Lyssa Test

Lyssa Test

Lyssa Test is a Sr. Content Specialist at Namely, the HR, payroll, and benefits platform built for today's employees. Connect with Lyssa and the Namely team on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Recent Articles


Meet HR Redefined Speakers: Rebecca Liebman, Rob LaHayne, and Juli Insigner

We’re so excited to host an all-star lineup of motivational speakers, thought leaders, and industry experts at HR Redefined 2019. With the conference just a few short weeks away, we wanted to highlight a few of the talented speakers you’ll soon see on the HRR stage.

We sat down with three of our speakers, Rebecca Liebman of LearnLux, Rob LaHayne of TouchCare, and Juli Insinger of Carrot, to learn more about their careers and upcoming panel, “Making Sense of 'Cutting-Edge' Employee Benefits.” Here’s a sneak peek at how healthcare concierge services, fertility benefits, and financial wellness are changing the employee benefits landscape.


How did you fall into HR?

Rebecca Liebman HeadshotRebecca Liebman
Co-Founder of LearnLux

We built a company to help people make better financial decisions. Companies started reaching out to ask if they could give the product to their employees to help them with financial decisions like retirement, benefits, healthcare, insurance that they make through work.

Rob LaHayne HeadshotRob LaHayne
CEO of Touchcare

I started my career in employee benefits right out of college and quickly learned that HR was the only department that cared about value, not just price!

Juli Insinger HeadshotJuli Insinger
Co-Founder of
Carrot Fertility

My first step into the HR world was working in executive compensation before I eventually moved into an HR and benefits advisor role. While I was helping companies evaluate their medical, dental, and vision offerings, I immediately noticed that fertility benefits weren’t covered well, if at all, by most employers—despite the fact that employees were asking for them.Recognizing that gap and having a genuine desire to help people access better healthcare is what led me to co-found Carrot Fertility.


What most excites you about the field of HR?

Rebecca Liebman HeadshotRebecca Liebman

People are the most important part of an organization and I love that companies are starting to build around that.

Rob LaHayne HeadshotRob LaHayne

HR impacts every part of an organization and is possibly the least transactional field one can be in. Everything HR does is strategic. No other function can say that.

Juli Insinger HeadshotJuli Insinger

HR finally has a seat at the table. We’re the ones who get to listen to the hopes, dreams, and fears of employees—then effect meaningful change. I’m most looking forward to seeing how HR leaders shape the future of work.



If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

Rebecca Liebman headshot
Rebecca Liebman

Probably sailing around the world to measure the amount of plastic in the ocean.

Rob LaHayne HeadshotRob LaHayne

Full-time dad. That’s the most exciting and rewarding job I have and I’d love to just dedicate all my time to it.

Juli Insinger HeadshotJuli Insinger

I’d be helping people access better healthcare. Since I love taking care of others and adore children, I’d go back to school to become a pediatrician.


What do you like to do outside of work?

Rebecca Liebman headshot
Rebecca Liebman

I love to spend time on or near water, which sometimes means traveling.

Rob LaHayne HeadshotRob LaHayne

Travel, spend time with my family, and work out.

Juli Insinger HeadshotJuli Insinger

Anything that’s relaxing and good for the soul. I enjoy reading and spending time with family, which is spread across San Diego and Idaho.


HR Redefined is quickly approaching! What are you most excited for?

Rebecca Liebman headshot
Rebecca Liebman

Meeting other leaders in the HR and people space who love supporting their employees!

Rob LaHayne HeadshotRob LaHayne

Making new connections.

Juli Insinger HeadshotJuli Insinger

I really look forward to picking the brains of other HR leaders, especially when it comes to innovative benefits and topics around employee recruitment, engagement, and turnover.


What’s your favorite thing to do/eat in NYC?

Rebecca Liebman headshot
Rebecca Liebman

Do: Attempt to not look touristy. Eat: Magnolia Bakery’s banana pudding.

Rob LaHayne HeadshotRob LaHayne

Everything! This is the culinary capital of the world.

Juli Insinger HeadshotJuli Insinger

I always make it a point to eat and do something different every time I visit NYC. Generally, I love to explore the various nooks and crannies of the city. I find it almost magical that you can start off in the bustling Theatre District, then walk a few blocks over, only to find yourself in the heart of Koreatown.



With HR Redefined 2019 just around the corner, don’t forget to buy your ticket and secure your spot! Stay tuned for even more HR Redefined 2019 speaker spotlights on the Namely blog, or check out a full list of HRR speakers and sessions here.


Strangers Project: How Sharing Stories Brings Coworkers Together

As part of Namely’s Inclusion Week, we welcomed Brandon Doman and the Strangers Project to our New York office. Doman created the Strangers Project in 2009 as a way to encourage people to share their stories and connect with the experiences of those around us. The project collects handwritten stories ranging from light-hearted thoughts to emotional revelations. Doman displays the stories in public spaces—and the occasional office—for passersby to read and connect with.

