ClubPay Blog


The Most Common, Most Expensive HR Mistakes

Jul 19, 2018 11:25:46 AM

One of the most pressing concerns we hear from club management is Human Resource issues- known, and unknown. Often, clubs either cannot afford internal HR resources, or unable to devote the administrative time needed to address their exposed risks. Hear from our Director of HR Partnerships at CertiPay, Rachel Comella as she shares the 'Most Common, Most Expensive HR Mistakes' in this 10 Minute video trainer. See how you can avoid these same pitfalls, and defend your club against an FLSA investigation.

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Three Steps to Bypass Employer Mandate Penalties at Your Club

Apr 28, 2015 9:28:00 AM

Clubs subject to ACA's shared employer responsibility need to begin accurately collecting coverage data in 2015 to comply with additional ACA reporting requirements in first quarter 2016. The Employer Mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act requires all employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to offer a certain level of health insurance coverage at an affordable rate to all full-time employees or face a possible penalty.

It’s important to note that the IRS will only apply Employer Mandate penalties to an organization if the employer is subject to the Employer Mandate, fails to comply with the Mandate, and has at least one full-time employee shop in the Marketplace and receive a federal premium subsidy. Employers have no control regarding whether a full-time employee opts to shop in the Marketplace, so the only fool-proof way to avoid penalties is to follow these three steps:

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3 Steps to Help Your Club Avoid ACA Employer Mandate Penalties

Jan 2, 2015 12:13:00 PM

After controversy, debate, and delays, the Employer Mandate has arrived. This provision of the Affordable Care Act (also known as the “Play or Pay” provision) requires all employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to offer a certain level of health insurance coverage at an affordable rate to all full-time employees or face a possible penalty.

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Club Management ACA Compliance Update: No More Cap on Deductibles

May 8, 2014 10:52:00 AM

Through a bipartisan effort, Congress has permanently removed the deductible cap for small group health plans under the Affordable Care Act.  Initially, ACA had a provision that required capped deductibles for individual and small group health plans of $2,000 per individual and $4,000 per family.  The Health and Human Services Department issued a waiver for 2014 when it became apparent, that for many it would be difficult to comply with the deductible cap requirement. This provision has now been eliminated in an effort to help issuers design plans that work for small business owners.  This change will now enable the small business trend towards High-Deductible Health Plans coupled with Health Savings Accounts.  Of course, there are still many other plan requirements defined in the Affordable Care Act for small employers to comply with and many issues still remain unknown.

In 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 has enhanced Human Resource offerings to help Club Management stay abreast of the evolving changes and ensure compliance with the latest rules.  Join us for a complimentary ClubPay HR Education Webinar discussion on ways to help your Club avoid or be prepared for a DOL Wage and Hour audit.  Don’t miss out on this "priceless" opportunity to learn from our Club Industry HR Expert the Dos and Don'ts for responding to an investigation.

Register for ClubPay’s Free HR Education Webinar

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

“Affordable Care Act- Congress Eliminates Cap on Deductibles” HR Advisor, May 2014:

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What Role Will Social Media Play at Your Private Club?

Apr 14, 2011 11:27:00 AM

Since you are reading this post I can assume you have been affected by the buzz around social media and now it is no longer a buzz; social media is everywhere you look. Follow Us on Twitter, become a Fan on Facebook, even on local news or ESPN you are invited in to join their online community.  Does this seem familiar?  Lets’ think back to the late 1990’s early 2000 when the internet emerged to be a standard practice for businesses and remember weighing the benefits of starting a website against the fear of not knowing how to manage its risks.  Now having a website for business is a common place and is expected by the consumer when looking for a place to dine, vacation, golf, bank, etc… 

Social Media has made this same evolution at a much higher rate of speed due to the advancement in technology that allows easy access.  Here is my point, Social Media is becoming a common place for people to gather round and quickly closing the gap on being expected.  So the question is how do I use social media to benefit my club members and what policy do I need to have in place to manage its risks?

To help answer those questions I would like to share two articles with you specifically written to help country club management understand what members are seeking from social media and what type of club policy needs to be in place to help protect the club.

