TPO's Employment Update

 

n  Upcoming Training Calendar

n  Reasons for Poor Performers

n  Travel Time Pay

n  San Francisco Minimum Wage

n  HR Rumors

 

 

Training Calendar

CA Employment Essentials (HR101)

n  May

n  August

n  October

Management Excellence Series

n  May

n  September

Specialized Workshops

n Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination
May
17

n Can't We All Just
Get Along?
June 21

n Excelling as a First Time Manager
August 3

n FMLA/CFRA/PDA Compliance
August 24

Member Orientation

n  June 22

n  October 12

 

Partial-Day Deductions of Vacation/PTO Time for Exempt Positions

In past editions of eNews, TPO has advised caution on the issue of partial-day deductions of vacation/PTO time for exempt positions. Recently, however, the DLSE (the agency that hears and decides on CA Wage & Hour cases) Enforcement and Interpretations Manual was recently revised, which brings it into alignment with a 2005 CA Supreme Court decision which does allow for partial-day deductions of exempt employee's vacation/PTO banks of time.

The Enforcement Manual permits deductions from exempt employees' vacation leave banks if the deductions are made for absences of four hours or more. It does not address deductions from leave banks for absences of less than four hours. Prior to companies implementing such a change, appropriate policies should be revised and distributed to the staff.

n  Remember: While this may be allowed according to the CA Supreme Court, it may not make sense depending upon your organization. For organizations where employees in exempt positions work Monday Friday, 9-5, it is one thing to deduct 1/2 day of vacation; however if you have employees in exempt positions who work 6 days a week, 12-14 hours a day, a deduction for a 1/2 day off might not be an employee relations-friendly practice.

Rest and Meal Periods

"Penalty" or "Wage"? The CA Supreme Court recently determined that it will decide on the issue of how meal and rest period violations will be handled. If an employee misses a meal or rest period, employers can be assessed a penalty of one hour of pay for each violation. The CA Supreme Court will decide if the current one hour of pay required for each violation will be paid as a "penalty" (1 year statue of limitations) or "wage" (4 year statue of limitations).

Discrimination Charges

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has reported that discrimination charge filings in 2005 were down in all bias categories, and dropped by 5 percent overall. The EOC received 75,428 charges for the fiscal year 2005 (which ended Sept. 30) and recovered almost $380 million in monetary relief through enforcement actions and litigation. The agency said it resolved 77,352 private-sector discrimination charges, 21.5 percent of which were closed with a favorable outcome for the worker.

The new figures show that race discrimination charges were the most prevalent in 2005, comprising 35.5 percent of filings. The complete breakdown of filings is:

Race Discrimination, 35.5%

Sex Discrimination, 30.6%

Retaliation, 29.5%

Age Discrimination, 22%

Disability Discrimination, 19.7%

National Origin Discrimination, 10.7%

Religious Discrimination, 3.1%

Equal Pay Complaints, 1.3%

Note that individuals can allege multiple types of discrimination when filing a charge.

The EEOC also pointed out that out of the total number of sexual harassment charges filed (12,679 charges total), 14 percent were filed by men, compared to 15.1 percent in 2004.

 

Sometimes as managers and supervisors it seems that we have tried everything possible to teach and motivate our employees. Often we throw our hands up and exclaim, "He just has a bad attitude!"

When dealing with a "poor performer" or an employee performing below standards, it can be helpful to look at the most common reasons (but often the most overlooked reasons) that employees do not meet our expectations.

THEY DON'T KNOW HOW

Often the employee either does not know what to do, or how to do it. They do not have this knowledge because it was never communicated to them, or it was poorly communicated to them.

How often do you:

n  Assume your employees have been trained properly?

n  Expect employees to know what to do, instead of telling them what you would like them to do?

n  Retrain employees?

Solutions:

Have clear job descriptions that spell-out exactly what their job duties are. Develop training procedures for all employees and continually check their success. Keep communications open by asking and listening to feedback. Use performance evaluations to continually monitor how the employee is performing their job.

THEY CAN'T

Some people can't do certain things; not because they don't want to, but because they do not have the physical or mental aptitude needed for success in that specific job. People will often try to cover-up their areas of weakness.

Solutions:

Acknowledge we all learn differently. If different methods of teaching don't work, transferring the employee to a different position, or ending the employment relationship might be your only alternatives. Make sure that you are realistic during the interview process again, a well-written job description can be useful in screening applicants and ensuring a good match.

THEY DON'T

Many times employees don't do what is expected of them, because of barriers (either imagined or real) that they have a lack of control over.

Examples of barriers:

n  An inherent problem in the work process.

n  Poor management and/or communication skills of supervisors.

n  Resources that do not meet the individual's needs, or that are inadequate.

n  Excessive interferences that are distracting.

n  They are rewarded for not doing well.

Solutions:

Make sure you are not part of the problem--often poor performance results from poor management. Prioritize projects and reduce outside distractions. Hold all employees accountable to set standards.

