Landrum Human Resource Companies Blog


Your Employees Desperately Want Flexible Work Arrangements

written by Amie Williamson on February 10, 2016

Attention Employers: It’s 2016! The demographic of your workforce is rapidly changing. Your employees are clamoring for flexible work arrangements. There are real reasons for this much needed shift in the workplace and it’s not what you think.

In the article entitled, Millennials want a work-life balance. Their bosses just don’t get why, it is noted, “Younger workers see that technology frees them to work productively from anywhere, but their Baby Boomer managers may be afraid people who don’t come to the office won’t work as hard.”

But life for families today is very different compared to what Baby Boomers experienced. Workers are still doing more with less, as was required when the economy began its massive decline. They are working longer hours (say good-bye to working 9-5) and many are married to their mobile devices. This includes checking work emails/business social media feeds before and after official business hours (tacking on another hour to their workday,) yet their salaries and incentives continue to stagnate. Some workers share household responsibilities and childcare schedules with a spouse, while other workers are caring for an aging parent or relative who cannot afford to live on their own.

Then there’s the challenge of childcare. Let’s look at my friend, Meghan as an example. She is a Generation X employee with a dual income household and two kids in public school. Not including the summer and not including national holidays when most companies are closed, the public school calendar in her county reflects 18 additional days off and 2 early release days. Yes, 18 additional days off! If she worked for a company that offered 14 days of Paid Time Off (PTO) per year, she is left with 4 additional days with no childcare, no vacation taken and no options to take time off when she or her kids are sick, which is a very stressful time for employees. So like many workers who do not have access to flexible work arrangements, Meghan has to find paid childcare for those days when school is closed, like she does during the summer. Do you think most employers know this?

With a flexible work arrangement like partial telecommuting, the stress to that employee is virtually eliminated. If Meghan has a sick child, she can easily work from home (or telecommute) and log productive time so she does not have to burn up another day of valuable Paid Time Off. When PTO is actually used for vacation, mental health days or time away from work, employees return sharper and more productive with less burnout, ready to attack their goals! In 2016, technology enables employees to work productively from anywhere, without the stress of having to burn up their PTO or having to drive to the office to accomplish the same outcome during a unique circumstance like a sickness in the family or a teacher workday.

These situations are more prevalent today than the Baby Boomers experienced, so some employers are looking to pivot to various versions of flexible work arrangements to build stronger relationships with their teams. Examples of these arrangements can include Flextime, Telecommuting, Compressed Work Weeks and Job Sharing. They all serve to give workers more freedom with their schedule, while allowing them to meet their obligations to their employer.

Simply put, flextime allows workers to choose the times they work, while working the same number of hours. The article, The Benefits of Flextime clearly illustrates why employers should consider this. It also includes helpful tips and examples employers can use to create flexible arrangements for employees.

“Flextime helps create a happier, more satisfying workplace, too. Because employees are often so glad that their employers are willing to allow for a work-life time adjustment, they tend to work harder and in a more dedicated fashion to hold on to their now-perfect schedule and re-balance their lives.”

Although flextime is at the forefront of work-life balance, it can be a complex concept for companies to navigate. But keep in mind, “Flextime doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing — it can be a gradual process, the first steps of which can take many different forms.” As stated in an article from Harvard Business Review entitled, Flex Time Doesn’t Need to Be an HR Policy,  the writer, Scott Behson states, “The ability to carve out small, informal flex solutions can be really important for employee well-being, engagement, and retention.” This would also apply to telecommuting, as was illustrated in the example of my friend Meghan. The option of partial telecommuting a few days a week or during a unique circumstance is highly valued by employees and helps contribute to their overall well-being.

Of course not all employers can extend flextime due to the nature of their work. For example, flextime for those working for medical or law practices, retail or hospitality would not make sense. Instead, job sharing or compressed work weeks may be a better alternative. With job sharing, one position is performed by more than one worker. For a deeper dive into job sharing, the description on Inc.com covers everything you need to know to get started.  In a compressed work week, the usual 40 hours worked are compressed into a shorter number of days. Job sharing and compressed work weeks are often great solutions for legal and medical employers.