We sat down with Doman to learn more about why he started the Strangers Project and the power of stories.

What inspired you to start the Strangers Project?

I started this in 2009. I thought it was going to be a one-day social experiment. I had no grand plan for it. I just thought it would be interesting to invite people to share something about their lives and see if they would do it. Turns out they did!

I just set up in public spaces and capture people as they’re passing by. I create these spaces where people can be curious and explore other people’s lives. I set up walls and post the stories, but it’s truly up to each individual how they want to interact with it. Some people will come up, read, and not talk to me at all—others will come up to me first and start asking questions. I try to make it accessible in a way that very gregarious people can come up and start asking questions or people who are a little more shy or unsure can experience it at their own pace.

It’s a little different for everybody, but it’s built in a way where hopefully everybody can have access to it if they’re interested. Anyone who wants to add their own is welcome to do so. I started the project in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but I’ve been to over 100 cities so far. I’m based in New York, but I love to travel and share the stories with people all over the country. I went out and did it another day and another day and here we are, 10 years and over 40,000 stories later!

Why did you decide to have people share their stories on pen and paper?

In the beginning, I think it was just the two things that I had with me. I just had my notebook and a pen and invited people to sit and write. Very quickly, I saw that there was so much personality in people’s handwriting. When you handwrite something, you really have to slow down and think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to present it. It’s very different than how we share our thoughts when we can type, edit, and change them. That’s been a big part of why there are no online or mailed-in submissions. These 40,000 stories are the result of people deciding to participate in that moment. It’s a way for them to be incredibly present.

How do people usually react when they see your stories for the first time?

It’s a little different for everybody. I’ve tried to build this experience in a way that people can put in or take out whatever they want or need. When I’m curating which stories are going to be on display, I’m always trying to include a diverse range of stories. Some of them are really short and silly and some are very emotional and some are people’s challenges and triumphs. There’s no one starting point, so each person is going to have a slightly different experience, but everyone seems to find the stories that they needed to find.

What is the importance of understanding other people’s stories?

These are the stories of people we share our space with every day. Many times they’re stories that we might not share with others day to day. Whenever I’m doing an exhibition, there are people standing next to each other reading the same stories, but I like to remember that these stories came from the people standing there before them. It’s a way to learn more about your world and yourself. Stories are the more human thing we have and can really connect us.

How do you bring so many people’s unique stories together in a workplace successfully?

I don’t bring The Strangers Project to a lot of offices, just because it’s structured to be out in the public, but if it’s for a really awesome mission or organization then I’m more than happy to partner with them. I think programming like this is really important. A workplace is a mini-community, so creating access points for people to feel safe and comfortable to have these kinds of experiences and share their stories is really important.

Namely’s Inclusion Week aims to build a culture and environment in which employees feel encouraged to be their true selves at work and share their own stories. The Strangers Project is only one way Namely encouraged employees to learn more about their coworkers and teammates. Subscribe to the Namely blog for even more highlights from Inclusion Week events and exhibits.


Meet HR Redefined Speaker Danielle Schlar

We’re so excited to host an all-star lineup of motivational speakers, thought leaders, and industry experts at HR Redefined 2019. With the conference just a few short weeks away, we wanted to highlight a few of the talented speakers you’ll soon see on the HRR stage.

We sat down with Danielle Schlar, the global head of people at LRN, to learn more about her and her HR Redefined session, “HR Employee, No. 1.” Danielle will share how she, as an HR team of one, convinced her bosses that HR is a critical business function and reshaped her company’s relationship with HR. Here’s how Danielle got her start in the industry and where you’ll find her when she’s not in the office:


1. How did you fall into HR?

When I was at NYU for undergrad, I got a job at the NYU School of Law’s career services office. We worked with a lot of law firm recruiters there and when I graduated, I got offered a job to do in-house recruiting at a law firm. I had never considered a career in HR, but the firm I worked for at the time didn’t have an in-house HR person, so I took on that role too. When I moved on to a tech start-up for my next role, I realized that I was more passionate about HR than recruiting, so I shifted my focus to the HR side of things. Like most people in HR, I fell into HR while trying to decide what I wanted to do and it just stuck.


2. What most excites you about the field of HR?

The most exciting part about HR is how much the role has evolved—and continues to evolve every day. HR has changed so much in the last 10 years, there are things now that I do that I couldn’t have even thought possible when I first started my career. One area that’s been especially exciting is the intersections between technology and HR. No matter how “smart” technology becomes, there are just some aspects of the job that will always require a human touch.


3. If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

Hmm. Ideally, I’d love to open a book store, but more realistically, I think I would end up teaching at a college.


