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Archive for July, 2019

WHEN DOES SALARY MOTIVATE EMPLOYEES?

Salary Motiviation

Studies have shown that salary can just as easily de-motivate employees as motivate them.  In fact, salaries generally operate as negative reinforcement rather than positive.  For example, an employee receiving a lower than expected merit increase or bonus payment can certainly de-motivate.  On the flip side, receiving the status quo merit increase or bonus amount every year can create an entitlement mentality.  However, when it comes to motivating employees, salary is always one of the top factors, and therefore, it has to be part of your total rewards strategy.  Many believe that the amount of money that is needed is at least enough to satisfy basic needs which vary by person.  Obviously, when salary does not, at a minimum, cover essential needs, this serves to de-motivate.

In this article, the focus is on monetary rewards.  Motivated employees make a difference in the workplace.  They affect the work environment positively as well as improve customer service, sales, or production.  So, how can you determine if the salaries you are paying are motivating your workforce?

First, determine where to focus your compensation spending plan.  This can vary depending on factors such as the current economy, the competitive environment, and where the company is in its life-cycle.  For example, a growing company with variable sales and income may be better off focusing on base salaries.  When business is good, it may be prudent to tie more bonus dollars to goals achieved.

Second, do your research, know your competition.  Every organization can benefit from reputable industry salary surveys such as the WageWatch PeerMark™ and Benchmark reports, to determine competitive salaries.  You should utilize salary survey data from the local market, your industry and from organizations of similar size.  Work within your organization’s salary philosophy and the given financial situation to determine where to set salaries.

In addition to looking externally to market competition, look internally to ensure your internal pay structure and salaries are fair and equitable.  Whether you like it or not, employees will discuss pay with one another.  Ensure fair and equitable pay levels between employees in the same jobs, in the same departments, and jobs of comparable worth within your organization. Formal salary ranges within the organization where people with similar responsibilities and authority are grouped into the same salary range help to maintain internal equity.   Set clear goals for what you want to achieve by setting salaries at certain levels.  For example, you may pay an entry-level manager less than the market if you are hiring inexperience and provide a training and growth opportunity in exchange.  Open and clear communication regarding the company’s salary structure and pay philosophy can aid in employees’ understanding of the methods used in determining their salary level and assist in demonstrating fairness and equity.

Merit pay is one of the most frequently used methods to drive employee performance.  To be effective it needs to be linked to performance in a manner that is consistent with the mission of the organization.  Merit increases can become de-motivating when your performance measurement system is flawed and/or inconsistently applied or when the merit increase amount that is linked to performance is inconsistently administered.  Also with merit increases typically averaging two to three percent, studies show that increases lower than five percent are unlikely to have any impact on employee performance.  What can help is applying behavioral principles to your pay for performance programs such as giving employees a personal stake in the success of the company by showing a clear link between their efforts and results.  Many companies base their compensation plan on time and not results.  Of course, time is a factor and needs to be part of the equation.  However, if you pay for results, you will get results.

Change can be challenging and demanding.  At WageWatch our consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs and help ensure your wages and salaries support your company’s business strategy and objectives.  In addition to our PeerMark™ Salary Survey for over 100 local lodging markets in the U.S. and Canada, we offer a National Benchmark Salary Survey.  With over 9,000 hotels and 200 casinos in our database, WageWatch’s hotel and gaming salary surveys are the most comprehensive surveys available to Human Resouces. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary surveys, benefit surveys, and custom compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online at www.wagewatch.com/contactus.

COMPENSABLE TIME

Compensable Time

Employers need to ensure they count all worked hours as paid hours for their non-exempt staff.  For example, when an employee eats lunch at their workstation or desk and their lunch is interrupted by work such as answering phones or email, the employee is working and must be paid for that time because the employee has not been completely relieved from duty.

If the employer has a policy that is expressly and clearly communicated to the employee regarding a specific length of time for a break, any unauthorized extensions of that break time do not need to be counted as hours worked.  Bonafide meal periods (typically 30 minutes or more) generally need not be compensated as work time.  However, the employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purpose of eating regular meals.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), doesn’t require employers to provide meal or rest breaks, though some states do require such breaks and the rules can also be different for younger workers.  You can find a list of state meal and rest break laws at the Department of Labor’s website address: https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/meal.htm  and  https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/rest.htm.

Employers that fall under the federal guidelines do not have to pay for meal or rest breaks unless:

  • The employee works through or during their break, or
  • The break lasts 20 minutes or less, or
  • The break is interrupted by work

Some other compensable time under the federal rules can include waiting time, on-call time, attendance at meetings and training programs, travel time and performing work outside of work hours such as checking emails.

Waiting time may or may not be hours worked depending upon the circumstances.  If an employee needs to wait before a duty can start such as a firefighter waiting for an alarm, then the employee is ‘engaged to wait’ and this time is worked time and must be paid.

On-Call time is paid time if the employee is required to remain on the employer’s premises.  In most cases, the on-call time does not have to be paid when an employee is not required to remain on the employer’s premises.  However additional requirements put on the on-call time that further limits the employee’s freedom could require the time to be compensated.

Attendance at meetings or training programs is paid time when any of the following conditions are true:

  • It is during normal hours
  • It is mandatory (if the employee feels that they should or need to attend, then it is mandatory)
  • It is job-related

Travel time may be paid time or not depending upon the kind of travel involved.  Regular commute time to and from the worksite is not paid time.  When the employee works at a different worksite location then any commute time that is greater than the employee’s regular commute time to their usual work site needs to be counted as paid time.

