Private Club Payroll & HR Essentials

 

ClubPay's blog will provide timely thought provoking articles that position you to respond confidently to the unique challenges faced in today's employment market.  We will provide you with important information and perspectives on how to protect your club, build your team and retain your best staff. 

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Meet Our Club Industry HR Expert, Clare Vazquez

  
  
  
  

Register todaWage & Hour Audity, for ClubPay’s Education Webinar discussion: Is your Club prepared for a Wage and Hour Audit?  Our HR Partner, Clare Vazquez will share with us why the number of wage and hour class action lawsuits are on the rise and offer relevant information that may help your Club avoid or be prepared for a DOL Wage and Hour Audit.

Clare Vazquez’s diverse HR background has enabled her to bring an innovative, practical and fresh perspective to HR issues. She has consulted with many Fortune 500 companies across a wide variety of industries including hospitality. Clare is an experienced leader performing a principal role in conducting harassment investigations, policies and procedures development, talent acquisition and selection, organizational leadership, and recruitment process.

We are proud to have Clare’s expertise on our Club HR team; with Clare’s Club Industry experience and knowledge of Labor and Employment Law she is a perfect fit to help our Club clients respond confidently to the unique challenges in today's employment market.  ClubPay is committed to identifying opportunities to support and deliver value to our customers and the Club Industry at large.  As an example of our “make a difference” philosophy we invite you to join us for our complimentary education webinar: Is your Club prepared for a Wage and Hour Audit?

During the Wage and Hour Seminar you’ll find answers to the big question, including:

  • When is an employee exempt from wage and hour laws?
  • Common problem areas that may be the focus of an audit, including exemptions, off-the-clock work, break and meal periods, and recordkeeping; and
  • Dos and don'ts for responding to a DOL wage and hour audit.
  • How to prevent an investigation.

Don’t miss this "priceless" opportunity to learn from our Club Industry HR Expert the Dos and Don'ts for responding to an investigation. Register Here, for this "Free" HR Education Webinar: June 12th at 2:30pm EST.

During this time of uncertain and sometimes confusing Federal and State employment regulations being imposed that can present economic challenges for non-compliance.  ClubPay has enhanced Human Resource offerings to help assess your Club’s current HR practices and procedures with our advanced HR Consulting services.  Our goal is to address the diverse needs of each club client and serve as your partner for future growth.

Are there aspects of your Club’s existing HR practices that are unsatisfactory or could benefit from improvements? 

 

Contact Us and learn how our HRO Service Assessment can help.

 

Rely on ClubPay’s Human Resource expertise for… (HRO) HR Outsourced Services Plus

For a full list of ClubPay's HRO Services, View Brochure Here

 

Clare Vazquez, Club HR Partner

Clare Vazquez, HR Business Partner – Clare has a Master's degree in Labor and Employment Law from New York Institute of Technology and a Bachelor's degree in Management of Human Resources from Palm Beach Atlantic University.   Clare is Six Sigma Certified (Green Belt).  Connect with Clare via LinkedIn

Club Management: EEOC Nearly Doubles the Penalty for Posting Violations

  
  
  
  

Effective April 18th 2014, EEOC the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is raising the penalty amount per non-posting violation by $100, from $110 to $210.  This violation is for non-posting notices regarding the Civil Rights Act Title VII protections, provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and provisions of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).

What does this mean? In short, if you fail to post all three EEO postings in a prominent place where notices to employees are customarily kept and updated, your club could be fined $630.EEO Poster

It has been 17 years since the last time EEOC adjusted the penalty amount, and have done so now to reflect inflation and promote compliance.  Under Title VII, every employer covered by the EEO requirements must post notices describing the right to be free of discrimination and harassment in the workplace.  The notices must be posted in an accessible place where employees and applicants will know to look.

Due to recent and anticipated mandatory changes to Federal & State Labor Law postings, now is a good time to review the requirements to ensure compliance.  Contact us, to speak with a ClubPay HR Professional to help.

