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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.

Job titles

Jawbs: Sharks’ Similarities to Job Titles

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Just like you and me, sharks have their own set of personality traits, and these attributes have set both species apart as apex predators. In honor of one of the greatest weeks featuring our misconstrued finned friends from the sea, TV’s Shark Week, let’s discuss the parallels shared between sharks and job titles of corporate America.

Something’s in the water … and it’s creating a feeding frenzy among your top talent.

Great White Shark | CEO

Two of the most popular figures within their respective domains, the great white and CEO are highly visible. Much of how people judge a company comes from the public perception of its CEO. The same is true for great white sharks, especially after the iconic 1975 movie, Jaws. Since Steven Spielberg’s beloved thriller, public perception was that every shark is a man-eating killer, just like the film’s shark antagonist.

Aside from the public spotlight, the two are active leaders within their defined areas. The great white is one of the most active sharks and can exceed 20 feet in length and weigh over two tons! CEOs are actively running their company and, many times, play the largest role in their organization. They make critical strategic decisions to place the company on its chartered course toward growth, profitability and transparency.

People are fascinated and intrigued by CEOs, just as they are the great white. There’s a reason the great white starred in Jaws, just as the CEO is the star in corporate America.

Bull Shark | CFO

Adaptability and strategy are the name of the game for CFOs. They face enormous pressures while protecting vital financial assets of the company, aligning business and finance strategies, and growing the business. Their adaptability is tested as they hold the key to financial solvency throughout their organization.

Like the bull shark’s ability to survive in both freshwater and saltwater environments, CFOs must be well-versed in many critical elements of the business, from finance to production to human capital management. With so much at stake tied to their performance, you can forgive them for possessing a little of the bull shark’s territorial nature.

Nurse Shark | HR

Similar to the roles of an HR professional, the nurse shark plays a vital role in its delicate marine ecosystem. The nurse shark is seen patrolling the reef floor where it cleans and preys on crustaceans and other marine life that otherwise would overpopulate the ocean. HR professionals often are seen cleaning up and maintaining employee documents and government compliance records regarding OSHA, FMLA, ACA and the list goes on and on.

In many offices, it is typical for HR professionals to be the voice of the organization; they are social beings who plan holiday parties while also administering benefits and welcoming new hires. Nurse sharks hang out in large groups, sometimes of 40 or more. They gather to help their fellow nurse shark, just as HR is there to aid their fellow employees.

Hammerhead Shark | Recruiting

The hammerhead shark is the recruiter of the open waters. Hammerheads are very social and take their job – hunting – very seriously.

Hammerheads are unique, as their eyes are set on the outer edges of their wide heads, allowing them a vertical, 360-degree view. This, coupled with their keen sense of smell, allows them to easily find prey.

Recruiters, too, possess a 360-degree view of not only their organizational needs, but also talent that exists outside of its walls. Recruiters use a number of media to source for candidates, including job boards and social media sites, but they also must rely on a strong applicant tracking system that filters the right guy or gal for the job.

Mako Shark | Sales

If you are in sales or ever have been contacted by a sales rep, you know it is all about being aggressive and timely. Many people say that the best sales reps are those who possess a “hunter’s mentality.” This means they are excited to catch the “big fish” and they do so with endless preparation, drive and mental fortitude. Like the fastest of the shark species, sales reps, too, are quick to strike up a conversation and must move promptly when closing a deal.

Makos are incredibly agile and have been recorded at speeds of 40-plus mph. Like sales reps, makos can cover a lot of territory; they have been known to venture as far as 1,300 miles in a little over a month.

Sharks in the Workplace

Sharks and business professionals are not so different. Both share a number of characteristics that help make them successful at life, whether on land or at sea. These varied species of sharks have unique traits that complement each other in much the same way as humans’ corporate structure.

This article was originally published  July 7, 2015 on the Paycom blog. 

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


Author Bio: A writer, speaker and business leader, Jason has been the communications pulse for a number of organizations, including Paycom where he is the director of public relations and corporate communications. A featured writer on human capital management technology, leadership and the Affordable Care Act, Jason launched Paycom’s blog, webinar platform and social media channels, helping empower organizations around the nation. Jason is attuned to the needs of businesses and 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.

