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This Easter, Put ALL Your Eggs in ONE Basket

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Go ahead, do it: Put all your eggs in one basket.

We get that you’ve probably been told to do the opposite all your life, but here’s the thing: Today’s employees don’t want several baskets; they want one basket. That is, one place to access all their eggs, including their nest egg of pay stubs and 401(k) contributions. By eggs, we mean their employee data: benefits info, performance reviews, vacation accruals, training courses and more.

EGGcellent benefits

The benefit of implementing an employee self-service portal falls into several categories, but we’re going to focus on two important ones today; cost savings and improved employee engagement.

As you are aware, time is money. With your HR and payroll eggs in one basket, employees do not have to waste time logging into multiple software solutions to clock-in, complete a required course or to submit reimbursements. Having all their information in one place also frees your HR up from answering typical HR questions about login information, etc.

Another prime example of cost savings is demonstrated by the move to electronic pay statements. Employees can view and print new pay statements on demand and the need for printing and postage is eliminated.

A second area of benefits to consider is improved employee engagement. Today’s employees expect the information they need to be online. Nearly everything else they do these days can be done on the go or anywhere internet access is available. Even things that once seemed risky like banking or buying a car are activities people are doing daily online – including your employees.

With 24/7 access and insight into employee information, a self-service portal empowers your employees and managers, doing away with the scrambled method of multiple logins and different passwords that would leave anyone’s patience fried. Now employees can be more productive and engaged knowing that everything they would need is right at their fingertips.

Employee self-service is exactly what it’s cracked up to be: easy to use, engaging and empowering. Anything else is just egg on your face.


Rod Lott

by Rod Lott


Author Bio: As Paycom’s Creative Services Manager, Rod Lott brings more than two decades of experience in marketing, advertising, branding and journalism. A published author and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he has worked with such brands as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sonic Drive-In and OU.

FLSA Overtime Regulations

Court: FLSA Overtime Regulations Invalid

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In case you missed it, on August 31, 2017, Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas determined that the 2016 Final Rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, which increased the minimum salary threshold to $47,476, was not a valid action by the agency.

After finding that the case was ready for judicial decision and the parties at hand could be injured if the court did not intervene, Mazzant addressed all three of the plaintiff’s arguments.

First, the court addressed the state plaintiff’s argument that the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime requirements violate the Constitution by regulating the states and coercing them to adopt wage policy choices that adversely affect state budgets. The court held the Supreme Court precedent of Garcia v. Metropolitan Transit Authority established that Congress has the authority under the Commerce Clause to impose FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements on state and local employees.

Next, the court declined to accept the plaintiff’s argument that based on the clear statement rule, the FLSA does not apply to the states. Under that rule, “if Congress intended to alter the ‘usual constitutional balance between the states and the federal government,’ it must make its intention to do so ‘unmistakably clear in the language of the statute.”

The court discarded this argument simply by pointing out the law is applicable to any “enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce,” and this phrase, by statutory definition, includes the activity of any public agency. Therefore, the court held that the Congress was clear enough in its intention to impact the states.

 Failing the Test

Finally, and most importantly, the court agreed with the plaintiffs in finding that the Department of Labor acted outside of the scope of its delegated authority by implementing a salary-level test that effectively eliminated the duties test.

The court adhered to the test established in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., which requires courts to determine whether Congress has spoken directly to the precise question at issue. If Congress has, then the court and agency must follow the intent of Congress.

After interpreting the plain meanings of “executive, administrative and professional,” Mazzant found Congress intended the exemption to apply to employees who perform those duties, rather than those who simply are paid a certain amount. Furthermore, because the new regulations focused more on the salary level than Congress intended, they were found invalid, and the court held the agency acted outside of its delegated authority.

What’s Next?