Travel that is part of the regular work duties, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, is work time and must be counted as hours worked.  Overnight travel is work time and must be paid time

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, call 480-237-6130 or contact us online.

IMPACT OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA ON EMPLOYERS

Courts historically found a marijuana-positive drug test sufficient grounds to terminate an employee or refuse to hire someone; employers were safe to move forward without worrying about an individual being approved to use medical marijuana or if an employee was impaired at work.  Problems arise when federal law conflicts with state law.    Based on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I illegal drug—even for medical purposes.

 

Many states and local jurisdictions have enacted anti-discrimination laws concerning marijuana use.  Generally, such laws prohibit employers from taking adverse action against an employee who uses marijuana in conforming with local marijuana laws, if an employee does not consume it and work and is not impaired while on the job.

CMJ Mapurrently, there are 33 states and the District of Columbia with recently approved ballot measures legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.  The state laws for medical use varies significantly and not all of them recognize marijuana-approved patients from their states.  The states with medical marijuana laws and their guidelines for usage varies widely.  Some states require patients to register, others don’t allow dispensaries, and not all of them recognize marijuana-approved patients from their states.  In addition, some states allow employers to enact employment policies that prohibit the use of marijuana; these states do not force employers to make accommodations for employee use of marijuana.

 

In terms of recreational marijuana use, employers can have policies that prohibit the drug’s use and possession while employees are at work.  In addition, employers can prohibit their employees from being impaired by marijuana at work.  In these states, employers must comply with federal and state laws and provide employees with a safe and productive workplace.  At the same time, employers must accommodate employees with disabilities that may require medical marijuana.  Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to make a “reasonable accommodation” to employees with disabilities—especially when workers have a doctor’s note that allows them to use it.
The differences in state laws require Human Resources to be aware of the legal issues involved and the changing legal landscape to ensure drug testing policies are legal and enforceable.  The following steps can ensure that your organization maintains a safe working environment with regards to employee medical marijuana use while reducing the risk of costly legal claims:

  • Review the company’s current drug testing policies to the extent that they test for marijuana, and determine whether state law requires exceptions to testing policies as a reasonable accommodation
  • Train managers on how to handle reasonable accommodation requests by disabled employees who are certified, medical marijuana users
  • Review policies regarding illegal drugs and disabilities to ensure that each complies with your state’s current medical marijuana laws
  • Ensure that managers and human resources employees are properly trained on how to determine (and document) employee impairment when an employer suspects that drug use (legal or otherwise) is causing workplace issues

WageWatch 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, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

 

 

OREGON—8th STATE TO PASS FAMILY/MEDICAL LEAVE

Family Med Leave

Oregon officially became the most inclusive law in the country, with respect to paid family and medical leave, when Governor Katy Brown signed the bill into law last week (July 1, 2019).

  • The law covers 12 weeks annually, to new parents, victims of domestic violence, and people who need to take care of an ill family member or themselves; an extra two weeks is given for those giving birth (New Jersey is the only other state which includes domestic violence victims in paid leave legislation)
  • Family is defined to include “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with a covered individual is the equivalent of a family relationship”
  • Oregon will be the first to pay low-income works 100% of their wages when they’re off, with weekly benefits capped at around $1,215 (you must earn at least $1,000 in wages a year to qualify)
  • The law will be funded through a payroll tax (not to exceed 1% of employee wages)
  • Employees pay 60% of the total rate and employers will cover the remaining 40%
  • Employers with less than 25 employees will not pay into the program
  • The program will start taking contributions in 2022, and people will be able to start using it in 2023
  • Research suggests paid family and medical leave improves participation rates for new mothers in the labor force, with corresponding benefits in pay equality, infant and child health, and lowers poverty rate
  • The program will take a few years to get started because it’s a new social insurance program, just like unemployment insurance or workers compensation.

The additional states that have adopted a paid family and medical leave policy include the following (along with the effective date):

    • California (2004)
    • New Jersey (2009)
    • Rhode Island (2014)
    • New York (2018)
    • District of Columbia (2020)
    • Washington (2020)
    • Massachusetts (2021)
    • Connecticut (2022)

Paid leave is on the national legislative agenda with new momentum.  This new law in Oregon represents the eighth state, along with the District of Columbia, to adopt a paid family and medical leave policy.  Full wage compensation for American workers in poverty will likely motivate more employees to take advantage of paid leave benefits.

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.

10 FUN FACTS FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY

July 4th

This blog post provides you with a quick overview of interesting facts about this great holiday.  How many of these facts are you aware of?  Test your knowledge!

  1. July 2nd is the real day of Independence, but it’s celebrated on the fourth because that’s when Congress accepted Jefferson’s declaration.
  2. Only John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776; all the others signed later.
  3. Thomas Jefferson changed the wording of the Declaration of Independence from “the pursuit of property” to “the pursuit of happiness.”
  4. The only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who later served as President of the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
  5. The first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776.
  6. President John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe all died on the Fourth of July. Adams and Jefferson (both signed the Declaration) died on the same day within hours of each other in 1826.
  7. On July 4, 1778, George Washington ordered a double ration of rum for his soldiers to celebrate the holiday.
  8. Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not actually rung) thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies.
  9. Americans consume around 155 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July each year. They also spend $92 million on chips, $167.5 million on watermelon, and $341.4 million on beer.
  10. NYC has America’s Biggest Fourth of July Fireworks Display.
    – The show lasts 25 minutes, firing off approximately 3,000 shells per minute.
    – It takes 55 crew members 10 days to set up the fireworks.
    – More than 3 million spectators view it.

WageWatch Wishes You a Happy Fourth of July!

 

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2nd, 2019 · Comments Off on 10 FUN FACTS FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY