WageWatch Ibrief Blog

Login

Blog Archives

COVID-19: IT IS NOW LAW–EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE

 

Covidi-19

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law on March 18, 2020, after the Senate sent it to President Trump for his signature.  The law becomes effective 15 days after President Trump signed it.

Private employers with under 500 employees will need to provide each employee paid sick time to the extent that the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave because:

(1) The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.

(2) The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.

(3) The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.

(4) The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in paragraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2).

(5) The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.

(6) The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

Additional Provisions:

  • Full time employees will be entitled to 80 hours.  Part time employees are entitled to the number of hours equal to the hours that such employee works on average over a 2-week period.
    • In the case of a part-time employee whose schedule varies from week to week to such an extent that an employer is unable to determine with certainty the number of hours the employee would have worked if such employee had not taken paid sick time, the employer shall use the following in place of such number:
      • (i) a number equal to the average number of hours that the employee was scheduled per day over the 6-month period ending on the date on which the employee takes the paid sick time, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type; or
      • (ii) If the employee did not work over such period, the reasonable expectation of the employee at the time of hiring of the average number of hours per day that the employee would normally be scheduled to work.
  • All employees will have access to the full amount of time off under this Emergency Paid Sick Leave immediately and without regard to how long he or she has been employed.
  • Employers may not require its employees to use any other paid leave provided to him or her by the employer before using the Emergency Paid Sick Leave.
  • Employers who have employees that are health care providers or emergency responders may elect to exclude such employees from this Emergency Paid Sick Leave law.
  • Employers will be required to post (where notices are customarily posted), a notice which will be prepared or approved by the Secretary of Labor outlining the major provisions of this law.  And this new law also requires that the Secretary of Labor make, publicly available, a notice that meets all necessary requirements no later than 7 days after the date of enactment of this law.
  • Paid sick time in terms of wages paid to such individual employees do not need to exceed-
    • $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for a use described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) above; and
    • $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate for a use described in paragraphs (4), (5), or (6) above

SPECIAL RULE FOR CARE OF FAMILY MEMBERS UNDER EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE:
Paid sick time provided for any use described in paragraphs (4), (5), or (6) above need only paid at two-thirds of such employees’ wages.

  • Wages required to be paid under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave will not be subject to the 6.2 percent social security payroll tax typically paid by employers on such wages.
  • Employers can employ a “reasonable notice requirement.” After the first workday (or portion thereof) that an employee receives paid sick time under this new law, an employer may require the employee to follow reasonable notice procedures in order to continue receiving such paid sick time.

Also please note that employers are prohibited from requiring, as a condition of

  • Also please note that employers are prohibited from requiring, as a condition of providing Emergency Paid Sick Leave, that the employee involved search for or find a replacement employee to cover the hours during which the employee is using paid sick time.
  • Finally, the language of this amended bill suggests that an employee can use his or her Emergency Paid Sick Leave during the initial 10 days of unpaid leave under the expanded FMLA. The Department of Labor is expected to provide additional guidance within the 15 day window before this law takes effect.

This Emergency Paid Sick Leave law is slated to expire on December 31, 2020.

This guest editor for this blog post is:  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.

 

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.

 

 

NLRB REVERTS TO FORMER STANDARD ON USE OF EMPLOYER EMAIL SYSTEMS

NLRB Email

Shortly before Christmas, the National Labor Relations Board re-established the right of an employer to restrict employee use of its email systems to business use only, if it does so on a nondiscriminatory basisThe new decision overrules the standard set in the 2014 Purple Communications, Inc. case and returns to the standard set in the 2007 Register Guard case.

At issue is when employers can restrict the use of their e-mail and other information technology (IT) systems and when doing so interferes with employee rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  In Caesars Entertainment d/b/a/ Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, the Board overruled the controversial case of Purple Communications, Inc., and held that employees do not have a statutory right to use employers’ email and other information-technology (IT) systems to engage in non-work-related communications, including Section 7 protected, concerted or union activity.

In Purple Communications, the Board held that employees who have been given access to their employer’s email system for work-related purposes have a presumptive right to use that system, on nonworking time, for communications protected by Section 7.  But the new decisions change the standard, giving more weight to employers’ property rights that the previous decision.  The Board reestablished that employers have the right to restrict the use of their equipment, including their email and other IT systems to business and work-related use, provided that in doing so, they do not discriminate against the union or other protected concerted communications.  Recognizing that employees must have adequate avenues to engage in communications protected by Section 7 of the NLRA, the Board’s decision creates an exception for circumstances where the use of employer-provided email is the only reasonable means for employees to communicate with one another on non-working time during the workday.