The first article is written by Scott Duke; Scott is a social media and web presence consultant who specializes in the business of golf.  I appreciate his opinion on the topic because he writes from a private club member’s point of view.  To answer the first question read: 4 Reasons Why Private Country Clubs Need Social Media

The second article was published last year in ClubPay’s eNewsletter and offers good advice on what needs to be considered when implementing a social media policy for your club employees.  To answer the second question read: Clubs Must Consider Implementing Social Media Policies

Share with us; what role will social media play at your club?

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Why Our Workweek and Pay Cycle?

Nov 12, 2010 9:53:00 AM

Some time ago I was asked about our club’s work week that went from Friday to Thursday and why we paid every two weeks instead of semi-monthly or monthly as some clubs do.  There are several important reasons for this that every manager should know, as they relate to the needs of employees and the efficiency of the operation. 

1.   With the bi-weekly pay period every employee can look forward to a paycheck every two weeks on Fridays.  Most, if not all, employees live paycheck to paycheck and a more frequent schedule of paychecks makes it easier for them to budget and allocate their income to cover ongoing expenses. 

2.   Given the overtime pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act where non-exempt employees are paid time and one half for all hours worked over 40 in a week, we start our work weeks on Friday to have our historically busiest days of the week (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) early in the period.  

      This way, if we incur employee shifts of greater than 8 hours on those days due to high business levels, we have the opportunity to adjust schedules or send employees home early on our traditionally slower days (Monday through Thursday), thereby avoiding overtime costs.  Over the life of an operation, this could potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay.

3.   As we have often said, payroll costs are the single largest expense in hospitality operations and require the greatest vigilance to control.  One of the best tools managers can use to understand and control those costs is to benchmark payroll hours and costs on a pay period basis. 

      With semi-monthly or monthly pay periods, a manager cannot compare like to like – a primary caveat of benchmarking.  With a semi-monthly pay period the number of days in a pay period can vary from 14 to 16 depending upon month and leap years.  Also, since pay periods can start and end on any day of the week depending upon the calendar (instead of the constant and comparable Friday through Thursdays in bi-weekly pay periods), there may be some pay periods with anywhere from 4 to 6 weekend or busy days.  This makes it impossible to compare pay periods on a like to like basis, thereby diminishing the value of benchmarking.  The same applies to monthly pay periods. 

4.   While reading the book Nudge, Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, I came across this interesting statement:  

 “It is true, of course, that some nudges are unintentional; employers may decide (say) whether to pay employees monthly or biweekly without intending to create any kind of a nudge, but they might be surprised to discover that people save more if they get paid biweekly because twice a year they get three pay checks in one month.”

What a pleasant surprise to find that our club, though unintentionally as it may have been, had created a “nudge” to help its employees save more for their futures!

Ed Rehkopf, Senior Vice President, Club Resources International.  Club Resources International is a portal website for the club industry providing a wide array of operational resources, articles,  and best practices for the club industry.  The website can be found at

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Managing the Risk of Having Employees

Oct 13, 2010 2:26:00 PM

WHAT?  Yes, HR is really Risk Management.

Take a minute to jot down all the areas of liability that you can think of when running a club.  Finished?  Now, how many of those liabilities would exist if you did not have employees?  None.

Workers’ Compensation; Employers’ Liability; General Liability; Employment Practices Liability; Property loss; theft; etc.  Most employers only think of workers’ compensation when they think of liabilities related to employees.  Let’s open our eye a bit and explore where other liabilities come from:

Sure, if an employee is injured in the course and scope of employment, the employer knows they have the liability through exclusive remedy (Florida and many other states) to provide medical care and indemnity benefits. Did you know that under certain circumstances the Employer can be held liable at a higher level for illness or injury to an employee?  This is not even considering if the employer is found negligent in providing a safe workplace under the “General Duty Clause” of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

What happens if an employee causes injury or property damage to a patron:  spills hot soup on the diner; hits a golf ball into a golfer; runs a golf cart over a golf bag; or any number of circumstances that can lead to bodily injury or property damage of a member, guest, visitor or member of the public.  If this is the case, the employee has just caused a situation where the employer can be held responsible for damages. 