The Department of Labor published a Request for Information in the July 26 Federal Register, which indicates the agency intends to continue its attempt at overhauling overtime.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured, FLSA, Overtime Expansion

Zachary Gregory

by Zachary Gregory


Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Zach Gregory monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal levels, focusing on payroll and garnishment laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. He previously worked at a law firm as a tax attorney. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University and a J.D. from Oklahoma City University. Outside of work, Gregory enjoys playing in the backyard with his two boys, and finding new restaurants with his wife and high school sweetheart, Kellyn.

Office Drama

It’s an Office, Not a Theater: Managing Office Drama

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Office drama is a distraction that could be costing your company millions. In her new book, No Ego, drama researcher and New York Times best-selling author Cy Wakeman defines drama as any disruptive behavior or thought process that takes energy away from results or a great work climate.

Need to minimize workplace drama?

Listen to the HR Break Room podcast episode “It’s an Office, Not a Theater: Managing Workplace Drama” with author Cy Wakeman.

Drama is expensive

According to Wakeman, employees spend nearly three hours a week on workplace drama, totaling an estimated 816 hours being wasted per year. This isn’t just a nuisance that hurts employee morale and eats up management’s time, but also lowers productivity and, ultimately, profits. With so much at stake, it’s important to remember that organizations can minimize this type of financial drain.

Egos fuel the fire

Wakeman identifies five key causes of workplace drama:

  1. lack of accountability
  2. lack of engagement
  3. withholding buy-in
  4. resisting change
  5. ego-driven work environment

Each cause manifests itself differently, but perhaps the ego’s most common way of creating tension is through employee venting allowed by open-door policies.

Creating an approachable environment is important, but often, in an effort to give employees access, members of management invite toxic conversations that can last as long as 45 minutes, according to Workman’s research. Instead of colluding or sympathizing with employees, the best way to minimize the drama is to bypass their ego; train managers and employees to reflect on their challenges instead of blasting the faults of others.

Self-reflection: the cornerstone of accountability

Becoming more self-aware and learning how to edit your own story is a critical life skill that helps minimize drama, personally and professionally. Most times, the stress that arises from drama does not come from reality, but from a story we make up about our reality. If we hold ourselves accountable to the truth, we realize that most of what we are upset about did not even happen.

Recruit for a low-drama workforce

Recruiting is one way to reduce workplace drama. It is crucial to find people who not only perform, but are able to stay emotionally ready for what’s next.

Finding highly accountable top talent can be challenging, which makes implementation of an applicant tracking system essential. These prospective employees are in high demand, and recruiting them successfully requires swift, seamless action before they go somewhere else. Organizations lacking the tools to attract and recognize quality applicants could be at a disadvantage.

HR’s role in minimizing drama

A big opportunity exists for HR to cut the cost of workplace drama and, more importantly, put an end to the entitlement that feeds such conflicts. HR needs to be especially careful about its employee engagement philosophies, because engagement without accountability creates entitlement. HR should not be afraid to challenge conventional wisdom that does not yield positive results. For example, one popular idea is that employees can be engaged by perfecting their circumstances. This may sound great on paper, but in actuality, there is no way you can perfect their reality; instead, you grow them to become better equipped to live in their reality.

HR can create surveys to send to top performers in order to get a better understanding of their day-to-day environment, including pressure points. Using this data, HR can implement trainings that enrich the mental processes of managers, and eventually, all employees within the company.

Office drama may be an inevitable part of today’s workforce, but by training managers and employees on the right mental processes based on self-reflection, your organization can save countless hours of employee time and untold wasted dollars.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, HR Management, Leadership, Talent Management

Chelsea Justice

by Chelsea Justice


Author Bio: Chelsea is co-host Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast, editor-in-chief of its corporate culture magazine, Paycom Pulse and is Paycom’s communications supervisor. During her more than eight years in marketing, corporate training and communications, she has created hundreds of magazines, training guides, videos and webinars for multiple industries. In her free time, Chelsea is planning her next travel adventure, perfecting her most recent baking recipe, devouring a good book and, above all, spending time with family.

