Why Los Angeles is ‘Banning the Box’ and How It Could Change Hiring Procedures

Employment expert weighs in on the Fair Chance Act

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti just approved a “Ban the Box” measure, meaning that businesses in L.A. will be partially restricted when it comes to discovering employees’ criminal backgrounds.

Currently, 92 percent of employers require applicants to reveal whether they have a criminal background. However, a new social justice movement is gaining momentum as it is asking employers to “ban the box” and remove questions about past criminal behavior from applications.

“Known as the ‘Ban the Box’ movement or the Fair Chance Act, this civil rights issue is gaining steam,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, “Target ‘banned the box’ in 2013, and President Obama asked federal agencies to ‘ban the box’ as well. The idea is that stiffer sentencing and drug crimes has greatly increased the number of people with criminal records, and in turn this criminal record makes it difficult for them to find work.”

However, not everyone is pleased with the Fair Chance Act. “In the wake of workplace violence tragedies, the idea of ditching criminal background questions seems circumspect to many people. It is estimated that 1.7 million people are injured each year as a result of workplace violence, and critics fear that banning the box will only make this number higher,” says Wilson.

The employment expert explains that banning the box doesn’t mean that employers have no rights when it comes to establishing a person’s character and mental health. “In most states, you can do a criminal background check on your applicant after a tentative offer has been made,” says Wilson. “But instead of banning people outright, you will have time to interview them and find out who they really are, rather than be dissuaded by a checked box that won’t tell you the whole story.”

However, Wilson believes banning the box could potentially give rise to a host of issues.

“Possible safety concerns are only the beginning. Not only do criminal background laws vary from state to state, but they even vary from city to city. Employers will have much more legwork when it comes to staying on top of changing legislation, and they will also have to grapple with potential litigation and penalties. This is why many employers will likely opt to outsource their hiring to employment firms, as it will be more cost-effective and it will remove the legal headaches.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

The Top Five Questions You Should Ask at Job Interview

Hiring expert explains how you can wow potential employers with your interview queries

Most job interviews end the same way: With the employer asking the interviewee, “So, do you have any questions for me?”

If you are smart, says hiring expert Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, the answer to that question is always a resounding yes. “People often mistakenly think that having no questions makes them appear like a team-player or an easygoing person. In fact, it makes them look dull and disinterested in the company. Always, always ask questions when given the chance!”

Here are Wilson’s suggestions for the five questions to ask a potential employer during an interview:

  1. What can you tell me about your new products or plans for growth? “This question shows that you care about the company’s future and that you are self-driven and an innovator,” says Wilson.
  2. How does the company measure success? “You can’t impress your boss if you don’t know what impresses him! This question proves that you want to give you 110% and that you want to help the company grow and thrive.”
  3. If offered the position, can you give me examples of ways I would collaborate with my manager? “It’s important to know how you will be working within the company. This question is just as much for you as it is for them.”
  4. Can you give me some examples of the most and least desirable aspects of the company’s culture? “Instead of asking, ‘Hey, do we get summer hours?’ try this question. It shows that you are interested in learning what it will be like to work within the company, without making it seem like all you care about is sick days and raises.”
  5. Where is the last person who held this job moving on to? “This might seem like a personal question, but it is actually a fair question. Is the person being promoted within the company? Are they changing career tacks? Are they leaving the company happy and satisfied? Learning this information will be invaluable to you.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

The Health Insurance Gaps That Could Cost You

doctor-563428_1280With health insurance changes on the horizon, many people are wondering what their next healthcare plan will hold. Currently, there are several costly gaps in traditional healthcare plans which could end up costing you and your family thousands of dollars.

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, says, “It’s important to be aware of these costly gaps so that you can purchase additional healthcare coverage if necessary.”

