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

Execs

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

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

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

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

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

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

EFFECTIVE NEW HIRE ORIENTATION

New Hires

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

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

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

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

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

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

Implementing the above suggestions will help your company to build a culture that encourages the retention of employees, which in turn will attract top talent.  In addition to providing a great work environment that respects employees and provides opportunities for learning and growth, it is also important that they receive a solid compensation and benefits package.  At WageWatch we offer accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times.  This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards.  For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION STILL HAPPENING AND STILL ON THE EEOC RADAR

Pregnancy - Work

You would not think this would still be an issue in today’s day and age, but it is!  The EEOC has recently settled two cases in August against employers (one in Florida and one in Arizona) for discriminating against women who were pregnant.

In the Arizona matter, Matrix Medical, a  nationwide health care company headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, found itself in trouble with the EEOC after it rescinded a job offer to a candidate within a week of finding out she was pregnant.  Matrix will pay $150,000 and issue a letter of apology to the individual.  Matrix is also required to review and revise its equal employment opportunity policies and its personal leave-of-absence policy to include a provision that pregnant employees may take leave during their first six months of employment.  As part of the settlement, it is also required to train its supervisors on Title VII and other anti-discrimination laws.

In another matter in Florida, the Glenridge on Palmer Ranch, an upscale retirement community in Sarasota, Florida failed to further interview an applicant for a position after asking her when she planned on having another baby.  Instead, Glenridge offered the position to another female, an older one for whom it did not believe would or could become pregnant.  Glenridge will pay $70,000, adopt and distribute an updated policy against sex discrimination, conduct annual training on sex discrimination for its hiring officials, and post a notice about the lawsuit in order to settle its matter with the EEOC.

This is a good reminder for employers to make sure that their hiring managers are asking appropriate, open-ended questions when interviewing candidates.  It is also a good time to remind those same hiring managers that he or she should not rely upon or use inappropriate information revealed during an interview to make a decision on hiring.

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.

WHEN DOES SALARY MOTIVATE EMPLOYEES?

Salary Motiviation

Studies have shown that salary can just as easily de-motivate employees as motivate them.  In fact, salaries generally operate as negative reinforcement rather than positive.  For example, an employee receiving a lower than expected merit increase or bonus payment can certainly de-motivate.  On the flip side, receiving the status quo merit increase or bonus amount every year can create an entitlement mentality.  However, when it comes to motivating employees, salary is always one of the top factors, and therefore, it has to be part of your total rewards strategy.  Many believe that the amount of money that is needed is at least enough to satisfy basic needs which vary by person.  Obviously, when salary does not, at a minimum, cover essential needs, this serves to de-motivate.

In this article, the focus is on monetary rewards.  Motivated employees make a difference in the workplace.  They affect the work environment positively as well as improve customer service, sales, or production.  So, how can you determine if the salaries you are paying are motivating your workforce?

First, determine where to focus your compensation spending plan.  This can vary depending on factors such as the current economy, the competitive environment, and where the company is in its life-cycle.  For example, a growing company with variable sales and income may be better off focusing on base salaries.  When business is good, it may be prudent to tie more bonus dollars to goals achieved.

Second, do your research, know your competition.  Every organization can benefit from reputable industry salary surveys such as the WageWatch PeerMark™ and Benchmark reports, to determine competitive salaries.  You should utilize salary survey data from the local market, your industry and from organizations of similar size.  Work within your organization’s salary philosophy and the given financial situation to determine where to set salaries.

In addition to looking externally to market competition, look internally to ensure your internal pay structure and salaries are fair and equitable.  Whether you like it or not, employees will discuss pay with one another.  Ensure fair and equitable pay levels between employees in the same jobs, in the same departments, and jobs of comparable worth within your organization. Formal salary ranges within the organization where people with similar responsibilities and authority are grouped into the same salary range help to maintain internal equity.   Set clear goals for what you want to achieve by setting salaries at certain levels.  For example, you may pay an entry-level manager less than the market if you are hiring inexperience and provide a training and growth opportunity in exchange.  Open and clear communication regarding the company’s salary structure and pay philosophy can aid in employees’ understanding of the methods used in determining their salary level and assist in demonstrating fairness and equity.