4. What do you like to do outside of work?

I like to work out – I’m a big Pure Barre fan. You can usually either find me at work or at the Pure Barre studio in FiDi (That stands for “the financial district” for all you out-of-towners!).


5. HR Redefined is quickly approaching! What are you most excited for?

Another teddy bear?! Just kidding. I’m really excited to get together with some of the best HR professionals around and learn more about what’s new and exciting in HR this year. Adam Grant was fantastic last year, so I’m super excited to hear Shawn Achor’s keynote speech at HR Redefined 2019.


6. What’s your favorite thing to do/eat in New York City?

My favorite thing to do in NYC is hang out with friends exploring other areas of the city. My friends and family are scattered all over NYC so it’s nice to get to see new areas. My favorite thing to eat in NYC is everything. There are so many options – how do you choose just one?


With HR Redefined 2019 just around the corner, don’t forget to buy your ticket and secure your spot! Stay tuned for even more HR Redefined 2019 speaker spotlights on the Namely blog, or check out a full list of HRR speakers and sessions here.


3 Can’t-Miss Sessions at HR Redefined 2019

It’s hard to believe that HR Redefined 2019 is less than two months away. There’s a lot to be excited for, and we're counting down the days until we can attend all of the amazing sessions planned for this year’s conference. From a keynote speech from best-selling author Shawn Achor to How to Build an HR Metrics Dashboard with HRR alum Mai Ton, the agenda has something for everyone.

With over 18 sessions planned over just two days, attendees have a lot to choose from! Be sure to check out the HR Redefined website for the full list of speakers and sessions, or read on for a few of our favorites. Here's a sampling of some of the can’t-miss sessions you can look forward to at HR Redefined 2019:


1. How to Finally Tie Performance & Compensation Together

When the time comes for your company's annual performance reviews, there’s usually just one thing on employees’ minds: compensation. That mindset, however, undermines the very reason we have performance reviews in the first place—to learn, grow, and be the best we can be.

How can you get employees to focus on feedback instead of just seeing dollar signs? In this session, Whitney Hillyer, Chief Customer and People Officer at BounceX, will share how she used Namely's software to instill a positive performance management culture at her organization and how you can do the same at yours!


2. Why Celebrating Team Diversity Should Be an Everyday Event

Celebrating diversity in the workplace is often reserved for one-off initiatives like office potlucks and event sponsorships. While these programs are a great first step, they rarely cause lasting organizational change.

Inclusion needs to be present in everyday interactions at all levels of the organization. Kellie Wagner, CEO of DEI Collective, shares how your company can weave diversity and inclusion through all aspects of the employee experience—so your employees feel valued and supported from 9 to 5 and beyond.

3. Think Like a Marketer–Your Employer Brand Depends On It

With unemployment at record lows, it’s harder than ever for companies to attract and retain top talent. Flashy perks like foosball tables and free snacks just aren’t cutting it anymore.

But you’re in luck: Meaningful work, opportunities for personal growth, and work-life balance carry more weight with employees than ever before, and they don’t cost your company a dime. In some cases, your company might already offer these perks or benefits—it’s just a matter of showing and telling employees and potential new hires.

It's time for your HR team to start thinking like marketers. Join Morgan Chaney, Director of Marketing at Blueboard, as she shares how your team can market your business and employer brand to position your company as a top employer in 2019.

Like what you see so far? There’s more where that came from! This year’s HR Redefined agenda is jam-packed with even more amazing sessions and speakers. You’re guaranteed to leave with pages of notes and great ideas you can bring back to your company. Be part of the movement to build a better workplace and buy your ticket to HR Redefined today!


SpeakHer Mind: Adam Grant on Improving Gender Equality at Work

Last week, Namely CEO Elisa Steele sat down with best-selling author and Wharton professor Adam Grant to discuss gender equality and advocacy in the workplace. The event represented just the latest installment of Namely’s SpeakHer Mind series, which is dedicated to providing education around women’s issues and empowering women in the workplace.

Before handing over the mic to Elisa and Adam, employer resource group leader Michelle Jarmon addressed the elephant in the room: Why was a man chosen to speak about increasing gender diversity in the workplace?


“We host and welcome a diverse group of speakers at SpeakHer Mind,” said Michelle. “While the vast majority of our speakers have been women, men are key stakeholders. We welcome every voice into our conversation because we need every stakeholder to be involved in our movement.”


The following is an excerpt from Elisa and Adam’s discussion. A full recording of the event is available here.



Elisa: Here at Namely, our mission is to help our clients build better workplaces—but our purpose here tonight is so much bigger than that. What are you doing as a professor to help build a better workplace?


Adam: Full disclosure, I just study how to make workplaces better, I don’t do it [laughs]. But, this is something I’ve been trying to tackle in the classroom for almost a decade now. Among our Wharton MBA students, women are better leaders than men if you look at team effectiveness and the ratings that they receive from their peers. However, in self-ratings, men believe they are better leaders than women do. Not surprisingly, that leads to fewer women applying to leadership roles, fewer women being selected, and more men ending up in leadership positions.


