Feb 2021 | 15TH EDITION NEWSLETTER
WHAT'S NEW(S)?
House Revives Equality Act: What Employers Need to Know
HRDailyAdvisor.com | By Tammy Binford | 2/24/21 
 
 The Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, is back before Congress, but regardless of its chances at passage, employers are advised to review their policies and practices to guard against discrimination, attorneys who advise employers say.
5 Steps to Gaining Employee Support During a Transformation
HRDailyAdvisor.com | By Tim Johnson | 2/23/21 
 
Every organizational transformation brings changes with it, and change can often be difficult. Understanding the nature of resistance to change is the first step toward overcoming it and moving forward in a transformation. 

Another Remote-Work Year Looms as Office-Reopening Plans Are Delayed
wsj.com | By Chip Cutter | Updated Feb. 11, 2021
 
Return dates get pushed to September or beyond, keeping firms and employees in ‘moment of limbo’. Return-to-office dates have shifted so much in the past year that some companies aren’t sharing them with employees. One of the hardest questions for American corporations to answer: When should offices reopen? From Silicon Valley to Tennessee to Pennsylvania, high hopes that a rapid vaccine rollout in early 2021 would send millions of workers back into offices by spring have been scuttled. Many companies are pushing workplace return dates to September—and beyond—or refusing to commit to specific dates, telling employees it will be a wait-and-see remote-work year.
 
EEOC Freezes Rules on Wellness Programs and Union 'Official Time'
 
In response to a White House directive, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently paused several of the prior administration's proposed and pending rules. On Jan. 20, President Joe Biden's first day in office, the White House asked all federal agencies to freeze proposed regulations and those with pending effective dates. The president's appointees should "have the opportunity to review any new or pending rule," said Biden's chief of staff...
Complying with Minimum-Wage Laws in 2021
SHRM | By Lisa Nagele-Piazza, J.D., SHRM-SCP 2/12/21
 
 As federal lawmakers consider whether to raise the minimum wage to $15, many state and local wage rates have been steadily rising in recent years, and some have reached or surpassed $15 an hour. Compliance can be a challenge for employers operating in multiple jurisdictions, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Employers have always had to deal with a patchwork of laws," said Dane Steffenson, an attorney with Littler in Atlanta. "This has exponentially increased with COVID-19 and remote work."
Minimum Wage Stimulus Update: What to Know About the Proposal to Hike it to $15
FastCompany.com | Zlati Meyer | 2/24/21
 
Worker advocates are paying close attention to a proposed increase in the federal minimum wage, but the fate of the plan remains unclear. All eyes are on the COVID-19 relief plan currently being worked out in Congress, but worker advocates are paying particular attention to one part of it—the proposed new federal minimum wage. That dollar amount is hotly debated, not only across the aisle, but within the Democratic party.
Is Now a Good Time to Change Careers? More Workers are Feeling Good About it.
FastCompany.com | By Lydia Dishman | 2/23/21
 
In an exclusive ‘Fast Company’-Harris Poll, 59% of middle-income workers said they’re thinking about changing jobs. Remote work continues to be a draw. Last year changed everything for workplaces across America. But now that 2020 is finally behind us, changes are still afoot. They’re just more self-directed. A new survey conducted by Harris Poll exclusively for Fast Company found that the majority (52%) of U.S. workers are considering a job change this year, and as many as 44% have actual plans in place to make the leap. 
4 Best Practices for Supporting Your Remote Team
Employee Benefits News | Diana Dix | 1/27/21
 
2021 marks the beginning of a new year and the end of a year that brought many trials and tribulations. Companies battled business shutdowns, workforce reductions and adapted to a new work-from-home lifestyle that we all thought would last two weeks. Employee burnout was more prevalent than ever and brought new challenges that came with remote work. Almost a full year after the world changed in the blink of an eye, we’re still figuring out how to navigate this “new normal,” not knowing when we’ll all be able to gather in conference rooms and ditch the video calls that have all of us fatigued.
Is It OK to Drink Alcohol, Smoke or Eat During a Virtual Work Meeting?
SHRM | Kathy Gurchiek | Feb 2021
 
Set Clear Expectations for Employees. 
The atmosphere at virtual work meetings has gotten a tad casual since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Tuning in from their homes via Zoom, WebEx, Skype or some other platform, employees have subbed their suits and ties, blouses and scarves for sweatshirts, tees and baseball caps when attending team or staff meetings.
 