Unlawful discharge, negligent hiring, sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination, disability discrimination, unpaid overtime, and more are all work place occurrences - intentional or unintentional - where remedy is sought through filing a complaint with a government agency and legal counsel.  The employment landscape is fraught with pitfalls. 

So, what are you going to do – just chalk it up to the cost of doing business?  Certainly not!  As an employer you have to arm yourself with knowledge, tools and trained managers.  The people in charge of the staff have to understand the full employment life cycle, the pitfalls associated with each milestone, and how to avoid the pitfalls.  As an employer, if you do not have a risk management savvy human resources manager, then you probably have many unrealized exposures.  Avoiding loss is actually gaining profit.

In short, we need to take off the blinders and put on the risk management perspective when dealing with employees.

-Susan Collins

Susan Collins is a Risk Management and Human Resources professional with over 25 years of experience managing the risk of having employees. 


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It's the 4th Quarter - What's in Your Club's Payroll Play Book?

Sep 8, 2010 8:16:00 AM

An estimated 60% of clubs who make the decision to change payroll providers do so effective January 1st. If your club is looking for reduced costs, improved efficiencies or better integration, now is a great time to evaluate your payroll process for January 1, 2011 improvements.

Because so many clubs are facing the challenge of shrinking budgets and decreased administrative staff levels, any opportunity to potentially reduce expense and save time deserves a closer look. Payroll processing is a great candidate to evaluate given the time consuming and tedious nature of handling a club's payroll.  

Should your club evaluate its payroll/HR systems?

Take a moment and consider when the last review of your current provider occurred. With some payroll companies, particularly some of the larger providers, fees seem to creep up each year. Payroll companies often offer discounts and low rates to acquire new clients with the strategy of increasing margin through add-on charges and price increases.

If your club has not evaluated their payroll provider in more than a year, then it is definitely time to take a fresh look and ensure your club is receiving the maximum value for return on investment. The following questions can help with making the decision to evaluate your club's current payroll provider and take a look at other options available.

  • Has the pressure to decrease expenses been increased in the past year?
  • Have administrative positions been reduced or eliminated?
  • Has our club experienced any major payroll or tax issues during the past year? If so, how were they handled?
  • When help is needed, are we assigned a "case number" or do we get responsive, professional help from someone who understands our business and how we work?
  • Has our club experienced price increases over the past year or years? Are the increases reasonable and congruent with functionality and service enhancements?
  • Are we being charged additional fees for basic functionality such as reports, direct deposit, and tax filings?

When to start the process for a January 1 conversion...

If your club is considering a January 1 conversion, the time to begin the process is now. In order to take a systematic approach, adequate time must be allowed to do your homework and research your payroll options before making a decision.

To allow adequate time to do a reasonable evaluation and cost/benefit analysis of making a change, you should target evaluating systems during the September/October time frame and make a decision no later than early November to be prepared for a January 1 conversion.

Budget a couple of weeks for information gathering and analysis. Following your research stage, set appointments with vendors to see the work flow and understand the specific strengths of each system.

Finally, request a detailed proposal to evaluate the soft and hard costs of a change. Don't fall into the trap of evaluating on price only but look at improved efficiencies, time savings, risk management, improved morale/retention and other factors that are related to the payroll and human resource function of your club.

What criteria drives the clubs' payroll decision?

As with any major decision, the first step is take an honest appraisal of your current system to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Once this step is completed, you can move forward with comparing your current solution to other available options.

Some considerations in evaluating companies for a fit with your club include:

  • How easy is our system to use? Is our payroll partner really lifting an administrative burden off the club management team and administrative staff or are they just cutting paychecks?
  • Does our solution include integrated features that help us manage our club more effectively such as HR management, labor management, and hiring and recruitment tools?
  • Does our payroll partner understand our business? Do they accommodate multiple rates, multiple departments, weighted overtime and integration to our club management system?
  • Are there other "clubs" using this provider? What has their experience been?

