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War of the Wages

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“Wage theft” was coined by the Interfaith Worker Justice, a network of people advocating for improved wages, benefits and conditions of workers. It is an epidemic sweeping across industries, regions and firms of all sizes. Wages should warrant the work put in on the job, and yet many employees are finding out that their pay is not so fair after all.

Crime against wage discrimination has perplexed employers for years, but recently, thanks to the testimony of a few individuals, the topic is being brought to the forefront. Cases involving wage theft – whether intentional or unintentional – are knocking down government doors, as Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims have increased by nearly 600 percent in the last 25 years.

Who is affected?

Wage theft isn’t discriminatory and although pay violations most often affect low-income individuals, no one is immune. In recent years, large employers especially in the fast-food industry have been targets to wage theft settlements. Violations of wage and hour laws don’t just affect the fast-food industry; in fact, a survey by the Department of Labor reported that violations were committed in 50 percent of restaurants in Pittsburgh, 74 percent of day cares in Georgia, 50 percent of nursing homes in St. Louis, 38 percent of hotels and motels in Reno and 42 percent of adult family homes in Seattle.

What does an offense look like?

According to the federal FLSA, state wage and hour violations include

  • Paying insufficient overtime – this is often due to misclassifying exempt and nonexempt positions),
  • Violating minimum wage rules,
  • Off-the-clock claims,
  • Misclassifying workers as exempt instead of nonexempt,
  • Retaliation and
  • Misclassifying workers as independent contractors rather than as employees.

Where do we go from here?

Wage theft is a crime and we need advocates in businesses across multiple industries to bring it to a halt. According to Ken Pinnock, a member of the Society for Human Resources Management’s Ethics/Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Special Expertise Panel, HR can be that advocate. HR professionals tend to wear many hats, but when it comes down to it, the most important role we play is being an advocate for the people, the employees. In instances like these, where employees are being mistreated, HR professionals are vital in mitigating future risks involving wage discrimination. To avoid consequences, HR professionals should consider addressing the issue by:

  1. Raising Awareness – Holding annual training for management and employees alike regarding organizational wage and hour policies is a step in the right direction. Also consider establishing an open door policy with HR staff members and the rest of the organization so that employees can express their concerns without it turning into a potentially ugly dispute.
  2. Reviewing job descriptions and duties – Misclassification errors that result in pay violations tend to happen to a small group of employees. Exempt positions generally take more discretion in judgment than nonexempt positions. By monitoring job duties and randomly interviewing employees you can spot problems before they get out of hand. When interviewing employees find out what their daily job duties include and use caution when you find positions that contain a lot of task-based duties.
  3. Watch for position misclassifications – Wanting to keep payroll costs down is a legitimate concern, but be warned that turning to volunteers and interns can create heightened risk. You can keep payroll costs down but you still have to comply with the law. Be sure employees are not being misclassified.
  4. Throw out the flag – If you see or notice a violation address it immediately. Pride yourself on ethical practices and ensure organizational members at all levels follow the policy.
  5. Conduct an audit – Have an HR consultant or employment lawyer conduct an audit of wage and hour practices. Each audit should be catered to the organization and reflect industry-specific wage and hour risks. Be sure to then follow up on these audits to ensure practices are in line with the law and appropriate changes are addressed.

Become the advocate in your organization and help end this endemic from spreading. Remember you aren’t in this alone, for additional resources, make sure your current HR and payroll provider has the tools available to help you run better reports, keep track of employees’ time and attendance and ensure policies are reviewed and signed to keep your organization compliant.



Author Bio:

As a Human Resource Professional with over 20 years of experience, Jenny has extensive experience in management, mentoring, policy development and recruiting. Jenny’s team player mentality and leadership abilities make her an elite HR Director who is always on top of the latest HR trends. She relentlessly directs associates and executives to achieve their maximum potential for both themselves and their companies.

Podcasts

5 Podcasts That Every HR Professional Should Download

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Podcasts provide the opportunity to sit like a fly on the wall and listen to some of the most brilliant minds in the world converse about today’s biggest trends and challenges.

According to a study by Triton Digital, nearly one quarter of Americans listen to a podcast at least once a month. Education is a popular subject, with 40% of podcast listeners tuning in to that type. If you’re an HR professional or business leader looking to broaden your knowledge of HR and HR technology this year, I highly recommend filling your ears and brains with these five podcasts throughout ’18.

1. HBR IdeaCast

From Harvard Business Review, the weekly HBR IdeaCast features leading thinkers in business and management discussing a variety of key topics in the work world.

It is an excellent resource for insights on a wide array of subjects including, but not limited to, HR. The discussions apply directly to organizations nationwide. The podcast reminds me of NPR’s Fresh Air, but with an emphasis on business leaders.

Recommended episodes:

2. HR Happy Hour

Since 2009, HR Happy Hour has featured thought leaders, workplace and technology experts, academics and more to take on important aspects impacting HR, technology and the workplace.

The podcast is so long-running that it has episodes dedicated to just about every HR topic under the sun. The charming hosts Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane make trending topics fun and informative.

Recommended episodes:

3. CIPD

From the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the monthly CIPD podcast covers everything from talent acquisition to workplace training and cybersecurity.

CIPD’s international perspective brings fresh eyes to subjects that resonate with many American HR professionals. With a backlog of more than seven years’ worth of episodes available, it’s easy to recommend.

