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HIRING STRATEGIES IN A TIGHT JOB MARKET

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It is becoming increasingly challenging to recruit top talent due to the relatively low unemployment rate, the increase in job openings, and the lack of experienced candidates.  These factors require that companies need to be more creative and aggressive in their hiring practices.  In addition, there has also been an attitude change; it is much less of ‘who do I want’ and more of ‘who wants me’ attitude.  Listed below are some tips that may help provide success in the search for new talent:

  • Use multiple forms of social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and actively engage on them.  Connect to related industry and check the posts and comments.  If there is someone who stands out, you may have found a new employee
  • Turn part-time positions into full-time positions
  • Provide training opportunities for current employees to fill open positions
  • Restructure work in ways that adapt to the new workforce; reduce education and other requirements
  • Review the list of job skills and keep the most essential skills versus losing a perfect candidate
  • Partner with a local community college and offer to speak with students; provide internship opportunities
  • Participate in job fairs and get involved in the local community
  • Speak at professional organizations and/or special interest meetings to meet potential candidates
  • Offer incentives to current employees who refer new hires, post open positions for visibility to all employees
  • Post for positions that you may have no intention on filling to gain a supply of candidates when a job does open-up
  • Provide a sign-on bonus to new employees
  • Ensure company website is mobile-friendly; a high percentage of searches are conducted using mobile devices

Another important factor is to understand the current perceptions of your company.  It is much easier to keep current employees versus hiring new employees.  It may be valuable to consider the following tactics to retain your current talent:

  • Be more competitive in wages
  • Provide employees stock ownership and/or stock options
  • Offer training programs for current employees to enhance bench strength
  • Provide a sense of organizational purpose and mission (valued by Millennials)
  • Permit flexible work schedules and work at home opportunities (valued by Millennials)

During the interview process, it is more important than ever to ensure that the process is as quick as possible to not lose viable candidates; ensure ongoing communication throughout the process to demonstrate interest.

Change can be challenging and demanding.  At WageWatch our compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs and help ensure your wages and salaries are supporting 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 Resource professionals.  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.

HOW ABOUT A SIX-HOUR WORKDAY?

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 44 hours a week, then phased to 42 and eventually 40 by 1940.

Today some businesses in Sweden are trying out a six-hour workday hoping to get more done in a shorter amount of time and ensure people have the energy to enjoy their private lives.   This change is purely experimental and a voluntary 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 thirteen 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.

The most high-profile case in recent months is the publicly funded Svartedalens nursing home in west Sweden which started a trial of a six-hour day in February 2015 to continue until the end of 2016 when they will determine whether the cost of hiring new staff members to cover the hours lost is worth the improvements to patient care and boost of employees’ morale.  The nursing home has 80 nurses working six-hour shifts maintaining their eight-hour salaries while 80 staffers at another nursing home work their standard hours.  At halfway through 2016, the nursing home trying the six-hour workday has half the average sick leave, the nurses are happier and the care is better.  The study, however, equates productivity with the quality of care, which doesn’t necessarily translate to white-collar work.

Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska University Hospital’s orthopedics unit switched 89 nurses and doctors to a six-hour day last year, hiring 15 staffers to ensure the hospital work got done.  The test was expensive, costing the hospital $123,000 a month, but no one has called in sick since it began and the nurses and doctors have been found to be more efficient.

A number of startup companies have announced that they are also testing the concept.  These 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 actually 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.

Opponents of the six-hour workday feel that if Sweden were to adopt this standard, the economy would suffer from reduced competitiveness and strained finances.  The six-hour day has not been embraced by larger Swedish companies and other towns in Sweden that previously tested shorter workdays ultimately abandoned them.  In the northern city of Kiruna, officials scrapped a six-hour day for 250 municipal employees after 16 years, citing high expenses and resentment among workers who were not part of the program.

The six-hour work day would be less accepted in the U.S. because the eight+ 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.  It will be interesting to watch how the six-hour workday plays out in Sweden.  However, even with encouraging results, it’s unlikely that the U.S. will shift to shorter days anytime soon.  The rest of the world (outside of Europe) a 40-hour work week 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.