There is no doubt flexible work arrangements are on the rise, but has the topic hit your organization yet? Start the conversation about flexible work arrangements with an open mind and jump on the path to employee engagement, loyalty and satisfaction!


About the Author

amie-w-for-blogAmie Williamson is a Business Consultant for Landrum Human Resources. She works with small business owners to simplify how they handle HR.       Amie’s goal is to help businesses get access to great benefits and create safer workplaces for their employees.  Before joining Landrum, Amie worked more than 10 years as a sales professional in the employer services industry.  She holds a B.A. In English from Florida State University. She is an active Board Member of the Emerald Coast Apartment Association and serves as a Lead Facilitator for Leadership Santa Rosa.



As I learned what I didn’t know (about being accountable)
written by:  Jim Guttmann, SPHR on February 1, 2016

At the beginning of my career, I got a wonderful opportunity to work for a stellar company with a great reputation in the community. My new job provided a substantial increase in pay from what I made with my previous company. It was “an offer that I could not refuse” with personal and professional development in joining a proud organization of over 2,000 employees. As part of the Personnel & Administrative Services Department, I faced the special challenge of being a supervisor for the very first time. Additionally, I was a somewhat naïve young fellow, who had virtually no business sense and was a little lacking in maturity too.

Then, in the first days and weeks of my employment, several individuals provided unsolicited comments about my boss. They said that he was a tough minded, extremely demanding and hard on his staff. I heard that my predecessor (a middle aged gentleman) decided to take a job in another department because, in part, my boss made him a nervous wreck. I heard accounts of employees who left his office crying. A former employee that I met at a human resources luncheon said that she had to leave because he was so overbearing. All of these comments gave me an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. At the time, I was newly married with a baby soon on the way. What I may have lacked in knowledge, maturity and experience, I made up for in my motivation to succeed.

Fortunately, my parents had often told me that you have to take what people tell you sometimes with “a grain of salt”. It’s okay to hear what others say but, for goodness sake, form your own opinion about a person. As it turned out, I worked for this “tough boss” for nine years during which time he was a great mentor for me. Although not liked by everyone, he was respected as a person with outstanding skills. He was widely acknowledged as a prolific writer and was author of many policies and procedures within the company. His overall communication skills were superb. Of everything that I learned from him, some involved tough lessons in “accountability”. Although he never yelled, cursed and write-ups were very rare (and I never got one), it was very clear when he was proud of you (and equally so when he was disappointed). My boss was passionate; not afraid of a good confrontation and, when he looked you in the eye in a certain way, you knew he meant business. So, what are some things that would get the boss riled up resulting in one of those “soul searching” meetings?  You know, the ones that are as pleasant as a root canal.

  • Putting shoddy work on his desk with typographic errors, poor sentence structure and thoughts/ideas that were confusing and not well thought out.
  • Not owning up to a personal mistake. This could take any number of forms such as trying to hide the mistake; saying the mistake was caused by being too busy; stating that the person impacted by the mistake doesn’t matter; offering the mistake wasn’t that bad; expressing that there was another person more at fault; or claiming it wasn’t anyone’s fault but a flawed system etc. Note: people can be very creative with their excuses.
  • Coming into his office with problems and offering no options or possible solutions.
  • Being lazy or careless, not meeting deadlines, blaming others or trying to push work on to someone else.
  • Lacking a sense of pride in yourself and your work. Viewing your job as just a “gig” and not a career.

