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COVID-19 AT WORK—RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES

Covid 19 - Workplace

My employee has exhibited signs of Covid-19, has been around others who have, or has tested positive for COVID-19—Now What?

As the House re-sends a slightly re-tooled emergency COVID-19 Bill to the Senate, many Employers are left wondering, “How do I deal with employees in the workplace who have come in contact with a COVID-19 person, who are exhibiting signs and symptoms of COVID-19, or have tested positive for COVID-19.”

First of all, please remember that your Human Resource Department along with frontline Supervisors, Managers and the like should re-familiarize themselves with the company’s plans and policies concerning PTO, sick pay, vacation time or any company benefits impacted. While, as of the writing of this article, the nation has no federally required emergency amended FMLA, paid sick leave or other time off, a company may want to implement its own emergency plan to address employees being absent from work. This may include relaxing parameters for how and when employees may use the existing company provided benefits. For example:

  • In Arizona, employees under the state mandated paid sick leave may not be able to use such sick leave until their 91st day of employment. Perhaps the employer may want to relax this requirement in an effort to persuade new employees, who may feel financial pressure to keep working, to stay home.
  • If your company policy for vacation time allows it to be used only for vacation and not sick time, perhaps you decide to make an allowance in this environment that any time off accrued can run afoul for what it was originally intended.

These are just but two examples of how companies can incentivize employees and build morale, within its own company issued benefits to keep employees at home and its workplace healthier in this unprecedented time.

But what does a company do if an employee suddenly falls ill [who has been at work] or informs you that he/she may have come in contact with a COVID-19 infected person or, tested positive for COVID-19? A company may want to consider any or all of the steps below:

  1. Instruct that employee to stay home for at least the recommended quarantined time of 14 days and encourage them to contact a qualified health professional
  2. Ask the employee when he or she first noticed symptoms
  3. Determine an approximate window prior to the first noticed symptoms identified in #2: a 14-15 day window prior to the date the employee indicated any “first” symptoms.
  4. Ask the employee to recall his or her movements at the company from the date the window in #3 establishes to the date he or she was mandated to stay at home by the company. Those areas of the company should be disinfected.
  5. Ask the employee to recall employees and/or clients he or she may have come in contact with from the date the window in #3 establishes to the date he or she was mandated to stay at home by the company.
  6. Contact the employees identified in response to #5 WITHOUT DISCLOSING THE INFECTED EMPLOYEE’S NAME. Advise them of the situation and have them stay home for a 14 day self- quarantine as well as encourage them to reach out to a health care provider to be tested.

To the extent possible, and if not already considered, all employees that have the capability to work from home, should be working from home in this type of environment. Also remember clear, concise and open communication to calm the workplace is needed.

Guest Blog Editor:  Spognardi Baiocchi LLP, is a law firm dedicated to partnering with companies of all sizes to find solutions for labor, employment, human resources, and general business needs.  www.psb-attorneys.com.

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date benefit surveys, salary surveys and pay practice data that will allow you to stay current.  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.

 

 

HOW TO DETERMINE NEW HIRE SALARIES

New Hires

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 are ready to help you ensure that your compensation programs support your company’s business strategy and objectives.  WageWatch also offers accurate, up-to-date benefit surveys, salary surveys, and pay practice 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.

 

ARE YOU ATTRACTING TOP TALENT?

Attracting Talent

Many business owners find it to be a huge challenge to attract and retain a group of talented and hardworking employees that are loyal to the company and its mission.  Finding high caliber employees with advanced skills to complete important jobs within a company is a challenge that not only exists in today’s marketplace but one that business owners have had to navigate for years.  Everyone is looking for top talent, and those companies that excel in attracting and retaining this talent are the ones that will reap the rewards.  In addition to a number of other factors, businesses that best retain employees offer great compensation and benefits packages.

To retain talent, it is essential that loyalty is established.  In order to do this, the employee must feel that their job is instrumental in achieving the goals of the company, making them excited to come into work each day.  It is also important that the work the employee puts in is acknowledged, affirming their place within the company, and offering them opportunities for growth.

While compensation and benefits packages are one of the largest factors considered by employees, it isn’t enough to make top talent to stay. The following are a few ways that you can attract and retain the best employees at your company:

  • Promote open communication.  When a company is completely open with employees, everyone will feel respected.  Instead of allowing rumors to spread, let your employees know as soon as possible about anything that is going on in regards to the company.   When possible, let your employees be a part of the decision making process.  A culture of open communication is very attractive to employees.
  • Provide opportunities for team building.  Most employees enjoy interacting with their coworkers. By encouraging teamwork, employees are able to build great working relationships and establish a trusting, open environment for the company.  When working together toward a common goal, employees are more motivated and excited about their jobs, often producing excellent results.
  • Cater to individual work style.  Each employee has a different way that they prefer to work, learn and be managed.  When you as an employer take the time and effort to make adjustments for each employee’s needs, they will respect the company more and loyalty will, once again, be built.  This will also help you to establish teams that will work best together based on their work styles.
  • Acknowledge your talent.  When an employee does a good job, it is important that you recognize them for their efforts, so they feel that they are a valued member of the team.  A majority of employees leaving a company do so because they feel unappreciated.  Employees want to feel that the work they are doing is making a difference, so acknowledging their work often is essential.  Also, review surveys for 2013 healthcare compensation, 2013 casino compensation and other market compensation data surveys for your industry to determine what benefits and bonuses you should be rewarding your employees with.