TO CHECK OR NOT TO CHECK: A BACKGROUND CHECKS PRIMER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HIRING STRATEGIES IN A TIGHT JOB MARKET

It is becoming increasingly challenging to recruit top talent due to the relatively low unemployment rate, the increase in job openings, and the lack of experienced candidates. These factors require that companies need to be more creative and aggressive in their hiring practices. In addition, there has also been an attitude change; it is much less of ‘who do I want’ and more of ‘who wants me’ attitude. Listed below are some tips that may help provide success in the search for new talent:

• Use multiple forms of social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and be actively engaged. Connect to a related industry and review the posts and comments. If there is someone who stands out, you may have found a new employee

• Turn part-time positions into full-time positions

• Provide training opportunities for current employees to fill open positions

• Restructure work in ways that adapt to the new workforce; reduce education and other requirements

• Review the list of job skills and keep essential skills versus losing a perfect candidate

• Partner with a local community college and offer to speak with students; provide internship opportunities

• Participate in job fairs and get involved in the local community

• Speak at professional organizations and/or special interest meetings to meet potential candidates

• Offer incentives to current employees who refer new hires, post open positions for visibility to all employees

• Post for positions that you may have no intention of filling to gain a supply of candidates when a job becomes open

• Provide a sign-on bonus to new employees

• Ensure company website is mobile-friendly; a high percentage of searches are conducted using mobile devices

Another important factor is to understand the current perceptions of your company. It is much easier to keep current employees versus hiring new employees. It may be valuable to consider the following tactics to retain your current talent:

• Be more competitive in wages
• Provide employees stock ownership and/or stock options
• Offer training programs for current employees to enhance bench strength
• Provide a sense of organizational purpose and mission (valued by Millennials)
• Permit flexible work schedules and work at home opportunities (valued by Millennials)

During the interview process, it is more important than ever to ensure that the process is as quick as possible to not lose viable candidates; ensure ongoing communication throughout the process to demonstrate interest.

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. The PeerMark™ Wage Survey is the only Web-based custom survey tool that allows individual survey participants to select their competitive set for comparison purposes. Our experienced compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs. We can help you ensure internal equity and compliance with regulations as well as help you structure your compensation programs to support your company’s business strategy and objectives. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

PAY COMPRESSION: CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS

Pay compression is when either a subordinate’s base pay is very close to or more than their supervisor’s or when a less tenured employee is equal to or paid more than a senior employee in the same position.  One of the most common causes of pay compression is when pay increases for current employees are low, but new employees are paid a higher salary to attract them.  This problem becomes more severe in economic downturns when pay increases are limited but it occurs even in better economic times.  Pay compression is most evident in pay systems where lower level jobs, either through union contracts or other market forces, create a situation where first-line supervisors are paid less, on an hourly basis, than their subordinates.

When the job market is weak, many organizations hire people who had already done the same work for another organization, eliminating the need for training. Rather than hiring people with high potential and developing them for the long term, they have opted for people who can “hit the ground running,” regardless of their potential.

When salary compression and the policies that enable it are sustained over several years, it can be demoralizing and lead to widespread employee dissatisfaction. Employers should be concerned because salary compression can transform compensation from a motivator into a de-motivator.

Salary compression may be accompanied by pay inequities which could violate equal pay regulations. In situations where newer staff earn more than experienced staff, it could create a pay equity problem if the experienced staff are a protected class.

There are steps that can limit the detrimental effects of salary compression. For instance, when a new job opens, organizations should try to promote someone from within, rather than hiring from the outside. Many organizations have policies that limit how high within a range new hires can be paid.  When new hires are brought in at higher salaries or when across the board increases are given due to market movement or minimum wage increase, have a policy that requires internal equity analysis and adjustments.

Institute a policy of transparency and calibration across units.   Disparate actions between different organizational units can create salary compression and other inequities. Transparency can take the form of a simple scorecard showing the rates of increases and promotions in each unit. Calibration can involve managers sharing planned compensation actions with their peer managers. It can also include several levels of approval for any actions before they take place so that a senior leader can spot any actions that appear suspect and will cause inequities, including compression.  This tends to create a norm and, over time, leads to decisions that are more consistent and responsible.

Salary compression can be a serious problem that eventually causes an organization to lose some of its most talented employees. Although many organizations have unintentionally allowed salary compression to take root, there are actions they can take now and in the future to keep it from reoccurring.

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.

JOINT EMPLOYER LIABILITY

The use of sub-contractors, temporary staffing, leased employees and independent contractors can provide employers with quick temporary staffing and reduce benefits and payroll costs. However, the employer client can be considered a joint employer with the leasing or temporary agency when they share certain key employment terms such as the ability to hire, fire or discipline the workers, affect their compensation and benefits, and direct and supervise their performance.  When businesses use temporary agency, leased, or contract workers, though the employer is the temporary help, leasing, or contracting company, the client business may be regarded as a joint employer under some laws.

The Family and Medical Leave Act has specific language regarding joint employer relationships. While the leasing or temporary help agency is the primary employer, the client company may be required to place the worker in the same or comparable position upon his or her return from FMLA leave.  Additionally, leased and temporary workers will count as employees of the client company for the purposes of determining whether a business is subject to the FMLA regulations.

In the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, leased and temporary workers are the client’s employees for the purposes of qualifying retirement plans and certain fringe benefits such as life insurance and cafeteria plans (does not apply to health insurance benefits), if the workers have been engaged with the client company on a full-time basis for a minimum of one year and the client company primarily controls or directs their work.