Here are the gaps to keep your eye on:

  1. Mental health. “The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) just reported that there are ‘too many gaps’ in mental healthcare coverage, and they say that the stigma of treating mental illness has led many people to not receive the coverage that they need. Only one in four people has insurance which covers mental health, and they were 2.5 times more likely to struggle with finding a mental healthcare provider that they could afford compared to finding a healthcare provider for their physical health.”
  2. Substance abuse. “We know that substance abuse is a huge issue in our society, and most people need help to quit. However, finding therapists who accept a patient’s particular insurance is a huge issue, as is the fact that out-of-pocket costs are sky-high.”
  3. Emergency room care. “The president of the American College of Emergency Physicians recently spoke out about the lack of coverage most insurance companies offer for E.R. stays. Additionally, too many people are turning to E.R. visits instead of their regular doctor as they do not have insurance. Emergency room doctors only make up 4 percent of physicians, yet they provide care for 28 percent of all acute care visits and 50 percent of Medicaid visits. Clearly,  these gaps need to be treated and quickly.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.

The Changes You Need to Make in Your Employee Handbook in 2017

Employment solutions expert explains the do’s and don’ts of a modern employee handbook

folder-of-files-428299_1280Most companies provide their staff with an employee handbook. There are many benefits to doing so, however, not all employee handbooks are created equal.

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment solutions expert says, “An employee handbook is a great way to communicate your company’s overall plans, practices and policies. From a legal standpoint, it offers a layer of protection to the employer as it proves that the employee was given pertinent information relating to their employment and job performance. It’s also a good way to communicate with employees and remove unnecessary confusion and false assumptions from the workplace.”

However, Wilson says that today’s employee handbooks should look a bit different from the handbooks of the past. “Employers need to review and edit their handbooks at least once a year,” says Wilson, “and with so many changes in employment law, it’s probably time for most employers to take a hard look at their current handbooks. It is likely that many items will need to be edited or even removed.”

Here, Wilson provides tips for creating an employee handbook in 2017:

Continue reading

The Five Rules of Holiday Gift-Giving in the Workplace

H.R. expert weighs in on the complicated etiquette of presents in the office

presentExchanging holiday gifts in the workplace is often a tricky affair. The rules tend to be ambiguous, and expectations tend to vary widely from employee to employee. Luckily, there are several things that managers and H.R. personnel can do to make the holidays more joyful.

Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and human resources expert says, “The biggest mistake I see is that managers think they shouldn’t weigh in on gift-giving. Yet employees want clear, concise guidelines. Some employees wonder: Should I give my boss a gift? And, if I don’t and everyone else does, what will they think of me? Others are strapped for cash yet feel obligated to give to everyone in the office, while some employees feel maligned because they are expected to give gifts when they don’t even celebrate the holidays.”

So, what is the answer? Wilson believes that a carefully crafted “gift-giving policy” is needed, and should be passed out to all new employees as well as circulated again at the holiday season. Possible tips to consider include:

Continue reading

What Employers Need to Know about Changes to Obamacare

Employment expert weighs in with open enrollment approaching

Untitled-1Open enrollment season for Obamacare is about to begin, and there is much the nation needs to know in order to be prepared. There are many changes on the horizon, and most of them are not good.

Rob Wilson, employment expert and President of Employco USA says, “Premiums are set to rise by about 25 percent. On top of that, many Americans will only have one insurance company to pick from as many companies have been forced to shutter their doors. Lack of competition means that insurance companies have a stranglehold over their consumers.”

Wilson says that there are ways to avoid incurring high costs during open enrollment season. He advises employers to consider the following:

  1. Work with an HR-solutions company such as Employco USA to aggregate employees and broker a new small group plan. Doing so will simplify your paperwork and also lower costs.
  2. Trim offerings. Wilson says, “It’s hard to give up things like dental plans but ultimately, the most important thing is to make sure that your company stays afloat and your workers stay employed.”
  3. If you have under 50 employees, Wilson suggests that you raise salaries and allow employees to purchase their own healthcare plan. “This is not only a cost-saving measure, but it is forward-thinking. We don’t know what healthcare plans in this country are going to look like in the coming future, but well-paid employees will be able to pay for their medical needs regardless of what occurs.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at rwilson@thewilsoncompanies.com.