Is your timekeeping method ready for the FLSA changes?

Recent changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime exemption rules that take effect in December mean that many Americans will no longer be considered  salaried and exempt from overtime provisions). Because of this, they will need to begin keeping track of their actual hours worked. 

Coupled with an increase in recent years of wage-and-hour investigations and lawsuits, there are many reasons that now is a great time to consider a time –and-attendance system, which will track an employee’s work behavior in real time:

1.       Reliable Accuracy: Manual timekeeping systems go hand-in-hand with inaccurately reported hours from both the employee and the person responsible for payroll.  Employees often report time worked after the fact and must rely on their memory to complete paper records.  Additionally, employees may take advantage of this honor system.  The American Payroll Association reports that fraudulent time records cost a business up to 5 percent of gross payroll each year.  If records are illegible, an employer is likely to report inaccurate time for payment. 

A time-and-attendance system requires an employee to punch in and out as the activity is happening; eliminating the need for employees to rely upon and report from memory.  Additionally, time-and-attendance systems often interface with payroll systems to import employee time records so there is no need to re-enter the time-keeping record.  According to a recent study by the Aberdeen Group, this results in a decrease of up to 30 percent  in the payroll processing error rate.

2.       Improved Regulatory Compliance:  A time-and-attendance system will automate overtime calculations and other mandated pay regulations.  It also offers an organized method for retaining pay records in the event that they are needed for investigative purposes.

3.       Increased Reporting and Tracking Features: Time and attendance systems allow for robust reporting, ease the process of employee work scheduling and offer flexibility in paid-time-off tracking and managing employee requests. 

BCN Services offers a fully integrated time-and-attendance solution.  If you would like to learn more about how this system can benefit you and your organization, please contact us at 1-800-891-9911.

Alicia Freeman, Operations Manager


Federal regulation change raises salary levels for overtime pay

The Department of Labor has issued the long-anticipated changes to the overtime regulations within the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Effective December 1, 2016 the salary level required to be exempt from overtime (along with continuing to meet existing duties test requirements) will be $47,476 or $913 per week.

The current minimum salary for an employee classified as exempt from overtime is $455. The change in regulations means that you must either change the salary or reclassify any employee earning at least $455 but less than $913 to meet the new minimum requirement. If reclassifying, an employee would be moved to non-exempt status and compensated at time and one-half for any hours worked over 40 in a given work week.

In addition to increasing the minimum salary for exemption, the new regulations also require that the standard salary amount be updated every 3 years moving forward. The salary level has been set at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest income region in the country, which is currently the South. Based on projections of wage growth, the DOL believes the minimum salary will be more than $51,000 by January 1, 2020.

In the coming weeks a BCN Services Human Resource specialist will reach out to you to help review your business structure as it relates to this new law. We look forward to assisting you in successfully managing any redesign, plan and implementation in the near future. If you have immediate questions, please contact us at 1-800-891-9911.

Alicia Freeman, Operations Manager

Recognizing and rewarding employees: It’s more than worth the effort

Employees want to know their efforts and accomplishments are recognized and appreciated. There is plenty of research confirming that rewarding employees leads to improved productivity and employee engagement. It impacts the bottom line!

Yet how many of us are caught up in the demands of managing an organization and miss opportunities to regularly recognize the contributions of the team that helps your organization accomplish its goals? Maybe an employee or team helped you break into a new market, launch a new product, break a sales record, exceed a metric or just handle a customer or client interaction with impressive savvy.

There are systems for tracking and rewarding employees and some show you how your efforts impact the bottom line. Maybe your company uses one of these systems. But fancy systems aren’t necessary to begin to regularly recognize and reward employees’ efforts.

The power of “Thank you”

Recognition doesn’t have to come in pretty packages with big bows or large price tags. Nor need it take a lot of time. Start by simply paying attention to your employees’ efforts and say, “thank you” when they work hard or accomplish something.

Some managers have a hard time finding these day-to-day moments. Why thank them for doing what they’re supposed to do? If this is you, it might be easier to compliment the creative way in which a required task is accomplished, the extraordinary effort someone put in to a task, or the fact that someone finally got all of the steps right in a regular process that they have found to be a struggle..

Utilizing a company social network system to give an employee a shout-out or sending a department-wide or company-wide email acknowledging an accomplishment is another great way to recognize an accomplishment and doesn’t require much time or money. Why not publicly acknowledge a special effort in a staff meeting?

I know a manager who “high fives” each team member at the end of the work day. He appreciates that they work hard each day, and this is his way to offer a genuine “thank you.” That might not be your style, but we can all be creative and find a way to be ourselves and appreciate our teams.

More than words

There are other low-cost options that won’t break the budget. Keep a stash of greeting cards in your drawer to write a quick note to an employee when you notice a job done well. Give an employee a treat, such as a favorite candy bar, a coffee from a loved coffee place, or even a nutritious smoothie. Small gift cards to recognize an out-of-the-ordinary effort can be nice, too.

Of course, the sky’s the limit when it comes to large-ticket recognition budgets. Some companies offer larger gift cards to fancy restaurants, books of gifts for employees to choose from, paid vacations and financial bonuses.

Work teams can also be rewarded with fun activities ranging from small games for the break room to providing a group with a snack or organizing an outing such as a picnic, nice dinner or a game of Whirlyball.

Things to remember

When you reward your employees, it’s important to be timely and consistent. Recognizing an accomplishment long after the fact may send the message that the manager wasn’t aware of the moment worth celebrating when it happened, which could make an employee feel less valued. Your efforts will backfire if you routinely recognize certain employees or teams and neglect to recognize the accomplishments of others.

And rewards should be appropriate to individual personality, makeup of the team and extent of the accomplishment. If an employee saves the company $100,000, a $5 gift card to Starbuck’s may seem a little trite. If someone has completed a task they’ve struggled with, a $100 gift certificate to a high-end restaurant may be excessive. And since there may be tax implications for rewards with a price tag (including gift cards or other purchased items), run the idea by your BCN Partnership Manager or Payroll Specialist to be sure you’re tax compliant as well.

The benefits of recognizing your employees’ efforts will far outweigh the cost and time it takes. Many employees will work with an improved outlook or a little more effort when they feel appreciated. Some will work harder in an effort to obtain more recognition or rewards. And you’ll all benefit when it improves your bottom line.

Trisha Crigger, Human Resources Generalist