Merit pay is one of the most frequently used methods to drive employee performance.  To be effective it needs to be linked to performance in a manner that is consistent with the mission of the organization.  Merit increases can become de-motivating when your performance measurement system is flawed and/or inconsistently applied or when the merit increase amount that is linked to performance is inconsistently administered.  Also with merit increases typically averaging two to three percent, studies show that increases lower than five percent are unlikely to have any impact on employee performance.  What can help is applying behavioral principles to your pay for performance programs such as giving employees a personal stake in the success of the company by showing a clear link between their efforts and results.  Many companies base their compensation plan on time and not results.  Of course, time is a factor and needs to be part of the equation.  However, if you pay for results, you will get results.

Change can be challenging and demanding.  At WageWatch our consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs and help ensure your wages and salaries support your company’s business strategy and objectives.  In addition to our PeerMark™ Salary Survey for over 100 local lodging markets in the U.S. and Canada, we offer a National Benchmark Salary Survey.  With over 9,000 hotels and 200 casinos in our database, WageWatch’s hotel and gaming salary surveys are the most comprehensive surveys available to Human Resouces. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary surveys, benefit surveys, and custom compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online at www.wagewatch.com/contactus.

PAY EQUITY ANALYSIS

Pay Equitu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TO CHECK OR NOT TO CHECK: A BACKGROUND CHECK PRIMER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EMPLOYER USE OF BIOMETRIC DATA

 

The value of biometric data is that it is impervious to abuse and falsification; it enables HR Professionals to accurately monitor employee attendance and ensure buildings are accessed only by authorized personnel.  It is easy to operate and reduces administrative time.
Biometric Data

Biometric data includes measurable human biological or behavioral characteristics that can be used for identification.  It includes fingerprints, voiceprint, retina or iris scans, and scans of hands or face geometry.  In the work environment, a common example includes the use of employee fingerprints to access facilities or clock in and out through timekeeping systems.  Buddy punching is a common wage theft problem when coworkers clock in for an employee who is not at work.  The American Payroll Association estimates that 75% of all businesses lose money due to buddy punching.
Healthcare has incorporated the use of biometric data.  In some hospitals, physicians access electronic health data via a finger or iris scanning biometrics security system.  Biometrics technology can be used for patient registration and identification to ensure that medical records are properly associated with each patient.  This technology can be especially helpful to identify a child and link to the appropriate medical record, especially when a child is not able to communicate.
The use of biometric data is becoming more common and laws are continuing to develop to provide more guidance to employers about proper ways to collect, store, and use the data.  Illinois was the first state to develop legislation by passing the Biometrics Information Privacy Act (BIPA).  The Act seeks to protect individual privacy and requires employers to adopt policies regarding biometric data collection and retention, obtain consent before collecting biometric data, and take steps to securely store and protect from disclosure any biometric information that is collected.  It is only in limited circumstances that an employer is able to disclose biometric information; an employer may not sell, lease, trade, or profit from any individual’s biometric information.  Recently (1/25/19), the Supreme Court of Illinois decided that private entities can be held liable for monetary damages for technical violations of BIPA.  Numerous entities (including hotels and hospitals) have been sued for technical violations with damages awarded to each technical violation.  The penalties of BIPA can range from $1,000 to $5,000 per violation and include attorney fees.
Since 2008 when Illinois passed BIPA, both Washington and Texas passed similar laws, however, BIPA remains the only law that allows private individuals to file a lawsuit for damages stemming from a violation.  Other states considering laws on biometric data include New York, Montana, Idaho, California, Alaska, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.
In order to ensure that your company is compliant, it is important to review any applicable state and federal laws related to handling employee biometric information.  Obligations extend beyond employee information and include the handling of client or third-party biometric information.  These steps are important even if your state has not passed laws that affect the organization’s use of biometric data.
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.

 

HUMAN RESOURCES ROLE IN MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

Mergers and acquisitions are extremely challenging and even chaotic events.  Therefore, it is critical that everyone involved has a clear understanding of their role in the process.  Mergers and acquisitions have become the norm in the business world and are often necessary for survival.  Almost every major company in the US today has or will experience a major acquisition.  There is a subtle yet distinct difference between a merger and an acquisition.  A merger is when two separate companies merge into one new entity.  An acquisition is when one company buys the assets of another company.  A merger or acquisition can be desired due to many different strategic reasons including positioning in the market, acquiring another company’s areas of strength or expertise, acquiring capital, diversification and short-term growth.  There are several phases or steps in the acquisition process and human resources will typically be involved in at least 2 to 3 of these phases, including the due diligence and investigation process and the post-merger integration process.

