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2019 U.S. HOTEL CORPORATE EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION SURVEY–NOW AVAILABLE

Execs

WageWatch conducted a National 2019 U.S. Hotel Corporate Executive Compensation Survey.  Participants invited to participate in the survey included WageWatch U.S. Hotel Survey Customers as well as other U.S. Hotel Companies.

The final report is NOW AVAILABLE for purchase.  The price of the report is $1,000, with a 50% discount to WageWatch Survey Customers.  Survey respondents received a complimentary copy of the report in exchange for their participation.

The report is designed to provide you with current and credible compensation information for Senior-Level Executives.  It is a useful tool that provides valuable information when making investment decisions tied to attracting and retaining high-performing executives.  The survey report includes Hotel C-Suite, top Executive positions in all disciplines, and Regional Executive positions.  All compensation elements were included in the survey i.e., base pay, incentives, stock, medical, and retirement benefits.  Participant and proxy data included in the report is based on a total of 31 U.S. Hotel Companies.

The data in the report complies with DOJ anti-trust regulations.  Compliance includes the information being aggregated to protect the identity of the underlying sources, and sufficient sources are aggregated to prevent competitors from linking specific data to an individual source.

WageWatch appreciates the opportunity to serve its customers across multiple industries including hospitality, gaming/tribal gaming, healthcare, golf course/country club, and higher education.  Since 2001, our customers rely on WageWatch to provide them with consistent, reliable, and up-to-date compensation survey statistics for their industry on a local, regional, and national level.

To receive a copy of the report, contact us by phone:  888-330-9243, or by email:  custserv@wagewatch.com.

EFFECTIVE NEW HIRE ORIENTATION

New Hires

An employee’s experience during their first few days will affect the rest of their tenure.  It is critical, to begin with an effective, positive, and fun new hire orientation for the future success of your new employees.  Even before the employee’s hire date, you can make a positive impact with a call to the employee two or three days before their start date, welcoming them, letting them know what time to arrive, and what they can expect during their first day and first week on the job.  Studies show that a well-planned orientation can contribute to the length of employment, better work attitudes, more effective communication, and fewer mistakes.  Your new hire orientation is your chance to set a positive tone for a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.

A new hire’s early experience is highly influenced by his peers, managers, subordinates, HR team members, and the organization’s top management.  Ensure that new hires are welcomed by their team members.  Plan a welcome breakfast meet and greet for their first morning on the job.  The new hire’s immediate supervisor should schedule daily meetings with the new employee at least for the first week, then at least weekly for the first month or two.  Schedule informational meetings with key people in the department and in other departments to provide the new hire with the general knowledge that they will need to perform their job.  Include an office tour in the orientation process that includes introductions.  Be sure to include introductions to top Executives, Human Resource personnel as well as receptionists, administrative assistants, and copy/mail room attendants.

An effective orientation program will put emphasis on the new employee, their individuality and what they have to offer rather than focusing solely on the company’s culture and how the new employee can fit in.  You are probably hiring in part to get new ideas into the organization.  Make sure to capitalize on that.  Make your orientation meetings fun and be sure to provide a meal or at least snacks.  Keep it interesting and not too long.  Too much information will be boring and will not be retained.  Orientation should reflect culture through interactive activities.  One way to make it memorable is to present the company’s goals, mission, and values in an activity form rather than simply providing the information.  Allow the new hires to get to know each other on a personal basis, not just professional – go around the room and have them tell one professional and one personal thing about themselves.  You can also turn this into a game by writing one thing about each person on a piece of paper.  In the end, state items one at a time, out of order, and have people guess who said what.

Promote communication with a team-building activity such as learning the employee handbook through a scavenger hunt.  For example, divide the orientation group into teams and see which team can answer the most handbook questions in a set amount of time.  Cover company ethics to let them know what is expected, and also include ‘unwritten rules’.  Don’t end there!  After orientation, schedule follow-up meetings with each new hire to elicit their feedback and answer any follow-up questions they may have.

Don’t forget the basics.  Provide them with all the office supplies they will need to start their job, include contact information they will need.  And let them know how to get additional office supplies.  Teach them how to use the phone, how to forward calls, set up and change voice mail, and how to do a conference call.