To learn how we can help reduce liability exposures for your Club, request a complimentary analysis with a ClubPay Payroll/HR Specialist –

Request an Analysis

Club Management Update: ACA Employer Mandate Delayed for 2015

  
  
  
  

The Employer Mandate has been delayed for medium sized employers until 2016. On February 10th the Department of Treasury announced that businesses with 50 to 99 full-time equivalent employees will have until 2016 to provide health care coverage to their employees before risking a federal penalty for not complying with the Employer Mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act in 2015.  A revision was also made for employers with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees; health insurance will need to be provided to only 70 percent of their full-time employees in order to comply with the Employer Mandate in 2015. The recent Employer Mandate changes only affect obligations for 2015; starting in 2016, all businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees must provide health care coverage to 95 percent of their full-time employees.

Are you looking for ways to stay abreast of the evolving regulatory environment and ensure compliance with the latest rules; ClubPay has enhanced Human Resource offerings to help.

To learn how we can help reduce liability exposures for your Club, request a complimentary analysis with a ClubPay Payroll/HR Specialist –

Request an Analysis

 

Club Management; What Changes will Health Care Reform Bring in 2014?

  
  
  
  

2014 Health Care ReformWith a one-year delay of the employer mandate for the provision of the Health Care Reform that fines certain businesses for failing to provide health insurance, you may wonder what, if any impacts Health Care Reform will have on employers over the course of this year.  Here‘s a summary of the key Health Care Reform provisions that could impact your Club in 2014.

90-day Maximum Waiting Period – For health plans renewing on or after January 1, 2014; employers may no longer impose a waiting period that exceeds 90 calendar days (60 calendar days in California). The maximum waiting period provision applies to employers of all size. This means that if your current health insurance waiting period is “the first of the month following 90-days of employment,” you will need to adjust this duration once your plan renews in 2014. Many employers have opted to switch to a “first day of the month, following 60 days” waiting period federally, and most California employers will be changing to “the first of the month following 30 days.” If you do have to make a revision, it is important that your official benefit plan documents as well as any mention of the health insurance eligibility period in your handbook are updated accordingly.

Employer Mandate – The Employer Mandate is the provision of Health Care Reform that requires large employers (those with 50+ full-time equivalent employees) to offer health insurance to all full-time employees working 30+ hours per week or face a penalty. Although the Employer Mandate has been delayed until January 1, 2015, if you are a borderline employer (meaning, your organization has nearly 50 employees), it is time to start counting your employees now. The look-back period for determining which employers are subject to the employer mandate encompasses the 2014 calendar year. Before the delay of the Employer Mandate, the IRS had issued transitional relief allowing the employer to use any consecutive si -month period in 2013 to assess whether the company would be categorized as a large or a small employer and subject to the employer mandate in 2014. It is still unclear as to whether this transitional relief will apply in 2015. Thus, borderline employers must begin averaging their monthly full-time equivalent employees now, as it is possible that they will be required to use a monthly average of the full twelve months of 2014 to determine whether they are large or small employers for employer mandate purposes in 2015.

Individual Mandate – The Individual Mandate is the requirement for all Americans to secure health insurance coverage or face a penalty. It became effective January 1, 2014, and Americans will become subject to receiving fines if they are not covered by health insurance for a period of three or more months. Therefore, any uninsured individuals must secure coverage on or before March 31, 2014 in order to avoid the penalty. In 2014, the Individual Mandate penalty is $95 or 1% percent of taxable income, whichever is greater.

New Health Care Consumer Protections - While Health Care Reform places several new consumer protections on health plans beginning in 2014, below are the two major consumer protections now in effect:

1) Pre-existing Conditions – Beginning in 2014, health insurance plans may no longer refuse to cover an individual or charge an individual a higher premium based on a pre-existing health condition. In addition, once a health insurance consumer secures a health plan, the plan may not refuse to cover treatment for pre-existing conditions (i.e. coverage for pre-existing conditions must begin immediately). There is an exception to this rule for grandfathered individual health plans (not purchased through an employer).

2) Annual Limits – In 2010, the Affordable Care Act disallowed an insurance company from placing a lifetime limit on the essential benefits of the health insurance plan. Beginning in 2014, the same applies to annual limits on essential health benefits. So for plans renewing on or after January 1, 2014, no yearly dollar limits on essential health benefits are permitted.  However, it is important to note that insurance companies can still place a yearly dollar limit and a lifetime dollar maximum on spending for health care services that are not considered essential health benefits. There is an exception to this rule for grandfathered individual health plans and some group health plans that have received a temporary waiver from the annual limit rules.