The Caesars Entertainment decisions reaffirm a long line of decisions holding that the NLRA generally doesn’t restrict an employer’s right to control the use of its equipment.  The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision to allow employers more leeway in restricting the use of their email and other communication systems for union organizing is just the latest decision reversing standards set by the Obama-era Board.   If your employee handbook or work rules were revised in 2016 or after to comply with Purple Communications, you may wish to reconsider returning to a business-use-only position in 2020.

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.

Posted in Regulatory & Legal Updates on January 22nd, 2020 · Comments Off on NLRB REVERTS TO FORMER STANDARD ON USE OF EMPLOYER EMAIL SYSTEMS

NLRB MODIFIES “QUICKIE” UNION REPRESENTATION RULES

On December 13, 2019, the Board issued a final rule amending its election procedures.  The NLRB uses these procedures to determine whether employees are unionized.  The new amendments extend deadlines and add steps to ensure certain disputes are resolved before employees vote.  Chairman John F. Ring announced, “These are common-sense changes to ensure expeditious elections that are fair and efficient.” The new rules provide:

  • The rule amendments allow more time for employers to prepare for the pre-election hearing.  The new rule extends the time for holding a pre-election hearing from eight calendar days to 14 business days after the petition is filed.  This allows the employer for a longer period before the opening of the hearing than is currently the case.   It also allows the parties and the Board more time to try to resolve issues without a hearing, rather than litigating issues that might have been resolved through negotiation and agreement.
  • The employer will now be required to post and distribute the Notice of Petition for Election within five business days after service of the notice of hearing.  The prior rules required posting and distribution within two business days.  The additional time will permit employers to balance this requirement with other obligations imposed on them by the filing of a petition and guarantee that employees have the benefit of the Notice of Petition for Election for a longer period before the opening of the hearing than is currently the case.
  • The new rule requires unions to respond to the employer’s position statement.  Previously, the entire burden leading up to a pre-election hearing rested on the employer, including the filing of a position statement, or risk waiving the issues at the hearing.  Under the new rule, some of the burdens are shifted to the union.  The union is now required to file a response to the employer’s position statement, or risk having their petition dismissed or the employer’s position on bargaining unit issues accepted by the Region.
  • The new rule allows employers to litigate who are supervisors and who is included in the bargaining unit before the election.  Employers will once again know who is eligible to vote in the election and customize their communication to those employees who will be voting.  Employers will also know in advance who its supervisors and front-line management are during the critical campaign period and who its union-free communications team is.
  • The new rules provide employers with more time to conduct a union-free campaign before the election.  The new rule directs Board officials to set elections no fewer than 20 days after approval of consent election agreement or order and direction of election. This change will come close to returning the pre-election timeline to the pre-expedited election rules average.

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.

Posted in Regulatory & Legal Updates on January 22nd, 2020 · Comments Off on NLRB MODIFIES “QUICKIE” UNION REPRESENTATION RULES

HOW ENFORCEABLE IS YOUR NON-COMPETE AGREEMENT?

Non-Compete

Does your organization have a non-compete agreement in place?  If so, has it been reviewed recently?  Non-compete agreements are driven by state laws.  Over the past year, there have been a few states that have changed their laws, with changes taking effect next year. The revisions that states are enacting move to restrict using unreasonable non-compete agreements with employees.

Washington, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, and Rhode Island have modified their non-compete agreements this year and are leading the way in non-compete agreement reform.  These states have not adopted a uniform approach, but each state provides some direction to other states that may be considering reform.  Reasonable non-compete agreements are helpful and often necessary for employers to hire individuals without risking that they will then lose their customers if an employee leaves and tries to take clients with them.  However, some agreements go too far and have become unreasonable.

The Washington Statute, effective January 1, 2020, will be unenforceable for employees earning less than $100,000 in total annualized compensation or independent contractors earning less than $250,000 per year.  Non-compete agreements are unenforceable for a period greater than 18 months and the terms must be disclosed to prospective employees no later the time the employee accepts an offer of employment.  In addition, the statute has several employee protection mechanisms in place, such as requiring an employer to pay an employee’s legal fees and damages should they seek to enforce an unreasonable non-compete agreement.

Potential areas to revise with a non-compete agreement include:

  • A threshold for an employer’s salary, anyone making less than the stated amount are excluded from the agreement (i.e., employees making less than $75,000 are excluded from a non-compete agreement)
  • Length of employment; an employee could not be held to a non-compete agreement if they were not employed for at least a year by the employer or terminated or laid off without misconduct
  • Employees faced with an employer that seeks to enforce an unreasonable agreement should be penalized by having to pay the employee’s legal fees and a small number of damages.  It may be a good time to review your non-compete agreement, especially to determine if your agreement is currently relative to any changes in the law that governs it.

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.