Today, many companies are adding programs such as flex-time, telecommuting as well as accommodating and encouraging alternative work styles in an effort to provide a work environment where employees are happier and thriving.  Therefore don’t neglect or underestimate how impactful beginnings are, and provide your new hires with an orientation program that is effective and unique to your company and its culture.

Implementing the above suggestions will help your company to build a culture that encourages the retention of employees, which in turn will attract top talent.  In addition to providing a great work environment that respects employees and provides opportunities for learning and growth, it is also important that they receive a solid compensation and benefits package.  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 consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

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.

PAY EQUITY ANALYSIS

Pay Equitu

To manage the risk of pay discrimination, organizations should conduct periodic pay equity analysis.  The goal of a pay equity study or analysis is to identify problems and ensure compensation practices are fair and equitable.  The study should look for trends that identify the disparate impact on wage rates.  Data elements to include in the analysis are hire dates, hire rates, performance rating, merit increases, age, ethnicity, gender, and promotion dates and increases.  Group the data in job classifications and departments by the hierarchy as well as grouping comparable jobs across departments.  Sort the data by the various data elements to see what emerges.  This analysis can identify wage inequities as well as explain some of the differences in pay among comparable employees.  A thorough analysis is important for managing the risk associated with pay discrimination claims.

Differences in knowledge, skill, ability, effort or responsibility provide a legitimate basis for differences in pay among employees doing the same work. However, these factors can be difficult to validate or prove, and therefore you will need to rely on the data that is readily available including:

  • Job title or grade
  • Time in current job or grade
  • Job duties including the degree of responsibility
  • Job status (Full or part-time, exempt or non-exempt, etc.)
  • The location where the employee lives and works
  • Company service time
  • Education
  • Prior experience
  • The market value of a job
  • Performance Review documenting effort in terms of quantity and quality of work

Pay equity issues can occur over time as a result of flaws in a compensation process including:

  • Insufficient training of Managers regarding performance, merit and other increases
  • Inefficient and inconsistent merit pay processes
  • Decisions being made in “silos” and without consistent checks such as HR/Compensation approval
  • Making decisions without market or internal data for guidance
  • Reactive hiring decisions relative to “hot” jobs
  • Poorly maintained salary structures that have not kept step with the market
  • Failure to reclassify jobs as changes in responsibility occur

A pay equity study will involve the input an experienced compensation analyst and/or specialist as well as HR information systems and may involve appropriate legal counsel.  Once pay inequities are discovered, HR will need to determine a timeline and the funding for the pay equity adjustments.

In 2009, President Obama signed into law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which increased organizations’ exposure to pay discrimination claims by overturning a rule that workers must sue for pay discrimination within 180 days after the original pay decision was made.  As a result of the Act, each paycheck now resets the clock and employees can file lawsuits for perceived discriminatory pay decisions even if the pay decision occurred years earlier.  So, it is more important than ever for employers to carefully document all pay decisions and stay on top of pay equity in their organizations.

In 20016, the Obama administration announced executive action which requires companies with 100 employees or more to report to the federal government how much they pay their employees broken down by race, gender, and ethnicity.  It is hoped that this transparency will help to root out discrimination and reduce the gender pay gap.

On March 27, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Paycheck Act, an act designed to amend and strengthen the existing federal Equal Pay Act.  The Act further provides that the “bona fide factor” justifying gender-based pay disparities would only apply where “the employer demonstrates that such factor is: 1) not based upon or derived from a sex-based differential in compensation, 2) is job-related with respect to the position in question, 3) is consistent with business necessity; and 4) accounts for the entire differential in compensation of issue.”  The Paycheck Fairness Act has been moved to the Senate for consideration and voting.

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.

TO CHECK OR NOT TO CHECK: A BACKGROUND CHECK PRIMER

Background CheckThere are many types of background checks available to HR professionals that can be conducted in-house or externally by vendors who specialize in employment screenings.  HR professionals should take a strategic view of onboarding as a process.  By doing so, several layers of checks and screenings are implemented to best reduce new hire risks.  It is the old adage that the result is more than the sum of its parts.