Expanded Small Business Tax Credit – The maximum amount of the health care tax credit for small businesses in the 2010 – 2013 tax years was 35% of the amount an employer contributed to an employee’s health plan. This limit has increased to 50% in 2014. To be eligible for this credit, the company must have less than 25 full-time equivalent employees (excluding owners), pay average annual wages of less than $50,000, pay for at least 50% of the cost for employee only health coverage and purchase coverage in the SHOP Exchange.

State Health Care Exchanges

Marketplace – The State Exchanges (or “Marketplace”) has opened, and individuals can log in and shop for health insurance coverage from a variety of carriers. Additionally, individuals who earn an annual salary of up to 400% of the federal poverty level (approximately $46,000 for an individual and $94,000 for a family of four) may be eligible for a federal premium subsidy if the cost of their health care coverage in the Marketplace exceeds 9.5% of household income. Open enrollment in the Marketplace closes on March 31, 2014. Remember, if an employee opts out of the company-sponsored health plan in favor of securing coverage through the Marketplace, the employee will lose any employer contribution to the plan and will no longer enjoy pre-tax deductions for health insurance premiums through the company’s Section 125 plan.

Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) – The SHOP Exchanges are also open for small employers (generally those with fifty or fewer employees); however, the online shopping tool for small employers is not yet available in the states and default to the federally-run Exchanges. At this time, the SHOPs in those states are only available through a health insurance broker, agent or insurer. It is important to note that no business is required to use the SHOP Exchange, it is simply an option.

State Medicaid Expansions – The Affordable Care Act intended to expand Medicaid for most low-income Americans earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level (approximately $16,000 for an individual or $32,500 for a family of four). However, a Supreme Court decision has left the decision whether to adopt this Medicaid expansion up to each state. Currently, 26 states and the District of Columbia have opted to adopt this expansion in 2014.

Non-Discrimination – Often overlooked, this provision of Health Care Reform will likely bring some changes to the manner in which employers offer health coverage. Basically, the non-discrimination provisions prohibit the employer from offering more generous benefits or higher contributions to highly compensated individuals (HCIs). The IRS code defines a highly compensated individual as: (1) one of the five highest paid officers; (2) a shareholder who owns more than ten percent of the stock of the employer; or (3) among the highest paid 25 percent of all employees. Some examples of provisions that may cause a company’s plan to fail the non-discrimination testing requirements are offering a management carve-out health plan, offering a richer health plan for managers/owners, having a shorter health insurance eligibility waiting periods for managers/owners, and/or offering higher contributions to managers/owners than to other employees. It is important to note that this provision of Health Care Reform has been indefinitely delayed, and we are still awaiting detailed guidance from the IRS regarding the specific parameters of this rule.  It is likely that this provision will not be implemented in the 2014 calendar year.

Employers are facing some important tasks to take into account with respect to Health Care Reform this year. In response, ClubPay has enhanced Human Resource offerings to help Club Management stay abreast of the evolving changes and ensure compliance with the latest rules.

To learn how we may help reduce liability exposures for your Club, request a complimentary analysis with a ClubPay Payroll/HR Specialist –

Request an Analysis

For more helpful Human Resource articles like this; be sure to ask our Payroll/HR Specialist for a free 1 month trial to ClubPay's HR Support Center. https://clubpay.myhrsupportcenter.com

 “2014 Health Care Reform Update” HR Advisor, Feb. 2014:

ClubPay HR Ed. Summary: "10 Ways to Invite an Employee Lawsuit"

  
  
  
  

describe the imageCheers to another great year!

We had a great turn-out for our ClubPay HR Education Webinar and we look forward to hosting another this spring.  We are particularly interested in hearing from you; tell us what topics you would like to see presented in future ClubPay HR Education events.  Please comment your suggestions below and we will do our best to accommodate.

