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Overtime Expansion

U.S. Department of Labor Moves to Finalize Overtime Expansion

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On March 14, 2016 the U.S. Department of Labor submitted its overtime rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Once finalized, the rule is expected to expand overtime protections to millions of American workers in 2016.

The final rule could be made public as early as April, based on the OMB’s typical review process, and would take effect within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register. This potential time frame would give employers little time to comply with the new wage-and-hour standards.

Time Is Ticking for Employers

Overtime expansion is expected to have a major operational, administrative and cultural impact on many businesses and could cost employers more than $5.2 billion. Service industries like restaurants, retail and hospitality may be hit especially hard.

It’s important for companies to start evaluating their workforce now to determine the best options for controlling costs and managing the administrative burden under the new rule.

Count the Cost

A good way to get started is with Paycom’s FREE, overtime expansion calculator which allows you to quickly calculate your potential overtime costs. We even help you find the point where it may make more fiscal sense to actually raise salaries, based on the new, proposed-income threshold for exempt employees.

Stay tuned for more important information about managing overtime expansion right here on the Paycom Blog.


Brie Hobbs

by Brie Hobbs


Author Bio: For more than eight years, Brie has been writing to both job seekers and business leaders about human resources and the challenges facing today’s workforce. Her articles have appeared on award-winning career and HR blogs, as well as on the International Franchise Association’s SmartBrief and other notable publications. With a background in franchising, Brie focuses on helping franchise organizations understand how Paycom’s human capital management technology can benefit their business.

Changing Drug Screening Policies

4 Insights About Evolving Drug Screening Policies

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During the November 2016 election, eight of the nine states with marijuana-related decisions on the ballot voted to legalize the drug for medical and/or recreational purposes. This trend has gained traction across the country; today, more than half the nation has state laws in place that allow marijuana for medicinal use.

Marijuana legalization has created tension between state laws, federal law and organizational best practices nationwide, causing employers from numerous industries to revisit their current drug-screening policies to ensure they are best serving their people and the company. To learn more about how organizations could handle this shift in state policy, Paycom invited Sheehan Phinney attorney Jim Reidy to the HR Break Room podcast.

Listen to expert and attorney Jim Reidy from Sheehan Phinney discuss current and future drug laws on the HR Break Room podcast episode, “A New Leaf on Drug Policy Screening Policies: Time for a Change?”

Specific plans of action may be difficult to determine, but Reidy provided valuable insight and four major takeaways about quickly changing drug screening-policies.

1. Ask the Big Questions Now

Employers should consider asking a few key, ever-evolving questions about their current drug-screening policies right now.

Reidy suggests asking:

  • What do your drug and alcohol policies actually say?
  • Are you even asking about medications in the workplace? If so, why?
  • Are you asking about the current use of illicit or illegal drugs?
  • For nationwide companies, how do you draft policy in states where marijuana is either medically or recreationally legal? Do you default to federal law or try to accommodate employees and prospective candidates in those positions?

Hard answers may not exist on how to accommodate every employer and employee concern, but asking these questions now will help prepare you for issues that could arise as state laws continue to evolve. If marijuana legislation begins to affect your state, you will be more familiar with the possible pressure points that may influence your policies.

 2. Know Risks and Current State Laws

During the HR Break Room podcast, Reidy cited risk management as one of the most important aspects of changing state laws.

“HR professionals generally work in risk management, and one issue with risk management is safety and productivity, “Reidy said. “Twenty-six states now have medical marijuana approved, and eight states and the District of Columbia have recreational marijuana approved, and those numbers will likely increase in the next year or two. Employers are concerned about what impact it’s going to have on everything from attendance to mental acuity, productivity and largely safety.”

Take time to educate yourself on exactly what your state laws require before choosing a strategy. The better you understand your state’s legislation, the easier it will be to determine how it may impact your organization.

3. Communicating with Managers and Supervisors

According to Reidy, one of the most important things HR can do to prepare for changes is to learn about employee concerns by communicating and working closely with your managers.

“Assuming that they’ve tailored their policy appropriately to their workplace, to their locations, to their standards, their mission and the like, then I would spend a fair amount of time on training my supervisors and managers on the new policy,” he said. “Managers, I like to say, are your eyes and ears, but they’re also your Achilles’ heel. Be very careful with your managers … once managers have been trained, have them share policy changes and train them effectively to ensure they know what it means.”

Once your organization has created these clear channels of communication between HR, managers and employees, it will be easier to create a strategy for implementing a new policy if changes occur on a state or federal level.

4. No Universal Answer

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from our talk with Reidy was that there is no universal answer for all organizations, which is why employers must learn what works best for their business.

Reidy said it best, “employers, know your workplace, know your locations and know the state law that might apply. Be aware that the state law is certainly going to be different than the federal law, and have a realistic approach to screening and testing, and being consistent about your enforcement of your policy going forward.”

Learn more by subscribing to HR Break Room and listen to our podcast, A New Leaf in Drug Screening Policies: Is it Time for a Change?

 

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 Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured

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.

Medical Marijuana Laws

The Highs and Lows of Medical Marijuana Laws

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Medical marijuana laws are being adopted by states at such a quick pace that employers may be struggling to keep their drug-testing policies up-to-date – especially employers with multistate operations. The rapidly changing landscape of medical marijuana laws should prompt employers to review drug-testing policies and procedures to ensure conformity.

Listen to expert and attorney, Jim Reidy, from Sheehan Phinney, discuss current and future drug laws on the HR Break Room podcast, “A New Leaf on Drug Policy Screening Policies: Time for a change?”

