Home » blog » Page 2

Category: blog

EEO-1 Reports Due September 30th

The EEO-Report is a government form requiring certain employers to provide a count of their employees by job category and then by ethnicity, race and gender.

If your business fit’s in to one of the following, the Standard Form 100 (EEO-1) must be filed by September 30, 2014 to avoid potential fines:

Private employer with 100 or more employees EXCLUDING State and local governments, primary and secondary school systems, institutions of higher education, Indian tribes and tax-exempt private membership clubs other than labor organizations;

OR

Private employer subject to Title VII who have fewer than 100 employees if the company is owned or affiliated with another company, or there is centralized ownership, control or management (such as central control of personnel policies and labor relations) so that the group legally constitutes a single enterprise, and the entire enterprise employs a total of 100 or more employees.

All federal contractors (private employers), who: are not exempt as provided for by 41 CFR 60-1.5, have 50 or more employees, and are prime contractors or first-tier subcontractors, and have a contract, subcontract, or purchase order amounting to $50,000 or more; or serve as a depository of Government funds in any amount, or is a financial institution which is an issuing and paying agent for U.S. Savings Bonds and Notes.

Ban-the-Box Talk is Growing and Rules are Changing

Growing concern for how employers are making hiring and employment decisions based upon an individual’s criminal history. The possibility of criminals becoming a protected class is not as far off as you think.  If your employment application has “the box” that inquires whether the individual has been convicted of a crime, you may need to remove it.  Various states across the U.S. have approved to have “the box” removed from the employment application and process as well as some cities and counties within states that have not yet banned the box.

Why is this such a big deal? Growing concern for how employers are making hiring and employment decisions based upon an individual’s criminal history. The possibility of criminals becoming a protected class is not as far off as you think.

Currently, 13 states have passed ban-the-box laws: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico and Rhode Island.

 

States with cities and counties that have banned the box include: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

What will the minimum wage be in your state on 1/1/15?

The Fair Labor Standards Act sets the federal minimum wage which is presently $7.25 per hour. Some states establish their own minimum wage rate which must be equivalent to or higher than the federal minimum wage. Effective January 1, 2015, several states will see an increase to their minimum wage.

Alabama $7.25 Montana $7.90
Alaska $7.75 Nebraska $7.25
Arizona $7.90 Nevada $8.25
Arkansas $7.25 New Hampshire $7.25
California $9.00 New Jersey $8.25
Colorado $8.00 New Mexico $7.50
Connecticut $9.15 New York $8.75
Delaware $7.75 North Carolina $7.25
Florida $7.93 North Dakota $7.25
Georgia $7.25 Ohio $7.95
Hawaii $7.75 Oklahoma $7.25
Idaho $7.25 Oregon $9.10
Illinois $8.25 Pennsylvania $7.25
Indiana $7.25 Rhode Island $9.00
Iowa $7.25 South Carolina $7.25
Kansas $7.25 South Dakota $7.25
Kentucky $7.25 Tennessee $7.25
Louisiana $7.25 Texas $7.25
Maine $7.50 Utah $7.25
Maryland $8.00 Vermont $9.15
Massachusetts $9.00 Virginia $7.25
Michigan $8.15 Washington $9.32
Minnesota $8.50 West Virginia $8.00
Mississippi $7.25 Wisconsin $7.25
Missouri $7.50 Wyoming $7.25

3 Ways to Prevent Fines During a DOL Audit

While it is not the federal government’s intent to stifle the livelihood of small business owners and suffocate the flow of capital in the economy, they are still concerned about the business practices of many business owners and feel the need to enforce regulations to ensure that owners are operating legitimately and also being fair to employees.

There continues to be heavy focus on making sure small businesses are following compliance than ever before.  In fact, new employees have been hired by the Department of Labor and the IRS to keep the pulse on business owners’ and their human resource practices.

What does this mean to you?

$$$$$$ resulting not only from potential penalties but also from the loss of revenue due to down-time within your organization to comply with the needs and requests of the inspector conducting the audit.  Additionally, the negative perception that your own employees will have when the see “the windbreakers” enter their workplace and digging through records creating uncertainty among your team ~ uncertainty breeds stress and lack of production.

The following are three areas you want to make sure you are in compliance and to keep regulators off your back.  Are they the only three things to worry about?  No.  But if you’re doing well in these areas, in can only help if the auditors “come a knocking”…

  1. Employee File Compliance Documents.  Do your employee files contain all of the required forms and documentation that should be kept in employee files?  Are there items in the files that shouldn’t be?  It’s important to have a good understanding of what an employee record file should contain to reduce your potential fine and legal exposure. For instance, every employee is required to complete an I-9 form and provide supporting documents of their eligibility to work in the United States.  Non-compliance can result in fines up to $1,000 per employee per day.
  1. Misclassifying individuals as independent contractors vs. employees or vice versa is another area that could be quite costly for your business.  Agencies have very specific criteria that must be met in order to determine whether or not an individual is an employee or contractor.   For instance, how much control do you have over how the complete the work assigned and the hours that they work?
  1. Employee payroll records are another area of focus for an audit.  Many employers do not have proper documentation to support why they have paid employees for x number of hours, or why the timesheets are different than the actual payroll.