Our discussion with Mr. Brannen and Ms. Kell about the ten most common mistakes employers make that have potential to cost their Club tens of thousands of dollars; was eye opening to specific areas where more EEOC enforcement should be expected.  In response, to those who were unable to join us we have composed a brief summary of our discussion with a copy of the power point presentation to share.  We hope you are able to gain some practical tips to apply at your club and help avoid an employee lawsuit.

Download Webinar Summary: "10 Ways to Invite an Employee Lawsuit"

During this time of uncertain and sometimes confusing Federal and State employment regulations being imposed that can present economic challenges for non-compliance.  ClubPay has enhanced Human Resource offerings to focus on helping Clubs improve efficiency in managing their employees, payroll and HR compliance processes.

Rely on ClubPay’s Human Resource expertise for…

(HRO)  HR Outsourced Services Plus

  • Separations  - Documentation Guidance  - Unemployment Claims
    Administration - Turn-Over Analysis - Liability Avoidance/Mitigation Guidance - COBRA Administration - Former Employee Historical Data Retention
  • Regulatory Compliance - ACA Employer Report  -  EEO Report –Vets 100 Report – Historical Reports – Regulatory Change Alerts – Compliance Guidance related to: employee handbooks, recruitment, selection, performance management, discipline & termination – Employment Law Guidance (FMLA, FLSA, EEO, ADA, etc.) – Personnel Risk Management Best Practices – Wage & Hour; Contractor Guidance
  • Full Service Benefits Administration - Electronic Benefit Enrollment – Enrollment Communications & Tools – Carrier Connections – Employee Service Center – Statement Reconciliation – Client Advocacy – COBRA Administration – Leave of Absence Tracking – Employee Assistance Program
  • Safety & Risk Management - Onsite Loss Control Evaluation –OSHA Log –  Claims Management – Injured Employee Contract – Occupational injury/ illness Management Guidance - OSHA complete reporting system (including OSHA standard injuries), and Workers’ Compensation claims.
  • Training & Employee Development - Training Tracking – Performance Management Tracking – On-line Training – Seminar Series – Onsite Training – Compensation Tracking & Management
  • Employee Relations - HRIS – Employment / Life Balance Perks – Employee Relations Guidance – Forms Library – HR Help Desk

When you speak to a ClubPay Payroll/HR specialist, you’ll be assured to speak with a knowledgeable person who cares and has club industry expertise to help. This gives us a unique ability to help creatively solve even your most complex club payroll and HR challenges.

Would you like to learn how we may help reduce liability exposures for your Club?

Request an Analysis

Last Call to Register! Free HR Ed. Webinar: "10 Ways to Invite an Employee Lawsuit"

  
  
  
  

ClubPay invites you to join us for a FREE complimentary HR Education Webinar to discuss common legal pitfalls and EEOC compliance issues that can put your Club at risk for an employee lawsuit.

In this seminar, we will talk with HR and Legal Experts about the ten most common mistakes employers make that have potential to cost their Club tens of thousands of dollars (through lost productivity, bad press, harm to your Club’s reputation and unbudgeted expenses).  Register below, and don’t miss out on this "priceless" opportunity to learn from our club industry experts. 

Date: Tuesday, November 19, at 2:00pm EST

Webinar: "10 Ways to Invite an Employee Lawsuit" - Register Here

Host: Christine Fox, ClubPay

Speakers: Amanda S. Kell, SPHR, CertiPay

and

D. Albert Brannen, Regional Managing Partner, Fisher & Phillips LLP

Who should attend?

General Managers, Club Controllers, HR/Payroll Personnel, Club Managers, Hiring Managers

10 Ways to Invite an Employee Lawsuit

Employees sue their employers for a variety of reasons. Some are opportunistic and come in the door looking for trouble or to make a relatively quick and easy buck. Others come on board with the best of intentions but somewhere along the way have a change of heart. While we can never for certain know a person’s intention when we are interviewing them, as employers we can do things that make us vulnerable to being the defending party of an employee lawsuit. In this seminar, Mr. Brannen and Ms. Kell will talk about the ten most common mistakes employers make that have potential to cost their Club tens of thousands of dollars.

In the Fiscal Year 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) collected more than $365 million from employers to be paid to employees who asserted their rights had in some way been violated. This figure does not include the employers’ other costs such as attorney fees, lost productivity, and so forth. This is a 41% increase from 10 years ago, in fiscal year 2002[1].