THEY WON'T

Okay, we're to the employee that chooses to have a bad attitude. Believe it or not only about 10% of poor performers are attributed to this category. Most often a bad attitude is a result of one or more of the first three.

Solutions:

If you have looked beyond the less obvious reasons for poor performance and you still come-up with, "She just has a bad attitude!" you might be right. Now it is up to you to establish goals for this employee and controls if the employee does not meet the set goals. Counseling or disciplinary actions might be required. Buckle-up and hang-on, you could be in for a wild ride!

An employee's attitude problem can be like an iceberg: the attitude
that is displayed is only a very small portion of the underlying problem!

For more information on performance issues, contact TPO at:
(831) 647-7272 -or- www.tpohr.com

When trying to determine if you should or shouldn't pay for travel time you will find that the wage order for your industry does not specifically address this.

As you know, non-exempt employees are paid by the hour for hours worked. However, is travel time considered work time?

With the exception of travel from home to work and back, most travel time is considered work time. Since traveling does not require the employee to employ his/her regular skills, employers can pay employees less than their regular rate of pay providing that that rate of pay is not less than the current minimum wage. Before deciding to pay your non-exempt employees travel time pay (wages less than the regular rate of pay), the following conditions will apply:

n  Overtime may be due for travel. If travel time in either direction, or travel time combined with work time exceeds 8 hours in a work day, the employee must receive travel pay at one and one-half times the weighted average of his/her regular pay rate and the travel time rate. The weighted average is found by dividing the gross wages earned at all rates that week by the total hours worked.

n  Communication. Travel Time Pay, if less than the employee's normal earnings, is clearly communicated to employees in advance of applying this practice. It would be preferable to incorporate the Travel Time Pay into your personnel policy and/or employee handbook

n  Out-of-Pocket Expenses. Reimburse the employee for all out-of-pocket expenses, such as, food and mileage.

n  Different/Alternate Work Site. When an employee is required to travel to (report to) a different work site, the employer must pay travel time pay for any time in excess of the employee's normal commute. Following is an example: the employee's normal commute is 30 minutes both to and from work. The employee has to commute to a different location and the commute is one hour both to and from the alternate work location. In this case, the employer would pay Travel Time Pay of 30 minutes to and 30 minutes from the alternate work location.

If an employee reports to the normal work site then is required to travel to another work location, travel time must be paid and can be paid at a lesser rate.

If you have any questions about this or other subjects, please give us a call.
We will be happy to assist you in answering questions about Travel Time Pay,
or drafting and implementing a Travel Time Pay policy.

Phase-in Period Now Over

In 2003, San Francisco voters approved one of the first citywide minimum wage laws in the country, which increased the pay for an estimated 54,000 workers to $8.50 an hour in 2004, up from the state's $6.75 an hour minimum wage and a federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour.

The law, which includes annual cost-of-living adjustments, then increased minimum pay to $8.62 an hour in January 2005, and $8.82 an hour starting Jan. 1 of this year. This year also marks the end of a two-year phase-in period, now requiring that all city employers, even previously exempt non-profit employers and businesses with fewer than 10 employees, must now comply with City's the minimum wage mandate.

If you have operations in San Francisco, remember to post the current minimum wage!

HR Rumors: Get Your Facts Straight from the Experts!

I have so much information I have to keep track of and I just had to redo one of my spreadsheets because of an entry mistake.  Is there anything out there that will help me?

FactThere is definitely a better way now and options that meet the needs of any size business. Many types and sizes of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) are available now that were not even 5 years ago.

Dealing with the demand for information for both business reasons and compliance reasons has become a major portion of the job of a company's Human Resources people. In small and medium sized companies, it is not unusual for an employee to provide both human resources support and other duties ranging from office or facilities management to accounting and finance.

For many years, these employees have become "wizards" of the spreadsheet and/or database applications in order to meet their obligations. As this client points out, the problem is that it is easy to make an error on a spreadsheet that may or may not be detected immediately.

In addition, using spreadsheets or stand-alone database applications may require multiple points of data entry which creates opportunities for errors to creep into the data you are trying so hard to keep correctly.

The really good news is that, not only can a HRIS help protect data integrity, but it can also reduce the cost of the work. Here are a few ways companies can realize cost savings from implementing an HRIS:

n  Automation of Time-intensive Leave Tracking

n  Automation of Reports such as EEO-1

n  Integration with Payroll which eliminates double entry and checking

n  Accurate reports to review benefits costs

One of the major concerns employers have had regarding HRIS programs is the problem of implementation and then maintenance of the system. Now, many HRIS providers will either host the system or have a Web application that requires no IT assistance at the user end. Implementation can be supported by TPO or through the consulting services provided directly by the HRIS provider.

If you are interested in reviewing how an HRIS could help your business be more productive, call TPO and we will help you view some possible solutions that might be best for your organization.

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The information provided is designed to be accurate in content. TPO provides human resource consulting and is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. Readers are advised to consult legal counsel on matters involving employment law or important personnel policies & practices before adoption or implementation.