An employer can face a charge of discrimination under Title VII anti-discrimination legislation brought by an individual who worked for the employer under one of these leasing or sub-contractor relationships.

It has also come into question with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) whether leased and temporary workers must be included in collective bargaining agreements that cover the client’s regular employees.

Some states have passed legislation on joint employer liability as it pertains to workers’ compensation regulation.  New York ruled that the client is the common law employer of leased employees and is therefore primarily responsible for providing workers’ compensation benefits. To date there have been no guidelines for joint employer status under OSHA or other health and safety regulations.

Employers need to be aware of and have guidelines regarding the degree of control they have over these temporary, leased and contract workers. The greater the degree of control, the greater the likelihood that the employer could be determined to be a joint employer.

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.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3rd, 2016 · Comments Off on JOINT EMPLOYER LIABILITY

DOCKING EXEMPT EMPLOYEE PAY

The application and rules for the federal FLSA salary basis test are often misunderstood and not administered accurately or consistently.  During my human resource career I have seen mistakes made regarding this rule over and over again.

First let’s understand what the term “salary basis” means. An exempt employee that regularly receives a predetermined amount of base salary each workweek is paid on a “salary basis”.  This applies to employees who are determined to be exempt under the federal FLSA exemption tests including both the minimum salary test and qualifying under one of the duties tests (ie., administrative, executive, professional, computer, outside sales, etc.).  The minimum weekly salary that must be paid to ‘exempt’ employees under the federal rules is $455.  Please refer to your federal and state wage and hour for exceptions to the salary requirements.  The salary basis pay requirement for exempt status does not apply to some jobs (for example, doctors, lawyers and schoolteachers are exempt even if the employees are paid hourly).

Now let’s talk about the Salary Basis Test.  An employee’s ‘exempt’ status can be jeopardized if the salary basis test rules are not followed.  The Salary Basis test provides rules regarding what pay deductions can and cannot be made to exempt employees’ weekly base salary.  Generally the predetermined weekly salary cannot be reduced because of variations in the quality or quantity of the employee’s work. Except for a few permissible deductions, an exempt employee must receive the full base salary for any work week in which the employee performs any work, regardless of the number of days or hours worked. This includes any work done remotely such as checking email and voicemail.  An employer cannot make deductions from an employee’s predetermined base salary, because of a business slowdown or lack of available work.

The FLSA salary basis test applies only to reductions in monetary amounts. Requiring an employee to charge absences from work to leave accruals is not a reduction in “pay,” because the monetary amount of the employee’s paycheck remains the same.

Full Day deductions from pay are permissible when an exempt employee:

  • Is absent from work for one or more full days for personal reasons other than sickness or disability;
  • For absences of one or more full days due to sickness or disability if the deduction is made in accordance with a bona fide sick leave or PTO plan, policy or practice of providing compensation for salary lost due to illness;
  • To offset amounts employees receive as jury or witness fees, or for military pay;
  • For partial week worked during the initial or terminal week of employment,
  • For weeks in which an exempt employee takes unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act,
  • Deductions in pay are also permitted for intermittent FMLA leave when the weekly base salary is reduced to coincide exactly with the reduced workweek,
  • When an exempt performs no work for a full workweek.

For the following 2 permissible deductions, you should have communicated formal policy(s) detailing disciplinary procedures:

  • For penalties imposed in good faith for infractions of safety rules of major significance;
  • For unpaid disciplinary suspensions of one or more full days imposed in good faith for workplace conduct rule infractions.

It is important that as an employer, you have a clearly communicated policy permitting or prohibiting improper deductions from exempt employees’ base salary including a complaint mechanism and reimbursement to employees when improper deductions are made.  You should also have a clearly communicated policy for your exempt employees stating that under no circumstances should work be performed during unpaid time off.  The exempt status of your employees will be safe as long as you have clearly communicated policies in place, make good faith efforts to comply with the salary basis test and can show that willful violations have not been made.  For full details regarding federal FLSA, visit http://www.wagehour.dol.gov and links to your state labor department can be found at http://www.dol.gov/whd/contacts/state_of.htm.

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.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 2nd, 2016 · Comments Off on DOCKING EXEMPT EMPLOYEE PAY

INTERNAL PAY EQUITY COMPLIANCE

A company’s approach to internal pay equity is as important as the actual pay programs it implements. Many factors can impact internal pay equity such as internal increases remaining low while new hires demand salaries that exceed current tenured employees.  Organizations should conduct periodic pay equity studies to keep on top of potential pay equity risks and ensure an understanding of the pay structure, as well as knowledge of and ability to explain pay differences among comparable employees.

