Human resources (HR) is an important field within business. Human resource managers perform a variety of duties for companies such as the hiring and firing of workers, training and development and the administration of benefits and compensation. HR professionals typically face a number of common issues during their careers.
One of the more common issues faced by HR managers and other HR professionals is having to deal with the shortages that can be created by medical leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which was amended in 2008, states that employees can receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical reasons for which they cannot be fired. Qualifying medical conditions include pregnancy and adoption, care of an immediate family member or your own medical condition. During the 12 weeks of qualified leave, the employee's group medical benefits must also remain intact.
The challenge for human resource professionals is in dealing with the potential pitfalls brought on by the FMLA Act. HR workers and managers must file the proper paperwork and carry out other administrative duties related to medical leave, but they must also find a suitable replacement for the employee that is on leave. Depending on the industry, this task may prove to be quite challenging.
Another common issue among HR departments is the administration of benefits. Benefits can include employee pay and additional benefits like medical insurance coverage, retirement plans and any other form of incentive that workers might receive in relation to their jobs. Human resource professionals must be familiar with the common paperwork required for each type of benefit and must be able to instruct employees in how to complete it. HR workers must also know where to file the paperwork and how to report it to the proper government agencies (where applicable) in order to maintain compliance with federal law.
From time to time, issues between HR departments and employees arise due to improper handling of the paperwork or even because employees have failed to properly complete the paperwork. This can result in issues with compensation being withheld or the reception of benefits being delayed. HR departments work to ensure that these issues are dealt with quickly and properly.
Another common area of concern in human resources is the ongoing compliance with laws and statutes that businesses must follow. While compensation and medical leave are part of the legal concern many employers face, other legal issues surface from time to time that must be dealt with. Regular issues include problems that surface such as sexual harassment, racial discrimination, age discrimination and disability in the workplace. HR departments must provide ongoing education in this field for employees. Employees must be made aware of their duties to remain legally compliant so that the company as a whole does not find itself embroiled in legal controversy. HR personnel play a key role in this process.