You could say my boss was “old school” and, dare I say in today’s vernacular, sometimes “politically incorrect”. Although I don’t recall him ever saying “I’m going to hold you accountable!”, he was nevertheless a master at it. In fact, my boss once courageously told a Division Vice President to “back off” when he unfairly questioned how I had handled a particular employee’s complaint. He let the VP know that his comments were just wrong as I was doing my job.  And further that the VP shouldn’t let a personal friendship with the complainant get in the way of my efforts to consistently apply company policy. Yes, that’s right, my boss held him accountable even though the VP was three levels up the management chain. Many years later, I just have one message for my old boss. Thank you for holding me accountable too!


jim-guttman_smallAs a Landrum Senior Human Resources Manager, Jim is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and has over 30 years of HR generalist experience. He holds a Masters in Business Administration from Florida State University and is an active member of the Raleigh-Wake Human Resources Management Association in North Carolina. Jim is also certified as a County Mediator in the State of Florida and in the administration of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Jim is also very involved in his church community and is commissioned as Stephen Ministry Leader.



It’s July 2nd –Have You talked To Your Employees about Fireworks Safety?

It’s July 2nd –Have You talked To Your Employees about Fireworks Safety?

 posted by Joni K. Humphreys on Wednesday, July 2, 2014

This weekend will be filled with red, white, and blue and it’s a good bet that your employees have made plans to celebrate!   And why not? Independence Day – the Fourth of July – the day to celebrate and honor our country!

I am reminded of a previous blog post by our President and CEO, H. Britt Landrum, Jr. a few years ago; “Independence Day: Reflection and Celebration” . His writing reminds us of how brave and wise the founding fathers of our country were and how we should never forget the wisdom displayed.

During this weekend of fun we also need to be reminded to be safe! So, as we plan our barbeque, pack our beach bag, or gather around the swimming pool let’s remember the safety rules and precautions we need to take. This is especially true if you or your employees plan to light a sparkler or firecracker in the backyard! Of course, to have a truly safe and fun 4th of July, go to a professional fireworks show!

We hope everyone has a very happy and safe Independence Day Holiday! Here are a few websites that offer great safety advice for your July 4th outdoor events:

The National Council on Fireworks Safety

USA.gov offers history and fun facts about Independence Day as well as Fireworks Safety Tips, Pool Safety, Boating Safety, and Barbeque Safety!

Kids Safety with Fireworks includes a great safety video.

National Fire Protection Association

july 4



Pay Now or Pay Later: Hawaii’s Fat Law’s Farm and the US Department of Labor

Pay Now or Pay Later: Hawaii’s Fat Law’s Farm and the US Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is geared up for another busy year of investigating wage and hour violations. One recent win for the Department and employees of Fat Law’s Farm, Inc. resulted in an order to pay a total of $460,000 for labor violations. $428,800 went to back wages and liquidated damages. $31,200 in civil money penalties was assessed because of the deplorable housing, safety and health conditions in direct violation of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

Fat Law’s Farm produces and supplies herbs and vegetables in Hawaii for export to U.S. mainland and Canada. The company employed roughly 40 Filipino and southeastern Asian agricultural employees. In addition to wages, workers were provided housing on the farm and supplied a kitchen, lodging and laundry area.

Photo Credit goes to the HawaiiReporter.com

Photo from the HawaiiReporter.com NOTE: Photos of Fat Law Farm were provided by the Department of Labor at Hawaii Reporter’s request.

In 2013 the U.S. District Court in Hawaii issued a search warrant that permitted the Wage and Hour investigators to gain access to Fat Law’s Farm and obtain a clear picture of the pay practices and working conditions maintained by the employer.

The investigation revealed that between 2011 and 2013 Fat Law’s Farm failed to pay agricultural workers minimum wage for all hours worked, did not pay overtime wages, failed recording-keeping provisions as required by FLSA, and provided substandard living conditions. DOL was able to determine the company’s Filipino workers were predominantly paid at $7.25 per hour with overtime compensation, but other workers, mainly from Laos, were paid $5 per hour in cash, without overtime, and worked 70 hours per week on average.

In addition to the wage and hour violations, the disparity in pay could lead to an additional investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and may warrant investigations by other agencies to determine if tax, insurance and employee mandate provisions were violated.

