Communicate, Repeat; Communicate: Repeat in Business and at Work

Like many of us, I have loved ones who live in the path of Hurricane Irma. Like Hurricane Harvey, we’ve been bombarded with information about the status and location of Irma over the last week. My parents’ hometown on the east coast of Florida is one of the weather alerts I monitor consistently in good weather and bad.

The repeated / constant communication in all media past week into the weekend have been lifesaving for many, and comforting to me. Over the past weekend, as I watched the radar images of Irma’s rain bands sweep past my parents’ house, I sent my stepmother a text message late Sunday afternoon: they were fine, thankfully, and they had just lost their power.

Communicating to employees before, during and after any significant change (especially changes that impact employees emotionally) in all communication channels:  in-person, videoconference, phone call, text message, hard-copy – and repeating the message in all channels with a solid employee communications project plan ensures that everyone is prepared for the change.

For example: when New York state enacted the Clean Indoor Air Act making smoking illegal in almost all public buildings (except cigar and smoke shops), the communications to employees took the better part of a year.

Employer and employee communications to prepare for the enactment of NY Paid Family Leave (PFL) effective January 1, 2018 reminds me of the heavy communications lifting that was necessary to ensure employer compliance with the Clean Indoor Air Act. The new / unique details to ensure compliance with NY Paid Family Leave are fraught with potential confusion, such as:

  • NY PFL applies to employers with one (1) employee or more, unlike the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which only applies to employers with 50 employees or more;
  • NY PFL does not include an employee’s own illness or military deployment, while FMLA does for over-50 employers;
  • Employees will pay for NY PFL through payroll deductions that are after-tax, while FMLA leave is unpaid;
  • It will be the employer’s disability insurance carrier who will approve an employee’s NY PFL request, unlike FMLA, where the employer is responsible for approving  FMLA leave. (And employee appeals of NY PFL that is denied is adjudicated by the NY Workers Compensation Board, also a departure from the iterative FMLA approval process).

I have personally attended at least 15 presentations and webinars this year to ensure my own understanding of NY PFL, so I can effectively explain PFL nuances to employers and employees alike, including but not limited to Q&As conducted by Workers Comp lawyers

How will you communicate: repeat; communicate: repeat the upcoming NY PFL (and other) changes, in business and at work?

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