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Questions & Answers About the New FLSA Overtime Ruling for Salaried Employees

On December 1st, 2016, an estimated 4.2 million salaried employees are expected to become eligible for overtime pay as a result of the new FLSA ruling published on May 23rd by the Department of Labor. How employers will strategize to minimize the potential impact on labor expenses and remain compliant with the new ruling is a source of great discussion. There is also a good deal of misunderstanding in what options exist for employers. For example, should employees be reclassified, are there positions that don’t apply, how do non-discretionary bonuses factor in, etc.?

Misperceptions with New Overtime Ruling

Perhaps the greatest misperception is the assumption that all employees under the new threshold of $47,476 must be reclassified as hourly. This is actually not the case. Employers may continue to pay the employee a salary, but must also now track hours and pay those employees overtime pay.

The DOL has published a “Questions and Answers” page to address many of the most commonly asked questions. We highly recommend you take a moment to review those answers.

Questions and Answers from the Department of Labor

SEE ANSWERS: https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/final2016/faq.htm

Solutions to Prepare

Automated Time and Attendance

One of the most important adjustments for employers to make is to begin tracking hours worked for employees under the threshold or employees receiving bonuses (up to 10%) to meet the salary requirement. If you’re not already using an automated time and attendance solution to track employee hours, now is the time to begin. Not only will it help in your compliance, but will also reduce your overall cost of employee wages and overtime.

HR Compliance Support

In preparing to communicate with employees regarding the new ruling, we recommend employers review current job descriptions, overtime policies, off-the-clock work policies and the Employee Handbook in general to ensure adequate protections are in place for employees and employers. If you need assistance, we can assist with your HR compliance support through online or live HR expert support.

Is Workplace Bullying Harassment?

Bullying in the workplace is more common than we’d like to assume. Whether it’s relations between managers and employees or between co-workers, the risk is very real. In most cases, employee education is more than half the challenge. Employers need to take steps to minimize the risk and prevent the possibility of bullying. This effort generally involves the proper use of an employee handbook, procedures and training.

Read a brief post entitled, “Is Workplace Bullying Harassment?” (below) to learn more about this risk. For more HR compliance questions, contact us at QTS Payroll.

 

WorkNearly half of American adults have reported experiencing workplace bullying. As a result, many states now classify bullying as “abusive conduct.”

Source: Is Workplace Bullying Harassment?

From Good to Great: How to Elevate Employee Handbooks

Having an employee handbook is essential to minimizing risk and cultivating company culture.

So, think about what could happen with a truly great employee handbook? One that educates new hires, holds interest, sets expectations and engages employees. It could change the world! (Well, maybe not the world, but you get the idea.)

Take your employee handbooks from good to great with these simple suggestions.

A good handbook has policies that will help drive your organization’s mission, vision and values, while at the same time minimizing risk by being compliant.

A truly great handbook has a mission, vision and set of values that resonate with your employees (and customers/prospects). According to this Forbes article, “Most people either don’t know their organization’s vision, don’t understand it or feel so disconnected from it that they can’t explain how it relates to their day job. The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way.” The article goes on to outline questions you can ask yourself to create a great vision statement.

A good handbook has your organizational chart and a letter from the company’s leader at the start of the handbook. The letter should be an overview of why the handbook exists, and what employees should expect from the company and vice versa. You should consider a brief About Us or Company History to help new employees learn more about the organization and its goals.

A truly great handbook has, instead of a letter, a video of your company’s leader addressing all of the above and your company mission, vision and values. Hearing the importance of the handbook as well as the mission, vision, values and history directly from the leader makes it more personal and authentic.

A good handbook is distributed to every employee; ensure each person signs an acknowledgement that they received one.

A truly great handbook is online so it’s really easy to update and distribute new versions; just send out an email with a link! Also think about making it pretty. It sounds like a minor thing, but making the handbook more visually appealing will hold interest and increase engagement.

A good handbook is incorporated into new hire orientation.

A truly great handbook is reviewed at orientation and HR managers can use quizzes or games to engage employees. Hand out prizes like company pens or candy to those who answer correctly or ask good questions about company policies.

Blog credit: https://www.thinkhr.com/blog/from-good-to-great-how-to-elevate-employee-handbooks/

Four Ways to Reduce the Cost of Labor

In most cases, employee wages are among the greatest expenses an employer faces each month. It makes good business sense then to consider how to minimize this expense, but employers are often unaware or perhaps feel too busy to even begin the discussion. Enter… automated timekeeping.

The good news for employers is that labor and payroll expenses can be reduced. In fact, there are many opportunities to gain control and cut costs without sacrificing production or value with a few essential tools. Automated timekeeping is perhaps the most important. Whether it’s eliminating hours of overpaid wages and unnecessary manual administration, employers can… and should… take steps to minimize their payroll costs.