For additional information:

Consent Judgment

Hawaii’s Fat Law’s Farm to pay $460,000 for labor violations following US Department of Labor investigation

Fact Sheet #49: The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act

Hawaii Reporter

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Eileen Hess, PHR

Eileen Hess, PHR

Eileen carries out the role of Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services in Pensacola Florida, serving clients in multiple states. In this role, she advises clients on current and trending state and federal laws influencing human resources. Eileen also provides assistance in dispute resolution and utilization of best human resources standards. She serves as a knowledgeable and trusted advisor to clients “helping them to work a better way”. Eileen has over 20 years of human resources experience in the corporate, healthcare, and manufacturing environments, and certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) through the Human Resource Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management.

 

 



Equal Pay for Women in the Limelight

Equal Pay for Women in the Limelight

The week of April 7th was an eventful one in Washington D.C. as President Obama signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation. This Executive Order provides a critical tool to encourage pay transparency, so workers have a potential way of discovering violations of equal pay laws and are able to seek appropriate remedies. In addition, by Presidential Memorandum, he asked the Secretary of Labor to require federal contractors to submit data on employee compensation by race and gender. The Department of Labor will use the data to encourage compliance with equal pay laws and to focus efforts where there are suspected discrepancies. After signing these initiatives, President Obama encouraged Congress to pass a Paycheck Fairness Act for the private sector.

Before considering the relative merits of the Paycheck Fairness Act, let’s review past legislation that is already the law of the land.

Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) – The FLSA established minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

Equal Pay Act (1963) – Amended the Fair Labor Standards Act and aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex.

Civil Rights Act (1964) – Outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (2009) – Amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by stating that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing an equal-pay lawsuit regarding pay discrimination resets with each new paycheck affected by that discriminatory action.

On April 9, 2014, the Senate did indeed consider The Paycheck Fairness Act which would have expanded the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to make it easier for employees to pursue legal claims for unequal pay based solely on the sex of the employee. It would have also allowed employees to share salary information without fear of retaliation, and increase the amount of damages that could be awarded in these types of discrimination lawsuits. Fifty four (54) Senators voted in favor of this legislation but it did not receive enough votes to overcome a partisan filibuster in the Senate.

Those who were in favor of the legislation maintain that women still make just 77 cents on average for every dollar a man earns, and continue to face prejudice in the workplace. According to their research, this gap has held constant since 2002 despite the fact that women make up roughly half of America’s workforce and graduate at a higher rate than men from college and graduate schools. They believe it is time to add some Government enforcement into the Equal Pay Act to reduce or eliminate the gap in pay between women and men.
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As a Landrum Professional Human Resources Manager, Jim is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and has over 20 years of HR generalist experience for a large government contractor and Fortune 500 Company. He holds a Masters in Business Administration from Florida State University and is an active member of the Greater Pensacola Chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management (GPCSHRM), previously serving as their Vice President of Information Services and Chairman of the Workplace Diversity Committee. Jim is also certified as a County Mediator and in the administration of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator(MBTI).



Exempt or Non-Exempt, That is the Question

Exempt or Non-Exempt, That is the Question

by Edward Grayson, SPHR on April 8, 2014

Working conditions were different in 1938 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt led efforts to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The act established a maximum number of work hours per week, a minimum wage, overtime for certain jobs and restrictions on child labor. The Department of Labor’s website states, “In its final form, the act applied to industries whose combined employment represented only about one-fifth of the labor force.” The American workplace in 1938 was very different from today. Through years of revisions, current FLSA regulations impact most employers and workers in America. On March 13th, President Obama directed the Department of Labor (DOL) to do its first overhaul of FLSA regulations in 10 years. At the heart of the review will be the President’s instruction to update who qualifies for overtime pay.

To be “exempt” from overtime pay, the FLSA requires an employee to pass a “duties”, “salary level” and “salary basis” test. The duties test requires employers to evaluate the tasks of a specific job and how those tasks align with the employer’s operations. Most likely, a job would pass the duties test if it required managing other employees, exercising independent judgment and discretion, and included non-manual work.