The human resource role in the due diligence and investigation process is to perform a thorough review of all human resource contracts, benefit plans, plan documents, systems, personnel, employment records, all forms of compensation, policies and procedures, especially related to human resource regulations that relate to all human resource disciplines including compensation, benefits, recruiting, employee relations, training and development, and payroll and HRIS.  Human Resources will help to determine the organizational structure and staffing models for the new organization.  Some other important items that fall under the Human Resources umbrella are wage and hour or other compliance claims, employment litigations, collective bargaining agreements, any FMLA, OSHA, Workers Compensation, EEOC and OFCCP compliance issues.

Transition issues need to be discovered and addressed, for example, pay levels between the two organizations may be very different and a cost analysis may be needed to determine the cost of bringing pay levels more in line between the two merging entities.  Other transition issues that often need to be addressed are transitioning pay increase and performance review cycles, differences between benefit levels in health care and retirement plans.  Most items will need to be addressed immediately, and some items can be completed during the first or second year following the merger or acquisition.  For example, if the acquisition occurs in the first quarter and your merit increases are done in January, you may be able to wait until the following January for this transition.  Conversely, it will be highly desirable to transition the acquired entity employees immediately to your health and welfare plans rather than take on the administrative burden and ownership risk of additional plans.

Human Resources is also responsible for layoffs, stay bonuses, culture differences, and synergies and will play a key role in the orientation and welcoming of the new employees.  These are just a few key items on the Human Resources Acquisition Checklist.  And each item has its own list of key points and issues that must be addressed.  While most of the transition work will happen prior to the closing date, the job of transitioning employees into your policies, pay models, practices, procedures, and culture does not end at transition date and typically continues for 2 to 3 years following the transition date and requires continued review at the management level.

Change can be challenging and demanding.  With over 5,000 properties in our lodging compensation database, 150 casinos, and 125 hospitals and clinics, we regularly see properties being acquired, divested, and rebranded. Consolidations are occurring at a rapid pace in the healthcare industry as well with hospitals buying physician groups and primary care practices. There are numerous human resources concerns to address every time a property changes hands. WageWatch consultants can guide you through the process of integrating two or more compensation models, rebalancing grades and ranges, examining internal equities between plan documents, developing a market-based approach to resolving inconsistencies, and helping you along the way with all your transition needs.  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.

WHAT’S NEXT…JOINT EMPLOYMENT REDEFINED?

Joint EmploymentHave you noticed the flip-flop on Joint Employer Standards from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)?  Currently, the standards are in flux.  In 2015, the definition of a joint employer was modified and expanded based on the Browning-Ferris Industries case.  This case changed over 30 years of precedent that had required “direct” and “immediate” control over an employee’s working conditions to “indirect” and “potential” control as the new definition of joint employment.

Under the Browning-Ferris standard, even if two entities never exercised joint control over the essential terms and conditions of employment, and any joint control was not direct and immediate, there could still be joint employers based on: (1) the existence of reserved joint control, (2) indirect control, or (3) control that was limited and routine.  Browning-Ferris was considered controversial and criticized by many employers and business groups.

In December 2017, in an attempt to rein in what was perceived as a broad and vague standard, the NLRB re-established the pre-Browning-Ferris standard in the Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors case which returned the former joint employer test requiring “direct” and “immediate” control.

To the dismay of many in the business community, in February 2018, due to an alleged conflict of interest, the NLRB vacated the Hy-Brand case, leaving Browning-Ferris as the law of the land once again.  Prior to Browning-Ferris, the NLRB relied on decades of legal precedent to set the joint employment standard.

In May 2018, the NLRB announced its intention to clarify the joint employer standard by issuing a new rule to reinstate the pre-Browning-Ferris joint employer standard.  On September 14, 2018, the NLRB published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register regarding its joint-employment standard (allowing 60 days for public comments).  The proposed rule reflects a return to the previously longstanding standard that an employer may be found to be a joint-employer when the following condition exists:

    • A joint-employer of another employer’s employees exists only if it possesses AND exercises substantial, direct and immediate control over the essential terms and conditions of employment and has done so in a manner that is not limited and routine. 

 The 60-day period for public comments continues through November 13.  After the NLRB reviews the public comments and replies, it will issue a final rule regarding the joint employer standard.  If issued without substantial changes, this rule will provide employers with a more clear and consistent standard and reduce the likelihood of an employer inadvertently becoming a joint employer.

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 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.

DOCKING EXEMPT EMPLOYEE PAY

The application and rules for the federal FLSA salary basis test are often misunderstood and not administered accurately or consistently.

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 (i.e., administrative, executive, professional, 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.  In 2018 many states increased the minimum wage and, at the same time increased the minimum weekly salary of ‘exempt’ employees.  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 workweek 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 a 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 two 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.