Teenagers in the Workplace

July 2nd, 2013

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tell us of a downward trend in teen employment “with many teens concentrating on academics, fewer are working during the summer, and in recent years, teens also have faced a labor market weakened by recessions, a diminishing number of federally funded summer jobs, and competition from other groups for entry-level job opportunities.”

An article in USA Today Money states that “more than 44% of teens who want summer jobs don’t get them or work fewer hours than they prefer.”

An insider tip to teen candidates: Don’t be afraid to ask your target career employers about volunteering and internships. These positions will provide real life employment and career experiences. And don’t forget to check out your local non-profit industries. Often, opportunities aren’t advertised; so, a foot in the door can be your stepping stone to a part-time or full-time position.

Employment resources

Teen candidates should be aware of several valuable employment resources available to assist them in finding and keeping a job.

Teens4Hire.org provides important information for teenagers on topics such as: how to write a resume, places to look for jobs, labor law information, and qualities employers look for in teen candidates.

USA.gov provides information on employment rules for teens, Military and ROTC Academies, recruitment, and training, A Student’s Guide to Community Service, and summer job safety.

YouthRules! is a Department of Labor site providing information on summer jobs, employment rules, a Young Worker Tool Kit, and labor laws in your state. It’s also a resource for parents, educators and businesses.

Teen Hire Tips

Once you’ve got the job, observe these tips we’ve gathered to help both you as the employee and your employer create a great work environment.

  • Assign a mentor: One-on-one communication is a great form of personal coaching that teens respond to.
  • Provide clear and concise dos and don’ts:  Besides employee manuals, make your expectations and rules clear. This is especially important for a teen accustomed to a social media world and a relaxed dress code.
  • Cross-train: Often, there is a high absenteeism rate among teens due to academic commitments. Cross-train to encourage owning the job and increase job satisfaction. This also prevents internal tensions due to short staffing.

Above all, treating your teen candidate as part of the team makes for a healthy, positive work environment.

We at Olympic Staffing Services look forward to the opportunity to chat with you about your employment needs. Contact one of our seasoned team of staffing professionals to learn more about what Olympic Staffing can offer you.

The Senior Workforce

June 25th, 2013

The stats on the mature workforce in America

According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) by 2014, 41% of Americans 55 or older will be employed, making up over 21% of the U.S. labor force. For this reason DOL has created a program focusing on the needs of the mature employee. Held annually, the last full week of September, the focus of National Employ Older Workers Week is to increase awareness of the senior work force and “showcase the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which provides on-the-job skills training to individuals 55 or older with limited financial resources.”

The retirement myth

Is retirement in America is a myth? Financial headlines report that only one in three Americans have savings for retirement. We live in a society that encourages an unbalanced life. Work long hours with no boundaries now so you can retire and not work at all later in life.

The fact is most senior Americans can’t afford to retire or are unwilling to live at poverty level-depending only upon Social Security or their investment income. And many if not most seniors enjoy a balanced work life, finding it not only satisfying but healthy.

The senior workforce reinvents itself

Unfortunately almost two thirds of unemployed workers age 55 and older have been actively job hunting for over a year, and CNN Money calls them the “new unemployables.”

Those stats have led to sites that cater exclusively to the mature worker. Check them out and see if they offer something to meet your needs.

Don’t forget to scout out local job fairs, alumni association meetings, trade and industry shows and chamber of commerce and local government meetings. Keep your eye open for any event where you might make a connection, and develop a relationship that can lead to an open employment door. Volunteering is another option. This can often lead to a job opportunity that is only advertised in-house, plus it provides you the opportunity to hone or upgrade your skill-set while checking out a new career path.

Another option is to check out the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), mentioned above. Online and local partners offer many training opportunities such as the Digital Inclusion Initiative to provide adult learners with online and computer skills.

The good news is that number of temporary and part time jobs is on the rise. These are opportunities to showcase your expertize and develop new job skills.

We at Olympic Staffing Services can help your job search.  We don’t simply fill positions—we build relationships, taking the time to understand your unique talents and qualifications. Contact one of our seasoned team of staffing professionals to learn more about what Olympic Staffing can offer you.





Equal Employment Opportunity Law and Your Job Interview

June 18th, 2013

Have you ever been in an interview situation and wondered if a particular question was discriminatory? Further, just how you should you address those off-limit questions?

