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OSHA Walkaround Rule Challenged, Secret PTO, and a Proposed Six-Day Workweek



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[Gene Marks, host]

Hey, everybody, it's Gene Marks and welcome to this week's episode of the THRIVE Week in Review podcast. Hopefully you're enjoying the week and you have had some time to get some good time off, and now we're back to work and I have some news for you.


The news has to do with your small business because that's what this podcast is all about. Every week we go through about three items in the news that impact your small business and my business, as well, and we talk a little bit about how that impacts us.


So, by the way, before we get started, if you need any tips or advice or help in running your business, please subscribe to our Paychex newsletter. It's Not only does it have great stuff to help you manage your business, but also links to prior episodes of this podcast.


Okay, so let's get started with the news that impacts us this week; three items. The first starts with the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the NFIB. They have joined a lawsuit that is contesting the new OSHA Walkaround Rule.


Now, I'm not sure if you're familiar about this rule, but it was issued recently by OSHA, and what it does is when you're getting an inspection, it now allows for an employee to designate somebody to walk around with the inspectors. So, that it is a, you've got another set of eyes that's walking around. Say an employee has a safety issue – maybe OSHA is called in or not – but what if OSHA is called in? Then the employee can delegate, can assign somebody to walk around with that OSHA inspector.


The NFIB is not happy about this rule, and they are contesting it. Let me read you a quote. “Small businesses want to create a safe work environment for their employees. They understand the necessary, reasonable mandates and inspections to that end.” This comes from the NFIB. But the final rule issued by OSHA goes beyond reasonable, they say.


“The rule will allow unlimited third-party individuals to initiate and then join an inspection of a private workplace under the guise of representing the employees. Not only does this violate a small-business owners’ private property rights, it will not advance worker safety. It only makes small businesses susceptible to harassment from competitors and union representatives and other parties intending to cause harm.”


So, what this rule will do will invite those third parties into a business, perhaps your business. Maybe they work with a competitor, as well. Maybe proprietary information is being disclosed. Also, it certainly helps the employees with potential unionization. All of this kind of stuff is why business groups like the NFIB are opposing it.


What do you do about this? Well, we're waiting for this lawsuit to work its way through the courts. It's going to take many months to get resolved. Obviously, the presidential election in November could also impact rules like this, but in the meantime, you still have to comply. The final rule has been issued, and therefore, you want to make sure that if an employee does say, I want a third-party person walking around with an OSHA inspector that's something you're just going to have to comply with for now. But you can follow these lawsuits and see if anything does come of it.


The second bit of information has to do with Millennials. There is a new trend that we as employees need to know about. You've heard of quiet quitting, of course, right? That was big during the Great Resignation, where people just pretty much stopped working while they were looking for other jobs.


Well, the newest trend is called quiet vacationing. This report comes from A majority of U.S. workers – 78% of them – say that, according to a survey, that they don't take all of their paid time off or PTO days, and it's the highest among Gen Z workers and Millennials.


Now, younger professionals say they don't ask for time off because they feel pressure to meet deadlines and be productive, and they get nervous requesting PTO because they don't want to look like a slacker. That's according to a new Harris poll that's come out.


So, according to the CNBC report, many Millennials and younger employees have come up with a workaround. Nearly 4 in 10 surveyed say they've taken time off without communicating it to their managers. Similar shares of this say they, they move their mouse to show that they're still active on the company's messaging system, like Slack or Microsoft Teams, when they're not really working and they schedule a message to send outside of regular hours to give the impression that they're working overtime.


So, now employees aren’t necessarily quiet quitting, but because they're concerned about asking for PTO, they are, you know, taking PTO on their own without employers knowing about it.


Now, listen, I actually don't blame employees for this. I don't blame employers. That's us. Okay? I mean, come on, we you know, if we are issuing a PTO policy, it is very, very important that our employees take their PTO. Their paid time off is super important for mental health and balance reasons, and by the way, internal control reasons, as well. If you've got employees in the financial part of your business.


So, you want to encourage and make sure that people are taking their paid time off, and you should have an environment and a culture that says like, hey, we value your life and balance in your life and your time off as much as you are here at work. It's not all about work, so we've got to keep that balance. So, I get that it’s certainly important to meet objectives and client and customer demands, but there has to be a balance for doing it.


If I heard that my employees were taking time off without me knowing about it, you know, they were just sort of doing it on the side while they were still, you know, working as it is or still, you know, again, not telling me about I'd be pretty upset. I'd be pretty bummed out about that. I'd be like, hey, man, you know, you've earned this PTO. You should be taking it. When I hear that not enough of you guys are taking PTO, I see that, that's a concern to me. So, as an employer, come on? It's like anything else with compensation: You're issuing PTO, you're paying for paid time off, and if you have the kind of work environment where people don't feel comfortable taking that compensation, I don't know? It's almost a form of wage theft, in my opinion.


So, you want to encourage your workers to take paid time off, and if you hear that they are not and they're taking, you know, secret vacations or quiet vacations, as this is, that's not a good sign for your business. You want to change your culture about that.


Finally, the other news that came out, you know, you've heard of the four-day workweek. Well, how about the six-day workweek? Have you ever heard of that? Well, there is a report this week in about the six-day workweek, and let me read this to you.


“In a surprising twist, Samsung Electronics is utilizing a six-day work week for executives. Why? To combat sluggish financial results. It's a reporter from Biz Journal found that Samsung isn't alone in considering the idea. The six-day workweek has gained a foothold in Greece – as the government, you know, back in 2023, awarded a series of labor reforms – as well as companies elsewhere around the world.


A recent survey of executives and decision makers by a company called Resume Builder found 9% of business leaders said they plan to institute a six-day workweek in 2025. Eleven percent (11%), though, are still planning on doing a four-day workweek by 2025, with the vast majority sticking to a five-day workweek.


So, guys, what do you think? A six-day workweek? A four-day workweek? What do you think works best for your business? I think all of this is absolutely crazy. I think you hire somebody to do a job and you tell them what their objectives are, what your job responsibilities are, and listen, if it takes them eight days a week or it takes them two days a week, come on, they're all grownups and professionals. Let them do their jobs and be responsible, and if they feel that you're giving them too much to do that they can’t get done in a typical workweek, you want to have the kind of culture where they can talk to you about that, and you can make some adjustments.


So, I don't know, I don't buy into the whole four-day workweek thing or the six-day workweek thing either. I think it's just treating your employees with respect and really not making them abide by some clock. Give them the responsibilities and let them do what they gotta do, and you know, they're getting their job done and meeting their objectives, what do you care how little or how much that they work?


That's this week's news for the Paychex THRIVE Week in Review. My name is Gene Marks, and I hope you get something out of this. If you need any help or advice again, please subscribe to our Paychex THRIVE newsletter at I'll be back to you next week with more advice and more help to help you run your business, based on the news of the week. We will see you then. Take care.

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