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WORKFACT WEDNESDAY: Facts About Holiday Hours & Time Off

With the holiday season upon us, you, as an employer, may have questions about providing time off for certain holidays, how to handle pay for company recognized holidays, and how best to manage time off requests and scheduling issues. To help clarify these issues, we’ve addressed several myths concerning company holidays.

Myth: Employers are required to observe certain holidays.

Fact: You may be surprised to learn that, under federal law, employers in the private sector can choose whether or not to observe Santa beachholidays such as New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Note that some states require certain types of businesses to be closed on legal holidays and certain employees to be able to take off on certain holidays (e.g., veterans on Veteran’s Day). Check your state law to ensure compliance.

Myth: Employers cannot require employees to work on a holiday.

Fact: Under federal law, an employer generally may require employees to work on a holiday. Employers should remember, however, that they may need to consider providing reasonable accommodations for employees’ religious beliefs and practices. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers with 15 or more employees are generally required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs and practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship. This may include providing unpaid time off. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Compliance Manual has a number of best practices for providing religious accommodations, such as encouraging and facilitating voluntary shift swaps and permitting flexible scheduling.

Myth: Employers must pay non-exempt employees for time off on company holidays.

Fact: Employers generally are not required to pay non-exempt employees when they do not work on a holiday, unless the employer has a policy or practice stating otherwise. However, most employers do offer paid holidays to full-time, non-exempt employees.

Myth: Employers can make deductions from exempt employees’ salaries when the company is closed on a holiday.

Fact: But for a few very limited exceptions, exempt employees must receive their full salary for any workweek in which they perform any work. This means that if the company is closed on a holiday and the employee works any part of the workweek, he or she must still receive their full salary, regardless of whether the employer offers paid holidays.

Myth: Non-exempt employees who work from home on a company recognized holiday without prior authorization are not entitled to pay.

Fact: Employers must pay employees for all hours worked, regardless of whether the time was authorized in advance. The employer, however, may consistently apply their disciplinary action policy to employees who work without prior authorization, but in no case may the employer withhold pay.

Myth: All non-exempt employees must receive “premium pay” when they work on a holiday.

Fact: Under federal law, private sector employers are not generally required to provide premium pay for work performed on holidays (other than the overtime premium required for work in excess of 40 hours in a workweek). While the majority of states do not require premium pay for work on a holiday either, there are exceptions for certain employers in states such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Be sure to check your state law to ensure compliance. Even if not required, some employers voluntarily provide premium pay for working on a holiday as an incentive to employees, typically either 1.5 times or 2 times an employee’s normal pay rate.

Myth: Paid holidays must be included when determining whether overtime is due.

Fact: Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime for “hours worked” in excess of 40 in a workweek. Paid time off, including time off for holidays, is not considered “hours worked” under the FLSA. For example, consider the situation where an employee works 30 hours during the workweek of Christmas, receives December 24 and December 25 off as paid holidays, and is paid for 46 hours. Under federal law, the employee would not be entitled to overtime pay because his or her actual hours worked is 30. Some employers, however, choose to voluntarily count paid holiday time off as hours worked.

Myth: If a company holiday falls on an employee’s regular day off, an employer must offer the employee another day off.

Fact: If a holiday falls on an employee’s day off, employers are not required to offer another day off, but some employers do so voluntarily. For instance, consider when an employee regularly has Wednesday off and your company offers Christmas (which falls on a Wednesday this year) as a paid holiday. You may choose to provide the employee with another paid day off (e.g., the day after Christmas) since the employee’s schedule would have had him or her off for Christmas anyway.

Myth: Employers cannot require non-exempt employees to work the day before and after a company holiday to be paid for the holiday.

Fact: Under federal law, employers are generally permitted to require non-exempt employees to work the day before and after a company holiday in order to receive pay for the holiday time off. Typically, employers do not apply this policy to employees who scheduled the time off in advance. Note: This practice may not be applied to exempt employees.

WORKFACT WEDNESDAY: Five Things You Need to Know About Tardy Employees

{from TrackSmart online}

It’s 9:20, and Joe was supposed to be behind the counter at 8:45.  And this isn’t the first time. Most days he’s at least 15 minutes late.  And it’s been getting worse. He never misses a day of work, but showing up late makes it hard for other employees who have to cover for him.

So now what?

Tracking employee absences, late arrival and early departure is important to your business. If you ask these five questions, you’ll keep your business on track and employee tardiness under control.  Then you can get back to the business of managing your business.

1) What are the rules?

Even small businesses usually have rules about employee attendance, work hours, coming in late, and docked pay. Check your written policies, if you have them. If employee tardiness is covered, reminding Joe about the rules might be all you have to do.

If you don’t have written rules, or you need to change the rules you have, make new ones that address late arrivals, so you can avoid problems going forward. Just make sure all employees are notified of the changes in any employee tardiness policies before they go into effect.

2) What is the common practice?

Even if you have rules in place, if many of your employees come in late without consequences, you can’t single out one employee for disciplinary action.  That could open your company up to fines or a lawsuit for discrimination.

If “everyone is doing it,” you’ll need to address the issue with the whole staff.

3) What are the federal, state and local laws?

This may seem overwhelming, but many employee absences or late arrivals may be covered by federal, state or local labor laws. Some of the legally-protected leave may include time off for voting, appearing in court, attending a parent-teacher conference, caring for a sick relative or managing an illness.

4) What is the impact?

In some businesses, set start and stop times are essential to getting the job done. But in others, the quality and/or quantity of work may be more critical. If employees are performing very well with less-than-standard hours, you may want to think twice before talking about tardiness. But in most cases, late or absent employees do affect your bottom line.