Here are just 4 ways automated timekeeping reduces your labor expenses.

  1. Eliminate Punch Rounding & Approximating – Doesn’t it make perfect sense to pay employees for their actual time worked… not a rounded best guess? When employees round or approximate their punch times, they round in their favor and employers end up overpaying for labor… by a lot!The average employee records 4 punches per day including lunch punches. If they are rounding to the typical nearest 15 minute increment, then employees can round in their favor by as much as 7 minutes per punch.

    Do you know what 15-28 minutes per employee per day is costing you? It’s a shocking number. Don’t let this outdated practice cost you. The fix is simple. Pay employees to the minute with ease using automated timekeeping.

  2. Put an End to Costly “Buddy Punching” & Time Theft – “I’m running late. Can you just clock me in?” Sound familiar? It happens all the time… and it costs you dearly. The American Payroll Association estimates that over 75% of employers experience loss associated with “buddy punching” both in wages and productivity. Other forms of time fraud and theft are rampant in companies that don’t offer an automated solution for employees, managers and payroll staff. If your process allows for this to occur, you have no one else to blame. Your staff is simply too busy to catch, chase or investigate each occurrence.The fix is really quite simple. It’s automated timekeeping with biometrics. Today, an inexpensive plug-and-play biometric time clock can be easily set up to verify an employee at the clock. Do yourself and your frustrated staff a favor by curing time theft and buddy punching.
  3. Minimize Payroll Mistakes & Human Error – Human error can be an immense expense for employers. The APA estimated human error in time card preparation to be between 1% and 8%. With a $500,000 annual payroll, even a 2% error rate represents $10,000 in erroneous wages.Fixing mistakes also has its costs with administrative time, reprocessing fees, re-issuing checks and so forth, in addition to the frustration caused for all parties involved. Automate tracking and time card preparation with timekeeping. Your payroll staff will love you for it.
  4. Minimize Overtime Costs – Getting the job done for your clients is top priority, but are you managing and minimizing your overtime exposure?With automated timekeeping and scheduling, perhaps you can no longer pay all those employees an extra 15 to 60 minutes of overtime per week resulting from an extra 15 minutes per day. You can easily schedule when employees work, get notified about employees approaching overtime, and have clear visibility of actual versus scheduled hours.

    More than likely, without automated timekeeping or a stiff OT policy you’re paying employees thousands in unnecessary overtime wages at time-and-a-half pay simply because you’re not using an automated timekeeping solution.

In conclusion, automated timekeeping is a small but tremendous investment for employers! Believe it or not, there are many more ways to save! Start putting more of your hard-earned revenue back in the bank with automated timekeeping.

Turn Hours of Payroll Prep into Minutes

In business, there’s often a love-hate relationship with payroll. As an employee, we all love the satisfaction earned on pay day. But as the business owner, supervisor or HR staff, you may be on the other side of that equation due to the tedious hours of preparation required for payroll.

A big part of preparing payroll is accurately reporting employee hours worked. If you haven’t already, why not turn these hours of administration into mere minutes and take much of the pain out of payroll. The good news is that now, with automated timekeeping, there’s a much easier way!

Simplify the Process

More than likely, virtually every employee in your organization is impacted by the payroll process… every two weeks! It may be simply reviewing your time card, approving other’s time cards, coordinating PTO or otherwise. Your staff spends hours collectively reviewing time cards, following up on missing punches and edits, validating hours and more. Perhaps you don’t feel there is a problem… just yet… with this administrative circus. But in the meantime, may we suggest an easier way.

Finally in life, there is a quick fix. It’s called automated timekeeping. Here’s a brief list of just four of ways automated timekeeping takes away pain before pay day.

  1. No more collecting, calculating and preparing time cards manually. Collecting precise in/out times can finally be smooth and automated each day. Employees no longer need to enter hours, remember or approximate punch times, and HR no longer has to fumble with paper time cards. It’s all done simply and automatically online.
  1. Simplify time card approvals for supervisors and payroll staff – Reviewing, editing, and approving punches can now be done by all staff members in a few minutes online through a desktop or mobile device. Employees can easily enter notes right on their time card for supervisor corrections, and approving cards can be done in seconds by each approval layer. Getting back to work has never been easier.
  1. Time Off Requests and PTO Accruals – Approve or disapprove? That is the question, but who has the time do the research for each request, especially during summer months? Now this juggling act can be automated online. What was once a disruptive and time-consuming process for employees and supervisors can all be requested, reviewed, approved and tracked conveniently online in minimal time.
  1. No longer fax in, phone in, or email – We’re happy to help you get payroll submitted in whatever means it takes, but now the process can be much easier. Once approved by your staff, your time and labor data is ready to be conveniently imported for payroll processing online in a matter of seconds.