We hope this information helps you to make more informed decisions, but it is still vital to contact an HR professional to save you from uncertainty and possible fines.  Thanks for your time today.

 

The information contained in this blog is provided only as general information may not reflect the most current legal developments; accordingly, information contained here is not promised or guaranteed to be correct or complete. HR Synergy, LLC expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this blog.

“I thought we found the perfect person to fill our position. It’s day one and now I’m not so sure. What happened?”

How much time do you invest in onboarding new employees? Is it the same amount of time you spend trying to find the right person?

Businesses often devote a significant amount of time looking for the perfect person to join their team.  However, when the person arrives on day one, the onboarding process may not be impressive and the new employee’s immediate assessment of the company can be tarnished.  Having onboarding practices and being prepared for the entrance of a new team member are important in reaffirming the reason the candidate chose to work for the company.

Onboarding a new employee should be a day of welcoming the person to the organization, introducing him to his co-workers, showing him his work space, completing new-hire paperwork, reviewing the employee handbook to become familiar with the expectations of the company, and providing the necessary training so he can perform the job.

Make your new employee feel that the company is happy to have him on board.  If you or the hiring manager doesn’t have the time to spend with this individual on his first day, assign a mentor to your new employee.  The mentor should be someone that this individual will work with going forward and will be able to ask questions of.

Using Social Media for Employment Decisions

Within the past decade, the way businesses source new employees has changed significantly. The days of having your employment ad to the newspaper by the end of the day on Wednesday to make sure it hit the Sunday paper are behind us. Today, social media is used by over 90% of businesses for recruiting.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are used to hire, retain, and sometimes terminate employees. Using social media sites can speed up your hiring process and enable you to find a higher quality person — over 40% of businesses say quality of hiring is better when using social media.

Like anything, using social media has good aspects as well as bad.

Social media can be used positively by posting employment openings and job opportunities. Employers can use social media to view applicants’ recommendations made by their connections.

Sometimes, it is important for employers to use an individual’s appearance when making hiring decisions; social media can aid in this. However, always use caution regarding discrimination of a person based on gender, religion, sex, orientation, or ethnicity.

For employee retention, employers need to make social media policies clear and specific regarding what company information should and should not be discussed on social media.

Social media can be useful for the employer in providing verification of performance or proof of violating company policy. For instance, if an employee is posting during work hours and there is a clear policy prohibiting the behavior, or an employee posting before work hours that gives a little too much information to the employer.

As an example of too much information for the employer, imagine it’s Monday morning and you and the sales manager have a meeting with a very important prospect you have been trying to gain business from for months. The phone rings and it’s your sales manager saying he won’t be in due to a flat tire and having to wait for assistance. A coworker comes in to your office and shares that he read a post on social media earlier from the sales manager that boasted about what a great weekend he had, so much so that he called in a fake flat tire excuse to his boss in order to recuperate.

Carve Out the Roles in Your Organization

As a small business owner, you are probably well familiar with the consolidation of jobs, tasks, and responsibilities required to keep the business growing. You probably wear many hats, such as business owner, human resource professional, bookkeeper, marketing assistant, and, of course, sales person.

For a business with less than five employees that makes good sense. However, as your business begins to grow and duties become more defined by the needs of the organization, you will want to consider writing some formal definitions for different roles.

Each area of a business comes with its own challenges, such as knowing the latest rules and regulations, determining the most beneficial social media tools for marketing, and improving selling tactics. One person can not do it all forever and do it well!

How do you separate the tasks that are critical to your business? Now is the time to sit down and start thinking about the things that need to get done and who will do them today and who you will need to get them done in the future.

Job descriptions are important tools for not only communicating what needs to be done when recruiting, but also communicating what your expectations are as the employer to your employee(s). Job descriptions also provide a great tool for evaluating performance and determining where employees are doing well and where they need to improve.

In some smaller organizations, you may have employees filling more than one role and performing multiple jobs. However, as you begin to grow the company, those individuals will eventually be responsible for one job. The glory of writing out job descriptions now is that when your company hits a growth spurt and you don’t have time to think, you won’t need to since you have already mapped out the key roles/responsibilities that will be critical to your organization’s success!!

Comp Time or Overtime, What’s Your Opinion?

For years, I have advised private-sector employers in how to be compliant with the overtime rules of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Many families today consist of both parents having to work to support the family.  This brings forth some work/life issues that were not so prevalent in earlier years.  Children in daycare or school, elderly parents, etc. who become ill or are unable to attend their normally scheduled day, need someone to care for them. This could mean requiring the caregiver, your employee, to take time away from his or her job.

Legislation is presently looking at whether or not compensatory time (comp time) should be allowed in lieu of overtime pay.

This could be a beneficial alternative for both the employer and the employee.  The challenge for employers is which is more affordable? Paying employees 1 ½ times their hourly rate for hours worked in excess of 40 or providing the employee with additional paid time off in lieu of overtime pay.

How would this affect you as an employer?