Political Conversations

Knowing the Limits of Political Conversations at Work

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Having political conversations in the office can be difficult, especially in the wake of a divisive post-election season. When employees from various walks of life work in the same space, there’s more opportunity for political disagreements and potentially toxic office conversations.

Determining how your organization will handle political activity in your organization remains a blind spot for many organizations. A 2016 SHRM survey reported that 72% of HR professionals said their companies discourage political activities in the workplace, but only 24% of organizations have a written policy. To further muddy the waters, 8% reported having an unwritten policy that was not communicated explicitly.

 For more tips on how to manage political conversations at work, check out our  HR Break Room podcast episode, Political Conversations at Work: Should HR Pass It or Veto It

These heated conversations make way for an important question for employees and HR to consider: What are your organization’s rules and limits in participating in politics?

Private institutions are king.

It’s important to note that not all organizations operate under the same rules and regulations when it comes to engaging in political discourse or being active in political campaigns. For instance, because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010, private employers have the right to make their opinions and preferences known to both employees and the public.

This ruling also gives private organizations a great deal of leeway in handling political discourse and policy on their own terms. They are not prohibited from restricting employees’ speech and even can have employees participate in political campaigns on the clock.

What’s even more surprising? The Bill of Rights doesn’t protect workers in the private sector from being fired over speech in or outside the workplace – it only prevents the government from infringing upon citizen’s speech.

What can nonprofits do?

The rights of private organizations differ quite a bit from the rights of nonprofits. Organizations that want to maintain the highly sought-after 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status are forbidden from participating in partisan “political campaigns” or else risk having that status revoked by the IRS.

However, the definition of “political campaign” can be ambiguous, especially when nonprofits are allowed to participate in such nonpartisan activities as voter registration drives and legislative advocacy programs.

Here’s a quick breakdown of nonprofit advocacy groups and what they can/can’t do in the political arena:

  • 501(c)(3) groups – are religious, charitable, scientific or educational organizations and are not supposed to engage in any political activities, though some voter registration activities are permitted.
  • 501(c)(4) groups – are social welfare groups and organizations that may engage in political activities, as long as these activities do not become their primary purpose.
  • 501(c)(5)groups – are labor and agricultural organizations that may engage in political activities, as long as these activities do not become their primary purpose.
  • 501(c)(6)groups – are business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards and boards of trade may engage in political activities, as long as these activities do not become their primary purpose.

 

The next three nonprofit groups exist FOR political purposes:

  • 527groups – are tax-exempt groups organized under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code to raise money for political activities. These groups are typically parties, candidates, committees or associations organized for the purpose of influencing an issue, policy, appointment or election, be it federal, state or local.
  • Hybrid PACs (Carey Committees) – these nonprofit committee groups are not affiliated with a candidate and has the ability to contributing funds to a candidate’s committee and to make independent expenditures, as long as they have separate bank accounts for each purpose.
  • Political Action Committee (PAC)– these nonprofit committees raise and spend limited money contributions for the purpose of electing or defeating political candidates.

 

To know how to make the best company policy at a nonprofit, it is important to understand how the IRS determines these terms. The IRS uses what it calls “facts and circumstances” to determine whether nonprofit organizations are engaging in partisan political activity. This means certain activities not normally considered political in a non-election year could be considered political two months before or after an election.

When determining how your 501(c)(3) organization gets involved in political activities, it’s crucial to consider the nature and goals of the activity before deciding whether it is worth the potential risk.

Few organizations have policy.

Whether a Fortune 500 company or a local nonprofit, knowing exactly what your organization’s limits are in participating in politics helps employees understand expectations and act accordingly. These allowances and their boundaries also can help you determine how to handle these political conversations when they inevitably arise at work.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to manage these sensitive political topics, please subscribe to Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast and listen to our latest episode with special guest Robin Schooling.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured, Leadership, Nonprofits

Caleb Masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio: Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

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