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Jul01

Holiday Pay

Employees get a paid holiday on July 4th when the company is closed. What are the rules for employees working the Friday before in order to receive payment on Monday the holiday?

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

Under the FLSA, employees are classified as either non-exempt or exempt.

Non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked and are subject to overtime and minimum wage requirements prescribed by the FLSA.

Conversely, exempt employees receive a fixed predetermined salary for any week during which work is performed regardless of the quantity or quality of such work.

Many companies have policies that impose restrictions on holiday pay, such as requiring employees to work the preceding workday in order to receive holiday pay. Such a policy is intended to discourage employees from extending their holiday weekends with unscheduled time off.

Since non-exempt employees are only required to be paid for time actually worked, not paying holiday pay to a non-exempt employee who is not eligible for it is permitted. Of course, assuming doing so is allowable under any applicable employment contract or collective bargaining agreement.

The case is not the same for exempt employees. Even if an exempt employee would not be eligible for holiday pay under the company policy, deducting any amount from the employee’s salary is not permitted. Deductions from exempt employees’ salaries are permitted only in limited circumstances. A company being closed for one day to recognize a holiday is not one of them. So, exempt employees must receive their normal salary for the workweek.

Exempt employees can still be required to use their paid time off accruals for the time away from work, including the holiday. This is allowed since the employee is still receiving their full salary for the workweek. However, if an employee has exhausted his accruals, he must be paid his normal salary.

HTH!

July 1st, 2016, 1:32 PM |  Posted in: Benefits, Compensation |
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Jul01

Time Cards

We have an employee who punches her time card and then puts it in her purse instead of the rack. When brought to her attention to put it in the rack she said “it’s my time card”. How do we handle this?

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

Under the FLSA, employers are required to maintain complete and accurate time records for each non-exempt employee. It is ultimately the employer’s responsibility to ensure these records accurately reflect the time actually worked by each employee.

Employers are allowed to use any timekeeping method as long as it is complete and accurate. Time clocks and time cards are the most common timekeeping methods.

Time cards are company property. In fact, they’re legal business records needed to properly compensate employees for time worked and record information mandated by federal law.

In most cases, it’s inappropriate for employees to keep their time cards. If an employee works out of the office and the employer still expects a written time card then an employee may be permitted to retain his time card. But, unless a legitimate business reason exists, removing a time card from the work place or its designated location is unacceptable.

It’s important to consider the reasons why an employee would want to keep her time card. The employee may be adding time but she may be concerned that someone is taking time away from her. Talk to the employee and consider her reasoning prior to making a disciplinary action against her. Remember, an employee adding time not actually worked constitutes time card fraud and an employer not properly compensating an employee for time worked violates the FLSA.

When you talk to the employee make sure you inform her that time cards are company property and they’re to remain in their designated location. Advise the employee that if she continues to not follow your directive then disciplinary measure will be taken such as a write up. Remember to clearly state in the write up that the employee has been previously informed not to remove her time card and that time cards must remain in their designated locations. Also, include that another occurrence will result in further disciplinary action up to termination.

Follow your normal disciplinary procedures and make sure to follow through with the disciplinary warnings.

July 1st, 2016, 12:50 PM |  Posted in: Labor Laws, Workplace Management |
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Jun29

Intermittent FMLA abuse

We have an employee who is using intermittent FMLA for baby-bonding time. The employee commits to cover other employees’ shifts during peak PTO season, and then calls out citing FMLA. Is there any disciplinary action we can take?

The federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid job-protected leave for qualified family and medical reasons, including the birth of a child and to bond with a newborn.

An employee’s entitlement to leave for baby bonding begins when the baby is born and expires 12 months after the date of birth. Bonding leave must be taken as a continuous block of leave unless the employer agrees to allow intermittent leave.

Many employers don’t allow intermittent leave for baby bonding. Reason being, since there is no medical necessity for the time off, the employee can claim the need for baby bonding leave at any time and there’s not much the employer can do about it.

