Though employees generally don’t understand labor law, many assume that they do

Frequently we hear employees claim that the “Labor Board” requires the employer to pay for lunches, provide paid vacations, sick days or other benefits. They also may claim that you cannot require them to work overtime hours.

Federal requirements for employers are regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These federal requirements are actually quite limited. As an employer, the FLSA requires employers to pay their employees minimum wage and overtime at the rate of time and a half the employee’s regular rate of pay.

Under federal law employers are NOT required to provide:

  • Vacations
  • Holidays
  • Sick Pay
  • Premium pay for weekend, holiday or shift work (beyond the required time and one-half for hours worked over 40 in one week)
  • Pay raises (unless to comply with minimum wage requirements under the law)
  • Other fringe benefits, except as required under the Affordable Care Act
  • Discharge notices, reason for discharge or immediate payment of wages upon termination.
  • Lunches (paid or unpaid)
  • Breaks  (however, if you provide breaks of 20 minutes or less that time is compensable)

Additionally the FLSA does not limit the number of hours you can schedule or require an employee to work (either daily or weekly, including overtime) as long as you pay time and one-half for time worked in excess of 40 hours. Note: this only applies to employees 16 years of age or older.

Some cities and states are more restrictive

That said, many states, and some cities have passed or are considering legislation that will add requirements for employers. For example, many states and cities have higher minimum wage rates than the federal government.

Most states have youth labor laws that limit the number of hours that minors may work. Some states require payment of final wages immediately upon termination. A few states require paid breaks and/or lunches and some states require overtime (time and one-half) for hours worked in excess of 8 hours per day rather than 40 hours per week.

Several cities and a few states have passed paid sick leave requirements.

Additionally, for those working under federal contracts, an Executive Order from the President has raised minimum wage for employees covered under those contracts. In cases where there is a difference between federal and state laws, the law that benefits the employee will always take precedence.

There continue to be changes that may impact employers on national and state and local levels. BCN Services monitors the ever-changing scope of legal requirements for our clients and will keep you apprised of anything that impacts your business.

If you have specific questions regarding employer’s requirements under federal, state or local government regulations, please contact your Partnership Manager. If you are an employer that does not currently work with us, please contact us for assistance or more information.

 

 

Jeff Walsh (200x190)

Jeff Walsh, Partnership Manager

Pay overnight employees correctly during daylight-saving time change

Daylight-saving time often creates confusion on how to pay employees that work the overnight period when daylight time begins or ends. The old tip for “Spring Forward, lose an hour on the overnight shift” or “Fall Back, add an hour to the overnight shift” is often helpful.

Most states participate in daylight-savings time. Those employees working the overnight shift when daylight-Saving time begins each spring work one hour less because the clocks are set ahead one hour. Those employees working the graveyard shift when daylight-saving time ends in the fall work an extra hour because the clocks are set back one hour at 2 a.m.

For example:

A scheduled shift starts at 11 p.m. and ends at 7:30 a.m. the next day; your employee works an eight- hour shift and receives a 30-minute lunch break.

  • On the Sunday that daylight-saving time ends (Nov. 3, 2013) at 2 a.m., the employee works the hour from 1-2 a.m. twice because at 2 a.m. all of the clocks are turned back one hour to 1a.m. Thus, on this day the employee worked 9 hours, even though the schedule only reflected 8 hours.
  • On the Sunday that Daylight Savings Time starts at 2 a.m., the employee does not work the hour from 2-3 a.m. because at 2 a.m. all of the clocks are turned forward to 3 a.m. Thus on this day, the employee only worked 7 hours, even though the schedule was for 8 hours.

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that employees be credited with all of the hours actually worked. Therefore, if the employee is in a work situation similar to that described above, he or she worked (nine) 9 hours on the day that daylight-saving time ends and seven (7) hours on the day that daylight-saving time begins. This assumes, of course, that the employee actually worked the scheduled shift as in our example.

One interesting side note to daylight-saving time: A study by Michigan State University industrial and organizational psychology doctoral candidates Christopher Barnes and David Wagner, reported by various sources, says that workplace accidents spike 5.7 percent on the Monday after we set our clocks forward 1 hour in the spring compared with other Mondays throughout the year. They also reported that a University of British Columbia study found an 8 percent increase in accidents on the changeover day.

The reason? It’s lack of sleep. Although the researchers say that workers actually lose only 40 minutes of sleep on that night, even that small amount of time is significant, Barnes explained.

Barnes said that studies have shown that lost sleep causes attention levels to drop off, and that the impact could be greatest in jobs requiring a high level of attention to detail. So while reportable physical accidents increase, Barnes maintains that it is not unreasonable to think that non-reportable workplace mistakes , such as transposing figures, probably rise as well.

No such spike occurs in the fall when clocks are set back! That’s because workers are getting extra time to sleep.

