HR Hot Topic for December 2013
Are Your Employees Working Off The Clock?
Employers who allow hourly employees to work after work hours, even if they are working without the employer’s approval… are generally considered hours worked. The employees must be paid. Employees who are continuing to work off the clock should know that the employer is benefiting from the work being done off the clock, because the employer is not paying for time worked and/or overtime pay! This time is commonly referred to or known as “working off the clock.”
A few examples of working off the clock or hours worked under the FLSA (for which overtime pay is generally due) include, but are not limited to:
An employee, who needs to prepare reports, finishes waiting on a customer, or finishes an assigned task.
An employee who may take work home to complete in the evening or on weekends to meet a deadline.
An employee, who checks, reads and/or reviews work-related emails, or listens to work-related voicemail messages while away from the office or workplace.
An employee who voluntarily continues to work at the end of regular working hours answering the phone.
An employee who must correct mistakes in his or her work. The time must be treated as hours worked. The correction of errors, or “rework”, is hours worked.
It is the responsibility of management to exercise control over their employees and see that work is not performed off the clock if the employer does not want it to be performed. The penalties for having employees working off the clock are very stiff and could also include back pay.
What Is Compliance? Don’t Put Yourself at Risk!
Human Resource Compliance Is More than Payroll and Health Insurance
By: Ann Fisher, President – HR Alternative Consulting, Inc.
The Department of Labor (DOL) administers and enforces close to 180 federal laws. The employment regulations issued by the Federal and State government require businesses to follow mandated regulations. The regulations include nondiscrimination policies, wage, benefit, safety, and health.
Human resources compliance is a necessity for any business in today’s legal environment. With harassment, antidiscrimination, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and OSHA laws, a business that isn’t aware of their HR responsibilities is headed for trouble.
Payroll and insurance companies can assist with some of the compliance issues. Although, the most overlooked compliance aspect is the employment side. HR compliance is a process. It’s a way of defining proper group and individual behaviors, and assuring that laws and policies are understood and followed. This means you must know the laws and develop appropriate policies to these laws. Compliance also means you and your management team need to communicate these policies to the staff. They must adhere to expectations and understand the consequences for non-adherence. Non-adherence requires specific investigative and disciplinary procedures.
Everyone in the company should know that the workplace must be kept safe and discrimination won’t be tolerated. Effective HR compliance programs need to be integrated into your business strategies, as well as implemented in a consistent manner. Compliance has to start at the top and trickle down to all levels.
These nine steps will help you achieve your compliance goals:
Interview with Timea H. Brady, DVM – Brownsburg Animal Clinic
From the time she was six years old, Timea Brady knew she wanted to be a veterinarian. She’d grown up with many pets, including hamsters, guinea pigs, finches, cats and dogs, but as a first-grader, when she began riding horses and participating in dressage, she knew she was destined for a career caring for animals.
After finishing her Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology, with a minor in animal science, Dr. Brady enrolled at Purdue’s School of Veterinary Medicine, spending her summers doing research projects to trace the transmission of salmonella in hospitalized horses and find better ways to prevent potentially fatal salmonella outbreaks.
On June 1, 2009, Dr. Brady and her husband, Ryan, purchased Brownsburg Animal Clinic, founded in 1970 by Dr. Ronald P. Miller and his wife.
The Brady’s share their home with dogs Dot, Diesel, and General Calhoun, a cat named Mr. Bigglesworth, an albino leopard gecko named Jake, a rosy boa called Kerpal, and numerous fish.
HR: How long have you owned the clinic?
TB: Since June of 2009.
HR: You’ve had the business for awhile! Great. What were you doing before you started the clinic?
TB: I was working as a small animal veterinarian at a practice on the West-side of Indianapolis.
HR: And what inspired you to start your own business?
TB: I enjoyed everyone I worked with at my previous practice , I just wanted to have the decision making ability as to quality of medicine, what equipment I wanted , what courses in continuing education I wanted to take, what I wanted to specialize in. Those are the main reasons I decided to go out on my own.
HR: Congratulations! Now how many employees do you currently have?
TB: We have one other full-time associate and a part-time associate veterinarian, four veterinary technicians, 2 receptionists, and a few part time students, and in the summer we have more students.
HR: So you offer internships to individuals going to veterinary school?
TB: We definitely offer… we usually have them come shadow us first… or sometimes they will start out as volunteers and then if we’re a good fit we can offer pay so they’ll get experience which helps the vet students and tech students get their foot in the door.
HR: Do you find that bringing on interns is beneficial for your business?
TB: It is. I think they definitely can bring something different for us and it’s nice to be able to teach them. It is nice to sometimes take a step back, so we can teach them and the technicians can teach them as well. A lot of them are go- getters and improve the office’s attitude and morale.
HR: That’s great to offer students hands-on experience! In terms of HR, what is the number one thing which you believe all business owners should be aware of?
TB: I think a lot of the interpersonal issues. Also, knowing how to deal with taxes when undergoing renovations or building on, is probably the biggest thing. Also I think business owners should be aware that there are resources out there which should be utilized because there are things you can and can’t do on your own.
HR: Exactly. As a HR consultant, we deal with employment issues and help a business owner, who wears all hats to make sure they are in compliance and help make any transitions you’re going through go a little bit smoother.
One of the questions I’m interested in is when you’re looking to hire do you do a quick search and hire the best available talent within a specific time frame, or do you keep the position open as long as you need to find the best possible fit to fill the job?
TB: For the most part it’s the latter. I don’t like to hire just to have a person … I like to have a good fit with the team just because training wise it’s difficult even if it’s an assistant or Customer Service representative. It’s still so specialized, you take so much time to train them so it is very beneficial to take our time when hiring.
HR: Exactly! Because of the type of business you’re in, when you’re interviewing candidates, do you have specific questions or how do you know they’re gonna be a good fit and take care of our children, which are our cats and dogs? How do you find that person that you know will be an animal lover and treat your patients like we would treat our children?
TB: I look at their resume, and even if they don’t have animal experience, a well written resume is critical …. the interview part … I introduce them to staff and show them the clinic and I watch how they interact with the staff and the other doctors. When we’re talking I look for a warm friendly person and someone that’s honest with me and even if they say “I am the best customer service representative but I have actually no animal experience” it could be a good fit. If you can tell me what your weaknesses are I think we’ve got a good foundation and background.
HR: Alright, as a business owner, we occasionally make a decision that can affect a large segment of our workforce. Can you share a time when that happened and how you handled it? Maybe a difficult employee situation?
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