 

 

TRUMP LABOR BOARD PROPOSES EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ELECTION PROTECTIONS

American Wkrs

In the middle of August, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend Part 103 of the NLRB’s Rules and Regulations. The proposed amendment, published in the Federal Register, seeks public comment on amendments that will provide better protection to employee election rights to have a free choice on whether to be represented by a union for collective bargaining with employers.  Three amendments are proposed:

  1. Blocking Charges: The amendment seeks to replace the current blocking charge policy with a “vote-and-impound” procedure.  Elections would no longer be blocked by pending unfair labor practice charges, perhaps for years.  Rather, the amendment would provide for voting, and the ballots would be impounded until the unfair labor practice charges are resolved.
  2. Voluntary Recognition Bar: The Board proposes returning to the rule of Dana Corp. (2007), which provides that for voluntary recognition to bar a subsequent representation petition-and for a post-recognition collective-bargaining agreement to have contract-bar effect- the unit employees must receive notice that voluntary recognition has been granted, and provided a 45-day open period within which to file an election petition.
  3. Section 9(a) Recognition in the Construction Industry: The rule amendment proposes changes in the construction industry, where less-than-majority employee support bargaining relationships established under Section 8(f) cannot bar petitions for a Board election.  To bar an election based upon an alleged Section 9(a) relationship, positive evidence of majority employee support will be required, and cannot be based on contract language alone, overruling Staunton Fuel (2001).

Board Chairman John F. Ring stated: “There are few more important responsibilities entrusted to the NLRB than protecting the freedom of employees to choose, or refrain from choosing, a labor organization to represent them, including by ensuring fair and timely Board-conducted secret ballot elections. We believe that the changes we propose today further the goal of protecting this vital freedom.”

Public comments must be submitted within 60 days of the Notice’s publication in the Federal Register.  Please contact Spognardi Baiocchi, LLP if you would like to retain the firm to submit comments on behalf of your organization.

Contributed by guest author:  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 with the times.  This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards.  For more information on our services, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

Posted in Regulatory & Legal Updates on August 27th, 2019 · Comments Off on TRUMP LABOR BOARD PROPOSES EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ELECTION PROTECTIONS

COMPENSABLE TIME

Compensable Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMPACT OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA ON EMPLOYERS

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date benefit surveys, salary surveys and pay practices data that will allow you to stay current with the times.  This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards.  For more information on our services, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

 

 

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.

EFFECTIVE JOB DESCRIPTIONS

Job Describe

Job descriptions describe the major duties and responsibilities of a position or job and are an essential part of hiring and managing employees.  They are tools to help your applicants and employees understand their roles and accountabilities.  They can be used to establish a training checklist for new incumbents, as guideposts in the performance appraisal process, and as market benchmarks for compensation surveys.  Job descriptions are not required by law however, they can provide evidence of the essential functions of a job for purposes of complying with federal employment laws.  They can also be used for disability and worker’s compensation claims.  It’s good practice to get legal advice to ensure that your job descriptions are compliant.  Below are some of the legal requirements to keep in mind while writing your job descriptions.

  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):  Exempt or Non-exempt classification should be included in all job descriptions.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):  Working conditions and any required physical activity should be noted in all job descriptions.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):   Include, “we are an equal opportunity employer” in all job descriptions.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA):  Job descriptions should not indicate age preference.

The first steps in writing job descriptions are the data collection and job analysis processes which begins with questionnaires and/or interviews with both the supervisors and current employee incumbents to gather and determine the key facts about the job.  You will need to collect information that will later be summarized in your job description template.  Generally, the data  will include Job Title, Immediate Supervisor, Department, Pay Grade, Working Hours, and Travel Requirements, FLSA Status, Mission/Summary, Essential and Non-Essential Tasks and Responsibilities, Supervisory Responsibility, Job Requirements (education, skills and experience required for the job), Working Conditions, Physical Demands, Equipment Usage, and Disclaimer for Management Ability to Modify.

A job description should be practical and summarize the key elements of a job in a clear, concise manner.  Be specific and avoid using subjective adverbs or adjectives such as “frequently,” “some,” “occasional,” and “several.”  It’s important to build flexibility into a job description and ensure that it is dynamic and functional.  Flexible job descriptions will allow your employees to evolve within their positions as processes, technology, and organizational changes occur.  A well-written job description will require an investment of time and effort to accurately reflect your organization and unique jobs.

The duties list should contain each essential job duty or responsibility that is critical to the successful performance of the job.   The list should be prioritized with the most important listed first down to the least significant.  Do not include tasks that comprise less than 5 percent of the overall time.  Each Essential and Non-Essential Duty should be assigned a percentage of time and all duties together should total 100 percent.  Each duty should be described in one to three sentences; the first sentence should begin with an action verb.  Generally, there are one or two non-essential duties that total five to ten percent of the total time and are duties such as “Assist in special projects as required” or “Any other task assigned by the supervisor.”   This provides flexibility to change duties over time and captures occasional and unforeseen needs that arise.

At WageWatch 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.  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 .