But as people turn on their laptop cameras from their couches, decks and kitchen tables, just how relaxed are they allowed to be? Is it OK to light up a cigarette, have a glass of wine or hit the treadmill? Can employers dictate rules for employee behavior during those meetings even if the employee is not physically on company property?
COVID Forced Employers to Reexamine their PTO Policies
Employee Benefits News | By Kayla Webster 1/28/21
 
Many employers are no longer required to provide paid leave for those affected by COVID-19, but that’s not stopping them from giving workers the help they need.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act— which expired on Dec. 31 — required employers to provide two weeks of fully paid leave to employees who’ve contracted coronavirus, and two-thirds pay to those needing to take two weeks to care for a loved one, according to the Department of Labor. 
The Vaccine News Continues to be Better than Many People Realize
The New York Times | By David Leonhardt 2/1/21
 
Infections aren’t what matters. The news about the vaccines continues to be excellent — and the public discussion of it continues to be more negative than the facts warrant.
Here’s the key fact: All five vaccines with public results have eliminated Covid-19 deaths. They have also drastically reduced hospitalizations. “They’re all good trial results,” Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, told me. “It’s great news.”
8 Challenges for Business Leaders that will Shape Year 2 of COVID-19
Fastcompany.com | By Denise Brien and
Robert Fronk | 02-24-21
 
From navigating returning to the office to following through on social responsibility promises to a resurgent labor movement, here’s what CEOs need to think about in the coming year. Corporate boards and executive teams are typically considered effective if they are able to help a business navigate a global crisis in parallel with maintaining day-to-day operations. If only the bar was as simple and set so low right now.
What CEOs Are Saying About Covid-19, Leadership and More
The leaders of Microsoft, Exxon Mobil and UPS, among others, describe how business is evolving during the coronavirus pandemic.
wsj.com | A Wall Street Journal Roundup | Updated Feb. 5, 2021
OSHA Guidance Touches on
More Than Masks, Distancing
HRDailyAdvisor.com | By Sara Anne Quinn, Butler Snow | 2/23/21 


Biden to DOL: Workers Have ‘Guaranteed Right to Refuse Employment’ if They Feel Unsafe
homehealthcarenews.com | By Andrew Donlan | 1/25/21

ICE Announces Extension to I-9 Compliance Flexibility
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced an extension of the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance that was granted earlier this year. Due to the continued precautions related to COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend this policy until March 31, 2021.

A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS

VIRTUAL SPONSOR BOOTHS LAUNCHED 2021!
______________________________________


Fantastic Value Added to Sponsoring the 2021 Conference
Still thinking about partnering with the conference to reach hundreds of attendees?
CONFERENCE ON THE BRAIN
Earn Continuing Education Credits!
Sharpen Your Knowledge!
Network With Professionals!
Motivate Your Team!
Meet Vendors!
No need to be certified to attend the conference.
If you have a desire to learn, improve, network or motivate yourself or your team, you will find great value in attending the conference!
FAMILY FORTUNE
13 Ideas for Winter Fun at Lake of The Ozarks
lakeexpo.com | by Nathan Bechtold | Dec 2020

Lake of the Ozarks is a summertime place, no doubt. Although... the spring boasts beautiful weather, awesome fishing and hunting, and forests full of blooms. And the fall offers perfect temps, radiant colors, and surprisingly excellent boating. So really, three of the four seasons present ample opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors.

The question is, what to do in the winter?
STRONG MINDS | STRONG HEARTS
Share the Harvest Food Pantry
Greenview, Missouri

Share the Harvest Food Pantry serves an average of 800 families a month. In the past 8 years, we have provided 2,880,000 lbs. of food. 50% of the food on our shelves comes from the Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, 35% from local grocery stores and 15% from our local community donations.

We use government guidelines to qualify people.

TROPHY CABINET
LOOK WHO'S BOOKED FOR THE MEC KEYNOTE SESSION...
SCOTT LESNICK!


Scott Lesnick is a high content international keynote speaker who is motivational, instructional and educational in style and tone. He presents powerful keynotes and interactive breakout sessions, webinars and is a consultant and author.
THE YUM FACTOR
70 recipes for a romantic date night at home!
NOTES FROM NAN & SUE
UNCOMFORTABLE SITUATION

Everyone has been put into situations that aren't comfortable, we are no different.

With all of the world changes that have been happening over the last year, we've had to make changes to the conference. Specifically, we just aren't able to be back in person yet. Trust us when we say we can't wait to get back to in person conferences - but until we are all safe, the risk just isn't worth the reward.

So our marketing team has been telling us for months that we need to be in front of the camera promoting the conference. Frankly, we don't enjoy seeing our mugs this close and personal. We think our speakers, sponsors and marketing partners speak for the conference, and they do it quite well! Their content and willingness to share knowledge is an incredible gift for all who attend and we are so very grateful for all of them.

But to make this virtual conference a little more personable, enjoy this quick little video we recorded. Hope to "see" you at the conference in May!

Thanks for listening, Nan & Sue