As a Club manager, this topic is important to you because employee litigation brings lost productivity, bad press, harm to your Club’s reputation and unbudgeted expenses…all things you want to avoid! Imagine explaining to your members that their Club will pay tens of thousands of dollars due to employment actions you have taken – or, failed to take.

Mr. Brannen and Ms. Kell will talk about the ten most common mistakes and provide recommendations to ensure your Club is compliant. They will discuss best practices, legal guidelines, and arm you with the information you need to rest easy knowing your Club is well protected if an employee does file a charge or bring a lawsuit.

As a result of this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Identify areas of exposure related to employment practices
  • Know what steps need to be taken to ensure better hiring decisions and greater compliance
  • Feel confident that you know how to respond if an employee brings a complaint to you
  • Understand resources available to help you

Join us for this complimentary "Free" HR Education Seminar on Tuesday, November 19th at 2:00pm EST. Register Here

To read full webinar description, speakers short bios, and contact information: Read On

 

Would you like to learn how ClubPay streamlines Payroll & HR for Clubs?

Request an Analysis

Complimentary HR Education Webinar brought to you by ClubPay

  
  
  
  

Date: Tuesday, November 19, at 2:00pm EST

Webinar: "10 Ways to Invite an Employee Lawsuit" - Register Here

Host: Christine Fox, ClubPay 

Speakers: Amanda S. Kell, SPHR, CertiPay 
and
D. Albert Brannen, Regional Managing Partner, Fisher & Phillips LLP

EEOC ComplianceIn response to the current and sometimes confusing Federal and State employment regulations being imposed on small to medium sized businesses that can present economic challenges for non-compliance; ClubPay is developing a series of educational seminars that focus on helping clubs to improve efficiency in managing their employees, payroll and HR compliance processes. The presentations offer relevant information with tangible, practical advice that can be applied by the club to have an immediate positive effect on the club’s bottom line. We invite you to join us for a complimentary HR Education Webinar to discuss common legal pitfalls and EEOC compliance issues that can put your Club at risk for an employee lawsuit.

Who should attend?

General Managers, Club Controllers, HR/Payroll Personnel, Club Managers, Hiring Managers

Seminar Overview: November 19, at 2:00pm EST

10 Ways to Invite an Employee Lawsuit

Employees sue their employers for a variety of reasons. Some are opportunistic and come in the door looking for trouble or to make a relatively quick and easy buck.  Others come on board with the best of intentions but somewhere along the way have a change of heart.  While we can never for certain know a person’s intention when we are interviewing them, as employers we can do things that make us vulnerable to being the defending party of an employee lawsuit.  In this seminar, Mr. Brannen and Ms. Kell will talk about the ten most common mistakes employers make that have potential to cost their Club tens of thousands of dollars.  

In the Fiscal Year 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) collected more than $365 million from employers to be paid to employees who asserted their rights had in some way been violated.  This figure does not include the employers’ other costs such as attorney fees, lost productivity, and so forth.  This is a 41% increase from 10 years ago, in fiscal year 2002[1].

As a Club manager, this topic is important to you because employee litigation brings lost productivity, bad press, harm to your Club’s reputation and unbudgeted expenses…all things you want to avoid!  Imagine explaining to your members that their Club will pay tens of thousands of dollars due to employment actions you have taken – or, failed to take

Mr. Brannen and Ms. Kell will talk about the ten most common mistakes and provide recommendations to ensure your Club is compliant.  They will discuss best practices, legal guidelines, and arm you with the information you need to rest easy knowing your Club is well protected if an employee does file a charge or bring a lawsuit. 

As a result of this seminar, you will be able to:

  • Identify areas of exposure related to employment practices
  • Know what steps need to be taken to ensure better hiring decisions and greater compliance
  • Feel confident that you know how to respond if an employee brings a complaint to you
  • Understand resources available to help you

Join us for this complimentary HR Education Seminar on Tuesday, November 19th at 2:00pm EST. Register Here

To read full webinar description, speakers short bios, and contact information: Read On

 

Would you like to learn how ClubPay streamlines Payroll & HR for Clubs?

