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DOL's Request for Information

Back to the Drawing Board: The DOL’s Overtime Overhaul Request for Information

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The U. S. Department of Labor is taking comments on how it should move forward with overtime overhaul

Since the newest regulations to the overtime law were found invalid, employers are subject to the previous version of Fair Labor Standards Act. However, the roller coaster has not ended.

On July 26, 2017, the DOL published a Request for Information in the Federal Register, indicating it intends to attempt an overtime overhaul. Comments to the Request may be submitted until September 25, 2017. The request asks the public for a response to 11 specific questions.

We can use the questions proposed to help uncover some of the possible changes the DOL is considering. Below are five of the more telling questions and what we can infer from them.

1. Should we just update the 2004 salary level based on inflation?

The Court suggested it would be permissible if the DOL adjusted the 2004 salary level for inflation during questioning at the preliminary injunction hearing. In fact, the Court stated, “[I]f [the salary level] had been just adjusted for inflation – the 2004 figure – we wouldn’t be here today … because [the salary level] would still be operating more the way it has … as more of a floor.” This question indicates the DOL may be referencing inflation because they believe it would be acceptable with the courts

2. Should the regulations contain multiple standard salary levels? If so, how should these levels be set: by size of employer, census region, census division, state, metropolitan statistical area or some other method?

The DOL attempts to make a more malleable test here, which, of course, would serve to be more sensitive to changing demographics. However, a change like this would clearly make compliance tough for employers.

3. Should the DOL set different standard salary levels for the executive, administrative and professional exemptions as it did prior to 2004 and, if so, should there be a lower salary for executive and administrative employees as was done from 1963 until the 2004 rulemaking?

Much like the question above about multiple salary levels, this question would likely provide a more effective test. However, would it come at the cost of convoluting the analysis for employers?

4. Would a test for exemption that relies solely on the duties performed by the employee without regard to the amount of salary paid by the employer be preferable to the current standard test?

This question suggests the DOL seems to be accepting the court’s analysis that duties are more important than salary.

5. The 2016 Final Rule, for the first time, permitted non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level. Is this an appropriate limit or should the regulations feature a different percentage cap? Is the amount of the standard salary level relevant in determining whether and to what extent such bonus payments should be credited?

This question indicates the DOL may propose a version of regulations that still allows for bonuses to apply to the salary level.

Given the nature of the questions found in the Request for Information it’s clear the DOL has gone back to the drawing board and may propose something completely different from both the recent failed regulations as well as the 2004 revisions.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.


Zachary Gregory

by Zachary Gregory


Author Bio:

As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Zach Gregory monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal levels, focusing on payroll and garnishment laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. He previously worked at a law firm as a tax attorney. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University and a J.D. from Oklahoma City University. Outside of work, Gregory enjoys playing in the backyard with his two boys, and finding new restaurants with his wife and high school sweetheart, Kellyn.

Employer Brand

4 Weaknesses in an Employer Brand From a Galaxy Far, Far Away

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With the holiday moviegoing season upon us, one of the most anticipated blockbusters – about a continuing space battle – is approaching at warp speed. Earlier entries in this enduring franchise actually can teach us about one of today’s hottest HR topics, the employer brand.

The first film’s hero – we’ll call him Lou Swashbuckler – is the most desired talent across several planets. The evil Dark Overlord and his Galaxy Syndicate want him for his special abilities, while Her Highness Laura and her Renegade Association seek his morale and piloting expertise. In the end, Swashbuckler decides to side with the organization whose values and ambitions most closely align with his goals — the good-guy Renegade Association.

Learn more about the employer brand by subscribing to Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast.

Despite having more resources and benefits, the Galaxy Syndicate still lost the war for Swashbuckler’s top talent. Here are four reasons why its employer brand proved unattractive.

  1. Galaxy Syndicate employees are poorly trained

As a workforce, Dark Overlord’s Galaxy Syndicate suffers from a reputation of being less than high-performing. Its low-level, white-helmeted troops are so ineffectively trained for their positions, they can’t even exhibit precise aim with their work-issued weaponry. A few other skills they lack include safely driving levitating vehicles, securing prisoners and identifying people of interest. Plus, they are easily distracted by strange noises and have a keen inability to focus on the task at hand.

