Tag Archive | generations

Guidance for Volunteer Interns

“Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street. . . .”

The time is also right for having summer interns in your place of business.  With a difficult job market, many students are seeking any type of position to build a resume while others are involved in education programs for credit that require practical on-the-job work.

If you plan on allowing volunteer interns to work over the summer at a for-profit business, you must meet certain criteria outlined by the Department of Labor to avoid a wage and hour violation under the FLSA.  Those factors are:

  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.

Click here to review the complete DOL fact sheet:  Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act.

ADEA Final Rule

You may have missed it with all the discussion of the NLRB rulings, healthcare reform act litigation, and immigration rulings; but the EEOC released a final rule earlier this year on the ADEA.   At the end of March, the EEOC issued the regulation on disparate impact and “reasonable factors other than age” under the ADEA.  The final rule makes clear that federal law prohibits practices and policies that have the effect of harming older works more than younger ones, unless the employer can establish that the practice or policy is based on a reasonable factor other than age.  In a press release, the EEOC stated, “The rule explains the meaning of the RFOA defense to employees, employers, and courts, and makes EEOC’s regulations consistent with Supreme Court case law.  The rule applies to private employers with 20 or more employees, state and local government employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations. The final rule strikes the appropriate balance between protecting older workers from discriminatory, unreasonable business decisions and preserving an employer’s ability to make reasonable business decisions.”  The EEOC has also created a Q&A page on the issue; you can view it by clicking here.

Regulations for Teen Workers

With the end of the school year fast approaching, there are many school-age children looking for summer jobs.  Is there anything you should consider when you get an inquiry from an employee about having the employee’s middle or high schooler perform odd jobs during the summer?  There are different regulations depending on the age of the child and the job to be filled.  The FLSA child labor regulations adopted two years ago were the first changes to those regulations in 40 years.

Generally, those under 16 have not been allowed to work in non-agricultural jobs.  While the nearly 60 page final rule has many provisions, there are a few new rules of thumb for 14- and 15-year-olds.  First, as before, what is not specifically allowed is prohibited.  Now 14- and 15-year-olds can provide some computer and office work in accounting, advertising, banking, and information technology offices.  The rules provide many examples of what equipment they can handle and what jobs they can perform.  During the school year, they cannot work more than three hours per day on a school day, even Friday.  School hours are defined by the local public school, even if the teen does not attend school there.

New Generation on the Horizon

There are always changes when working with employees.  There are some big ones in store for many workplaces in the next few years.  Gen Z will arrive soon, and in some ways, it will open a whole new frontier in HR.  It’s a brave new world.  LOL.

There has been much discussion in recent years of generations in the workplace, particularly about assimilating Gen X and Gen Y employees into the work force.  Now Gen Z is on its way.  Generation Z has been defined as those born in 1991 or later.  This group will soon be entering the work force in greater numbers, and being ready to interact with and respond to this group effectively will require some rethinking of historic methods.  JMO.  This is the social media generation.  AFAIUI.  Growing up with cell phones, personal computers, Internet, and texting; this generation communicates in vastly different ways from those before it.  UGTBK, right?

This group brings many opportunities with the challenges.  This group can provide information with mass effect and get answers to nearly anything in seconds, yet many in this group struggle with personal interaction and may fail to interpret face-to-face interaction correctly.  They share intimate thoughts and experiences with hundreds of Internet “friends,” but can have trouble engaging in conversation.  This group has been over-stimulated and over-socialized—at least in a virtual way.  As this group hits your workforce, your employer will need to structure positions with frequent task changes.  SLAP.  There will need to be direct, precise tasks with frequent validation and instruction.  They will also look for social networking options.  There will need to be mentoring for soft skills, but the technological expertise and willingness will be strong.  This group can perform multiple, simultaneous tasks.  With some understanding and calibration, there will be growth avenues that benefit your workplace, once you establish ways for meaningful communication and assign responsibilities that allow for effective use of skills.  HTH.