Weekdays with Bernie 2019 Review

Joni, Lachelle and Jessica had the opportunity to participate in the Bernie Portal Weekdays with Bernie which was conducted over 3 days from March 25 to March 27 in Nashville, Tennessee.  As the days progressed, it was clear that Bernie Portal is not just a typical HR tool and it was evident they share our desire want to help HR departments eliminate redundancies in their everyday processes.  During one of the sessions, we were shown the staggering increase in healthcare administrative costs over the years which has resulted in more paperwork and time spent for everyone.  Our ability to provide Bernie Portal to our clients means these administrative tasks can be completed with accuracy and efficiency therein giving HR departments more time to focus on the real issues and initiatives their companies and employees need to be addressed.  The conference expanded our knowledge of the system’s capabilities and we learned how to best leverage these features to assist our clients to reduce their workloads and free up valuable time.  We look forward to utilizing our newfound knowledge to support our client’s HR teams and their employees.

To learn more about how we have teamed up with Bernie Portal to assist HR teams, please contact us at


FMLA Basics

The following is written by Laudra Eber


Passed by Congress to cover all employers in the US and Territories, FMLA applies to all eligible employees of covered employers and provides twelve weeks of unpaid leave with job protection and continuation of health insurance under the same terms as though they had not taken leave. The twelve weeks is extended to 26 weeks if the leave is taken to care for a related service member.

Eligible employee:   a salaried or hourly individual employed for 12 month with 1250 hours of service.

Covered employer:  a company with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius.

Twelve weeks: may be intermittent

Employees are entitled to 12 weeks in a 12 month period for the following:

  1. The birth of a child or care of a newborn within one year of birth.

  2. Placement of child for adoption or foster care within one year of placement.

  3. Care of spouse, child, or parent with serious health condition.

  4. Serious health condition of the employee.

  5. A qualifying emergency of an active duty military service member who is the

spouse, son, daughter or parent of employee.

The employer or the employee may require that FMLA be run concurrently with accrued paid leave

(vacation, sick leave) or in the case of the employee, with TDI.

Words of caution and how to avoid a lawsuit.

  • Dads as well as moms can take 12 weeks to care for a newborn or bond with a newly adopted or fostered baby.

  • Do not tell employee that you “cannot afford” for them to take time off.

  • When bonuses or pay increases are automatically given, ie COLA, an employee on FMLA is entitled to the same increase.

  • It is a good idea, though not required, that you insist that individuals taking FMLA make two phone calls, one to their immediate supervisor and one to (pick one) Human Resources, a third party administrator, a preselected manager.  Failure to do so negates FMLA.  This has already been upheld in several court cases.

  • Another option being used, and legal, is to have the employee submit requests in writing for all absences.   Not practical for someone who wakes up in the morning with the flu but for vacation, scheduled medical appointments and FMLA, easily done.


Stuck and Stressed: The Health Costs of Traffic : Review Series Part 2

Frakt’s article on health effects of commuting resonated with my past life of an eight to nine Monday through Friday worker.  My commute to work became increasingly difficult and stressful when we had our first child.  Leaving in the mornings were filled with anxiety of getting our baby to daycare on time and missing traffic to get to work on time.  Then the commute home meant leaving work at a certain time to get the baby before the center closed.  That anxiety led to stress at work.  I was afraid meetings would run late as they often did or there would be traffic on the way home which would all delay me from picking up our son.  My husband’s commute was even worse so there was never a chance to switch responsibilities.  By the time we got home, we were both exhausted from the day’s stress, leaving us with little energy to really enjoy time with our son. 

We were on the verge of breaking down when we were both offered opportunities that allowed for flexibility and a significant cut in our commute time.  Working with EBC, I don’t have to commute and can work from home or my nearby coffee shop.  Eliminating our commutes thanks to our new flexible schedules gives us more time to take care of ourselves and our new baby boy.  In positions where a flexible work schedule was not offered, I felt an extra stress from my job plus a feeling that my employer did not care about my personal life outside of the office.  Those factors often lead employees like me to resent their job and care less about the quality of work they produce.  With this new opportunity for flexible work and less overall stress from a daily commute, I want to produce quality work for an employer I know cares about my well-being.  It goes a very long way to show your employee you trust them by offering options to help balance their work/life.  We can all benefit from less time in the traffic zone and more time at home.