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Bet on Preparedness, Not Luck: 3 Legal Liabilities of Altering Time Sheets

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If you are a manager, HR professional or anyone with a hand in the payroll process, you probably already know that altering employee payroll sheets can land an organization in a heap of litigation. According to a new ruling, even your personal assets can be targeted if you are found guilty.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees now may sue their bosses or HR professionals for personal liability for making or authorizing adjustments to a worker’s time sheet. To prepare accordingly, organizations need to enforce strict rules regarding payroll adjustments and revisit their policies surrounding scheduled breaks or off-the-clock work. Companies taking charge of these areas greatly can reduce the risk of legal issues stemming from disgruntled employees.

Off-the-Clock Violations

Although it sounds obvious, off-the-clock violations commonly are misunderstood within the workforce. Under FLSA regulations, “hours worked” only applies when an employee is on duty and on the premises of their work. Managers only can assign duties to employees falling under those restrictions. Whether the task is taking out the trash, filing documents or dropping off company mail, managers can be held liable if the employee is not clocked in.

To avoid this situation, create a list of duties for an employee to complete before he/she clocks out for the day. A comprehensive list will communicate your expectations to employees and ensure the work is completed by employees who are still clocked-in.

Brake During Breaks

Over the past year, the U.S. Department of Labor has responded to an increase of complaints from employees who claim they were asked to work through breaks for a host of different reasons. Even if some of these complaints prove false, the problem easily can be avoided by HR taking proactive measures.

If your company offers an optional break, be sure to know the guidelines and communicate them to employees. To remain in compliance, an employee must be relieved completely of his or her duties for a break to go unpaid. For this reason, many organizations issue policies prohibiting their employees from eating lunch while at their desks. Although simple-sounding, the attitude behind it is necessary if organizations hope to avoid possible legal complications from overworked employees.

Slashing Time-Sheet Changes

Even more common than off-the-clock violations is the practice of altering employee time sheets. Although many immediately may think of “time-shaving,” the manager’s intentions behind these adjustments are usually the opposite. A large number of these approved payroll adjustments are completely benign and carried out for the benefit of the employee.

For example, adjustments occur when an employee forgets to clock in before a shift or a computer malfunction prohibits him or her from doing so. These situations frequently lead to incorrect time sheets. In order for payroll to be processed smoothly, managers are expected to correct these mistakes through payroll adjustments.

However, under this new ruling, management no longer can afford to adjust typical payroll errors. To minimize liability, require employees to be responsible for correct time records. While that may not be popular, it could help the organization avoid big fines and costly litigation.

Moral of the story: Bet on preparedness, not luck. With these three policy changes, you may be playing it safe, but you’re also reducing your risk, which is always the best bet.


Lauren Toppins

by Lauren Toppins


Author Bio: Lauren Toppins is Paycom’s Corporate Attorney and has served as the head of the legal department since 2010. Prior to joining Paycom, she served in a general counsel role for three years. In addition to her Juris Doctor, Toppins also holds her Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certificate. During her position as corporate attorney, Toppins managed Paycom’s human resources department. Toppins’ practice focuses on employment law, corporate law, intellectual property and information security law. In her role as corporate attorney, Toppins also oversees Paycom's compliance department and leads a taskforce that conducts periodic reviews of existing employment laws as well as newly implemented laws and pending litigation. In addition, Toppins spearheads a quality management program through which she obtained ISO 27001 and 9001 certifications for Paycom. In her spare time, Toppins also serves her local community by serving on the Board of Leadership Oklahoma City.

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5 Reasons to School Your Workforce

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5 Reasons to School Your Workforce

Learning management systems (LMS) have become even more popular in the corporate workplace, and it’s not without good reason: They work.

In recent years, employees have become all too familiar with cumbersome or outdated training methods. According to Gallup, only 32 percent of U.S. employees are engaged in their work. The same study cites outdated training methods as one of the biggest reasons for disengagement. It’s not too late to upgrade to an easy-to-use training program that will engage your employees by keeping them up to speed on the latest organizational developments.

In addition to having more direct training options at your disposal, you are investing in an immediate way connect with an entirely new generation of employees. Seventy-five percent of millennial workers are eager to utilize online learning, which means now is the time to start thinking of innovative ways for workplace engagement. Online LMS technology allows employers to train their employees on anything, including new government regulations, through new media such as web videos, podcasts and interactive slides.