Elisa: It’s interesting you say that. We have a recognition feature in our product that lets you give kudos to a coworker on your company feed. A recent Namely report shows that in our product, men and women get recognized equally. However, while men get recognized equally by men and women, women get recognized by other women 65 percent of the time and by men only 35 percent of the time. What do you think is the cause of this disparity?


Adam: Are you trying to get me to “mansplain” here? Because I’m not taking the bait [laughs]. I think there are a couple of possible explanations. Women might be aware that they are systematically overlooked in the workplace. They might be trying to compensate for that by amplifying each other's ideas and contributions, so their peers can be heard and get the credit they deserve.

It could also be because of bias. When women are generous, it gets taken for granted. Stereotypically, women are caring and communal. While we expect women to want to help, we expect men to be ambitious and results-oriented. If a man is helpful, people think, “I never would have expected him to be caring and generous, now I have to shower him with praise and rewards.” This creates an unfair double-standard. Women are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, whereas men are allowed to say no and get credit when they say yes. In the 21st century, we’re still evaluating people on their gender instead of their contributions.


 Elisa Steele and Adam Grant discussing gender equality

Elisa: Is it true that women are doing what you might categorize as household tasks in the workplace? Why is this? What can we do to make people aware that this is unintentionally happening in the workplace?


Adam: Rosabeth Moss Cancer coined the term “office housework” in the 1970s. Just like how women get stuck with the majority of housework at home, they also get stuck handling the majority of the “office housework,” like taking notes in meetings and organizing events, at work. All of the stuff that needs to get done, but doesn’t really get valued. Last year, economist Linda Babcock looked into the gender disparity in assigning office housework. The data showed that women were 44 percent more likely to be asked to do thankless tasks in gender-even groups. They also felt more pressure to say “yes” or were penalized more if they said “no.” I think this is a real problem and I think most people in this room can attest to it.

The first thing we need to do is raise awareness about it. The second thing we need to do is change the way we allocate these tasks. There’s no reason why any particular individual should be asked to do office housework because of their gender. We should either have a rotating system to spread it across the whole office or the responsibility should fall to someone in a role where that task is part of their job description. Ultimately, I think we need men to step up and carry their share of this burden. We need to make sure these responsibilities aren’t unfairly dumped on women.


Elisa: You’re completely right. When I was younger, I managed a female colleague who was the absolute top performer on the team, but wasn’t confident in herself and her accomplishments. During a performance review, I presented her with a substantial raise for her contributions, but she told me, “I don’t think I deserve this.” I had to tell her, “No, you do deserve this, you should take it, and you should feel very proud of everything you’ve accomplished.” Earlier we talked about how women tend to give credit to others and downplay their own accomplishments. How can we change this?


Adam: In roughly 40 years of attribution research on how people explain their successes and failures, there’s a pretty robust pattern that shows men tend to take credit for success and attribute failure to others, while women do the opposite.


Elisa: Let’s talk about the opposite of that for a minute, which is that men traditionally in business have had the power, the title, and the money, which has contributed to this equality issue. But I think men can be our biggest levers for change. In my career, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have without my amazing mentors, many of whom are male mentors.


Adam:I agree with that, but I am also ambivalent towards going around and applauding men who are supporting women. I think doing the right thing should be its own reward. I think celebrating men or awarding them for being great champions of women is putting the spotlight in the wrong place.


A woman in the crowd at SpeakHer Mind


Elisa: I think that's a good thing to worry about. I think change has to come about with both men and women working together. It’s not about giving men recognition or praise, It’s about turning them into advocates.


Adam: When it comes to making the case for gender equality or diversity, which are you more likely to do? Make the business case and talk about why it’s the smart thing to do or the moral case and talk about why it’s the right thing to do. Elisa, what would you do?


Elisa: I would use the moral case, and I run a business! I think we work for a purpose and if you’re connected to a purpose you believe in, you’re going to get a great business outcome. I always go for the moral case first and then try to drive that alignment.


Adam: I love that. This is obviously a big area of debate and there’s finally a number of studies to try to resolve it. Recent research found overwhelming, consistent evidence that the business case does not work. If you tell people that diversity makes us smarter, makes us more successful, managers are no more likely to adopt diversity issues or spend time on them or invest money in them. I think the main reason for that is even if people do buy the business case, there are tons of competing business cases being made at the same time. So whatever investment I’m making in diversity, I can probably find a higher ROI in something else. But with the moral case, there is no alternative. If you say this is the right thing to do, people can’t say, “Well, I’m going to do some other right thing instead.” If you aren’t doing the right thing, you are doing the wrong thing here. There’s a caveat for that, though. The moral case only works if it’s aligned with a company’s mission and values. You have to make the case that—given who we are as a company, given our core principles and values—here’s why this is a moral and ethical consideration to cover underrepresented groups, make sure people who are getting overlooked are getting promoted, et cetera. I think we’ve been doing this wrong. I’ve been told for over a decade you have to make the business case. Stop it. Make the moral case.