These issues found consistently among multiple employees point to a lack of training within the organization. If the Syndicate does not place ability at a high bar, it is easy to see why so many unskilled prospects would apply to this behemoth of an organization. To positively influence his company’s culture and attract quality talent, Dark Overlord should invest his vast resources into proper training on a companywide basis.

  1. The Syndicate has an undeniably high turnover rate

It is no secret that having Dark Overlord for a boss can be hazardous to one’s health. Between the treacherous work conditions of building a battle station while under fire and being ordered to fly straight into a crowded asteroid field, Galaxy Syndicate employees do not last long. The high turnover rate is just another sign of an employer brand that places no value on the livelihood of its people.

Top performers are not going to apply for a company that disregards their well-being. In order to positively influence the employer brand, the Syndicate should craft more specific employee-protection policies and create safety training courses.

  1. The Syndicate bleeds quality talent

Due to the high turnover rate, toxic work culture and the oftentimes ethically questionable nature of the Galaxy Syndicate’s work, many of its best employees eventually defect in favor of joining its biggest competitor, the Renegade Association. That competition may offer a smaller paycheck and more modest benefits, but the scrappy organization’s values and methods are more likely to attract the best workers in less than 12 parsecs.

The Syndicate’s revolving door of employees creates an employer brand and culture of indifference, anonymity and disinterest in comradery. In order to change the perspective of his employer brand, Dark Overlord should create organizational values and a clear mission statement to inspire teamwork and rally his workforce before they quit … or die.

  1. The Syndicate isn’t even a top-performing organization

The destruction of two of the Galaxy Syndicate’s home bases – aka Doom Planets – demonstrates that biggest is not always the best. Its consistent record of failure against a significantly smaller competitor is unattractive and unlikely to draw skilled talent. The organization may have unlimited marketing and recruiting resources to lure applicants, but ultimately, its values attract villainy not invested in the overall success of the organization. This can lead to, at minimum, a toxic culture with high turnover and, quite possibly, the company’s ultimate defeat.

When you are a large company, it is easy to become content with the status quo and, therefore, less invested in your employer brand. But do not become negligent after achieving success. To maintain an employer brand that will attract invested employees, create a strong mission statement and purpose – one around which the workforce will want to rally.

When considering your own employer brand, consider the Galaxy Syndicate’s less-than-stellar reputation and the low quality level of its employees to understand the type of workforce you don’t want to attract. Then try to do the opposite. (Actually, there is no “try.”)

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management

caleb.masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio:

Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

Talent Shortage

4 Reasons for Our Nation’s Talent Shortage

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Organizations worldwide are frustrated by the challenge of finding well-qualified talent, which makes the fight to hire a top candidate even tougher.

Manpower Group’s annual Talent Shortage Survey revealed that last year, 40% of employers worldwide reported difficulty filling jobs. It’s not just your HR department feeling the pain, either; according to a recent Deloitte survey, 33% of CFOs said that the current talent shortage remains the top barrier to business growth.

What has caused the talent shortage? Let’s look at four contributing factors within the manufacturing industry as a microcosm of what’s happening on the national scale.

  1. Low unemployment and a skills gap

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent unemployment rate was 4.1%. In general, such a low number is considered a good thing. The problem is that today’s employers are struggling to find the right people for their open positions: the qualified ones. Research conducted by Deloitte and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness indicate that manufacturing executives, for example, consider the “quality and availability of talent” to be the most critical part of competitiveness in their industry. Low unemployment means that employers have to work that much harder to find skilled candidates who currently aren’t working – or find competitive ways to convince employed individuals to make the switch to work with them.

  1. Business expanding post-recession

Just before and after the turn of the millennium, rapid growth of tech industries and offshoring labor led to industries like manufacturing taking a back seat in the national economy. Manufacturing jobs – and their accompanying skills and know-how – were displaced, outsourced and diminished in favor of such service sectors as financial services and health care.

Once the Great Recession hit, Americans rethought the idea of manufacturing. In a survey conducted annually between 2009 and 2014 with the Manufacturing Institute, Deloitte found that most Americans would choose to add 1,000 jobs in manufacturing centers. More jobs might have been created as a result, but the skills gap left hundreds of thousands of jobs unfilled – an estimated 600,000 in 2011 alone, for example.