Recommended episodes:

4. Workology Podcast

Covering the science and art of the workplace, Jessica Miller-Merrell’s Workology Podcast offers insights and actionable tips on HR and recruiting. Each 45-minute episode promises an in-depth look at every company’s most valuable asset: the employee.

In asking sharp, pointed questions about the latest HR trends, Miller-Merrell does an excellent job as host, bringing a unique and often unexpected take on familiar subject matter.

Recommended episodes:

5. HR Break Room

The official podcast of Paycom, HR Break Room brings you quick conversations on hot topics in HR and HR technology. Co-host Chelsea Justice and I talk with guest experts about the challenges faced by the everyday workplace, as well as their solutions.

To be a bit self-indulgent, I love doing this podcast because it gives me the opportunity to talk with some of the most brilliant minds in the industry. In our first year, our esteemed guests have included New York Times best-selling author Cy Wakeman, millennial expert Adam Smiley Poswolsky, HR Bartender’s Sharlyn Lauby, futurist Jacob Morgan, author and Harvard professor Mihir Desai and of course, motivational speaker and leadership expert, Mark Sanborn.

Recommended episodes:

You can learn more about goings-on within the HR sphere by subscribing to HR Break Room podcast. Here’s to a year full of professional growth through podcasts!

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Posted in Blog, Featured, HR Management, Leadership

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.

Deadline Extended

Employer Deadline Extended for Furnishing 2017 ACA Forms

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Distribution of 2017 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Forms 1095-B or -C to your employees has been extended.

As issued in Notice 2018-06, the IRS has extended the deadline from Jan. 31 to March 2. (However, the deadline to provide Forms W-2 and 1099 to employees and contract workers remains as Jan. 31.)

Filing deadlines unchanged

While the deadline to furnish forms was extended, the filing deadlines remain the same: Feb. 28 for paper forms, and April 2 for electronic forms.

IRS Notice 2018-06 emphasizes that employers who do not comply with the due dates for furnishing or filing are subject to penalties under sections 6722 or 6721.

Good-faith transition relief extended

The IRS also announced the extension of good-faith transition relief. This may allow an employer to avoid some penalties if it can show that it made good-faith efforts to comply with the information reporting requirements for 2017.

This relief applies only to incorrect and incomplete information reported on the ACA forms, and not to a failure to file or furnish the forms in a timely manner. Additionally, the IRS stated it does not anticipate extending either the good-faith transition relief or the furnishing deadline in future years.

Contact a trusted tax professional if you have questions on how this may affect your business specifically.

Click here to read more about how the ACA is affect by the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in ACA, Blog, Compliance, Featured

Erin Maxwell

by Erin Maxwell


Author Bio:

As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Erin Maxwell monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, focusing on health and employee benefits laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. She previously served as assistant general counsel at Asset Servicing Group in Oklahoma City. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Outside of work, Maxwell enjoys politics, historical mysteries and spending time with her family.

Creating an Employer Brand

3 Steps for Creating an Employer Brand That Attracts Top Talent

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Talent shortages and an emphasis on recruiting initiatives have made the employer brand one of 2017’s hottest HR topics. The phrase has garnered plenty of buzz online, but for many HR personnel, the definition of “employer brand” remains unclear.

To learn more on the subject, I spoke with guest Rachel Duran, manager of talent acquisition marketing at CA Technologies on an episode of Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast. Below are three main takeaways from that conversation.

Learn more about the employer brand by listening to the full interview with Rachel on the HR Break Room podcast

1. Be descriptive

The employer brand is similar to a product brand in that you can’t just put out a successful product without positioning it at all. You need to let the customers (or in this case, prospective employees) know what they can expect from what you’re selling (your organization). Describe what it means to work at your company and share which jobs are available; the answers to those questions make up your employer brand.

Communicating your employer brand can be as simple as a job description presented through blogs, videos, quizzes and interactive materials that help prospective candidates understand what they can expect from the culture, the benefits and the overall environment of the organization.

2. Be authentic

Authenticity is key to establishing an employer brand that attracts the right talent for you. The brand is shaped by the entire organization from the bottom up and is defined by the culture formed organically by employees and management alike.

Questions top talent asks when considering their next career step include “What does the day-to-day look like?” and “How do your organization’s values impact the atmosphere of the workspace?” Authentic answers are essential.

Don’t be afraid to dig in and do the investigative work to ensure your materials are accurate; they should communicate your employer value proposition. Also, avoid making the mistake of building a brand that is not reflective of your company’s actual mission and culture.

If marketing of an employer brand is not authentic and transparent, it runs the risk of actually increasing employee turnover when expectations are not met. Every interaction, from a recruiter’s first phone call to a company-wide email, is part of employer branding. If a company is not authentic in everything, it is unfair to expect employees to be satisfied.

3. Be realistic

A critical step in shaping your employer brand is to set realistic expectations for prospective talent. Branding should dictate all aspects of the organization’s representation, so ensure the perspectives of key stakeholders are included.

Once you have everybody’s perspective, it’s time to create the promotional materials for your employer brand. From the seemingly minute post with a custom hashtag to a larger project, such as a dedicated career website full of videos, your content should reflect your company’s culture.

In the current war for talent, the employer brand can be a valuable tool in recruiting efforts. Ensure your brand makes the biggest impact possible by being true to who you are. The secret to recruiting and retaining the talent you need is as simple as being honest about your organization’s identity.

Tags:
Posted in Blog, Featured, Talent Acquisition

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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