Adam Grant, Elisa Steele, and members of WomenIn

Elisa: I think your comments around this all tie back to being a human being. How do you create that human connection by caring about what you’re working on and caring about your team and coworkers? I think people get so busy and that connection suffers.


Adam: That reminds me—when I was writing my first book, the most common thing I kept hearing over and over from great managers was “I care more about my people’s success than the company’s success.” That seems backward at first, but if you put your people first they end up contributing in ways that are good for the team and the greater organization.

Dean Smith was a long-term UNC basketball coach and a great manager. He always said to his players, “We do what’s best for the team during the season, but we do what’s best for the player during the offseason.” Dean Smith encouraged Michael Jordan to go to the draft after his freshman year and that seems like a really dumb decision for a college basketball coach to make. You would think he'd want to encourage the best basketball player ever—sorry, Lebron —to stay for as many years as he could, but what Smith found was that he was able to attract the best talent because he had a reputation of putting players first. Every year his recruiting class benefitted from that.

Managers and companies can benefit from this too. If you commit to developing your employees and even going so far as to push them to pursue an amazing opportunity at another company, you will get better talent and those employees are more likely to boomerang back and come work for you again one day. You can attract the best talent if you are known for putting your employees first.



At Namely, part of our mission is to foster a culture where ideas and experiences are enriched by our differences. The SpeakHer Mind series is organized by WomenIn, Namely’s gender equality employee resource group. Stay tuned for more guest speakers and more candid conversations on women’s issues in the workplace.


How to Convince Your Boss to Send You to an HR Conference

Conferences provide a unique experience, helping professionals to stay up on emerging trends, network with peers, and hear from industry experts. But with some of the year’s most popular conferences quickly approaching, it’s time to win your manager’s approval, so you can secure tickets, finalize your travel plans, and make the most of your conference experience.

While conferences are a wonderful opportunity to invest in your professional growth, it can be hard to get your boss’ blessing when they fixate on dollar signs and time spent away from the office. When it comes to convincing your boss to let you attend a conference, it’s best to do your research and share specific ways the event would benefit both your company and your career.

Not sure where to start? Here are some tips to help win resounding approval to attend the HR conference of your dreams.

1. Do Your Research

Come prepared with all the logistical and financial details so your boss has a better understanding of the event. Anticipate any questions they will have for you and try to find the answers prior to your meeting. This shows that you’ve done your homework and are serious about attending, which may encourage your supervisor to consider your proposal more thoughtfully.

At the very minimum, collect the following information before your meeting:

1. Conference name
2. Date
3. Ticket price and any early bird discount deadlines
4. Location
5. Number of attendees
6. Proposed transportation and estimated travel costs
7. Accommodation options
8. How many days you would need to take off

2. Show the Value

Once you’ve covered the logistics, explain the value offered by the conference and exactly why you want to attend. Share exactly what you hope to get out of the experience, and how it will positively impact your quality of work. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Speakers and Agenda
Share a copy of the conference agenda and highlight specific speakers or sessions you want to see, and explain how they relate to your role or organization. Make a list of the top five sessions you want to attend and be prepared to demonstrate how they will help you be a better HR professional and employee.

Networking Opportunities
Conferences are a great way to connect with industry professionals and experts from around the country, exchange ideas, and expand your professional network. Highlight any networking opportunities or conference sponsors and explain what you hope to achieve from these connections.

Professional Credits
If you’re pursuing a SHRM or HRCI certification, check to see if any conference sessions or panels offer credits. Calculate how many credits you could potentially earn and show your boss how maintaining certification helps contribute to your professional growth and your company’s success.

Vendors and Sponsors
If your company is looking to implement a new HRIS, ATS, performance management system, or another HR solution, check to see if any of the vendors you’re evaluating will be present at the conference. Many conferences have an exhibitor hall where you can meet new service providers, watch live demos, and ask questions in person.

Post-Conference Plan
To really drive home the value the conference would provide, identify how the sessions will benefit the broader team as well. Plan to attend sessions that relate to projects your team is currently working on. If you’re the only member of your team attending, schedule a full recap presentation so the whole team can benefit from your learnings.

3. Sell the Experience

Now that you’ve shown your boss the value, it’s time to seal the deal. Share any photos, session recaps, or highlight videos from previous years so they can get a feel for the experience.

For example, here’s a video from last year’s HR Redefined:


If your boss is hard to pin down, consider sending them a letter with your intentions laid out. Here’s a sample letter you can fill out on why you want to attend HR Redefined 2019, but feel free to customize the letter and make it your own.