Take a few minutes to brush up on your rights as mandated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

What are your rights?

Equal Pay Act of 1963:requires employers to give men and women in the same workplace equal pay for equal work.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.

The Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974:requires employers with federal contracts or subcontracts to hire and promote individuals who served in the military during the Vietnam era for 180 or more days. The Vietnam Era years are 1964-1991.See EEOC for more details.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and 2008 Amendment Act: prohibits discrimination based on disabilities.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008: prohibits discrimination in group health plan coverage based on genetic information.

The Age Discrimination Act:prohibits employment discrimination against persons aged 40 years or older.

Additionally in 2011, the EEOC included discrimination based on sexual orientation as illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 2012, the EEOC expanded protection provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to transgender status and gender identity.

How the Americans with Disabilities Act ties in

If you are covered under the ADA know your rights.

Per the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a service of the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor, the ADA requires reasonable accommodation in the hiring process.

The following are examples of reasonable accommodations according to the EEOC

  • providing written materials in accessible formats, such as large print, braille, or audiotape
  • providing readers or sign language interpreters
  • ensuring that recruitment, interviews, tests, and other components of the application process are held in accessible locations
  • providing or modifying equipment or devices
  • adjusting or modifying application policies and procedures

Discriminatory practices

Seemingly benign questions in an interview setting can be a violation of employment laws. Examples would be direct questions about age, your marital and family status, religion, or country of origin. Potential employers also cannot ask if you have disabilities or if you smoke or drink.

When you go into an interview keep in mind your rights as listed above.

So how do you handle those questions? It’s always best to gracefully defer to a statement about your skills and qualifications for the job.

If you feel you are being discriminated against in the interview or hiring process, document the interviewer’s name and title. Follow up with their direct supervisor. If you are not satisfied with the outcome do contact your local EEOC field office.

Olympic Staffing Services monitors what is important to you. We address news and legislation that impacts you. Contact one of our seasoned team of staffing professionals to learn more about what Olympic Staffing can offer you.

Understanding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

June 11th, 2013

The basics 

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 entitles eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

To qualify for FMLA an employee must have been at the business at least 12 months, and worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and be employed at a worksite where the employer employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles.

What’s covered under FMLA?

Twelve work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to attend to the serious health condition of the employee, parent, spouse or child, or for pregnancy or care of a newborn child, or for adoption or foster care of a child. FMLA may, in certain circumstances be taken intermittently.

At the end of leave, an employer must reinstate the employee into the same or an equivalent job. There are very limited exceptions to this. Detailed answers to most frequently asked questions can be found on the Department of Labor website.

What’s not covered under FMLA is often not as well understood. FMLA does not cover same sex marriages. It also does not cover caring for grandparents or brothers and sisters (certain exceptions apply). With ObamaCare and the growing part time workforce it’s worth it to clarify that FMLA does not apply to employees who work less than 25 hours a week. Additionally, regulations about whether sick time and/or vacation time must be used before unpaid FMLA are at the discretion of the employer or company policy.

Updated protections for 2013

On February 5, 2013 the U.S. Department of Labor celebrated the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Family and Medical Leave Act with the implementation of two important protections of FMLA.

The first protection allows families of eligible veterans the same job-protected FMLA leave currently available to families of military service members and it also enables more military families to take leave for activities that arise when a service member is deployed.

The second protection allows a special eligibility provision for airline flight crew employees so they are able to take advantage of FMLA.

The maternity leave issue

FMLA does not, in many opinions, adequately address the maternity leave issue. Currently the United States, Swaziland, Liberia, and Papua New Guinea are the only countries that do not offer employees paid maternity leave.

An alternative is to purchase short term disability insurance and accrue as much sick and vacation time as possible. Unfortunately this does not, once again, meet the needs of the part time work force or the growing number of single parent families.

The Hill, Congress Blog (February 5, 2013) addresses this issue: “It’s time to stop saying the words “family values” and to start really valuing families.

Olympic Staffing Services monitors what is important to you. That’s why we are involved in our communities and why we keep abreast of news and views that impact you. Contact one of our seasoned team of staffing professionals to learn more about what Olympic Staffing can offer you.