New hire selection process starts with the job advertisement or announcement.  The announcement needs to be designed to attract specific skills and behaviors while discouraging those without the requisite skills.  Posting in the advertisement that the position requires a drug test or criminal background check is a potent deterrent.  Those still interested should be directed to a job application that captures information that will form the groundwork for the pre-employment screenings in the next recruitment phase.

The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; Age Discrimination Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act; Equal Pay Act; and Title II of the Genetic Information Act.  Employers are welcome to use all manner of pre-employment screenings if they comply with EEOC standards.  None of these Acts directly prohibit employment discrimination based on credit information, conviction records, previous employment, education, or psychological/behavioral profiles.  However, the EEOC has a published a Compliance Manual and provides guidance on a number of pre-employment scenarios, because of the disparate impact facially neutral policies can have on these numerous protected classes.

This is the tightrope that causes many HR professionals to gloss over background checks out of fear of inadvertently triggering an EEOC investigation.  What you don’t know, can hurt you.  HR has a duty to the company to traverse this tightrope and understand the often gray and contradictory playing field (between state and federal guidelines) in which they conduct pre-employment screenings.

Criminal Background Checks – Treat each criminal record individually in the context of the job sought, work environment and conditions, and risk to the organization.  Ask the candidate about the situation. Deliberate omission and lies can be used a basis to disqualify the candidate.

Credit Check – Most commonly used for positions that have are executive level, have financial responsibility, or have access to confidential information such as social security numbers to reduce the risk of theft or embezzlement.  Allow candidates the opportunity to explain negative results as some reasons, such as medical bills, are protected.

Physical/Medical Exam – This screening is allowed only after a conditional offer of employment is extended and is used in specific jobs that require a proof of fitness in order to safely perform duties.  All candidates in the job category are required to have the same medical examination.  The candidate medical history is confidential and must be kept separate from employment records.  HR professionals need to keep in mind that the medical examiner does not make the final hiring decision.

Motor Vehicle Record – This is a critical check for positions that are required to operate a company vehicle as part of the job requirement.  In some states, DUI convictions are kept with the DMV not the criminal court system.  There are vendors that make multi-state verification easier by consolidating searches.

Work & Education History – Past performance is a strong indicator of future performance.  The goal of the work history and education background check is to establish that the glowing resume represented to the recruiter is factual and accurate.  On education, check with the governing body on the authenticity of the degree.  We recommend asking for full transcripts for recent graduates with a short work history.

As a company, it is important for you to understand the new regulations set forth by the EEOC and implement them in your hiring and workplace practices.  Additionally, for the good of your employees, it is helpful to analyze benefits survey data, compensation surveys, and salary reports.  Having this information at hand allows you to plan a budget, including competitive employee salaries and benefits, which will help you to hire and retain a happy, talented team.

At WageWatch, our expert evaluators provide businesses in a large range of industries with accurate and beneficial benefits survey data, compensation surveys, and salary reports to ensure that payment and benefits plans are on par with those in the industry.  For more information on market compensation data, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

LINKING PAY PRACTICES WITH BUSINESS OBJECTIVES

Link PayCompensation plays a critical role in organizations’ ongoing and increasingly challenging efforts to attract, retain, and motivate a talented workforce.  Compensation design and management play a vital role in aligning employee behavior with business objectives.  Human capital costs represent a significant part of most organizations’ cost bases and need to be spent as effectively as possible.  It is vital to understand the consequences pay decisions can have on your organization.

Salary structures are an important component of effective compensation programs and help ensure that pay levels for groups of jobs are competitive externally and equitable internally.  A well-designed salary structure allows management to reward performance and skills development while controlling overall base salary cost with a salary range cap.  Market pricing is the most common method companies use to design base salary structure ranges using external market data combined with a focus on internal pay equity.  The goal of market pricing is to keep the organization from 1) underpaying, resulting in losing talent to competitors, or being unable to attract the talent it needs and, 2) over-paying which wastes organizational resources and impedes desirable turnover.  The secret to effective market pricing is the ability to spot and adequately analyze and level the data anomalies and imperfections using both science and experience.