It’s important to take time to step out of your day-to-day responsibilities and invest in your own career development. Conferences can help you continue learning and introduce fresh ideas into your practice. Feeling conference-ready? Register for HR Redefined 2019 now to expand your HR knowledge and learn how to build a better workplace in your organization.


What Is Bereavement Leave?

Losing a loved one is extremely difficult. During tough times, work needs to take a back seat as people focus on being with family, friends, and loved ones. Many companies offer bereavement leave as a way to give employees space and time to cope with loss.

What is Bereavement Leave?

Bereavement leave is time off an employee takes after the death of a loved one. Currently, there is no federal law mandating that employers provide bereavement leave. That said, many employers do offer the benefit to their employees, and the duration of the leave depends on employer policy, contract agreements, or collective bargaining agreements. Employees can use the leave to make arrangements, plan or attend a funeral, and mourn the loss of a loved one.

How Does Bereavement Leave Work?

If your employer does offer bereavement leave, you’ll have to consult the company policy to learn the duration of the leave and what situations qualify.

If an employer does
not offer bereavement leave, employees have a few options. An employee can use paid time off (PTO), take unpaid personal leave of absence, or work from home. Check with your state or city to see what leave you’re entitled to.

What Does Bereavement Leave Cover?

If your company offers bereavement leave, consult your employer’s policy to see what family members are covered. Usually, companies define a close relative as a parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling, or child, although some policies may include extended family and close friends.

How Do Employees Take Bereavement Leave?

It can be difficult to anticipate a death in the family, but employees should try to give employers as much of a heads up as possible so alternative coverage can be arranged. To make this process less of a burden, HR should ensure that employees know who to reach out to, even after hours. Usually, a quick phone call or email is sufficient. Due to the emotional nature of losing a loved one, it might be easier for employees to communicate through email, rather than by phone.

Does the Family Medical Leave Act Cover Bereavement?

No, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not apply to bereavement. The FMLA gives employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to:

  • Care for a newborn child;
  • Bond with a newly adopted child;
  • Care for a family member with a serious illness; and,
  • Care for their own serious health condition.

To qualify for FMLA leave, individuals must have worked for their employer at least 12 months and have put in at least 1,250 hours over the course of the year. An employee can use FMLA leave to care of a living family member. After their passing, an employee will have to request bereavement leave or use their vacation days to make funeral and post-death arrangements.  

Do States Offer Bereavement Leave?

Oregon is the only state that requires employers to offer bereavement leave. The Oregon Family Leave Act has been in effect since 2014, requiring companies with over 25 employees to offer up to two weeks of unpaid bereavement leave to eligible employees. To qualify, employees must be with the company for at least 180 days and work at least 25 hours a week.

Illinois doesn’t offer a general bereavement requirement, but it does have bereavement leave for 
parents mourning the loss of a child. Employers with more than 50 employees must offer these individuals up to two weeks, or 10 work days, of unpaid leave to plan or attend a funeral, make arrangements, and grieve. Employees become eligible after working 1,250 hours during a 12 month period.

In a few months, New York might be the first state to offer paid bereavement leave. An amended workers’ compensation bill easily passed through the state’s legislature and awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo’s final say. If signed, the bill would give employees up to 12 weeks of leave at 50 to 67 percent of their average weekly wage. Employees would continue to receive health benefits and would have job security for the duration of the leave.

Is Bereavement Leave Paid?

Bereavement leave is typically unpaid; however, some companies that offer the benefit may pay employees for their time. Bereavement leave is usually between one and five days. Employees will have to use PTO or unpaid personal leave for any additional time off.

What is a Typical Company Bereavement Leave Policy?

Companies who offer the benefit typically provide three to five days of paid bereavement leave to employees. Some companies offer three days for immediate family and one day for extended family and close friends. Usually, longer leave of absences would qualify, but the specifics are up to you and your company.

Be sure to be specific with your policy and outline:

  • How many days an employee can take off
  • Which employees qualify for the leave
  • What relatives the policy covers
  • Who employees need to notify prior to taking leave
  • Whether bereavement leave can be taken injunction with other paid leave plans
  • Whether the leave is paid or unpaid


Offering bereavement leave is a great way to support your employees during their most challenging moments, but it isn’t the only way to show employees that you care. Incorporating volunteer time off, seasonal hours, and remote work into your existing paid time off plan is another great way to give your employees flexibility and increase engagement. For more ideas and tips on how to incorporate these policies and more into your PTO plan, download our Building Employee Loyalty with PTO eBook.


The HR Guide to Employee Jury Duty Leave

Whether you view jury duty as an honorable civic duty or an inconvenience, odds are you’ll find a summons in your mailbox at some point. But sometimes a “speedy trial” isn’t so speedy. If selected as a juror, your obligation could last anywhere from a few days to a few months, which means missing work.

While jury duty can be an unavoidable headache for employers and HR teams, chances are someone in your organization will have to report for jury duty sooner or later. When that happens, you’ll need to know how to handle employee absences and compensation. Here’s your guide to employee jury duty leave and creating a company jury duty policy.

Employee Jury Duty Leave

Under the Jury Selection and Service Act, all employers must give employees time off for jury duty. That said, they’re are not required to pay employees during their absence. The Fair Labor And Standards Act (FLSA) doesn’t require employers to pay employees for time not worked.

While employees may not be compensated for their time, they are guaranteed job security and benefits during their jury duty service. Employers cannot end a worker’s employment, threaten employees for serving on a jury, or pressure them into using their remaining paid time off days, regardless of the length of their absence. Employers found in violation of these rules face fines and even potential imprisonment, and can be sued by employees for back pay or unlawful termination.  

Employees Jury Duty Compensation

Jurors are typically only paid $40 to $60 a day for their time, with the potential for reimbursed travel and meal expenses. To help relieve the financial burden of jury duty, many employers choose to compensate employees for a few days of their service. In fact, 57 percent of employees at private companies had access to paid jury duty leave in 2018. If compensating employees, companies are allowed to require employees to turn over their jury duty wages.

While there is no federal law mandating that businesses pay employees while on jury duty, keep in mind that
some states require it, including Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Tennessee.

Creating a Company Jury Duty Leave Policy

Communicate your company’s stance on jury duty leave and compensation by creating and sharing a jury duty policy with your employees. The policy, which should be included in your employee handbook, should outline expectations around notifying managers, showing proof of summons, handling early dismissals, and how many absences will be compensated. Be sure to address how the policy applies to exempt and nonexempt employees. See below for a sample policy:

Sample Company Jury Duty Leave Policy

COMPANY will pay employees for up to five days if they’re called to serve on a jury. Notify your manager and the people team as soon as possible after receiving your summons. If selected to serve on a jury, you may be asked to provide evidence of your service in order to qualify for this benefit. If you’re dismissed from jury duty halfway through the day or sooner, we ask that you return to work for the rest of the day.

Exempt employees who work any portion of the week in which they are serving jury duty will be paid for the entire week. Non-exempt employees’ compensation will be calculated as straight time by the regular hourly rate of the employee, not to exceed eight hours in any one day. If required to serve on a jury for more than five days, employees may use remaining paid time off or take unpaid personal leave if needed.

Disputing an Employee’s Jury Duty Summons

If an employee’s absence will be an extreme inconvenience to your company, you may write a letter asking the court to excuse your employee from service. Writing a letter does not ensure that your employee will be excused, as these requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Sharing a detailed account of how your employee's absence will impact your business and your bottom line is your best bet at proving their attendance is imperative. If jury duty comes during busy season or an important business period, you can also request the summons to be deferred until a specified date.



While you can’t control who in your office will be randomly selected, you can control how your company handles jury duty leave. Be prepared for the inevitable by crafting a jury duty leave policy and communicating it to employees. Just be sure to brush up on your state and local requirements to ensure your policy is compliant. While jury duty might not be everyone’s favorite excuse to miss work, the silver lining is you can only serve once a year.


How to Start an Employee Resource Group (ERG)

Your employees are the heart of your organization. Their diverse personalities, backgrounds, and experiences help shape the spirit and culture of your organization. As an employer, you can help your employees celebrate what makes them unique by supporting employee resource groups (ERGs). ERGs help employees come together to spread awareness of the issues facing certain demographic groups, like black professionals, LGBTQ employees, remote workers, working parents, and more.

Does one of your employees want to start a new ERG at your organization? Share these steps with your organization so employees know how to set up a new group and hit the ground running:


1. Share Your ERG Idea With HR

Have an idea for a new ERG? Speak with a member of the HR team about the possibility of starting a new group. Your HR representative will go over the requirements for starting an ERG, discuss budget needs, request a draft of your group’s mission and goals, and more.

Why Did You Decide to Start an Employee Resource Group? 


Jesse Hernandez

Jesse Hernandez
Namely’s Hispanic/Latinx ERG Leader

“I decided to start Namely’s Hispanic Alliance for Career Employee Resources, or H.A.C.E.R, to give individuals a place to be themselves and feel a sense of belonging. The organization's goal is to connect Namely with the Latinx/Hispanic community, as well as to promote the cultural diversity and professional development of its members internally & externally.”

2. Define Your Group’s Mission & Goals

In addition to a group name, draft the mission and goals for your ERG. This will help guide the group’s initiatives and campaigns throughout the year. For example, the mission for a female or non-binary ERG might have the mission of: “combating unconscious gender bias and empower people to move beyond traditional gender roles.”