Why upgrade to a learning management system?

  • It’s instant.

Learning management systems give trainers and managers the means to quickly upload quick videos or PowerPoints for employees instantly. Once the upload is complete, the tools and trainings your employees need for their next steps are already at their fingertips. The time between building the training session and completion of the assignment is shortened to mere minutes.

  • It’s simple.

An LMS gives you the quick and intuitive tools needed to immediately train employees. Building a training session is as simple as pulling out your phone and recording a two-minute video before uploading and assigning it to your employees. Once you have approved the material, they will have immediate access to these trainings after logging into their employee self-service page from anywhere with an internet connection.

  • It helps your organization mitigate compliance risks.

We live in a work climate in which compliance regulations are in a constant state of ebb and flow. Many workers are required to receive mandatory training in areas such as health and safety, diversity, anti-harassment and bullying. Compliance training often requires a lot of box-ticking, and delivering this kind of instruction via traditional methods can be highly labor-intensive. With the recent FLSA overtime expansion ruling, you may need to educate your management staff quickly on what the new rule means for your company and what actions your company plans to take to aid their compliance efforts. Whatever the case may be, you need to have all of your employees on the same page, and an LMS provides the communication vehicle you need to add these new compliance standards to your online courses in minutes, all while giving you the ability to track and report on who has completed the training.

  • It’s flexible.

An LMS provides a number of options that employees can access in a direct and organized manner at any time. Thanks to the streamlined workflow and flexibility in the variety of content supported, you can upload videos, podcasts and other interactive content for employee training with ease.

  • It’s accessible everywhere.

One of the biggest benefits of an LMS is the accessibility it offers to employees; anywhere an internet connection is available. Your employees can access and share expertise at any time through their desktop or even on the go. To keep the training as simple and easy to access as possible, all of the courses are available in a single online location.

Here’s the good news. The process of utilizing Paycom’s LMS is quicker and less challenging than you might think. Activating Paycom Learning is not only going to help keep you up to date on compliance standards, but will switch you to a forward-thinking training program to further engage your employees.

It’s not too late to take that next step and join the future of instant e-learning. If you have struggled to keep your workforce engaged or are looking for a faster, more effective way to convey new requirements to your people, Paycom Learning is here to help, just in the nick of time.

 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only. Accordingly, Paycom and the writer of the above content do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the above information. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, or professional consulting. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other professional services.


Holly Faurot

by Holly Faurot


Author Bio: Faurot, vice president of client relations, has served in a number of roles during her tenure at Paycom, including regional vice president, sales training manager and sales consultant. A born leader and a 2012 honoree in Oklahoma’s 30 Under 30 awards, she has helped a number of individuals and clients achieve success through her energetic spirit. The product of a dairy farm in Kenefic, Okla., Faurot was taught at a young age the importance of working hard, being honest and having a desire to help others.

The Elephant and Donkey in the Office

The Elephant and Donkey in the Office

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Policies on Political Activities at Work

The 2016 race for the White House has been intense, with candidates engaging in heated debates. As might be expected, the charged electoral atmosphere has permeated the workplace, causing record level divisiveness. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “over one-quarter of employees reported greater political volatility at their workplace in 2016 compared to previous election years.”

Political discussions easily can turn into arguments because people often view their political beliefs as part of their identity. To prevent political conflicts – which can negatively impact productivity and morale – many employers discourage political activities in the workplace.

First Amendment and the Public Sector vs. Private Sector

Public employees are governed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which gives them rights to free speech in the workplace, though with some restrictions. But, contrary to popular belief, the First Amendment does not apply to the private sector and does not bar private employers from restricting employees’ political speech. With few exceptions, private employers can prohibit employees from engaging in political discussions at work.

Employers should examine state law, which may provide employee protections. For example, some states have off-duty conduct, free speech and political activity laws that give employees rights not offered under federal law. In addition, Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) allows unionized and non-unionized employees to engage in protected political advocacy, as long as it relates to labor and working conditions.

Employers who permit political discussions at work should be careful that such conversations do not violate legally protected characteristics, such as race, age, gender, disability and religion – which could prompt complaints of harassment and discrimination from offended employees.

Can employers tell employees not to display political signs in their work space?

