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Can we send employees home early because there isn’t any work to do?

Yes, you can send employees home early due to a lack of work. Just keep in mind that exempt employees would need to be paid their entire salary for the day. Non-exempt employees would only need to be paid for actual hours worked, unless you operate in a state with reporting time pay requirements. If you do operate in a state with reporting time pay requirements, employees may be entitled to reporting time pay for a certain number of hours even if they just show up and do no (or very little) actual work. This pay requirement is intended to lessen wage loss that is not the fault of the employee, as well as encourage employers to not over-schedule, since overscheduling and then canceling sh

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What is an employee’s regular rate of pay? Is it just what they make per hour of work?

Not exactly. An employee’s “regular rate of pay” is the amount used to calculate their overtime rate for a given time period. You might think of it as an average, of sorts. An employee’s regular rate is determined by adding up the amount paid for their work, as well as earnings from non-discretionary bonuses (such as those tied to performance or retention), then dividing that amount by the total hours worked.    For example, let’s say Anna earns $10/hour for inside sales work and $15/hour for bookkeeping work. This week, she worked 24 hours in inside sales and 20 hours as a bookkeeper. She also received $50 in commissions that are attributable to this workweek. Her

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How do we know if our managers are performing well?

Managers are doing a good job when both the teams they lead and the individuals they manage are thriving.  Simply stated, teams thrive when they consistently deliver quality products or services while staying within budget. Individual team members thrive when they’re advancing in their careers, learning new skills, showing initiative, taking on additional responsibilities, getting promoted, and adding value to the company.  If a team is getting its work done, but the individuals on that team are not developing professionally, then the manager in charge of that team may not managing as well as they could be. Perhaps they aren’t coaching employees, clearly outlining expect

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DOL Releases Final Overtime Rule, Effective Jan 1, 2020

The Department of Labor has announced the final rule that will increase the minimum salary for certain exempt white collar employees. The final rule is very close to the proposed rule we reported on in March. The new minimums will take effect January 1, 2020. Exempt Executive, Administrative, Professional, and Computer Employees (EAP)Salaried exempt EAP employees must be paid at least $684 per week on a salary basis (an increase from the current minimum of $455 per week). This is the equivalent of $35,568 per year. Up to 10% of this minimum may come from non-discretionary bonuses, incentive payments, and commissions (collectively, “incent

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Why You Should Care About Your Employer Brand

Lots of HR leaders today are talking about the importance of using marketing techniques to build an effective employer brand. The topic was a focus in several sessions at the latest annual Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference.  What is an employer brand? To answer that question, it may be helpful to go over what a brand is in general. A brand is a name, image, or some other feature that distinguishes your products and services from those offered by others.  Branding may sound simple, but as any marketing team can tell you, a lot of thought and work goes into it, and the difference between success and failure couldn’t be starker. If you call to mind successfu

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I’ve heard serving alcohol at company parties can be a liability. What steps can we take to protect our organization and our employees?

Yes, alcohol can be a liability. Partygoers who overindulge could cause an accident or act in ways that violate your harassment policy. Here are some practices you might consider: Employers may be liable for employee misconduct and negligence when the employee is acting “in the course and scope of employment,” so make these kinds of events optional and clearly communicate that attendance is neither expected nor required.Don’t plan to have any work-related activities at the event.To further support the non-work nature of the event, hold it off-site and outside of regular business hours, and allow employees to bring a guest.Set expectations around respectful behavior and encourag

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The Ins and Outs of Conducting Background Checks

Have you considered conducting background checks as part of your hiring process? The practice is fairly typical in the banking and financial services industries, as well as with those who work with children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. If you’re wondering whether you should do so as well, check out our overview of the process below.   Identify the business reason for conducting pre-employment background checksBackground checks add time and expense to the hiring process, and they can create risk, so if you’re thinking about conducting them company-wide or for specific positions, you should have a business reason for doing so. In short, you should know why you

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What are some best practices for conducting terminations?

While all terminations carry some inherent risk, there are some best practices that can reduce risk significantly: DocumentationGood, ongoing documentation is your best defense to any challenge, whether from the employee in the termination meeting, the state unemployment insurance department, the labor department, or opposing counsel in court. Be sure to document behavior and performance issues when they happen, conversations you have, disciplinary actions you take, and warnings to the employee about the consequences if they fail to improve. While there is no exact amount of documentation that will eliminate risk, more is generally better. We recommend that you have enough documentation

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Can we ask an applicant why they are leaving their current job?

Yes. While it’s fine to ask this question during the interview, we recommend you collect this information ahead of time by asking about it on an employment application. In the section where the applicant lists their previous employment experience, you can ask for the reason they left each job. Trends you notice may be cause for follow-up questions during the interview or a reason not to schedule an interview at all. If you ask about previous or current employment during the interview, be mindful of the direction the response goes. As with any interview question, you should redirect the candidate if they start to share sensitive information. For example, if a candidate says they left pa

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Five Reasons to Rehire Former Employees

It’s not uncommon for organizations to have a policy against rehiring former employees. This sort of policy makes perfect sense with respect to troublemakers, poor performers, or others who left under a dark cloud. It’s also understandable given that companies invest a lot of money training and developing their people, and employees who go elsewhere take that investment with them, sometimes to a competitor. But times have changed, and expectations with them. Few employers these days expect employees to stick around for many years. Most know that employees will move between employers multiple times over the course of their career and that many of them will even change careers entirel

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