Request an Analysis

[1]
Source:  www.eeoc.gov

Club HR Update: Are Employee Safety Violations Grounds for Termination?

  
  
  
  

Hello everyone, I am back from Italy and ready to keep you well informed about government compliance. As in any country Italy has a number of laws that are more than the United States. As of August 2013, the unemployment rate in Italy rose to 12.20% compared to the United States 7.3%. So what makes the United States so more promising to work?

Workplace safety is so important that under some circumstances safety violations may provide legitimate grounds for termination.  For example, your policy and the Drug-Free Workplace Act ban drug and alcohol use in the workplace and prohibit working under the influence of either substance. Although alcoholism is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the law permits you to hold alcoholic employees to the same performance and safety standards as other employees and fire them if they pose a risk to themselves or other employees because of working under the influence. Current illegal drug use is not considered a disability under federal law. You can, therefore, test for illegal drugs and fire a worker who does not pass the test. State laws, however, may be more protective of substance abusers, so you need to understand those provisions as well.  

Work Place Injuries

Reckless behavior that endangers the employee or co-workers may also provide legitimate grounds for termination. Although you might not terminate for a single incident, unless it was very serious, you probably would be justified in terminating for a history of such behavior.

I worked with a company that took them three write ups before termination following a progressive disciplinary policy. The termination resulted from the employee putting himself at harm’s way by failing to wear his Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The required PPE was to wear gloves to remove soiled uniforms from fleet trucks. Without the gloves he exposed himself to needle puncture, blood borne pathogens, and hazard material. The employee was terminated for “safety violation”. At no surprise, he filed for state unemployment. In order to appeal the unemployment claim, the company had to produce documentation of all written warnings and an explanation of how he violated safety policy. The company explained if OSHA had cited the company a mandatory penalty of up to $7,000 for each violation is proposed.

Remember to document all incidents involving workplace substance abuse or reckless behavior. To have a strong defense, make sure the documentation states time of event, witnesses, company safety policy and OSHA regulations.

While you may be justified in terminating employees in the examples just described, you cannot fire employees for:

  • Complaining to management about safety issues or filing a complaint with OSHA or a state safety and health agency;
  • Cooperating with OSHA inspectors during an investigation; or
  • Refusing to perform a dangerous job that puts the employee’s safety at risk.

Clare Vazquez is a consultant with ClubPay, providing industry leading Human Resources, Payroll, Time & Attendance, and Benefits Administration. She works hands-on with her clients providing customized training programs, harassment investigations/complaints, HR Audits, and advising in government compliance. For more information contact Clare at 561-281-4022 or email cvazquz@certipay.com

Are you looking for ways to stay abreast of the evolving regulatory environment and ensure compliance with the latest rules; if so, ClubPay has enhanced Human Resource offerings to help.

To learn how we can help reduce liability exposures for your Club, request a complimentary analysis with a ClubPay Payroll/HR Specialist –

Request an Analysis

Club Management: Background Checks- What you must know to protect Club Assets

  
  
  
  

Use of available background information in your Club’s hiring and employment decisions is critical to the Club’s success.  However and very importantly, there is an ever-evolving minefield of legal risk associated with background information such that its access and use is no easy task.  Now more than ever, all employers who seek or use background information face an increasing number of potential claims:

  • Background ScreeningThe Fair Credit Reporting Act requires not only notice to and consent from applicants/employees before doing a background check, but also requires notice to the applicant/employee who is rejected based on the results of such a check, both before and immediately after the rejection decision is made.

  • The EEOC and federal government, under a belief that criminal background and credit checks have a discriminatory impact on certain protected groups, are now actively and aggressively challenging the manner in which employer’s use background information in hiring and termination decisions.

We have composed a white paper from ClubPay's HR Education Seminar presented by HR and Legal experts to convey awareness of what a Club can and cannot do with respect to background information, and provide practical guidance for avoiding legal claims associated with background checks.

Complimentary White Paper: "Background Checks- What you must know to protect Employees, Members & Club Assets"

Please post your specific questions below regarding Background Screening and compliance; we welcome your inquiries and are happy to assist.

Would you like to learn how ClubPay streamlines Payroll & HR for Clubs?

