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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.

WHAT IS THE COST OF ENGAGED VS. DISENGAGED EMPLOYEES?

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement levels are at their highest in years!  The Gallup Organization has been measuring levels of employee engagement since 2000.  Over nearly two decades, the annual percentage of actively engaged U.S. employees has ranged from a low of 26% in 2000 to the recent six-month high of 34% in 2018.  On average, 30% of employees have been engaged at work during the past 18 years.  Conversely, the percentage of actively disengaged U.S. employees has ranged from a high of 20% in 2007 and 2008, during the heart of the recession, to the current low of 13%.   On average 16.5% of U.S. employees have been actively disengaged over 18 years of tracking.

To better understand employee engagement levels, it helps to understand how Gallup categories the three different segments of employee engagement.  “Actively engaged” employees are involved, enthusiastic, and committed to their work while “actively disengaged” employees are unhappy at work and aren’t afraid to tell others about it, they are resentful that their needs aren’t being met and act out, potentially undermining coworkers.  The biggest group of employees, those “not engaged” are unattached to their work and while putting in the time, there is no energy or passion put into their work.  To summarize, the 2018 Gallup survey categorizes employees as:

  • Actively Engaged = 34%
  • Not Engaged/Disengaged = 53%
  • Actively Disengaged = 13%

What is the cost of unengaged employees in an organization?  Gallup describes an “actively disengaged” employee costs their organization $3,400 for every $10,000 of salary, or 34%.  If the average salary is $60,000 per year, the cost for each disengaged employee is $20,400 ($60,000 x .34).  For a company size of 1,000 employees, 13% are actively disengaged, totaling 130 employees; the annual cost to the organization is $2.65 million (130 x $20,400).  This loss is only for the actively disengaged employees and does not represent the loss of employees who are “disengaged” (53%).  However, it is extremely compelling to understand the cost for the most actively disengaged employees, knowing that the cost of total employee disengagement is higher.
After computing the cost of disengagement, the focus shifts to increasing engagement.  Based on attributes measured by Gallup in their employee engagement survey, employees place the greatest importance on a role and organization that offer them:

  • The ability to do what they do best
  • Greater work-life balance and better personal well-being
  • Greater stability and job security
  • A significant increase in income
  • The opportunity to work for a company with a great brand or reputation

In terms of an action plan, a first step is for an organization is to develop great managers as their impact trickles down throughout the organization.  In turn, managers need to have career conversations with their employees to help guide them in their career development.  A component of career development is to provide on-going training opportunities.  Employee training helps employees gain new or greater skills which provide them with a better sense of personal worth leading to greater opportunities for income to increase as well as promotional opportunities.  From an organization perspective, prioritize diversity and inclusion at all levels which helps employees feel welcome and care more about their role within the organization.  To better understand the specific tactics that will increase engagement within your organization, measure engagement through employee surveys to find out what works and doesn’t work at your organization.

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date HR metrics, benefit survey data, market compensation data, and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. The PeerMark™ Wage Survey is a custom-built 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 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.

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.

HOW ABOUT A SIX HOUR WORKDAY?

Six-hour

Can a move to a six-hour workday increase productivity and the happiness quotient of employees and their families and at the same time increase productivity and company profits?   In the U.S., more than 60 years after workers, through their unions, began organizing for an eight-hour day in the 1860s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 for all workers to see limits on working hours – initially, it was set at 44 hours a week, then reduced to 42 hours, and by 1940 the workweek was reduced to 40 hours.

Some businesses in Sweden have experimented with a six-hour workday with the hope of getting more accomplished in a shorter amount of time and ensure that employees have the energy to enjoy their private lives.   This change is purely experimental—one that has not been mandated by law nor implemented nationwide.

A Toyota vehicle service center in Sweden’s second-largest city, Gothenburg, moved to shorter days fifteen years ago.  The service center reported a happier staff, a lower turnover rate, and an increase in profits during that time.  The new system keeps the garages open longer and generates new business.  Employees are doing the same amount in the six-hour workday, often more than they did in the eight- hour day.  The service center reports that employees have more stamina to do this heavy work, and they have seen greater profits and customers because cars are getting fixed faster.

A high-profile case is the publicly funded Svartedalens nursing home in west Sweden.  They began a trial a six-hour day to determine if the cost of hiring additional staff members to cover the hours lost, was worth the improvements to patient care and the boosting of employees’ morale.   The nursing home had 80 nurses working six-hour shifts (maintaining their eight-hour salaries) while 80 staffers at another nursing home worked their standard hours.  Halfway through the test period, the nursing home with the six-hour workday had half the average sick leave, the nurses were happier, and the care was better.   The study, however, equates productivity with a quality of care, which doesn’t necessarily translate to white-collar work.