What Does Being Part of an ERG Mean to You? 

Michelle Jarmon

Michelle Jarmon
Namely’s Women and Black Professionals ERG Leader

“ERGs bring about the potential for community in the workplace. ERGs foster camaraderie between those who understand the complexity of managing your identity both in and out of the workplace while creating a space for thoughtful conversation on difficult topics. ERGs allow for inclusion in practice, not just lip service.”

3. Find an Executive Sponsor

Executive sponsors are a great way to ensure the success of your ERG. Executive sponsors can act as the voice of your group to the rest of the organization and the leadership team. They can be an important ally to have if your group tries to advocate for organizational change. For example, the executive sponsor for a working parents ERG could bring the group’s request for subsidized childcare to the executive team and help expedite the approval process.

4. Recruit Members

Once you’ve received approval from the HR team, it’s time to advertise your new group to the rest of the organization. Share the exciting news on Slack, your company newsfeed, on posters around the office, and at an all-hands meeting. Also, if your company keeps an updated list of all your company’s ERGs, their missions, and leaders be sure to have your group added to the list. That way new and existing employees can find your group and know who to contact about joining.

How Should ERGs Recruit Members? 

Julie Li

Julie Li
Sr. Director of Employee Experience & Diversity and Inclusion

“I always encourage the leaders of Namely’s ERGs to market themselves in a way that is inviting to all types of people. We don’t want the women’s ERG to be only women. We want the groups to be made up of diverse members and allies. That way, those people help them become aware of the issues and understand someone else's experience.”

5. Schedule Meetings & Plan Events

Organize regular meetings so your members can come together, discuss relevant topics, plan events, and deliberate on any workplace initiatives the group is working on. Be sure to send out meeting notes so members who weren’t able to attend can still be involved and not miss out on volunteer opportunities. Also consider creating a Slack or other messaging channel so your members can share interesting articles and hold discussions outside of your meetings.

Employee resource groups are not just a great way to bring people together, they also create a great opportunity for employees to learn and develop skills beyond their job descriptions. According to one survey, over 80 percent of millennials say they value companies that prioritize personal growth. With learning and development opportunities so sought after, it’s important to leverage ERGs and other programs.

Want to boost your own L&D initiatives? Watch our ‘How to Keep Employees Happy: 4 Steps for a Winning L&D Program’ webinar for insights on how to support your employee’s professional growth and keep employees engaged.


4 Ways Your Company Can Benefit From an HRIS

From onboarding to exit interviews, HR has a hand in all aspects of the employee lifecycle. While it’s great to stay busy, it’s impossible for small HR teams to “do it all,” especially as your company grows and evolves. Between staying on top of new compliance requirements, handling employee inquiries, processing payroll, overseeing strategic initiatives, and more, HR teams need all the help they can get to keep the office running smoothly and meet business needs.

Thankfully the HR technology space has paved the way for human resources information systems (HRIS) that unite all of your HR data in one central place and allow you to automate time-consuming administrative tasks. Here’s how HR technology can save your team valuable time, so you can focus on what matters most: your employees.

1. Enable Employee Self-Service

How much time do you spend fielding employee inquiries throughout the day? Odds are it’s more time than you’d like. An HRIS stores all your company policies, benefits information, and company resources in one easy-to-access location, so employees know exactly where to find the answers to all of their questions. Employees can connect with co-workers, request time off, enroll in benefits, and check paystubs on demand from their laptops or mobile devices—all without interrupting your day.

2. Centralize Employee Communication

Between email and Slack, internal messages can get lost easily. An HRIS can act as the central hub for your company’s internal communications. Modern HR systems offer a newsfeed, where your team can post announcements, acknowledge stand-out employees, and share updates. The platform can also boost employee engagement by acknowledging employee birthdays, start dates, and work anniversaries.

3. Increase HR Automation

As your business grows, your time might be better spent on strategic initiatives, not day-to-day administrative tasks. An HRIS can help streamline your daily tasks by automating simple processes like overseeing employee onboarding, benefits enrollment, and tax forms—giving you time back in your day to manage your people and focus on your team’s initiatives.

4. Gain Powerful People Insights

Using an HRIS allows you and your team to make more strategic decisions. By storing all of your company and people data in one place, you get a more holistic view of your organization and can better identify areas for improvement. Aside from HR, payroll, and benefits, HR software commonly offers powerful integrations with other point solutions to move data seamlessly between systems. Leveraging your HR data through consistent reporting not only helps your organization achieve its business goals, but also empowers HR to make more informed decisions and prove impact.

Interested in learning if an HRIS is right for your organization? Request a product demo to see how Namely can help your organization. Uniting HR, payroll, benefits, talent, and time management, Namely is the all-in-one HR platform that empowers HR professionals and their employees to do their best work and build better workplaces

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