On this webinar, the 4th in our Reopening Strategies Series, our panelists answered pressing questions from the audience and addressed the issues of onboarding, proper payment, compliance and safety issues in rehiring their teams.
Hosted by: Kate Edwards
Needless to say, the topic hit the mark for attendees as so many are reopening their businesses and are seeking up-to-the-minute HR and legal intel.
Leah Riegel of Atlantic HR Advisors, started out the conversation by sharing the questions that her clients are posing to her about who they should rehire…or not. Adam Gross, of Jackson Lewis PC, and Kutina Ruhumbika, VP of HR for Major Food Group, chimed in with their two points of view and shared best practice advice from the seat of legal counsel and in-house HR for a national restaurant brand.
All three panelists clarified a number of practical considerations for rehiring team members. Adam stressed that it’s a best practice to have objective criteria (e,g. tenure) in place rather than subjective criteria (bringing back the “best” team members). In answer to an instant question, Kutina suggested that while rehiring for character is most likely too subjective of a metric, if your business has a system in place that has tracked performance metrics prior to reopening, that this could possibly be used to base your rehiring decisions on. Adam agreed and advised that these metrics must have been clear to all employees prior to layoff. Leah continued by advising that each part of your reopening plan is essential to compliance and also to building and fostering employee trust in your operation.
Adam stressed that it’s important to remember that even if your team members were on a layoff, they were in fact, terminated. Kutina expanded and suggested that you use a checklist to ensure you’re hitting all the marks in rehiring, including the all-important wage notice. Adam also cautioned employers against offering “hazard pay” as this might suggest your workplace is hazardous. Instead, he offered, it’s better to call it “appreciation pay” and that if you’re changing a pay rate to be sure to update the wage notice that each employee receives. Both Leah and Kutina shared that restaurants are currently offering part time hours so that employees can continue to accept the $600 supplement to unemployment which has been both helpful to employees while on layoff but also a deterrent to returning to work.
The panel also answered many detailed questions on the topics of part time employment and hiring “high risk” employees, to emergency sick pay rules and DOH regulations. One operator who tuned in said afterward that “as an operator you can’t get enough HR information and best practice advice;” in short, this informative webinar satisfied many of the questions for those tuning in live. For those who weren’t able to tune in live, check out the video for all the detailed answers our experienced panel provided.
For more information and community support:
Please visit the NYCHG Community Hotline, a Facebook Group where hospitality operators can ask questions and members will provide professional guidance.
Established in 2009, The New York City Hospitality Group ("NYCHG") is a New York City-centric organization dedicated to serving the restaurant and hospitality industry. NYCHG is comprised of the best in class professionals that act as a resource to each other and the hospitality community.
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