In conclusion, there is a far easier and less costly way to prepare payroll with automated timekeeping. Take hours or days off the process. There’s no time like the present to make a change. And your payroll staff will love you for it.

7 Tips to Save on Payroll Costs

Without question, employee labor is one of the greatest expenses that employers face each month. However, it may surprise you to hear that it can also be one of the most poorly tracked or controlled expenses. Why is that?! At first glance, you might say that seems counterintuitive given the timeless importance of controlling costs.

Register for an upcoming webinar on Thursday, April 7th at 2:00 pm PT to learn more.

There are many reasons why this is the case. Perhaps the most common reason is that historically it has been difficult or overwhelming from an administrative standpoint to track time. Or perhaps it has even been too costly to accurately track time. Today, however, these problems have been solved, yet many employers are unaware of the simple, affordable solutions available for conveniently tracking time, and ultimately, reducing the cost of payroll.

While a full list could be lengthy, here are 7 quick ways employers can reduce the cost.

  • Pay based on actual time worked, not scheduled time – It is common for employees to be paid based on what they are supposed to work, not on actual minutes worked. Due to the realities of human nature and employee habits, unfortunately, this means employers are paying for all deviations from the ideal, such as late arrivals, early departures, extended breaks and lunches, personal errands and perhaps even employee absences. This lack of accurate tracking can literally cost an employer thousands every month in added wages and payroll taxes.
  • Stop rounding and approximating employee punches – In some cases, employees are being asked to manually record in and out times. Most commonly, they will round to the nearest 15-minute increment for each punch (four punches per day). When employees round punches, it’s nearly always in their favor, often resulting in 15 to 45 minutes of overpaid wages per day… per employee. This is very costly! Solve this problem with effortless, automated time tracking.
  • Track employee lunches and breaks – Employees are generally entitled to paid breaks and a lunch break (unpaid) each day. But how frequently do breaks or lunches end early? Rather, due to life’s happenings, how often do they run long?! When employers don’t track these occurrences, it results in lost productivity and wages. When tracking is in place, however, employees can take the time they inevitably need at their own expense, not the employer’s.
  • Set threshold alerts for part-time and overtime hours – It is common for part-time employees to run over their permitted time, or more commonly, for full-time employees to accrue extra minutes throughout the week resulting in overtime. To minimize overrun hours start using system alerts to remind employees and supervisors that an employee is reaching their specified time threshold.
  • Reduce administrative time – It is no secret that time is an expense. Cut countless hours from the payroll process each year with automated timekeeping, directly reducing the administrative expense.
  • Reduce payroll errors – Payroll errors can be very costly, not only in terms of dollar miscalculations, but also in the cost to reprocess, reprint and reconcile mistakes. The solution is simple. Minimize payroll errors with automation.
  • Reduce overstaffing with scheduling – Employee scheduling takes tremendous time. Without the right tools, it is common for overstaffing to occur, over-scheduling of specific employees resulting in overtime, and other costly issues. However, when timekeeping is combined with advanced scheduling, supervisors can easily avoid these costly occurrences.

There are many ways, both small and large, that employers save with simple, affordable timekeeping. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you lower the cost of payroll.

Register for an upcoming webinar on Thursday, April 7th at 2:00 pm PT to learn more.

Did you know we offer automated timekeeping?

We Offer Automated Timekeeping

Employee labor is costly. The administrative cost and time associated with employing your staff is also significant. An important part of our mission as an organization is to lower your cost of doing business, simplify how you manage employees, and drastically better the employment experience for business owners, managers, employees, and the payroll staff!

Lower the Cost. Improve Performance.

With those priorities in mind, we’re very excited to offer a solution to our clients that effectively addresses each of these objectives, perhaps unlike any other service on the market. This service is “automated timekeeping.”

While you may already be familiar with traditional punch cards and the concept of timekeeping, you are likely not aware of how today’s automated timekeeping technology offers a long list of tremendous benefits to employers. These include:

  • Reducing your cost of employee labor each period.
  • Cutting hours from the payroll administrative process.
  • Minimizing your compliance risk as an employer.
  • Simplifying how you schedule, approve and oversee employees.
  • Maximizing employee accountability and productivity.

 

Automated Timekeeping is Vital for Employers

Labor is among the greatest expenses you have as an employer. Therefore, it is critical to manage this cost. What are you currently doing to address this?

Automated timekeeping, unlike any other labor-related tool, is one of the most effective ways to control and reduce this cost. While there are many services on the market that do a variety of helpful things for employers, timekeeping is vital for employers in managing costs and reaching optimal success.

We’re Here to Help

If you’re not yet using an automated solution, we hope you’ll take a closer look at the many benefits of automated timekeeping! Contact us. We’d love to help you learn more about lowering your cost of doing business while simplifying how you manage employees.