WageWatch Ibrief Blog


Archive for March, 2016


Last week I attended the 10th annual HR in Hospitality Conference & Expo at the Talking Stick Resort and Casino in Scottsdale Arizona.  This year’s conference was attended by approximately 550 human resource professionals across the U.S.  The sessions were led by hospitality industry human resource executives, industry experts from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, legal professionals and human resource consultants.  Sessions included panels of HR Executives sharing best practices and their most pressing concerns, and legal professionals discussing and debating the latest regulatory changes and Supreme Court decisions such as the joint employer relationship and how the McDonald’s Joint Employer case will impact hotel franchise businesses, and the FLSA Overtime “white collar” changes that will go into effect later this year.

The conference focused on the current challenges for human resources today including the minimum wage movement – the fight for $15 an hour, how to work with unions – improving guest service and productivity while making the relationship beneficial to both sides, and strategies for working with hotel owners that identified key obstacles and how to build a healthy and sustainable working relationship.  Diversity remained a top concern of the hospitality HR Executives with a large percentage of ethnic groups working in the ranks and over 50% of management trainees female, yet as you move up through the management levels to executives, this drops drastically.  There are still fewer than 10% female General Managers on average.  Sessions focused on obstacles that impede movement of ethnicities and women into upper management levels of their companies and on programs and policies that promote the inclusion of all diversity categories such as recruiting sources and management training programs that target ethnic groups and on various work-life balance initiatives such as flexible work schedules that make it easier for women to succeed in top management positions such as General Manager.

HR Tips and Trends, is an attendees’ favorite session where respected industry leaders Debbie Brown of Four Season Hotels & Resorts, Carolyn Clark of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Robert Mellwig of Destination Hotels and Resorts/Lowe Enterprises, and Alan Momeyer of Loews Corporation shared best practices and expert guidance on key HR strategies.  Among the topics discussed was doing away with the Performance Review and in its place creating a culture of feedback and provide specific training such as training managers on the art of conversation.  Wage compression was a serious concern with the upcoming FLSA overtime changes combined with the increases in minimum wages across the country.

Innovation and out of the box thinking were themes that ran through many of the sessions as human resources look to keep up with the fast pace of change such as new and pending regulations, state and city living wage ordinances, state sick leave regulations, employer health care, methods of communicating to employees and future employees that is effective to the varying needs and motivations of each of the four generations in the workforce today. They are striving to embrace failure and the lessons that emerge, nurture all ideas versus immediately dismissing, try things – don’t wait for perfection, include non-experts who can add fresh new out-of-the-box ideas to old processes.  These innovative HR leaders are thinking about and piloting some new ideas and approaches to many of the HR challenges such as the performance review process, working on new approaches to employee engagement and embracing the changes that the millennial generation is bringing to the workplace.

Today’s world moves fast, and as an employer you should constantly be monitoring and adjusting your business operations to meet the ever changing wants and needs of your employees. At WageWatch, we offer accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including market compensation data, benefits survey data and salary reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24th, 2016 · Comments Off on HR IN HOSPITALITY CONFERENCE 2016


A company’s approach to internal pay equity is as important as the actual pay programs it implements. Many factors can impact internal pay equity such as internal increases remaining low while new hires demand salaries that exceed current tenured employees.  Organizations should conduct periodic pay equity studies to keep on top of potential pay equity risks and ensure an understanding of the pay structure, as well as knowledge of and ability to explain pay differences among comparable employees.

When conducting your pay equity study, be aware of these five major federal laws that address equal pay:

  1. The Equal Pay Act – equal pay for equal work among women and men.
  2. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin in all employment terms and conditions, including pay
  3. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act clarifies that each paycheck containing discriminatory compensation is actionable under Title VII.
  4. Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions, including compensation, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, when contracts or subcontracts exceed $10,000.
  5. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects the rights of most private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working conditions.

Most companies keep a close eye on pay decisions, such as merit raises and starting pay, and the processes that guide them.  Unfortunately, tracking individual decisions might not be enough. The Ledbetter Act requires knowledge of past pay decisions that may have impacted a discrimination claim. Pay today equals pay at hire plus all subsequent changes in pay.  Comparing the current pay of employees who were dissimilar in the past means that more historical information may be needed to understand their pay differences.

Pay differences can be defended by differences in knowledge, skill, education, ability, effort or responsibility provided it is required to perform the job.  Pay equity studies typically rely on the data that is available such as job title or grade, time in job, company seniority, performance ratings and increase percentages, geographic locations, education and prior job experience.

A pay equity study may involve the appropriate legal counsel, an experienced analyst as well as HR information systems and compensation specialists.  Detailed analysis can point to employees who should be paid similarly but who are subject to large pay differences and will highlight additional factors that explain the difference or highlight inexplicable differences that merit adjustment.   Conducting a well-designed and well-executed pay equity study using well-maintained and complete data is a good business practice that serves as an important tool in managing the risk associated with allegations of pay discrimination.

At WageWatch our compensation consultants are focused on your organization’s compensation needs and ready to help you ensure that your compensation programs are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives. WageWatch also offers accurate, up-to-date benefit surveys, salary surveys and pay practices data that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 17th, 2016 · Comments Off on INTERNAL PAY EQUITY COMPLIANCE


HR knows that employers must pay an overtime premium of 1.5 times base pay to non-exempt employees who work in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. This calculation is complicated in the hospitality industry due to the use of the common utilization of the tip credit to the federal minimum wage and prevalence of multi-job employees.