When conducting your pay equity study, be aware of these five major federal laws that address equal pay:

  1. The Equal Pay Act – equal pay for equal work among women and men.
  2. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin in all employment terms and conditions, including pay
  3. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act clarifies that each paycheck containing discriminatory compensation is actionable under Title VII.
  4. Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment decisions, including compensation, on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, when contracts or subcontracts exceed $10,000.
  5. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects the rights of most private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working conditions.

Most companies keep a close eye on pay decisions, such as merit raises and starting pay, and the processes that guide them.  Unfortunately, tracking individual decisions might not be enough. The Ledbetter Act requires knowledge of past pay decisions that may have impacted a discrimination claim. Pay today equals pay at hire plus all subsequent changes in pay.  Comparing the current pay of employees who were dissimilar in the past means that more historical information may be needed to understand their pay differences.

Pay differences can be defended by differences in knowledge, skill, education, ability, effort or responsibility provided it is required to perform the job.  Pay equity studies typically rely on the data that is available such as job title or grade, time in job, company seniority, performance ratings and increase percentages, geographic locations, education and prior job experience.

A pay equity study may involve the appropriate legal counsel, an experienced analyst as well as HR information systems and compensation specialists.  Detailed analysis can point to employees who should be paid similarly but who are subject to large pay differences and will highlight additional factors that explain the difference or highlight inexplicable differences that merit adjustment.   Conducting a well-designed and well-executed pay equity study using well-maintained and complete data is a good business practice that serves as an important tool in managing the risk associated with allegations of pay discrimination.

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.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 17th, 2016 · Comments Off on INTERNAL PAY EQUITY COMPLIANCE

TIP CREDIT AND TIP POOLING

The federal tip minimum wage was originated in 1966 and at that time was 50% of the federal minimum wage.  Today it is 29.4% of the federal minimum wage.  Over half the states and the District of Columbia have tip minimums that are higher than the federal. These range from $2.33 an hour in Wisconsin to $7 in Hawaii.  Washington is one of seven states with no tip credit law, so employers pay the state’s full minimum wage, currently at $9.32 an hour, the highest in the nation.  The other states that prohibit the tip credit are: Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon. Servers who work in these states receive the same minimum wage as all other workers.  

By definition, a tipped employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 per month in tips.  Under federal law and in most states, employers may pay tipped employees a base wage of less than the minimum wage as long as it does not fall below the tip minimum wage and employees must receive enough in tips so that their hourly rate plus tips received equals at least the regular minimum wage.  The difference between the regular minimum wage and the hourly rate in which the employer pays is called a “tip credit”, which is essentially a credit for the employer towards the regular minimum wage rate.  If a tipped employee does not earn enough in tips to bring his/her total compensation up to at least the applicable minimum wage, the employer has to pay the difference.  Tipped employees’ total earnings (base wages paid by employer + tips) must equal at least the minimum wage that governs in their jurisdiction. 

Overtime must be calculated and paid on the full minimum wage for tip employees and not on the tip minimum wage or direct cash wage payment.  Employers are required to provide a tip credit notice to their tip employees in advance of their pay and any pay changes.  The notice informs each tipped employee about the tip credit allowance before the tip employee’s first paycheck and before any paycheck in which there is a pay change. The notice must include the amount of wage the employer will pay, the amount the employer will credit against tips as well as specific tip credit rules.

 In states that allow employers to require tip pooling, certain employees such as wait staff may be required to pool their tips with bartenders and bussers for equal disbursement at the end of a shift. All employees subject to the pool have to chip in a portion of their tips, which are then divided among a group of employees. An employee can’t be required to pay more into the pool than is customary and reasonable, and the employee must be able to keep at least the full minimum wage.  Only employees who regularly receive tips can be part of the pool. Employees can’t be required to share their tips with employees who don’t usually receive their own tips, like dishwashers or cooks nor can tips from a tip pool go to employers.  In some states, managers or supervisors are also prohibited from receiving tips from a tip pool.  There is no maximum amount or percentage of tips for a valid mandatory tip pool, according to the federal rules. But employers must notify tipped employees of any tip pool contribution requirements and are prohibited from retaining tips for any other purpose. 

According to the FLSA, mandatory service charges (ie., mandatory 15% charge paid out to wait staff) are not considered tips and cannot be counted for use as a tip credit. The service charge may be counted as part of the employee’s minimum wage and overtime requirements. However, employees who receive tips in addition to a mandatory service charge are considered tipped employees by the FLSA. A well planned salary and total rewards package will motivate your employees, help your company maintain a competitive advantage and help retain key employees.  Please refer to your federal and state wage and hour resources for full details regarding all tip wage regulations. 

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 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 .

Posted in Uncategorized on December 10th, 2014 · Comments Off on TIP CREDIT AND TIP POOLING