Several startup companies announced that they are testing the concept.  The companies include Background AB, a creative communication agency in Falun, Dalarna and Filimundus, an app developer based in Stockholm.  Linus Feldt, Filimundus CEO believes that staying focused on a specific work task for eight hours is a huge challenge.  During an eight or more hour workday, employees take frequent breaks and look for distractions and diversions such as social media to make the workday more endurable.  With the six-hour workday, staff members at Filimundus are not allowed on social media, meetings are kept to a minimum, and the company does it’s best to eliminate other unproductive distractions.

Most of the companies who have made the shift to the six-hour workday have reported a positive impact, from increased efficiency to better communication and fewer staff sick days.  A 2014 Stanford University research paper found a “non-linear” relationship between hours worked and productivity, as well as too much work, can impinge productivity.  According to a study by the Families and Work Institute, overworked employees make more mistakes.  Research has shown that condensing work into more efficient hours is very unlikely to hurt productivity.  There is no need to lower pay and in fact, companies are likely to save money through less sick and personal leave, less stress leading to better health, and lower turnover costs.

The six-hour workday would be less acceptable in the U.S. because the eight-plus hour workday ethic is so deeply embedded in our culture.  According to Gallup’s 2014 poll, full-time employees in the U.S. work an average of 47 hours per week.  However, even with encouraging results, it’s unlikely that the U.S. will shift to shorter days any time soon.  The rest of the world (outside of Europe) a 40-hour workweek would be a very nice improvement as well.

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.

STRATEGIC ISSUES AND THE PAY MODEL

Perceptions of compensation vary.  It is seen as a measure of equity and justice.  Stockholders are focused on executive compensation.  Legislators may view average annual pay changes as a guide to adjusting eligibility for social services.  Employees see compensation as a reward for their services and a job well done.  Managers will view compensation from the perspective of a labor cost, but also from a competitive perspective that enables them to recruit, engage and retain employees.  The four basic compensation policy decisions that an employer must consider in managing compensation are: 1) internal consistency, 2) external competitiveness, 3) employee contributions, and 4) administration of the pay system.  The balance between the four policies becomes the employer’s compensation strategy.

It is valuable for companies to link an organization’s overall goals and strategiesPay Model with the Human Resource strategy.  Not doing so, can lead to serious issues of employee retention, engagement, and productivity that can be laborious and expensive to repair.  Compensation for many organizations is the single largest business expense and is visible and important to employees, managers, and stockholders.  Therefore it is important to strategically plan and regularly evaluate compensation systems.  Working with your company’s executives is critical to ensuring your compensation philosophy is supporting business objectives.  Strategic objectives will include significant challenges and priorities now and over the next two to five years.  Some examples are business growth plans, key talent and training objectives, market competition, and whether or not you are in a union environment.  Some other key considerations for your compensation program are:

  • Attracting the appropriate skill sets and types of employees when needed
  • Rewarding employees for their efforts, such as increasing workloads, taking on new tasks and projects
  • Employee morale and perceived value of a company’s benefits, incentives, and work environment
  • A mix of base pay, incentive pay, work environment and benefits that makes the most sense for the organization
  • The link between base and incentive pay with performance
  • Legal issues such as wage and hour

An example of a compensation strategy that aligns with other Human Resource initiatives is matching pay ranges to the desired outcome.  If quality, experience, and a sophisticated skill set are a strategic advantage to an organization, then it will not be successful in hiring employees significantly below the market rate.  Determining whether the organization wants to lead, lag, or match the market is a key decision.  A ‘mixed market position’ approach has become more common as employers realize that a one-size-fits-all strategy does not fit the entire workforce.  For example, location and market competitiveness will impact your pay levels and certain key or hard to fill or retain positions may require pay well above the market, while other positions may be ok with a lag approach.

A successful compensation program will focus on top priorities, guide employees to where their effort can create the most value, create financial and non-financial consequences for success and failure, drive and reward the development of skills and encourage teamwork and collaboration.  Many organizations today keep an eye toward aligning workers’ interests with company goals through innovative types of rewards in the workplace, including skill-based pay and goal sharing.  The right total rewards system is a blend of monetary and nonmonetary rewards offered to employees and can generate valuable business results.  These results range from enhanced individual and organizational performance to improved job satisfaction, employee loyalty, and workforce morale.

Maintaining a competitive advantage and being able to retain key employees is increasingly important.  At WageWatch, our compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs and help you ensure that your compensation programs are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives.  WageWatch also 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. 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.

TWENTY-ONE STATES RAISE MINIMUM WAGE RATES ON JANUARY 1, 2020

Pic of Map

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 can set a rate that is higher than the federal minimum rate and employers are obligated to pay the higher rate.  Currently, there are 29 with laws at the state or local level mandating higher pay than the federal rate.