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 benefits package.  At WageWatch, we provide accurate data for hospitality compensation, healthcare compensation, casino compensation, and compensation information for a wide variety of other industries.  To learn more about our up-to-date market compensation surveys, call 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

THE BOOMER GENERATION IN THE WORKPLACE

Baby Boomers

It is not uncommon for baby boomers to now work side by side with co-workers from generation X and generation Y.  Each of the generations in the workplace today grew up in times with widely varying political and social issues, technology, and other factors, which have affected their attitudes on everyday life.  As an employer, it’s important to understand each generation’s needs and to provide them with the work environment and rewards that make them happy.

The basic employment packages for businesses are based on the needs of baby boomers, a very loyal generation of workers, typically staying with the same company for many years.  Employees of this generation value their benefits, such as health insurance, life insurance, and vacation time.  To determine if their company is providing salaries and benefits that are on target with the industry average salary, many employers turn to market compensation and benefit survey data. These baby boomer employees that have stayed with a company for most of their careers have invaluable knowledge and experience that is essential to business operations; because of this knowledge, it’s valuable to keep them happy and reward them for their loyalty.

While it is important to keep baby boomers satisfied by analyzing market compensation data, benefit survey data and salary reports, it is also essential for employers to look at the needs of the upcoming generations.  Many baby boomers are in management positions but will start to retire around the same time leaving a large number of open positions.  It is essential that skilled employees of the X and Y generations be ready to take their place.

The new generations of workers enjoy benefits like the baby boomers, but these employees prefer additional incentives and small tokens of appreciation for their efforts.  This generation is not as loyal to the companies they work for, and have no problem moving to a job at another company every two or three years.  For this reason, it is even more important to build loyalty with employees of these generations by providing them with the benefits and incentives they desire.  It is very beneficial for companies to use benefit survey data, market compensation data, and salary reports to determine the types of compensation, including incentives that are standard for the industry. Having this data will help companies to stay competitive with other employers by creating appealing benefits packages that will attract and retain top talent.

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, benefit survey data, and salary reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

WHEN TO EMPLOY SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM INCENTIVES

An Incentiveemployee compensation plan should provide a competitive wage and reward employees fairly and equitably for behaviors while accomplishing goals and objectives for the organization.  Compensation is the reward an employee receives in return for his or her contribution to the organization.  Basic components of a compensation package include base salary, incentives, and benefits.

Organizations implement incentive plans to help reach overall goals and objectives.  Incentive plans range from variable pay plans to prizes and recognition awards.  Incentive plans can motivate employees to go beyond expectations and produce results that contribute to business success.  They also can attract new talent and encourage company loyalty.  For an incentive plan to be effective, the goals must be obtainable.

So how do you determine whether a short-term or long-term incentive is appropriate?  Short-term incentives are used to create a focus on short-term or immediate goals, and align rewards with individual and business performance.  Long-term incentives are typically designed for executives who make strategic decisions for the company.  They can ensure focus on what’s best for the organization’s future outcomes by placing importance on medium and/or long-term goals and creating a sense of ownership of those goals.  Successful incentive plans can also help organizations align rewards with shareholder interests, and help retain key talent.

Short-term incentives can be for all employee levels from entry-level to middle management to the executive level and they can be large or small and can cover a week, month, quarter, or year of performance measurements and goals.  Short-term incentives can create a better work environment and motivate employees to work to their greatest potential.  Without short-term incentives, employees may feel that their work is unappreciated, and morale can be low.  Short-term incentives align employees to work for the overall success of the company and can clearly define an employee’s specific role in contributing to that success.  Short-term incentives such as prizes, free airline tickets or hotel stays, tickets to events, or a paid day off, can have high impact.  Short-term incentives can be individual and/or team-based.  Rewarding employees for clearly defined goals can go a long way to creating happy employees who work well alone and together striving for success.

It is important to use both short and long-term rewards to produce desired results.  Incentive programs that are carefully and strategically crafted and aligned with company goals and timeframes should lead to more productive, motivated, and loyal team members.  Retaining good employees saves organizations the expense of recruiting and training new workers.

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.

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.