Some organizations elect to pay lower than the market and offset lower than market wages with offers of ‘good’ benefits, meaningful work and stability.  This practice can lead to employee disengagement and organizations risk losing people.  Also, the organization will likely attract people who couldn’t get ‘better’ jobs with higher pay.  One of the key determinants of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction is how employees feel their pay package compares to others.

Pay-for-performance programs are used to award employees for desired behaviors and outcomes and they take many forms, including cash bonuses, company stock, and profit sharing.  Pay-for-performance plans have a learning curve, and they require regular maintenance in order to be and remain effective.   Incentive compensation plans need to align with the company’s business strategy, mission, goals, and objectives.  They should address the root causes of performance and the goals must reflect a balance of financial results and the key business drivers.  Payout opportunities should be consistent with the performance value and meaningful to employees.

While pay-for-performance plans provide a financial incentive to employees, there can be disadvantages.   If not crafted carefully, they can cause employees to focus more on quantity over quality.  They may impede teamwork if workers view helping another employee as wasting valuable time that could be spent on reaching their own goals.  And just like base pay, incentive pay should be competitive with the market or it could fall short of motivating the employees.

Smart, successful organizations do regular planning and evaluating their compensation and performance rewards systems.  Compensation is visible and important to employees.  It is critical to have a solid and competitive pay strategy where pay decisions and policies match the objectives of the organization.  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.

KEY OBJECTIVES OF A COMPENSATION PROGRAM

CompCompensation can be defined as a reward earned by employees in return for their time, skills, effort, and knowledge.  Compensation includes direct financial compensation, such as wages, bonus and commissions, indirect financial compensation such as health and welfare, retirement and leave benefits, and non-financial compensation such as job training and development, recognition, and advancement opportunities.  A large percentage of the company budget is compensation, and therefore it is a key component of the overall strategic human resource management plan.

A compensation package can include more than salary and bonus.  It can include health and welfare benefits, retirement plan, leave benefits, and various other benefits, and perks.  Companies that offer a mix of salary and incentives have the highest employee morale and productivity.  It is most effective to pay incentives as soon after goals are met as feasible such as monthly or quarterly incentive payments, rather than annual payments.  A good incentive plan should be easily understood by the employees including no more than two to four performance factors.  How you train, develop, and manage your employees will also drive retention and performance.

When developing your compensation program, the primary objectives to consider are:

  • To attract the best people for the job
  • Retain high performers and lower turnover
  • Reward performance on specific objectives by compensating desired behaviors
  • Motivate employees to perform their best
  • Improve morale, job satisfaction, and company loyalty
  • Align with overall company strategy, goals and philosophy
  • Achieve internal and external equity
  • Comply with all pay and non-discrimination regulations

While compensation is not the only thing that motivates people, compensation that is too low will demotivate employees.  Studies have found a direct correlation between top performing companies and employees that are satisfied with their pay and benefits package.  Competitive and appropriate pay can positively impact customer service.  Employees receiving fair and competitive compensation packages are generally happier with their jobs and are more motivated to perform at their peak.  Motivated employees can add to the bottom line of the organization and contribute to growth and expansion. Studies show that motivated employees take fewer sick days and have fewer disability claims.

While there are many objectives to a successful compensation program, two key objectives are ensuring internal equity and ensuring external competitiveness.  Salary surveys provide the necessary market data to build competitive pay structures.  Good salary survey data provides you with the information needed to ensure your compensation package is competitive.  Salary surveys are an invaluable tool for the setting right compensation strategy and for following and monitoring the desired pay market.  It is important that you select the right salary and benefits surveys and market data for your employees based on where you are competing for talent in your industry and outside your industry as well as geographic location.

WageWatch offers 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.  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.

HOW TO DETERMINE NEW HIRE SALARIES

New Hire Salaries

Without established salary ranges and salary structure, setting a salary can be like spinning the roulette wheel.  Most companies have salary offer guidelines based on competitive market data and established salary ranges for positions.  Ideally, you will have these established tools and practices in place before you have to make a salary offer.  Salary scales are a valuable tool in recruiting and hiring new employees as well as providing baseline amounts in making salary adjustments for existing employees.