Private employers can tell employees not to post campaign signs in their cubicles and require they remove political signs from their work space – as long as they don’t breach applicable state laws or protected Section 7 NLRA rights.

How can employers address political activities at work?

If your organization does not have a policy on political activities, consider speaking with your attorney to determine whether it needs one. If you do have a policy in place, consider reviewing for compliance with applicable laws. Does the policy cover relevant areas, such as displaying political buttons on work clothing, making campaign calls on lunch breaks and using office equipment for political activities? Organizations that allow employees to talk about politics at work should aim for a policy that minimizes distractions and encourages respectful political discussions.


craymond

by Chad Raymond


Author Bio: With over 19 years of experience in employee engagement, benefits administration and government compliance, Chad has unparalleled knowledge in the fields of leadership and human resources. Chad has worked in several different capacities with Paycom including leading our product development team and HCM initiatives as well as the former director of Paycom’s service department. Chad’s vision and execution helped empower executives and their teams to reach their full potential, ultimately leading to his new role as Paycom’s vice president of HR.

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4 Ways to Make Your Employees Want to Come to Work

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How to Make Your Employees Want to Come to Work

Disengaged employees don’t feel motivated to work. A 2015 survey by Gallup revealed that 50.8 percent of American workers were not engaged in their jobs. Consequently, disengaged employees may arrive to work late, miss deadlines, submit poor-quality work, alienate themselves from co-workers or seek employment elsewhere.

While the employee could be solely responsible for his or her lack of motivation, in some cases, disengaged employees have a need that’s not being met by their employer. By recognizing and fulfilling this need, you can inspire them to arrive and perform up to standard. Here are four ways to accomplish this.

1. Offer challenging work that makes use of employees’ talents

According to a 2015 global survey by Right Management, 25 percent of employees reported that their top motivation for job change is to experience a different work culture with more challenging assignments. Stimulating projects make the work process more interesting,and push employees to keep learning and unlock hidden potential.

2. Provide transparent opportunities for advancement

High performers want to know that their career is progressing and that they will be given a fair chance at promotions. In a 2015 survey by Mercer, 26 percent of employees said their company does not make it easy to understand advancement opportunities within the company. 78 percent would stay longer with their current employer if their career path with the organization was clearly understood. To retain A-list workers, it’s important to develop and communicate advancement policies clearly.

3. Recognize and reward your employees

Near the top of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is esteem, which precedes only self-actualization.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

In the workplace, esteem deals with employees’ beliefs that they’re doing great work and that they should be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. Employees who are not compensated fairly or recognized for their hard work tend to move to greener pastures. According to a 2015 PayScale report, 65 percent of workers are quitting for more money. Studies also show that companies with strategic recognition programs have a lower turnover rate than those without a recognition program.

4. Get to know your staff

Getting to know your employees on a professional and personal level indicates that you value them not only as workers but also as individuals. The payoff is an employee-manager rapport that lends deeper insight into your employees’ motivations. You might learn:

  • Whether they like working for the company
  • Their personal likes and dislikes
  • How they feel about their manager and coworkers
  • Whether they enjoy their work
  • What projects they’re most suited for
  • Whether they’re satisfied with the equipment or technology they’re using
  • What resources they need to improve their performance
  • Their preferred working style, such as independently or in a team
  • Whether their personal life is interfering with their work
  • What exactly is demotivating them at work
  • What you can do to help

 

Disengaged employees are prone to being “no-shows,” which means someone else has to pick up the slack. A flight risk, they’re not above jumping ship without warning, which stunts organizational growth. While employees should be self-motivated, employers should also do their part by providing meaningful work, competitive pay, recognition, chances for advancement and a healthy work environment that fosters positive relationships.

 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only. Accordingly, Paycom and the writer of the above content do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the above information. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, or professional consulting. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other professional services.



Author Bio: A writer, speaker and young business leader, Jason has been the communications pulse for a number of organizations, including Paycom. A featured writer on human capital management technology, leadership and the Affordable Care Act, Jason launched Paycom’s blog and social media channels, helping empower organizations around the nation. Jason is attuned to the needs of businesses and recently helped develop a tool to aid organizations in their pursuit to comply with the ACA; one of the largest changes in healthcare the country has seen. While working in athletics for ESPN and FoxSports, Jason learned the importance of hard work and branding. In his free time he enjoys adventuring with his family, reading and exploring new areas to strengthen his business acumen.

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