  1. An improving economy

Historically, times of economic turmoil often are followed by bounce-back periods of growth. The current expansion post-Great Recession already has lasted 95 months, making it the third-longest in U.S history.

However, improvement can lead to fears of yet another “overheating,” sending the economy again into a recession-like period. As long as the economy expands, more jobs will be created, along with the need to fill them; the skills gap will counter naturally by holding back the right talent from taking those positions.

  1. Retiring baby boomers

Fresh talent coming through the American employment pipeline is considered weak compared to that of other nations, both developed and emerging. Research from the Program for International Student Assessment indicates that young Americans are behind on math, science and reading.

That’s a big problem. Deloitte estimates that 3.4 million manufacturing jobs will be open in the span between 2015 and 2025 – partly due to the 2.7 million baby boomers expected to retire during that time. Many of these positions are expected to remain unfilled due to the shortage of workers with the skills necessary to operate in the advanced manufacturing environment of the 21st century.

What we see in the manufacturing sector is happening in other industries as well, which illustrates several reasons companies are struggling to find and retain top talent. Are you curious about how you can help your organization buck the trend? Register and attend this webinar for a step-by-step strategy to combat the talent shortage.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Millennials, Talent Acquisition

Braeden Fair

by Braeden Fair


Author Bio:

Braeden Fair produces webinars and podcasts for Paycom, in addition to writing content for the company’s blog and its employee culture magazine, Paycom Pulse. A graduate of Oklahoma Christian University, he managed social media for the college’s student life division and worked in the broadcasting departments of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas-based sports-talk radio station The Ticket.

Leading yourself

Leading Yourself: 7 Ways to Achieve Your 10-Year Goals

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Imagine you’re at dinner party 10 years from now in a lovely home, with dear friends you haven’t seen in ages. As you make your way around the party catching up on life, each person asks the same questions, wondering what is new with you, your family and your life.

Now let’s return to the present: What do you want those conversations to look like in 10 years? Who do you want to be? What do you hope to have accomplished?

When you’re able to answer these questions, you’re creating a vision for your future and taking the first step in your journey to self-leadership. The next step is deciding how you will achieve these goals.

Creating your blueprint

Start by looking at your current circumstances. Think about the different areas of your life that matter most to you and form goals based on them. Your goals may be professional, financial, mental, spiritual, physical or personal. Which parts of your life do you want to change? Which parts of your life would you like to stay the same? What kind of friend, sibling, parent or employee do you want to be?

By answering these questions, you form a blueprint for what you want to accomplish in the next decade, while also establishing smaller goals you can work on now to help you achieve that future vision.

A physical version of your blueprint, like a vision board, is a helpful way to display your goals and keep yourself accountable.

Leading yourself

With those established, you’re able to focus on what will put you in tune with becoming a leader and being successful. The smallest of details tend to go a long way. By following these seven guidelines, you’ll be able to develop yourself into an outstanding leader.

  1. Personal brand: Pay attention to your personal brand – that is, how you represent yourself through your clothes, body language and communication style.
  2. Intent: Be intentional about your health and happiness.
  3. Organization: Stay organized — whether at work or at home — by establishing routines and keeping an up-to-date calendar.
  4. Learning: Commit to learning something new every day.
  5. 1% more: Volunteer to work on projects others may not want to do, and always give 1% more than you think you can.
  6. Influence: Surround yourself with a solid circle of influence: people who lift you up to the highest self you’ve imagined.
  7. Grit: Exhibit the mental toughness to program your mind for success.

By focusing on these seven items, you’ll be better equipped to visualize what your life will be like a decade from now at that dinner party. Hopefully, your circumstances will equal your blueprint, and you’ll be your happiest, most exceptional self.

Additionally, once you have mastered how to lead yourself exceptionally well, you can lead others more effectively. The better you are at taking care of yourself — whether that be mentally, physically, personally or professionally — the more apt you are to make an impact on those around you.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Leadership

Stacey Pezold

by Stacey Pezold


Author Bio:

Stacey Pezold serves as Paycom’s first Chief Learning Officer. Having joined the company in 2005, she worked her way up to such positions as Regional Manager, Director of Corporate Training, Executive Vice President of Operations and, most recently, Chief Operating Officer. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, she has more than 11 years of leadership and training experience.

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