Request an Analysis

Club Management Update: When Are Work Breaks Paid?

  
  
  
  

I see this problem all the time…Here’s the scenario: You grant nonexempt employees two 10-minute work breaks a day, for which you pay them. That’s in addition to their unpaid lunch break. Problem is, most of your employees have gotten used to extending the 10 minutes to 15 or 20. You sent out a reminder memo that only 10 minutes are allowed, but it had no effect. Now what?

According to the U.S. Labor Department (DOL), you can refuse to pay employees for any more private club employee managementthan 10 minutes, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). FLSA doesn’t require you to provide workbreaks (except for a recent change regarding lactation breaks), but many employers do so. And, FLSA’s position has been that such breaks tend to refresh employees and make them more efficient. But does that mean you can’t limit the amount of time you wish to grant? No, it doesn’t.

DOL’s internal enforcement manual advises that unauthorized break extensions need not be classified as work time. But here’s the catch: You absolutely must advise employees that

  1. authorized breaks are limited to X minutes;
  2. any extension of those breaks is against the rules; and
  3. such extensions will be punished through disciplinary action

If you’re having a problem with overextended work breaks, you need not only to adopt a policy like the three-point one detailed here, but also to be able to show in court that you’ve informed employees of it frequently and regularly enough that they are fully aware of it. Document -document – document!!! Follow your “Progressive Disciplinary” policy.

Consider that there may be at least three different kinds of breaks: Bona fide meal breaks that are not typically compensated, “short” rest breaks of 20 minutes or less that are typically compensated, and other kinds of breaks—neither meal breaks nor short rests but including lactation breaks—which may or may not be compensated. Many employers assume that when an employee stretches a 10-minute to 20 minutes, FLSA doesn’t allow the extra time to be treated as noncompensable.

Short rest breaks need not be an either/or proposition—paid or unpaid. They can be both, in the sense that you will compensate for some time but not necessarily for all the time employees may take. DOL has said in an opinion letter from the Acting Administrator that “only the length of the unauthorized extension of an authorized break will not be considered hours worked when the three conditions are met, not the entire break.”

All in all, 20 states and many corporations require that employees get time off work to eat a meal. And that doesn’t include California, which has some of the nation’s most generous employee policies: In that state, workers must be given a 30-minute break after 5 hours of work.

“What if I don‘t want a break?” As it turns out, uncompensated meal breaks are a frequent basis for class action lawsuits. Tens of thousands of suits have been filed in the last decade under either the FLSA or one or another state law. Sometimes, conscientious employees deliberately skip the break in order to catch up on their work.

But more often, plaintiffs say, an employer prevents them from taking the break. It is automatically deducted from their clocked-in hours by the employer‘s timekeeping system, when the workers often can‘t take the break. This is a common occurrence in healthcare facilities where patients’ needs are constant and in a variety of other industries where work backs up.  Check your timekeeping system.

And, the laws are strict: If a meal break is unpaid, the employee must be able to leave his or her workstation and have that time uninterrupted. The hard and fast rule is that nonexempt employees must be paid for all hours worked.  So many times, I enter an office and I catch the receptionist eating at her desk and assisting customers/patients. Not only are the hours compensable but it lacks professionalism.

(Labor, 2010)The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act”) amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to require employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk. Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk. The break time requirement became effective when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010.

Minimize your liability. We provide customize handbooks to meet your industry culture and needs.  Clare Vazquez, HR Business Partner has been developing customized handbooks for over 15 years.  Call Clare at 561-281-4022 or email your question to cvazquez@certipay.com.

Would you like to see how ClubPay is helping clubs gain control of labor expense?

Join us for an upcoming demonstration to see how ClubTime is helping clubs reduce unnecessary labor expense and ensuring compliance with the increasing Labor Law changes by providing flexible, real-time reporting on employees' time and attendance data.

ClubTime: Web-based Time & Attendance Solutions for Clubs

Webinar Demonstration: Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 at 2:00pm EST- Register Here

ClubTime is a full-featured, web-based system for data collection and employee management. The system includes an employee self service web portal, time and attendance, benefit accruals, distribution of labor tracking, scheduling, time sheets, web-based time clocks, and integration to Payroll and HR.

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