Kick the tires at ClubPay's 4th Quarter Webinar Demonstrations...

If you just want to kick the tires and see what your options are, ClubPay is offering a complimentary, no pressure, no hassle set of webinars in September. This will give you insight into our two most popular club management solutions - ClubPay and ClubTime. ClubTime is an integrated labor management and time keeping solution and ClubPay is our full-service outsource payroll solution.

Hope you found this post helpful; you can register for the webinars on our website at Attend a Webinar.

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The Art of Self Discipline – Reaching Your Goals

May 4, 2010 11:36:00 AM

Recently I completed 90 days of the most intense exercise regimen I‘ve ever endured. While the program was worthwhile for the physical benefits, the real value came from the lesson I learned in self-discipline.  The principle the program is based in: deciding, committing and succeeding, have reshaped the way I do business and approach life...

The Program

The program I participated in is called P90X ( and many of you may have seen the infomercials, partaken in the program or had friends who have participated. The program's marketing message of "muscle confusion" and "getting ripped in 90 days" succeeds in motivating but fall far short of preparing one for the intensity of the workouts. However challenging, it was worth it and I did achieve some tangible results which I'll share with you in a moment.

Understand, when I say intense, I am not just referring to the difficulty of completing the exercise but the amount of time dedicated to each workout and the frequency of workouts. Each workout lasts between 60 and 90 minutes and the program calls for working out 6 times a week. Given a busy lifestyle including two businesses and three kids (ages 3, 5, 13), the commitment aspect was more intimidating to me than the physical aspect. I am sure many of you can relate - making a commitment like this is a life changing decision.

The Challenge

By the end of three months, I had exercised 72 times in just 84 days!  There were a few times I worked out twice in one day or did not work out until after midnight but one way or the other, I survived each one.  In addition to time constraints and stretching my physical limitations, there were many other barriers that arose during the course preventing me from reaching my goal.

For example, I suffered from severe allergies and endured three sinus infections during the first six weeks of the program. Many of my workouts occurred inconveniently on the road in hotel rooms, at odd hours and in between business meetings.  Additionally, my three year old daughter decided to create a new challenge of her own by refusing to go to sleep until she was absolutely sure I had completed the night's workout. She would find evidence of this by observing me lying in the floor out of breath and in a heap.  OK, bedtime!

The Lesson

The workouts seemed physically impossible (at first) and there were obviously not enough hours in the day to complete them. Furthermore, the interruptions, distractions and "reasons" not to do it were nearly immeasurable. Interestingly though, it turns out the real value gained from this experience came about as a result of these and many other challenges encountered. It seemed with every additional obstacle, I began to realize how compelling it can be to procrastinate or give up. How simple it is to find a "reason" not to follow through and then rationalize your decision.

How often does this same principle play out in our work and personal lives? We know what we want to do and make a commitment but ultimately identify a reason not to keep going. Think about your job - what frustration have you repeatedly committed to change but are still living with? What about your personal life? Do you have a relationship that needs repair, a habit that needs to change or a problem that needs to be fixed but you never seem to get to doing it?

Too frequently we stop one prayer, a single step or just shy of the required effort to reach our goal. It has been said, the tragedy of life is not "failure" but "lost potential" in all the times we gave up too early. This experience has affirmed my belief that perseverance is the number one predicator of success. Sure, we may get lucky now and then but think back to your biggest successes and I'll bet you will find a common theme. You kept getting back up when knocked down, you stuck with it when others gave up and you refused to yield to challenges. In short, you persevered.

The Results

I wish I could report that I had a total body transformation as some of the participants on the infomercial and website appear to have had; my physical results were not quite that impressive. However, I did see some significant improvements in weight, strength and flexibility.  I lost five pounds of fat, gained six pounds of muscle, increased strength by nearly 100% and saw flexibility improvements beyond measure.  I feel better, eat better, sleep better, have more energy and accomplish more daily which I attribute to the empowerment of an increased positive attitude!

The Challenge

In conclusion, I challenge you to ask yourself "Where do I need to step up my game?"  Do you have physical, professional, financial or personal goals you want to pursue but keep finding a reason to give up on?  If so, we invite you to share your goals and your success stories here by commenting on this article.

