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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Tips to Reduce Time and Attendance Problems

Mar 5, 2018 3:40:18 PM

And Hold Staff Accountable to Your Club’s Time and Attendance Policy

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An Integrated Approach to Employer Compliance

Oct 3, 2016 6:47:59 PM

In order to effectively manage a club, decisions have to be made on a daily basis involving employees and how to manage them. Clubs take on the same risk as a large business when it comes to labor law compliance, but many do not have the same resources to confidently face evolving regulatory compliance, and many are finding liability for non-compliance costly.

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Club Management: Nailing Your Pay Cost Budget!

Sep 5, 2013 11:58:00 AM

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement.  If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it.  If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”

- H. James Harrington

We have said repeatedly that controlling your payroll cost is one of the most important things you can do to meet your budget.  But as Mr. Harrington says, you have to understand something in order to control it.

There is a relatively easy way for any manager to measure and understand his or her payroll cost by using the Departmental Payroll Summary Analysis form, HRI Form 230, available to download at no cost from the Hospitality Resources International website.

The beauty of this form which is designed for bi-weekly pay periods (which we have long argued has long-term structural benefits for both controlling overtime and ongoing payroll benchmarking, see Why Our Workweek and Pay Cycle for more information), is its simplicity.*

By entering key data into the white cells of the spreadsheet form each pay period, you can track:

1. your payroll cost compared to budget each pay period throughout the fiscal year and your cumulative year-to date over or under budget for payroll,


2. your payroll hours by category (regular, overtime, holiday, vacation, sick, and other),



3. a comparison of your budgeted hours** with pay period and cumulative variance,



4. and your average hourly wage computed automatically for each pay period and year-to-date and automatically compared to your budgeted amount.



The data you need to complete the Departmental Payroll Summary Analysis form can be easily obtained from your Controller or payroll processing service.
As you progress through the year, you can monitor trends in payroll, pinpoint the reason for overages (e.g., OT, too many hours, higher than expected average hourly wage) and use this information to develop strategies to bring your pay cost back in line with your budget.  If you want greater detail, you can use a separate form for each type of position in your department, for instance a la carte servers vs. catering servers or main dining room servers vs. grill servers – you’ll just have to set up you payroll processing to separately report this detail.
Another major benefit of tracking this information is that it permits you to easily budget your payroll cost for the following year since you have a pay period by pay period record of your pay cost, hours, average hourly wage, and summary of annual cost, hours, and average hourly wage, all in one convenient location.
As I look back on a long hospitality career, any department head who could effectively control his or her payroll budget would have been a bona fide hero in my eyes.  So what are you waiting for – become the hero in your organization by nailing your pay cost budget!
*    If you use a semi-monthly or monthly pay period, you can use the same concept, but you’ll need to redesign the form to accommodate 24 or 12 pay periods respectively.
** If you haven’t budgeted your payroll hours, not to worry; begin doing so next year with the data you’ve collected this year.
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
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 real-time integration to ClubPay Payroll and HR.

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Club HR: Bridging the Language Gap to Increase Safety Awareness

Aug 16, 2013 12:12:00 PM

Fatal work injuries among Hispanic or Latino workers rose to 53 fatalities in 2011, up from 38 in 2010.

Injuries and Illnesses

2011 Fatal Occupational Injuries – Florida, by ethnic group:

White: 133

Hispanic/Latino: 53

Black/African American: 32

Asian: 6

2010 Fatal Occupational Injuries – Florida, by ethnic group:

White: 155

Hispanic/Latino: 38

Black/African American: 24

Asian: 4

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Do you have non-English speaking employees? How do you train them?  Bridging the language gap is critical in maintaining a safe and healthful workplace. When workers cannot communicate effectively to perform work duties, co-workers also can become impacted resulting in low morale, low production and profit, and potentially increased accidents.  That puts your company at risk for a worker’s comp claim.

The number of workers for whom English is a second language is expected to continue to increase in the future; therefore, taking a proactive initiative is critical to ensuring worker safety. It is imperative to remember inclusivity in safety training versus exclusivity. Furthermore, literacy and cultural differences may prevent workers from reporting or questioning potential hazards, conditions or work practices present to their employer, supervisor or co-workers.

Knowledge is power. Learn more about the ethnic backgrounds of your workers, their languages, customs and traditions. This will help you bridge the gap to better worker safety,
productivity and employee morale.  Assign a Supervisor who is able to translate during safety meetings, tool box talks, injury reporting, and policy implementation. Efficient communication with non-English-speaking employees results in fewer workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.


Some companies use innovative methods to bridge the language gap and improve communication, such as:

  • Seek out bilingual employees in your firm. These workers can relate to and can help non-English speaking workers or trainees relax and get comfortable in both a formal and informal training session. They translate and enable clearer communication between English-speaking and non-English speaking employees, which can foster participation in training by asking questions and sharing past experiences, ultimately
    leading to safe performance on the job.
  • Offer hands-on training that requires demonstration of understanding. This can be an effective method to overcome literacy and language barriers. Hands-on training, with positive reinforcement, is a powerful way to reduce workplace accidents and increase safety understanding.
  • Offer written tests in Spanish; sometimes the worker understands and speaks English but may have trouble reading English.
  • Consider offering English as a Second Language courses, with monetary incentives upon completion. Companies are using various initiatives to improve safety and health among non-English speaking workers.   I
    personally went out to the School Board and hired an ESOL teacher who taught at the company’s site 3 days a week after shift ended.  Morale and productivity increased and injuries decreased even more.

CLARE VAZQUEZ, HR BUSINESS PARTNER is in the Boca Raton, Florida office of CertiPay. A significant portion of her consulting practice is devoted to workplace risk management preventing OSHA citations, injuries and fatalities. She advises employers in OSHA recordkeeping, hazard assessment and self-audits, corporate-wide safety compliance, maintaining effective safety training and safety management programs, disciplining unsafe employees, inspection preparedness, workplace violence prevention, and health and wellness initiatives. She also prepares and reviews employee handbooks and policies, conducts manager and employee training, and provides consulting regarding hiring, termination, unemployment, wage and hour, harassment, discrimination, and other federal and state laws and regulations.

Clare Vazquez offers all types of Spanish Language training programs. Our objective is to protect your interests, and through training, make your first-line supervisors, hourly employees and upper management, more aware of the many potential hazards in the workplace and how to eliminate them, thus reducing operating costs and workers comp claims.

For more information on Human Resources Services contact: Clare Vazquez at 561-281-4022 / email

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

Request an Analysis

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Club Management Update: When Are Work Breaks Paid?

Aug 7, 2013 4:40:00 PM

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 than 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

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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What is 5 minutes a day worth at your private club?

Jul 31, 2013 3:25:00 PM

Saving "time" at your club...

What is the single biggest expense item in your club's budget? If you are like most clubs, your answer is labor and related expenses. For an average club, payroll, taxes and benefits combines to be 53% of total expenses. So, if your club is looking for ways to reduce expenses (and what club aren't these days), labor control is the first place you should look for savings. Plus, now more than ever, employers need control of employees' time and attendance data with flexible reporting to comply with increasing Labor Law changes and to ensure proper reporting on real-time hours to meet those requirements.

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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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