit all by itself.
An EAP is there to help you with work or personal issues, referral services, usually unlimited telephonic counseling and in most cases referrals to local providers if you need some face-to-face time. Most EAP’s offer services that focus on stress, work-place issues, family dilemmas, financial concerns, elder parent worries, legal guidance, will & trust services, etc. If you don’t know if your employer offers an EAP, please contact your HR Department. EAP services are typically free and confidential. In the market for a new job or career? Ask the prospective employer how they view work-life balance and how they help their employees achieve this. All I can say is thank goodness for friends and family because the saying is true, it really does take a village to raise a child! I am so very thankful for a supportive work environment, colleagues, friends and family as I work towards maintaining my own work-life balance and I wish you the best on your own journey as well.
For more information on obtaining an EAP for your organization, please contact our office.
2020 Employee Benefits Update Presented by Joshua Weinstein
October 23, 2019 | In-Person | 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
October 23, 2019 | Webinar | 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
RISQ Consulting is hosting an event to educate clients on what’s coming for employee benefits in 2020. Attendees can expect to learn more about legislative efforts, compliance requirements, new regulations and more! There will also be specific section dedicated to ICHRAs (Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements). RISQ Consulting President, Joshua Weinstein, will be presenting.
Here is the registration link for the in-person event at 9:00 AM-
Here is the registration link for the webinar at 2:00 PM-
By Tiffany Stock
I was turned on to this newsletter by my colleague, Dave Adams. Nancy Proffitt, CEO of Proffitt Management Solutions, produces a blog/newsletter with content surrounding leadership, workplace culture, maximizing efficiency and so much more. I enjoy all of her posts but found this one from May of 2019 especially engaging. Leaders Build Unity has a lot of thought provoking ideas and questions to help give you that edge in creating a highly successful organization with low turnover, great employee morale and increased productivity which will lead to increased profitability. Please check it out and sign up for her mailing list if you find her information useful.