"You do not have to be great to start but you have to start to be great." -Joe Sabah

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HR Perfect Storm for Private Clubs - Part 1

Mar 19, 2010 12:18:00 PM

I recently made a presentation at the HFTP Development Conference in New Orleans related to helping Controllers at Private Country Clubs deal with expanding human resource management responsibilities. In preparing for the presentation, I discovered there are a variety of conditions that are contributing to a potential "perfect storm" related to the payroll and human resource functions at private clubs. Within this blog post, I'll lay out what those conditions are and how they may affect your club. In part 2, we'll talk about what you can do to protect your club and yourself.

I call the current situation a "perfect storm" not to be an alarmist, but to bring attention to circumstances which are occurring in clubs today that may have a serious adverse affect tomorrow. The major factors influencing potential future issues include:

  • The Great Recession
  • Rising Unemployment
  • Growing Regulation
  • Increasing Litigation
  • Downsizing at Clubs

Let's dig a little deeper into each of these contributing factors and why it should matter to you, your General Manager and your Board of Directors.

Without doubt, we are in the midst of one of the more difficult economic times of our lifetimes. This means many people, including your club's employees are under financial duress and extraordinary stress. Even though your employees are working, they may have spouses or extended family members that are unemployed. They may also be dealing with a home foreclosure, short sale, evaporation of savings accounts and home equity or any of a host of stressful situations. These types of stressors sometimes spill over and can affect one's work life even when not directly related to one's job. Productivity, attitude and employee relations can all suffer and this can create problems, sometimes big, costly problems.

Unemployment rates are at historical highs and the "real" rate of unemployment is much higher than the reported rate. This "real" rate includes underemployed and those who have "given up". Additionally, unemployment compensation has become easier to get and has been extended well beyond the traditional allowable time line. This has a multi-faceted affect on clubs. You may find that a segment of your employees see unemployment as a viable alternative to working with reduced hours or working at all. This type of culture can be a morale and productivity killer. Additionally, who funds unemployment? The employer of course... brace yourself for a freight train of increasing premiums, it is coming. This will be a huge factor in future budget years.

We are living in a time when businesses in America are literally under attack. There are currently over 70 Acts affecting benefits, labor and employment and this is only on the federal level. Every state tacks on hundreds more laws and statutes related to how you hire, manage, pay and provide benefits to your employees and you are required to keep up with and comply with each one. If you don't, your club can be held liable and in many cases, you may be held personally liable as well.

Don't think this is a problem that is going away. In an average year, there are over 200 changes to employment related federal law again and all signs point towards increased regulation by the current administration. The very first bill signed by President Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Act - extending the statute of limitations to file an equal pay lawsuit. Other examples of how this administration is making it more difficult on business (and private clubs are small businesses) is to greatly expand the qualification for the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and to extend and complicate COBRA Benefits.

Our next trend is simply a result of the first three factors. A poor economy combined with rising unemployment and growing regulation leads to an increase in litigation. Have you noticed the increased frequency and boldness of Trial Attorney advertising related to employment?  If you can't find a job and can't pay your bills, just sue someone! It is easier than ever to do so and it is happening with increasing frequency. Business Week ran an article that stated Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuits have "exploded nationwide" and the problem has only gotten worse recently.

Finally, the icing on the cake is that in this environment, an industry trend is rising to eliminate so called "non-essential" positions (often including HR Director) and migrating these responsibilities on to another staff member (usually the Controller). In effect, at the most critical time to stay on top of HR issue, we are dumping the responsibility on a staff member that is most likely under trained and too overworked to handle these additional duties. This may indeed prove to be a "penny wise, pound foolish" strategy, only time will tell. What may happen is clubs may indeed find some short term savings from consolidating duties and reducing labor overhead but long term find themselves with much larger expenses and more ominous challenges.

Having solid payroll, human resource and compliance processes in place should be viewed as an investment, not an expense. Similar to an insurance policy in nature, you might save some money by canceling the policy in the short term but what happens if the club burns down?

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