There are many things to consider when determining where to set a salary for a new hire including the candidate’s experience and qualifications that are either required or needed for the job, current salaries of employees in the same or comparable worth jobs, salary range, geography, industry conventions, and company budget.  Other considerations may be bargaining agreements, prevailing wage contracts or arrangements, and the company’s compensation philosophy.

To determine accurate external wage comparisons, employers should carefully define the appropriate market and competitive set.  Defining the market too narrowly can result in wages that are higher than necessary. Conversely, defining the market too broadly may cause an organization to set wages too low to attract and retain competent employees.  Paying prevailing wages can also be considered a moral obligation.  This focus on external competitiveness enables a company to develop compensation structures and programs that are competitive with other companies in similar labor markets.  Employee perceptions of equity and inequity are equally important and should be carefully considered when a company sets compensation objectives.  Employees who perceive equitable pay treatment may be more motivated to perform better or to support a company’s goals.

Internal equity is of equal importance to external competitiveness when setting pay.  You want employees to feel they are paid fairly as compared to their co-workers as well as to adhere to regulations regarding pay discrimination.  If starting salaries are negotiated, ensure that such a practice does not have an adverse impact on women or minority workers.  Generally, jobs do not have to be identical for equal pay to be required, only substantially equal in terms of skill, effort, and job responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions.  For discriminatory purposes, pay refers to salary, overtime, bonuses, vacation and holiday pay, and all other benefits and compensation of any kind paid to employees.  Pay disparities may be allowed under a seniority system, a merit system, or a system measuring earnings by quality or quantity of production.  Hardly anyone notices when you pay “above average” compared to the outside world, but any perceived deficiency in “internal equity” can come back to bite you.

As you can see there are many factors and considerations when setting pay and it can sometimes feel like a delicate balancing act.  But doing your homework, keeping up with the external market, and addressing internal pay inequities will go a long way to simplifying the task of setting new hire salaries.  It is important to ensure that the approach taken is guided by the compensation philosophy and is applied consistently.  An effective Salary Administration Program allows a company to meet the basic objectives of compensation:  focus, attract, retain, and motivate.

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. This information is 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.

MINIMUM WAGE UPDATE – JANUARY 2019

The current federal minimum wage, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), is $7.25 per hour which has been in effect since July 2009.  States have the ability to set a rate that is higher than the federal minimum rate and employers are obligated to pay the higher rate.  Currently, there are 29 states that have laws at the state or local level mandating higher pay than the federal rate.

On September 4, 2018, the Department of Labor published a Notice in the Federal Register to announce that, beginning January 1, 2019, the Executive Order 13658 minimum wage rate is increased to $10.60 per hour.  This Executive Order minimum wage rate generally must be paid to workers performing work on or in connection with covered contracts.  Additionally, beginning January 1, 2019, tipped employees performing work on or in connection with covered contracts generally must be paid a minimum cash wage of $7.40 per hour.

Voters across many states approved ballot measures to raise their state minimum rates over time, with increases occurring through 2020 and beyond.  There are 19 states which have an increase that takes effect on December 31, 2018 or January 1, 2019, including:  1) Alaska, 2) Arizona, 3) Arkansas, 4) California, 5) Colorado, 6) Delaware, 7) Florida, 8) Maine, 9) Massachusetts, 10) Minnesota, 11) Missouri, 12) Montana, 13) New Jersey, 14) New York, 15) Ohio, 16) Rhode Island, 17) South Dakota, 18) Vermont, 19) Washington.

For more details, click on the following link to view the WageWatch Minimum Wage Chart with details of federal, state and local minimum wage increases:  WageWatch – U.S. Minimum Wage Increases.  In addition to the statewide minimum wage increase, multiple states have approved minimum wage increases that are higher than the statewide average.  (The increases are referenced in the attached Excel spreadsheet).  There is one state, Oregon, and the District of Columbia that have scheduled their wage increase to begin on July 1, 2019.

Although there are no statewide minimum wage increases, there are several states in which specific cities and/or counties which have wage increases scheduled to occur on 1/1/2019; these states include:  Illinois, Maryland, and New Mexico.

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 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.