Try talking to the employee. Express your concern regarding her taking other employees’ shifts then calling out last minute. Let her know the hardship her actions are causing business operations and her co-workers. Be clear that you expect her to act in a professional and courteous manner. Meaning, she’s expected to adhere to her commitments unless extenuating circumstances arise. Explain that assuming other shifts is voluntarily and it’s expected that she will not take them unless she can truly commit to them. Remember, since you allow intermittent leave for baby bonding, she is entitled to it. So, be careful to not come across as retaliating against the employee in any way for exercising her FMLA rights.

Disciplining the employee in any manner may constitute retaliatory actions. If the behavior continues, have the same conversation again. Make sure you’re keeping track of the amount of leave time used.

June 29th, 2016, 1:16 PM |  Posted in: Attendance Management |
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Jun29

STD Leave / Termination

We have an employee who left on short term disability. He has been on STD since mid May. At first it was 90 days if STD and now it has increased to 120 days. We have not receive the first note stating the 90 days of short term disability can we fire this employee for job abandonment?

Short term disability (STD) and long term disability (LTD) are insurance programs that provide wage replacement benefits for employees who cannot work due to illness, injury, or disability. Neither program necessarily guarantees an employee’s reinstatement.

When an employer provides STD/LTD there is an implied promise that the employee will be reinstated to his job when his benefits expire, assuming he is able to return to work at such time. An employer may adopt its own leave policy only allowing a specified amount of leave time before an employee will be terminated. Keep in mind, an employee’s eligibility for leave under the federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or similar state leave law, or coverage under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) must be considered prior to termination.

Also, employers are obligated to adhere to their established practices and policies regarding returning employees from leave. Further, federal and often state discrimination laws prohibit employers from taking any negative employment actions including termination against an employee due to protected characteristics including disability.

You say you haven’t received a note for the employee’s first 90 days of absence. Do you mean the employee still hasn’t submitted the necessary documentation to prove his need for STD coverage? If so, it’s in your best interest to contact the employee before terminating him. Let him know that you’re still waiting for the appropriate paperwork. If you’re unable to contact him, send a certified letter. If still no response, send a follow up certified letter informing the employee of you attempts to contact him. State that unless he contacts you and provides the appropriate documentation by a specified date it will be assumed that he has abandoned his position.

Remember each STD policy is different. Make sure you’re aware of any terms in your policy regarding documentation submission and termination.

June 29th, 2016, 12:50 PM |  Posted in: Termination |
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Jun29

Exempt Employee Comp Days

Is there a law that allows for an additional day to be given to an exempt employee if he/she works on a scheduled day off/weekend?

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

Under the FLSA, employees are classified as either non-exempt or exempt.

Non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked and are subject to overtime and minimum wage requirements prescribed by the FLSA.

Conversely, exempt employees receive a fixed predetermined salary for any week during which work is performed regardless of the quantity or quality of such work. Exempt employees are excluded from overtime pay provisions.

Compensatory time off or comp time is prohibited for non-exempt employees in the private sector. However, the FLSA permits public and private employers to provide exempt employees additional compensation for hours worked beyond the normal workweek. Such additional compensation can be paid on any basis (i.e. flat sum, bonus payment, straight-time hourly amount, time and one-half or any other basis), and may include paid time off.

Comp time for exempt employees can be credited at any rate at the employer’s discretion. So, an employer is able to adopt a policy or practice of granting a day off to an exempt employee who has worked an additional day during the workweek.

Just to be clear, comp time is not required by law. It’s a benefit that employers can use to reward exempt employees for working beyond their normal work hours or assuming special projects.

Lastly, it’s important exempt employees are properly classified as such. Otherwise, the exempt status may be in jeopardized by awarding additional compensation based on hours worked.

June 29th, 2016, 12:31 PM |  Posted in: Compensation |
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