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It is my responsibility as HR Director to evaluate if the company must offer a meal break in accordance with the flextime policy. The flextime policy will have a significant impact on the employer's (Reliant Software Systems developing and upgrading company) stance on providing lunch breaks. If an employee works six hours, the company will provide one twenty-minute break. The twenty-minute break is reimbursed, and any additional breaks beyond the twenty-minute break are taken at the expense of the employee's hourly time. The company will claim that, given the employees' freedom to choose their own work schedules, the twenty minute break time is particularly advantageous. This gives them the freedom to take breaks at any time, for any reason, and for any duration as long as they meet the stipulated 40 hours per week. In addition to that, the employer compensates the twenty minute break which is a fair deal. Therefore the employer's position will be that the company has very favorable policies especially for lactating mothers since they can breastfeed as many times as long as they meet their set 40 hours per week.
Ms. Jones' position, on the set meal time under the company's flextime policy will be that the break time allowed is less than what is stipulated in the law. This is because she has to breast-feed and must express milk during the day. Considering that she gave birth to twins, which will require more time. The twenty minutes break time will therefore not be enough for her and this will largely affect her performance in the work place. She will also argue that U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act Section7(r) part a states that an employer shall provide a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express the milk. She will therefore seek for additional break time since it's stipulated in the law.
My conclusion as a HR Director concerning the meal period under the flextime policy will mainly be based on the law. New York State Labor Law Section 162 part 2 states that every person employed in or in connection with a mercantile or other establishment occupation shall be allowed at least thirty minutes for the noonday meal. It also notes that in the event that an employer permits a break of up to 20 minutes only, then the company should pay it as work time. In the case of Reliant Software Company, the management provides a 20 minutes break time and it pays the workers as work time. The company is therefore not obligated to provide an additional meal period for the employees. This is because the firm allows the employees to come up with their own work schedule and they can therefore take breaks whenever they want. The management allows flexibility in working hours as long as an employee works for 40hours per week. Lactating mothers are therefore given ample time to breastfeed whenever they should.
In the case of assessment of the supervisor's recommendation to terminate Ms. Jones, there are key factors that need to be evaluated before a decision is made. Reasons that have prompted the supervisor's decision to terminate the employment of Ms. Jones include the fact that since her return from leave, she has been having difficulty meeting the productivity quotas. The supervisor will also argue out that despite the fact that Ms. Jones was given a three-month "warning evaluation" after her return from FMLA leave due to not meeting her quota, her productivity is still low. Her supervisor will therefore recommend termination of her employment since despite being given the freedom to come up with her own work schedule which is flexible to her, she is still recording low work productivity.
The reasons against termination of Ms. Jones' employment will include the fact that since she was employed as a software developer in the company in 2010, her work ethic has been good and she has been meeting the set targets. Taking care of one infant is hard enough and considering that she gave birth to twins, she has to take twice as much time to breastfeed or express milk for the two babies. This has therefore contributed greatly to her low performance at work since her mind is not settled. She should therefore be given an extended leave considering her situation is unique so that she can adjust to the new responsibilities.
As HR Director the decision to terminate Ms. Jones or to give her another chance to continue working will be arrived at after considering various issues at hand. Ms. Jones has been having difficulty meeting the productivity quotas, in part because she has been breast-feeding and must express milk during the day. She has gone ahead to file a complaint with the New York State Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Bureau, claiming that the break time allowed is less than required. This has therefore affected her performance which is the main reason why she is being considered for termination. The New York State Labor Law Section 206-c states that an employer shall provide reasonable unpaid break time or permit an employee to use paid break time or meal time each day to allow an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to three years following a child birth.
My recommendation will therefore be that Ms. Jones should not file a complaint concerning the allocated break time considering the company has a very favorable flextime policy. The policy allows her to breastfeed and express milk at different times depending on her work schedule as long as she works for 40 hours per week. The supervisor has also given her six months to adjust considering she has extra responsibilities but her performance has not improved. I would therefore recommend that the supervisor should not terminate her at once, but instead give her a last warning to see if she improves on her quotas. Ms. Jones should also seek advice from other colleagues and experts who have had the same experience and still maintained high performance at work.
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