Employers that are converting furloughs into permanent layoffs need to ensure compliance with the WARN Act and with COBRA.
“One major misstep for employers is to assume that furloughing employees allows the employer to completely forget about the WARN Act,” said Daniel Altchek, an attorney with Saul Ewing in Baltimore and New York City. For employers covered by the law, “a furlough could morph into an employment loss triggering WARN Act obligations.”
If, on Jan. 1, you had asked an HR leader in the retail industry what her biggest challenges would be in 2020, she likely would have talked about turnover and the brutal war for talent. But as the tight labor market evaporated due to the coronavirus pandemic, a set of unprecedented challenges emerged. The loss of key staff lured away by the promise of more pay from a competitor seems like a quaint problem now as HR leaders must develop policies (on cleaning and customer capacity, for example) to keep workers and customers safe from a highly infectious and deadly disease. They also must get staffing levels right in the face of suddenly lower customer demand and the rising dominance of online retailers.
With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, the move to an online workplace has become widespread and may well endure. But, as many organizations are learning, managing the flow of communication among remote teams is tricky. Our latest research findings have led to insights that can help. They center on the concepts of burstiness, information diversity, and physiological synchrony, attention to which can foster creativity, streamline processes, reduce the stress of multi-tasking, and improve team performance.
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