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Employees Want Vacation – When to say NO and What to KNOW

Vacation is not a mandatory benefit and it’s up to the employer to determine whether or not this type of wage benefit is appropriate.  If you decide that offering vacation benefits is right for your business, here are a few things to remember:

  1. Include a policy in your handbook: Have a very clear and detailed policy regarding time off – with or without pay – that is in writing and readily available to all employees through an employee handbook. Topics that need to be covered include which employees are eligible, when benefits can be earned, accrual rates and policies, process to request time off, and what happens to any unpaid benefit upon termination of employment.
  1. Include a cap on vacation hours earned. It may seem like it is not important when you hire your first employee, but as companies grow these benefits can become expensive and result in financial liabilities. Keep in mind that once vacation time is accrued by an employee it cannot be forfeited, even when there is a change in policy, so it’s important to do it early. For example, if employees could previously carry forward unused vacation time and the company decides to adopt a “use it or lose it” policy at the end of the current year, the company cannot impose the new policy on vacation time already earned. It must honor whatever policy was in place at the time the vacation was earned.
  1. Don’t include vacation hours when calculating overtime. Overtime is calculated using actual work hours only. Sick time, vacation pay and any other wage benefit where the employee doesn’t actually work are not considered. For example, an employee could work regular 40 hours and then get 8 extra hours of pay for a holiday and it would not count as overtime. The same goes for sick time and vacation pay.
  1. You can say NO to taking time off. It’s okay to deny vacation time – even if it is earned – when it is not the right time for your business. Offer the employee another option for taking time off. Work together to find a good time for both the business and the employee. You can also deny an employee time off even if they are not going to get paid for the time off. I run into this with small businesses – they think that because the employee is not going to get paid that they must allow the time off but that is not true. The employee is taking up a full time or part time employee “slot”” and they need to meet the basic obligations of employment – showing up!



What NOT to do When Looking for a Job

There are lots of things that you should NOT do when you’re looking for a job but here are 3 that I have been reminded of recently while recruiting. If you have applied for a job, sent in the necessary documents (an application and resume for example) and scheduled a phone interview – I’m thinking (as the recruiter) that you are actually SERIOUS and INTERESTED in the job.

If you are here are some tips.

  1. Your resume and your application job history (and everything else) should match! Don’t leave off jobs on your resume because you haven’t bothered to update it for the job you are applying for. Looks like laziness to me. Really!
  2. If you have a scheduled phone interview, make sure that at the time of the interview you are in a quiet place where you can focus on the call and interviewer and not driving down the road with a bad connection. Makes the recruiter feel NOT important. Really!
  3. That scheduled phone interview – don’t be working at your current job while taking the call. It looks like STEALING time from your current job to me as the recruiter. I would NEVER hire someone who made that bad decision. Really!
Filed Under: HR

Employees Clocking in Early – What to do and what NOT to do!

Are employers required to pay employees if they clock in before their start time?

When it comes to payroll, 15 minutes here and 20 minutes there can quickly add up to a few hours of overtime pay each week and that can send your payroll budget over the edge.

What NOT to do!

To curtail the expense employers will often establish a policy or practice that they will not pay employees overtime if they clock in early or stay late without getting approval from their supervisor. Sometimes employers go so far as to change the employee’s time card to the time the employee is scheduled to work, thus eliminating the overtime payment. So what’s wrong with that?

First of all the Fair Labor Standards Act states that employers are required to pay employees for the time worked. Second of all, employers should not change a time card unless it is actually incorrect for some reason and both the employee and the supervisor initial the card – for example, you have a time card system and an employee picks up the wrong card and clocks in. In that case, the card will have to be changed and both the supervisor and the employee should initial the change. (It would also be a good idea for the supervisor to document what happened.)

What you CAN do?

Make sure your company has a policy that states that overtime must be pre-approved and that policy should be included in your employee handbook. Even though you have to pay the employee for the hours worked, you can and should discipline them for working overtime without pre-approval.


Filed Under: HR

Trump, Immigration and Small Business Owners

Trump, Immigration and Small Business Owners

3 things you need to know to be ready for the Trump administration!

Today, January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn into office as President of the United States. While there are still a lot of unanswered questions about what President Trump will be focusing on and the changes he will make as President, there is little doubt that Immigration is important. With Immigration as a focus, there is a good possibility there will be more auditors to review your I-9 Forms and documents and along with that perhaps higher fines and penalties. The penalties were increase just last year but they could rise again. Here are 3 things I strongly suggest you do right away.

  1. There is a new I-9 Form that is available now and the one we have been using becomes obsolete on January 22, 2017! Download the new form – it is a “smart form” so you can even fill it out on line and then print it to sign and file. Here is the link to the form: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. A couple of important things:
    1. You do not need to go back and complete the new form on current employees, only on employees you hire from this point on.
    2. One key change is that you must enter N/A on any fields that previously would have been left blank. – trust me, if you don’t you could incur penalties if audited.


  1. Make it a priority to audit your I-9 forms and make sure you have them completed, and completed correctly, on every employee you currently have.
  1. File them correctly so you do not open yourself up to a broader audit if you are audited. Do not file the forms in the individual personnel files – they must be filed separately in a notebook or separate file.

If you have questions or need assistance contact me through the contact form or call me at 704-650-8684.

Management Tips for Negative Reactions from Employees

Have you ever put off talking to an employee about their poor performance because you wanted to avoid the confrontation?

It can be very challenging to give bad news to employees but avoidance only creates stress on us (maybe our customers) and can bring the company growth to a screeching halt! Well, as they say, it is time to put your big girl/boy pants on and step into the conflict for the sake of the business and sometimes your own health and well-being!

Here are some things to remember as you walk into the conflict:

  1. We can only control how we react, we can’t control someone else’s emotions.
  1. It helps to pause the conservation – slow it down and give them an opportunity to collect themselves and get control of their emotions.
  1. You might try saying, “I can see you are upset by what you have heard here, it was not my intent to upset you but it is important for you to improve your performance and sometimes that can only be done by getting some honest feedback and that is what I am trying to do here.”
  1. Document the interaction.
  1. Be consistent with all employees in the same situations.
  1. Maintain confidentiality!!
Filed Under: HR

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