Open positions

Why Its So Difficult to Fill Your Open Positions

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If you feel like it’s getting more and more challenging to find qualified employees to fill your positions, you’re right. New evidence from the Deutsche Bank indicates that the length of time a vacancy lays open has increased overall since 2010. Open positions are increasingly difficult to fill due to several trends within the current labor market. However, there are several actions you can take as a business leader to improve your ability to hire and retain a quality workforce.

Finding and keeping the top-talent your business needs is about to get tougher.

Open Positions Are Staying Vacant Longer

Currently, according to economist Torsten Sløk with the Deutsche Bank, positions are open on average 31 days before being filled. That’s significantly higher than the 24-day average in prerecession 2007, which was the longest span positions stayed vacant since 2001. Job vacancies were filled in about 15 days in 2009, and the length of time it has taken to fill open positions has increased steadily in the eight years since.

Many Business Struggle to Find and Keep Qualified Workers

What does this mean for business leaders? That finding the right worker has become increasingly challenging. The Federal Reserve’s recently released Beige Book notes tightening in labor markets nationwide.

In Pennsylvania, for example, “staffing contacts reported spending more time and money on recruiting labor and refilling positions after the initial hire quit, sometimes after just a few days.”

Additionally, the Federal Reserve’s contacts across the nation and in a variety of industries reported that hiring was limited because there were not enough qualified workers available.

Labor Trends Influencing This Challenge

Some of the reasons cited by the Beige Book included job hopping and a disconnect between companies and job candidates on compensation. Federal Reserve contacts noted “rising wage pressures” in both high- and low-skilled positions. Some also mentioned that the costs of benefits and variable pay were increasing.

Another possible reason employers struggle to find the right people to fill their positions is a growing gap between the skills needed in the workplace and the skills that are available among the workforce. In fact, according to SHRM, we are currently facing “the most acute talent shortage since the Great Recession.”

What It Means For You

It’s now more important than ever to retain your star employees, and attract candidates like them. Having competitive compensation and a culture that appeals to the job seeker can give you an edge in this job market. Consider implementing more in-depth, on-the-job training to address the skills gap, and ensure that you have efficient hiring processes in place to eliminate any wasted time, money and energy.

If you’d like to learn more about current labor trends and what they mean for your business, you can find a wealth of information in our on-demand webinar on current labor trends.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Talent Acquisition

Jeff York

by Jeff York


Author Bio: Jeff York, Paycom’s chief sales officer, has more than three decades of sales experience and has held a variety of sales management positions; prior to joining Paycom In 2007, York spent 12 years with a legacy payroll provider, where he held a variety of sales management positions including vice president of sales for the major accounts division. York, a Texas Tech University graduate, also holds an MBA from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.

IRS Continues to Enforce Affordable Care Act

IRS Continues to Enforce Affordable Care Act

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The IRS recently released an information letter indicating that the IRS continues to enforce the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Dated June 30, Letter 2017-0010 was sent to a member of Congress who reached out to the IRS at the request of a constituent, a tax-exempt entity concerned it may owe an employer shared responsibility payment (ESRP) because it did not comply with the ACA rules on offering health insurance to its employees, for both financial and religious reasons.

The letter first provides a brief summary of the circumstances that might lead to a large employer owing an ESRP, and notes that there is no provision in the ACA that provides for the waiver of an ESRP.

The letter then addresses the effect of the president’s Jan. 20 executive order on the enforcement of the ACA. Titled “Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal,” the order directed federal agencies to exercise discretion permitted to them by law to reduce potential burdens imposed by the ACA.

However, it did not change the health care law. The legislative provisions of the ACA are still in force until changed by Congress; therefore, taxpayers remain required to follow the law and pay what they may owe.

For more information on the executive order and the current tax filing season, visit https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/aca-information-center-for-tax-professionals.

What This Means for Employers

Since Congress has not yet passed a bill that would repeal the ACA, and Republicans have struggled to draft a bill that would receive majority support, employers should use caution and plan to comply with the law’s requirements unless and until the ACA is repealed and any new law’s provisions actually go into effect. Continued compliance may be required for a transition period, following passage of an ACA repeal bill, depending on the language of that legislation.

 

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Posted in ACA, Blog, 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.

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