Voters across multiple states approved ballot measures to raise their state minimum rates over time, with increases occurring through 2020 and beyond.  There are 21 states implementing a rate increase on January 1, 2020, including:

1) Alaska
2) Arizona
3) Arkansas
4) California
5) Colorado
6) Florida
7) Illinois
8) Maine
9) Maryland
10) Massachusetts
11) Michigan
12) Minnesota
13) Missouri
14) Montana
15) New Jersey
16) New Mexico
17) New York
18) Ohio
19) South Dakota
20) Vermont
21) 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.  (Some states vary wage rates based on company size or annual revenue.)  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).  NOTE:  There are a few states and cities that increase rates on July 1, 2020, and/or other months throughout 2020; where known, they are noted.

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.

EMPLOYEE RETENTION STRATEGY

Retention

Employee retention is important for organizations to facilitate achieving a company’s goals and objectives.  HR leaders consider improved retention a high priority over the next five years.  Although retention is considered a priority, efforts to increase it have been stymied due to competing priorities and a lack of resources.  The side effects of turnover are not only financially based, but are noticed in decreased productivity, knowledge loss, and a lowered morale.

Some interesting statistics on employee retention include:

  • About 3 million Americans have QUIT their job each month since June 2017 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • 30% of employees leave a new job within the first 90 days of employment (Jobvite)
  • 51% of employees are looking to leave their jobs (Gallup)
  • Companies that support remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than companies that don’t (Owl Labs)
  • 35% of employees report that they’d look for a new job if they did not receive a pay raise within the next year (Glassdoor)
  • 44% of employees would consider taking a job with a different company for a raise of 20% or less (Gallup)
  • 71% of retirees who returned to work originally retired due to a lack of flexibility in their work (Global Workplace Analytics)

With nearly one-third of employees leaving a new job within the first 90 days after starting a new position, it is important to understand the dynamics causing employees to quit.  The top reason cited was that the day-to-day role was not what the employee expected.  Other top reasons include: the employee had a bad experience that drove them away and the company culture lacked transparency.

Before addressing retention, the first step is to make sure that you hire the right employees—hire selectively.  It is important to ensure that the new hire has the right skills for the position as well as being a good fit with the company culture, the manager, and the coworkers that they will interact with daily.

Once hired, onboarding and orientation activities will help to set new hires up for success. These activities can last for a few weeks or months depending on your organization.  Aim to develop an onboarding process in which new staff members not only learn about the job but also the company culture and how they can contribute and thrive, with ongoing discussions, goals, and opportunities to address questions and issues.

Establish mentorship programs to pair a new employee with a mentor.  The mentor can provide a wealth of knowledge and resources to the new employee while the new employee can offer a fresh viewpoint to the mentor (mentor should not be the supervisor).

Offering an attractive compensation package is essential in this competitive market.  This includes salaries as well as bonuses, paid time off, health benefits, retirement plans, and other perks that distinguishes one workplace from another.

Work-life balance is important; burnout is a factor that impacts retention.  What is your company’s culture?  A healthy work-life balance is important, and employees need to know that management understands its importance.

Employees like to feel that they have the possibility for advancement.  Training and development programs send a message that the employer is interested in their career growth.  It is import for managers to ask their direct reports about their career goals and determine how they can help them achieve their goals.

Providing opportunities for open communication and feedback is essential for employee retention.  Direct reports need to feel that they can voice their ideas, questions, and concerns.  In return, employees want management to be open and honest in their communication, especially feedback about their performance.  Employees desire ongoing feedback about their performance.

Recognize the accomplishments of both the individual employee and the team. This can be as simple as a thank-you note or as elaborate as setting up a group excursion.  It is important to celebrate successes—to help employees feel engaged in their work environment.

Employee retention matters; it is important to understand what is causing turnover within your organization.  Employee exit interviews provide information that can help retain your remaining staff.

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.

 

WHITE COLLAR THRESHOLD CHANGES ON JAN 1, 2020

White Collar

On September 24, the U.S. Department of Labor’s final rule released the final rules increasing the minimum salary level for the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) “white collar” exemptions from $455 to $684 per week.   Effective January 1, 2020:

  • The salary threshold for “white-collar” raises to $684 a week or $35,568 (up from $455 a week or $23,660).
  • For highly compensated employees (HCEs), it raises the annual compensation to $107,432 (up from $100,000 per year).
  • The rule allows employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payment (including commissions) paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level.
  • Revises the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industries have been revised to $455 and $1043, respectively.