Many business owners make the mistake of thinking only unscheduled absences are an issue. Even if you don’t have an employee absence problem, just having employees come in late might be costing your company money in lost sales, poor customer service or low morale.

5) Do you have good employee attendance records?

Even if you don’t want to address the issue of employees coming in late now, do keep records of missed hours in case late employee attendance does start impacting work quality. That way, you’ll be able to document the connection.

Whether it’s the first time or the 15th time, you should be keeping track of employee tardiness from day one. Noting the number of instances, the amount of time and the reason for the late arrival is good business practice.

 

 

WEDNESDAY WORKFACT: Sexual Harassment at Work

{from the HR Daily Advisor at BLR}

Sexual harassment has been making front page headlines recently, taking place from the New York City board room to the Hollywood movie set. What should you know about sexual harassment to protect you and your employees at your place of business?

According to the EEOC, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination the violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and labor organizations.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature all constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly effects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates am intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Sexual Harassment Facts:

83% of sexual harassment charges in 2016 were filed by females.

12,860 charges alleging sexual harassment were filed with the EEOC in 2016, up 2% from 2015.

The #metoo campaign hashtag has been used more than 200,000 times across social media to identify victime of sexual harassment.

The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a co-worker, or a non-employee (i.e., a vendor or customer of the employer).

The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the abusive conduct.

Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury or to discharge of the victim.

Wednesday Workfact: 9 Top Reasons Why Employees Love Their Jobs

By Sonia Son, TinyPulse News

Oftentimes, we believe that money is the only reason employees love their jobs. Turns out that’s not the case.

We asked employees to list out the various things they love about their job, and the results told their own story. No longer are we in an era where bosses make or break our work experience — nowadays it’s all about the peers. One out of every two people pointed to their peers and colleagues as motivators that drive employee engagement.

top-love-forjob-graph

When you think about it, you sit next to your colleagues for almost eight hours a day. Because of that, having an intolerable coworker will indefinitely deplete your motivation and morale at work. So it really is no wonder that colleagues and peers came out on top.

Here’s what the employees say for themselves:

I absolutely love working with my coworkers. I feel like I’m constantly growing and learning in this job, and my coworkers are a big part of the knowledge share.

I love being a part of a group with a crazy amount of passion for this company; it’s all encompassing and contagious, and I’m very glad to be a part of it.

How can organizations make sure their employees aren’t going to constantly be clashing heads?

Here’s a tip: if you’re just hiring people to fill empty seats, it’s time to stop.Tweet: If you're just hiring people to fill empty seats, it's time to stop http://bit.ly/1H5csY7 via @TINYpulse

Hiring dull, uninterested people is going to bring your employees down. Finding colleagues that push each other and keep them going is one of the best things you can do to drive motivation and engagement.

WEDNESDAY WORKFACT: 7 surprising facts about remote work

{from Remote.co}

There are many benefits to working remotely that are fantastic but not particularly unexpected. It makes sense, for example, that working from home can be easier on the environment. And that having fewer workers in a traditional office can lower overhead costs for employers. We’ve flipped the script, though, and rounded up a few surprising facts about remote work.

We’ve visited the topic before in a broader post looking at stats about remote work. This time, we’ve gone through our previous list and added new data to compile an updated list, with a focus on stats about remote work that are genuinely surprising.

Some of the fresh data in the list below comes from a newly released report, the 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce.

1. On average, remote workers are in their mid-40s and older.

There’s a popular conception among some in the job marketplace that millennials are driving employee demands for work flexibility, including virtual jobs. But new data from the FlexJobs and Global Workforce Analytics research shows “half of telecommuters are 45 years of age or older, compared to just 41% of the overall workforce.” Like their younger counterparts, seasoned workers (along with parents and other caregivers) value work flexibility.

2. Remote workers tend to be more educated.

To be sure, there are many at-home jobs that don’t require a college degree. However, the research from the Global Workforce Analytics report indicates that, on average, telecommuters are more highly educated. About 53% of virtual workers have at least an undergraduate degree; the rate for non-telecommuters is 37%.

3. Remote employees are more engaged.

The belief that remote workers are disengaged from their colleagues and from day-to-day functions of their employer has been largely debunked. Fact is, studies by Gallup and others show that telecommuting is linked to increased employee engagement, particularly if remote employees are given the right training and technological tools to help them stay connected.

4.  Remote work is the fastest-growing commute option.

Workers in more than half of the nation’s major metropolitan areas list telecommuting as their top “commute choice,” edging out public transportation, the Global Workplace Analytics data shows. As a mode of commuting, working remotely has grown faster than any other means of accessing work and the workplace, the report concluded.

5. Working remotely boosts worker productivity.

Close physical proximity to a supervisor and work colleagues is no guarantee that the work is actually getting done. To the contrary, office distractions often slow down the work pace. A separate FlexJobs survey from 2016 found that only 7% of those surveyed felt they could be at their most productive while working in the office.

6. The median salary for remote workers is higher than that of in-office workers.

Evidence has been building for some time now that working from home doesn’t necessarily mean taking a pay cut. That evidence was reinforced by fresh data from FlexJobs/Global Workforce Analytics research data showing that, on average, the annual income for most telecommuters is $4,000 more than the income of traditional workers. Job seekers who are convinced that telecommuting jobs really pay less may want to reassess their career prospects.

7. Remote work keeps older people in the workforce longer.

Many workers are pushing to retire earlier in order to enjoy a second-act career while they’re relatively young; remote work can facilitate such aspirations. And it’s not just the retirees among older workers who are taking advantage of remote options. In some instances, a virtual job can enable an employer to hold on to a valued team member—for example, if that older worker has a spouse who’s already retired and is ready to move to their dream location. In those instances, remote work works because geography isn’t an issue.