Many hoteliers have employees that operate in two or more job functions. This could an employee who is a housekeeper during the first shift and a maintenance technician in the second shift, for example. In the hospitality industry, all hours worked for the same employer, which is defined as the management company and not simply the specific hotel property, must be added together to determine if total hours work exceed 40 hours in the workweek.

If the base rates of the two or more jobs are the same, the overtime calculation is straight forward it is simply 1.5 times the base rate. If the base rates of the two or more jobs are different, then the employer needs to blend the base rates to recreate a new regular rate of play before applying the 1.5 overtime multiplier.

Here is an example of calculating the blended overtime rate for an employee who works in two jobs at two different hourly rates.

Job 1: Housekeeper: $12.50 per hour

Job 2: Maintenance Tech: $16.50 per hour

For the week in question, this employee worked 25 hours as a housekeeper and 20 hours as a Maintenance Tech. With 45 total hours in the week, this employee is eligible for 5 hours of overtime premium pay. What question is how do we calculate the blended regular rate of pay and arrive at the weekly total earnings?

Housekeeper  = $12.50/hr x 25 Hours = $312.50 straight-time earnings

Maintenance Tech  = $16.50/hr x 20 Hours = $330.00 straight-time earnings

$312.50 + $330.00 = $642.50 total straight-time earnings

$642.50 total earnings / 45 hours for the week = $14.28 blended regular rate of pay

Remember, the straight-time earnings have already been calculated for all hours worked, so the additional amount to be calculated for each overtime hour worked is one –half the regular rate.

$14.28 regular rate x 0.5 half x 5 overtime hours  = $35.70 additional half-time pay

Adding the straight-time earnings with the additional half-time pay comes out to our total pay with overtime premium.

$642.50 + $35.70 = 678.20 total pay with overtime

At WageWatch our compensation consultants are focused on your organization’s compensation needs and ready to help you ensure that your compensation programs are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives and that your pay practices are fair, equitable and non-discriminatory. We can provide your business with compensation surveys and salary reports to help you establish a budget for your merit pay program, including bonuses and incentives. Our innovative company is a leader in the collection of data for surveys and salary reports, which allows us to provide services to a wide range of industries in both the private and public sector. To learn more about our compensation surveys, salary reports and other services, please call 480-237-6130 or contact us online.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10th, 2016 · Comments Off on BLENDED OVERTIME RATE IN HOSPITALITY


In 2015 Millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest percentage of workers in the U.S. workforce.  Millennials are a generation that expects transparency, are driven by achieving purpose and fulfillment, prefer open communication, a great company culture, involvement with causes, and are more digital than any generation that preceded it.  Businesses seeking to engage employees in their work will now have to tailor their approaches to Millennials.

Millennials are optimistic and connected and they thrive on innovation and change.  They believe that a single person’s voice can make a difference.  Their preference is for organizations that have open, fair, transparent and inclusive leadership styles with access to a number of peers and other leaders, rather than limited to working with one leader or manager is an opportunity for organizations to evolve in ways that benefit both the organization and the employees.

Millennials value leaders who place a strong emphasis on employee well-being, growth, and development, instead of controlling the work experience of each employee.  An organization’s treatment of its employees is of high importance, especially as a leadership quality for the Millennial generation.

To manage Millennials you will need to show respect, listen to and value their ideas and complaints, including having work structures and processes in place that allow implementation of those ideas.   Millennials need attention and to know that their work and efforts are valued.  Encourage them, and help them develop confidence by giving them opportunities for success as well as turning ‘failure’ into a positive learning experience.

Face to face communication is important to Millennials.  But be sure that the conversation is a two way street.  Listen to them, learn from them as well.  Millennials are looking for leaders who care about people.  Conversations should be a give and take and a sharing of information and knowledge.  Millennials want leaders who possess strong social skills, have vision, passion, and are decisive.

Millennials do understand productivity expectations, meeting times, project deadlines. It is ok to provide the necessary structure, but do this without micromanaging.  While they like to take projects and run with them, they also want regular and frequent feedback that includes praise, constructive critique as well as opportunity for learning and growth.  Millennials want to be sure their work matters in the larger scheme of things.  Millennials want flexibility with job duties and when and where they work.    It will be important to provide development opportunities as well as opportunities to work in teams.

Millennials are a generation that wants to make the world better. They want to work for an ethical company that they believe is behaving in ways to make the world better. Whether through charitable giving, paid leave to help out with charitable work, companies need to demonstrate through tangible and real actions a genuine concern for society and not only for the company’s bottom line. Millennials want to work for a company known for doing good.

In summary, Millennials are positive-thinking with an entrepreneurial and hard-working spirit who want their lives to matter, believing they can change the world. They are a fantastic addition to your team and the largest part of the workforce that you will need to rely on more and more into the future.

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date HR metrics, benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. The PeerMark™ Wage Survey is the only Web-based custom survey tool that allows individual survey participants to select their competitive set for comparison purposes.  Our experienced compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs.  We can help you ensure internal equity and compliance with regulations as well as help you structure your compensation programs to support your company’s business strategy and objectives.   For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 3rd, 2016 · Comments Off on MANAGING MILLENNIALS IS CHANGING CORPORATE CULTURE