It will be important for employers to analyze the status of employees who earn below the new salary threshold but were previously exempt.  Employers will have to consider whether to reclassify those employees as nonexempt hourly workers or give them raises to bring them up to the new threshold.  If employees now classified as exempt are reclassified as nonexempt workers, employers should make sure the newly reclassified employees know what is expected of them as hourly workers.

The quiz below was developed by the law firm, Pautsch, Spognardi & Baiocchi Legal Group.

Answer each question as TRUE or FALSE:

  1. Under the new DOL rules, if an employee makes over $35,568 per year, it is permissible to pay the employee on an hourly basis and not pay that employee overtime.
  2. To be considered exempt under the “white collar” exemptions, under either the new rules or the old rules, the employee must supervise at least two other individuals.
  3. Under the new rules, if an employee holds a professional degree, they can be classified as exempt even if they are not paid a salary of at least $35,568 per year.
  4. Under the new rules, exempt employees, who are paid a salary of over $35,568 per year, can be “docked” pay on an “hour-by-hour” basis as long as careful records are kept and they have forms of paid leave to use for the docked time periods.
  5. The FLSA has an overtime exemption for “inside sales” employees that remains unaffected by the new rules.
  6. The FLSA has overtime and minimum wage exemption for “outside sales” employees that remain unaffected by the new rules.

ANSWERS:

  1. FALSE, each of the “white collar” exemptions (“professional”, “administrative”, “executive”) from overtime require that the employee be paid on a “salary basis” in addition to the “duties” standards set for each. As noted below, the “salary basis” test does not apply to “inside” and “outside sales” exemptions.
  2. FALSE, this is true and required for the “executive” exemption, but not for the “administrative”, “professional” and “inside” and “outside” sales exemptions.
  3. FALSE, to qualify for the “professional” exemption, the employee must meet both the “salary” level test (now $35,568) and the “duties” and status requirements of the “professional” exemption, i.e., that the employee holds a professional degree and perform that work as their primary duty.
  4. This can be done lawfully, but it may be inadvisable to do so as it may cause morale problems and can lead to suits if situations occur if “docking” occurs when the paid leave bank has been depleted.
  5. Under federal law, the inside sales exemption applies to employees who earn more than 150% of the minimum wage, derive at least 50% of their income from commissions, and work within the “retail and service industry” as defined under the FLSA.
  6. Under federal law, an employee who qualifies for this exemption is exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime premium requirements.  The employee’s primary duty must be making sales (as defined in the FLSA), or obtaining orders or contracts for services or for the use of facilities for which a consideration will be paid by the client or customer and the employee must be customarily and regularly engaged away from the employer’s place or places of business.  The salary requirements of the regulation do not apply to the outside sales exemption.

Spognardi Baiocchi LLP, 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.

PLANNING AN OFFICE HOLIDAY PARTY?

Office Party

It’s that time of year again…is your company planning to hold a company holiday party?  Hosting a holiday party has been a tradition among many companies as a way to reward employees, boost morale, and encourage team spirit.  This year, fewer employers are planning to host a party.  Based on a recent study, only two-thirds of companies intend to host a holiday party, the lowest percentage since 2009.  Economic factors do not seem to be a reason as companies report tax savings and a thriving economy.

Among companies sponsoring a party, nearly 60 percent have real concerns about sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior, especially in light of the #MeToo movement.  More than half of these companies have addressed the #MeToo issue this year and if not, one-third indicated that they will do so before the party.

If you are planning a holiday party, there are proactive steps to take to help lessen your company’s liability:

  • Establish written anti-harassment policies and publish in employee handbooks; reference the policies before the holiday party
  • Send a memo to remind employees to act responsibly and professionally (address the company’s stance on pictures being posted to social media as well as the dress/attire for the party)
  • Ensure employees understand attendance is voluntary (especially when held outside of normal work hours)
  • The focus for the holiday decorations, music, and gifts should be seasonal and not religious
  • Emphasize to management that they should lead by example
  • Consider having a holiday party in which no alcohol is served
  • Hold the party offsite; it limits the company’s liability
  • Set-up a cash bar—guests will drink less if they are required to pay
  • If alcohol is served, set a tone of moderation. Consider providing a limited number of drink tickets per guest, restrict the types of alcohol served, and/or only serve alcohol for a limited time
  • Consider featuring activities/games at the party, it encourages team-building and diverts attention away from cell-phones (also limits focus on drinking)
  • When alcohol is present, offer non-alcoholic beverages and always serve food
  • Stop serving alcohol toward the end of the evening and switch to coffee, tea, and soft drinks
  • Arrange for alternative transportation; encourage employees and guests to use it if they consume any alcohol

While these tips are not a guarantee against holiday party problems, they can be a good foundation for an effective defense against liability if problems should come to pass.

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