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Feb15

Fees for Missed Punches

Can an employer charge employees a $2 fee for forgetting to clock in (using a card swiping system) or clock out?

Whether or not implementing a fee as a disciplinary action is permitted depends on state law. Federal law focuses on deductions from employees’ pay.

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. Hourly and salary paid are compensation terms.

Non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked and are subject to overtime and minimum wage requirements prescribed by the FLSA. Most employees are considered non-exempt. A non-exempt employee’s wages may be reduced as a form of discipline; however, doing so must not reduce the employee’s wages below the applicable minimum wage.

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. The FLSA allows full-day deductions from an exempt employee’s salary for a disciplinary suspension due to a serious policy violation.

Even though docking an employee’s pay as a disciplinary measure may be permitted in some circumstances, it’s not recommended. Such measures will only create a resentful workforce and increases the risk of wage and hour violations. It’s better to address the problem directly.

Make sure timekeeping requirements are provided to employees as a written policy. The policy should clearly state what is expected of employees (i.e. clocking in/out each shift) and the consequences for violations. Send the policy to all staff, discuss it in staff meetings and post it near the time clock. Be clear that it’s important for employees to clock in/out so they can be paid appropriately and on time.

It’s most common to follow a progressive disciplinary policy when it comes to employees forgetting to punch in/out. First time offenders receive a verbal warning. Second/Third time offenders receive a written warning. Subsequent offenders within a short time frame may then be suspended or even terminated. It’s important to create a policy and the consequences for violations that’s conducive to the company’s culture.

Also, consider if there is a legitimate reason for employee’s not clocking in/out. Is the time clock located in a convenient location? Is the time clock often not working? Basically, make sure you talk to employees to determine if there are any adjustments that can be made to address the problem.

HTH!

February 15th, 2018, 2:10 PM |  Posted in: Workplace Management |
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Feb12

Supervising Employees

How often do supervisors need to perform supervision for their staff?

Supervisors should conduct regular performance assessments and provide ongoing feedback to their employees. What exactly “regular” means depends on industry standards, company culture, type of work being performed, and the supervisor’s management style.

Informal supervision (i.e. correcting an employee’s phone etiquette or reminding an employee about company policy) should occur on an as-needed basis. This type of supervision may very well occur several times of day.

Supervisors often hold weekly staff meetings with their staff as an opportunity to keep all team members informed of ongoing projects and changes in policies, or simply a way for coworkers to collaborate and problem solve. Feedback on performance from both supervisors and team members is common during staff meetings. Weekly staff meetings are most common but getting together at least once a month is recommended.

More formal supervision should take place at least once a year. This is often referred to as a performance review or appraisal. The purpose of this type of supervision is to review the employee’s overall performance during a set time period, identify training and development needs, and set goals with the employee. A formal review is usually conducted annually while a bi-annual check-in review is also common.

Remember, supervising employees is not only about making sure employees are doing their jobs. It’s also about making sure employees have the appropriate knowledge and tools to do their job well, building rapport with staff, making them feel valued and satisfied with their job, and ensuring the team as a whole is productive and efficient

HTH!

February 12th, 2018, 9:30 AM |  Posted in: Workplace Management |
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Feb12

Punch Clock Rule for All Employees

Is it possible for an employer to make certain hourly employees punch a time clock or do all hourly employees at the same job have to punch in and out?

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes recordkeeping requirements for employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

Under the FLSA, employers are required to maintain certain records for non-exempt (hourly paid) employees. Such records must include the hours worked each day and total hours worked each workweek. Employers are permitted to use any timekeeping method (i.e. time clock, timekeeper) to obtain this information as long as the method is complete and accurate.

All non-exempt employees should use the same timekeeping method established by the employer to ensure the necessary information is being retained for all applicable employees. An employer may opt to use different timekeeping methods for different groups of employees. But, the groups should be based on business criteria. For example, punching a time clock may not be possible for a specific department; so, the non-exempt employees in that department may be required to use a time keeper or submit their own hours. Or, field workers may not have the access to a time clock; so, all the field workers in the company may be required to submit their own hours while all other non-exempt employees punch a time clock.

HTH!

February 12th, 2018, 8:46 AM |  Posted in: Workplace Management |
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Feb12

Hours for Salaried Employees

How many hours can an employer require salaried employees to work?

There is no minimum or maximum number of hours employees can work in a day or workweek. There are industry standards and, of course, basic sense that employers must consider.

Compensation requirements for employees are set forth under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The 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. Hourly and salary paid are compensation terms.

Non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked and are subject to overtime and minimum wage requirements prescribed by the FLSA. Most employees are considered non-exempt. Non-exempt employees must receive time and one half their regular rates of pay for any hours worked over 40 in a given workweek. Again, there is no maximum number of hours a non-exempt employee can work. But, a non-exempt employee must be paid for every hour worked and be paid overtime as appropriate.

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. So, there is no requirement to provide additional compensation to an exempt employee for hours worked above their normal schedule. Again, there is no maximum number of hours an exempt employee can work.

An employer can ask an exempt employee to work 70 hours a week without additional compensation. Of course, this is not good business practice but there is no federal law prohibiting it.

It’s worth noting that some states have adopted daily overtime regulations and days of rest laws. So, it’s important to know if any such legislation is applicable in your state.

HTH!

February 12th, 2018, 8:17 AM |  Posted in: Compensation, Labor Laws |
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Feb12

Understanding Vacation Policy Terms

Can you please elaborate on these terms: Vacation time is an accrued benefit and it can be negotiated as part of your tailored compensation package. You can always decline vacation time in favor of a higher pay rate. You are eligible to use vacation after 6 months of employment. The annual vacation accrual amounts available are listed below: 1 week vacation accrue vacation at is .0192 per hour 2 weeks vacation accrue vacation at is .0384 per hour 3 weeks vacation accrue vacation at is .0576 per hour. The maximum rate a consultant can accrue vacation at is .0576 per hour, which is 3 weeks of vacation per year.

An accrued vacation policy means vacation time is earned as time is worked. Some policies provide a lump sum instead. With this particular policy, employees can ask for more or less vacation time; in turn their cash compensation would be proportionately reduced or increased. Basically, an employee can say no to having any vacation time and they will receive more pay. Employees can use their accrued vacation time after 6 months of employment.

Vacation time is accrued or earned based on the rates listed in the policy. Based on the policy, an employee who is entitled to 1 week vacation will earn 0.0192 hours of vacation time per hour worked. Let’s say an employee works 40 hours a week. An employee who works 40 hours a week will earn 0.768 vacation hours that week (40 hours worked x 0.0192 vacation time earned per hour = 0.768 vacation hours earned). The same employee who works a full month would earn 3.072 hours of vacation by the end of the month (40 hrs/wk x 4 weeks = 160 hours worked. 160 hours worked x 0.0192 accrual rate = 3.072 vacation hours earned). The same calculation can be used for the various accrual rates.

The policy limits employees to receiving a maximum of 3 weeks vacation.

The eligibility criteria for vacation time amounts is missing from the policy. Which employees are entitled to 1 week vacation versus 3 weeks vacation? Is it based on tenure with the company, department, job title? This should be clarified.

HTH!

February 12th, 2018, 8:03 AM |  Posted in: Benefits |
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