The salary level and basis test concerns the amount and how an employee is paid. To pass the salary level and basis test, the FLSA requires employees to be paid at least $455 per week and, generally speaking, have some or all of their base pay guaranteed regardless of the quality or quantity of work. President Obama’s directive is expected to focus on the salary level test and the qualifications for exemption under the FLSA duties test. However, raising the threshold for the salary level test is expected to be a primary goal of the DOL review. The salary threshold has been raised seven times since 1938 with the most recent change occurring in 2004. The test was originally intended to apply to highly compensated, white-collar employees, but now covers employees earning as little as $23,660 per year.

Preliminary information from DOL and various media articles indicate the threshold for the salary level test could be adjusted for past inflation and raised from a range of $28,756 to $51,168. No one is sure what DOL will propose, but it is expected to be in the upper end of the range. That would be a significant increase from the current level and would certainly have an impact on businesses across the country. In addition, the duties test most likely will require a certain amount of time devoted to “exempt” work and that will require a careful review of a job’s duties and responsibilities. Other changes may include narrowing the exemptions for employees in computer related occupations and outside sales.

At this time, it is not clear whether the FLSA changes will undergo the standard rule making process. If DOL proposes the regulations, it would invite input from business groups and labor organizations, and it is anticipated there would be lobbying on both sides of the proposal before a final rule is published. Consequently, the final result of the President’s directive is projected to be at least 12 to 18 months away.

So, is there anything business owners should be doing? As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Business owners can be proactive by ensuring the jobs in their organizations are classified correctly under current FLSA overtime provisions. It is important to remember that DOL is more concerned about the duties and responsibilities of a job, rather than the job title. A lofty job title does not guarantee exemption. The first step in determining whether a job is exempt or non-exempt from overtime pay should begin with a job description that accurately reflects the duties, responsibilities and accountability of the position. The job description will provide the guideline to determine whether the job is accurately classified. That should be a top priority. A second priority should be ensuring overtime pay is accurately tracked and paid to employees eligible to receive it.

Ensuring compliance with FLSA standards is a wise business practice under any circumstances and may help business owners avoid the cost of incorrectly classifying a job as exempt (For more information, see “Don’t Become a DOL Statistic.” Remember, if a business undergoes a wage and hour audit it will be the business owner’s obligation to explain why jobs are exempt from overtime pay provisions.

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     As the newest member of the Landrum team, Ed Grayson began his role as a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services at full speed. With more than 27 years of HR experience with a Fortune 500 company, Ed ensures that Landrum clients are in compliance with all local, state and federal laws that impact human resources. He provides advice to business owners and employees regarding the potential resolution of work-related issues and trains and consults with employers on the implementation of Human Resources best practices.

      Ed is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, Certified Compensation Professional and Certified Benefits Professional. He serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for the Waterfront Rescue Mission, Pensacola, Fla.

Connect with Ed in the comment section of this blog post.  Your feedback is welcome.



State of Florida Offers Free Workplace Safety Seminars

State of Florida Offers Free Workplace Safety Seminars

Information provided by the Landrum Human Resources Risk Management Department on March 18, 2014

Employer responsibility towards ensuring the health and safety of employees in the workplace is not only a legal requirement, it is also essential to the success of any business. In addition to complying with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) workplace safety regulations, employers have an obligation to comply with Florida’s Workers’ Compensation laws. These laws are designed to assure quick and efficient delivery of disability and medical benefits to an injured worker and to facilitate the worker’s return to gainful employment.

In order to assist employers to better understand these requirements the State of Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Workers’ Compensation offers free seminars and webinars for employers regarding Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Laws and Workplace Safety.

More information about these programs is available here:

2014 Education Seminar Flyer Mar – June

2014 Education Seminar Registration Form Mar – June

2014 Web Based Registration Mar – Aug

If you have questions or would like to contact the Landrum Human Resources Risk Management Department click here or call 850-476-5100; toll free 800-888-0472.




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