The study used data from the “American Time Use Survey” conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and from the U.S. Dept. of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration. The study was sponsored by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, whose members study and apply scientific principles to workplace issues.

The researchers also reported that their findings show that not only do the number of accidents increase, but their severity as well.

So if the studies prove to be true, businesses should see a benefit the week of Nov. 3, 2013 with employees experiencing increased work performance because of an extra hour of sleep!

Can we help you with questions about matters of employee pay and other benefits?  Contact BCN Services at 1-800-891-9911 or email hr@www.bcnservices.com.

 

 

Jeff Walsh (200x190)

Jeff Walsh, Partnership Manager

Tracking employee time can really add up

Managing employee time is an essential part of most businesses, from retail to manufacturing to professional.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),  or Obamacare, has put new focus on employer calculations of time, in order to calculate the status of their workforce.  Here is a real-world example:

The PPACA mandates that employees with more than 30 average hours per week (based on a calculated look back period average of between 90 days and one year) be deemed full time for the purposes of health coverage.   This company’s cost will be a minimum of $2,000 (tax) up to the cost of family health insurance for this employee ($15,000)

A more global tracking issue that affects costs for all employees in your company is simply the LOSS of time due to inadequate data collection.  The Return on Investment (ROI) of investing in current technology and data capture is well documented in human error, auditing, and lost time.

In the following example, bad timekeeping costs this 50-member employee group more than $21,000 per year, or $439 per employee per year. This shows the effects of an inadequate data collection system*:

Human Error Factor Savings- A

A

     Number of Employees

50

B

     Average hourly rate

$10

C

     Average hours worked per week

38

D

     Total weekly payroll (A x B x C =D)

$19,000

E

     Human error factor

0.25%

     Total weekly savings (D x E)

$48

 

Auditing Savings- B

A

     Number of Employees

50

B

     Minutes saved per card

6

C

     Total pay period minutes saved (A x B=C)

300

     Total pay period hours saved (C/60)

5

     Hourly rate for Department Heads

$25

     Weekly Department Head savings

$125

 

Lost Time Savings- C

A

     Lost productivity per day

0.1

B

     Avg. employee’s rate/hour

$10

C

     Avg. wages overpaid/day/emp (A x B= C)

1

D

     Avg. wages overpaid/wk/emp (C x 5)

5

E

     Total number of employees

50

     Total wages overpaid/wk (D x E)

$250

 

Summary

A

     Human error savings (F1)

$48

B

     Audit savings (F2)

$125

C

     Lost time savings (F3)

$250

D

     Total weekly savings (A + B + C)

$423

 

Total annual savings (D x 52)

$21,970

 

Savings/worksite employee

$439

*Studies conducted annually by national payroll and staffing associations

BCN works closely with its clients to create efficient, cost-effective data capture of employee time, which gives clients greater control of scheduling and time management.  Call us at (800) 891-9911 for further information about tracking your employees’ time.  Or contact us here.

AndyHans_6698

Andrew (Andy) C. Hans, CEO

Time is Money: What is Compensable Time?

Working outside of one’s scheduled work time without compensation is generally known as “working” off- the-clock. The United States Department of Labor (DOL) recognizes off-the-clock work as one of the most common violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The Fair Labor Standards Act provides information about the type of work for which an employee must be compensated. Under the FLSA, a work day begins when an employee starts his or her “principal activity,” and ends when finishing the last principal activity of the day. The FLSA definition of a work day may be longer than an employee’s scheduled shift or normal office hours.

Listed below are some of the more common off-the-clock violations:

  • Requiring employees to work extra hours without pay.
  • Requiring employees to perform work before or after they clock in for their shift.
  • Failing to pay employees for the entire time they are performing work, not just the time they are “clocked in.”
  • Automatically deducting a meal period from an employee’s hours when no meal period was actually taken.
  • Deducting break time(s) from an employees work hours.
  • Requesting that employees work on the weekend without clocking in.
  • Failing to compensate employees who bring work home and continue to work outside of their “regular” workday.
  • Failure to pay employees for pre- and post-shift work. These activities involve “donning” (putting on) or “doffing” (taking off) protective equipment or uniforms.

Our advice is to not leave employees guessing about your Company’s policy on off-the-clock work. Make it clear that off-the-clock work is not permitted and that there may be disciplinary action for it. Set up a process encouraging employees to report off-the-clock work to the HR Department without fear of retaliation.

The policy should give clear instruction to employees, as an employer’s effort to prevent off-the-clock work will be a key element of its affirmative defense of an off-the-clock work claim.

As always, it is imperative to know and understand all of the regulations that apply to your business at all levels: federal, state, and local. Failure to know and apply these regulations can lead to hefty fines.

BCN Services’ Human Resource Department  is available to you to help in implementing a compensable time policy, if you do not currently have one in place. Call us at 1-800-891-9911 or visit us at www.www.bcnservices.com.

Kate Douglass (200x174)

Kate Douglass, Senior HR Specialist