States with Strong Employment Protections

Some states that have passed medical marijuana laws also have passed extensive employment protections for individuals holding “qualified patient” registration cards. Arizona, Delaware and Minnesota prohibit employers from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination or imposing any term or condition of employment based upon:

  • a person’s status as a card holder
  • a qualified patient’s positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites

Exceptions to this rule do exist if:

  • the employer would lose federal money or licensure due to federal law;
  • the employee would be employed in a “safety-sensitive” position; or
  • the employee used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana at work

 

Weaker Employment Protections

Other states in which marijuana is legal for medical purposes have passed some employment protections, but which are less stringent. In states such as Colorado, Illinois and Pennsylvania, an employer cannot discriminate based on a qualified patient’s card status, but generally, a positive drug test would be grounds for discipline or termination. Many other states, generally states where marijuana remains completely illegal, have no employment protections at all for qualified patients. States such as Oklahoma, Texas, and Ohio allow employers to have a zero-tolerance drug testing policy, regardless of whether an employee is a qualified patient in another state.

 

Reasonable Accommodations

Another consideration for employers is whether to allow an employee’s medical marijuana use as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Courts have been relatively clear that the ADA does not protect individuals who use marijuana for medical purposes or require accommodation for such use. This is largely because marijuana is still a federally illicit drug. However, New York has its own state disability accommodation law that may require New York employers to reasonably accommodate “qualified patients” of medical marijuana.

Similarly, the Nevada legislature passed a bill amending its existing medical marijuana statute to expressly require employers to attempt to make reasonable accommodations for the medical needs of an employee who uses marijuana, if the employee holds a valid registry identification card. Employers would not be required to provide a reasonable accommodation if it would:

  • pose a danger to persons or property;
  • impose an undue hardship on the employer; or
  • prohibit the employee from fulfilling any or all of his or her job responsibilities.

 

The complicated nature of the state and federal regulations relating to employee marijuana use creates difficulties drafting and enforcing consistent drug-testing policies and procedures. It is important for employers to continually review their existing drug-testing policies to ensure any new developments in the medical marijuana landscape have not outdated its policy.

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 Blog, Compliance, Employment Law, Featured, Talent Management

Jason Hines

by Jason Hines


Author Bio: Jason Hines is a Paycom compliance attorney. With more than five years’ experience in the legal field, he monitors developments in human resource laws, rules and regulations to ensure any changes are promptly updated in Paycom’s system for our clients. Previously, he was an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson. Hines earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and his juris doctor degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he graduated cum laude. A fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Hines also enjoys exploring the great outdoors with his wife and daughter.

Why HR and PR Need to be Friends

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Today’s tech has created an environment with 24/7 access and instant communication. Anyone, anywhere, at any time can share live company updates, photos and videos to countless followers, media outlets, investors and competitors.

This live and on-demand style of communication directly impacts your HR department, since employee actions and consumer satisfaction can be shared in seconds. Your employees, who directly engage with the brand, instantly can become either a champion or a liability.

Trending for the wrong reasons

Consider the recent heightened awareness around the airline industry’s customer service. With the average flight carrying an estimated 230 passengers, a flight crew may have a few hundred citizen journalists on any given flight. The environment has evolved into a “neighborhood watch” under which every employee action is open for documentation, praise or scrutiny.

Overnight, one of your employees – if not your entire company – can make headlines. Another example is last year’s viral video of an upset Michael’s customer claiming mistreatment at the register. The smartphone footage of the store manager remaining calm and composed through the customer’s anger quickly gained national media attention. The store employee received a wave of positive public support and the attention prompted Michael’s corporate office to release an official company statement on the incident.

Benefits of linking HR and PR

In some cases, like a recent incident with a national airline, once HR relates sensitive information to the PR team, it’s often too late to circumvent less-than-desirable online and media attention. Establishing early lines of communication between the two departments is an advantage not only to the general health of a business, but also to a company’s crisis plan.

Media attention is often generated by unexpected circumstances such as:

  • local and national awards and accolades
  • campus emergency
  • fatality or injury
  • consumers organically praising the brand a.k.a. employer brand lift
  • illegal employee activity
  • successful marketing campaigns going viral
  • destruction from natural disaster, power outage

With the speed and convenience of today’s communication, every interaction with a company can be immediately shared. Because of this, HR and PR should be closely intertwined within the fabric of a company. Individuals often are raised to learn that integrity is what you do when no one is watching. Now, everyone is always watching.

 Empowered employees are the best ambassadors

How can companies better prepare employees to understand the vulnerabilities of this emerging climate? By strengthening the relationship between your HR and PR departments and empowering your employees with the right training, which proactively educates your workforce on potential pitfalls of mobile technology. Your employees, properly trained on the dos and don’ts of online conversations, are now ambassadors instead of liabilities.

In the not-too-distant past, CHROs had little visibility into the market insights of the CCO and CMO. But now, with the growth of social media, today’s savvy executives recognize that their PR and marketing counterparts have a front-row seat to product feedback and how employees are performing in real time.

In order to avoid being tomorrow’s headline fodder, ensure that your HR and PR departments are developing social media and public relations training for your employees. Everyone, from the receptionist to the CIO, needs to be aware that their actions could be displayed to a public audience and even go viral.

We will discuss how HR and PR can join forces to communicate an organization’s value, culture and personality, which plays a key part in company branding and policy in part two of this blog, titled What Happens When HR and PR are BFFs.

Be sure to check out the latest episode of our HR Break Room podcast “Fight or Flight: What HR Can Learn from the United PR Disaster” to learn more about how HR can help prevent negative incidents by working closely with their PR and legal teams, and how to create policies that empower employees to mitigate tricky situations.

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Posted in Blog, Employment Law, Featured, Talent Management


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.

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