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Exploring Overtime Expansion: Inside Sales Employees

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This blog is part of an ongoing series that answers questions most frequently asked during Paycom’s free webinar covering overtime expansion.

The Department of Labor’s new rule is expected to extend overtime protections to 4.2 million white-collar workers beginning Dec. 1, 2016. Understanding how it impacts sales employees with complex pay structures is the key to maintaining compliance and mitigating risk under overtime expansion.

Do salespersons’ commissions count toward the threshold?

    • The salary requirements of the regulation do not apply to the outside sales exemption.
    • Inside sales employees can be paid on commission, in whole or in part, and be exempt from overtime if they meet three criteria under Section 7(i) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Inside sales details

Workers who engage in inside sales can be exempt from overtime under Section 7(i). To qualify for this exemption, three conditions must be met:

    • Workers must be employed by a “retail or service establishment.”
    • The employee’s regular rate of pay must exceed one and one-half times the applicableminimum wage for every hour worked in a workweek (the equivalent of 168 consecutive hours, or seven consecutive 24-hour periods) in which overtime hours are worked.
    • More than half the employee’s total earnings in a representative period must consist of bona fide commission payments.

While the term “retail establishment” may conjure images of brick-and-mortar shops and boutiques, the law’s definition is not so narrow. Under the FLSA, a “retail or service establishment” is defined as “establishments, 75% of whose annual dollar volume of sales of goods or services (or of both) is not for resale; and is recognized as retail sales or services in the particular industry.”

Breaking down ‘bona fide’

When it comes to employment law, the devil is in the details. This is why we need to expound on what constitutes “bona fide commission payments,” according to the FLSA.

The law recognizes certain circumstances under which payments to employees are not considered part of a “bona fide” commission plan and, therefore, would not count toward the last requirement of the exemption. According to a 2006 administrative opinion written by Paul DeCamp, then the wage and hour division administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor, “A commission rate is not bona fide if the formula for computing the commissions is such that the employee, in fact, always or almost always earns the same fixed amount of compensation for each workweek (as would be the case where the computed commissions seldom or never equal or exceed the amount of the draw or the guarantee).”

This can be a complicated matter. Consulting legal counsel would be your best bet to ensure that your commission-based plans for sales representatives qualify as “bona fide” under the law and count toward your inside sales employees’ exemption from overtime.

For additional information on overtime expansion and how it may impact your organization, stay tuned to the Paycom Blog. For additional resources, check out the Paycom Overtime Expansion Calculator or attend our free webinar.

The content of this blog is intended to keep interested parties informed of legal and industry developments for educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal opinion or tax advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for legal or tax advice.

Sources:

U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division: Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees – Final Rule

U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division: Fact Sheet #17F: Exemption for Outside Sales Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

U.S. Department of Labor: FLSA Overtime Security Advisor: Compensation Requirements

U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division: Fact Sheet #20: Employees Paid Commissions By Retail Establishments Who Are Exempt Under Section 7(i) From Overtime Under the FLSA

U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division: FLSA Hours Worked Advisor

U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, Opinion Letters – FLSA: FLSA2006-33

U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, Opinion Letters – FLSA: FLSA2006-9


Amy Double

by Amy Double


Author Bio: Amy, a tenured professional in sales and marketing with over 10 years of experience, is dedicated to creating content focused on helping organizations achieve their business goals. As an experienced writer, Amy is committed to researching and blogging about topics that affect businesses across multiple industries, including manufacturing, hospitality and more. Outside of work, Amy enjoys reading, entertaining and spending time with family.

Employee Productivity: Here’s What Really Matters

Employee Productivity: Here’s What Really Matters

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Employee Productivity: Here’s What Really Matters

Today’s business leaders are dealing with a lot.

Along with the technology-shaped elephant in the room, the increase in internal business collaboration (50 percent in the past two decades), the change in performance management and the influx of millennials have left many companies scrambling.

Despite these changes, the goals of businesses have remained constant: Generate revenue in the most efficient way possible, and no matter what industry you’re in, the productivity of your employees matters.

The Productivity Constant

However, many businesses struggle to quantify their employee productivity, and for good reason: The shift from a manufacturing to a knowledge-based economy has forced many leaders to reconsider how they measure and inspire productivity.

However, productivity is still a metric worth considering. As with any difficult task, a step-by-step methodology is typically the best place to start.

  1. Define what employee productivity means to your business, and determine the metrics you want to use to measure it.
  2. Test and retest productivity efforts on your workforce until you figure out what works.
  3. Learn from your failures, and repeat your successes.

 

Let’s take a deeper dive into these steps.

Defining and Measuring Productivity

Every business is different; therefore, how businesses measure productivity should vary. Working with team leaders to identify what it actually looks like in your business is the first step to increasing it.

Keep in mind, definitions can be deceivingly thorny, so much so that HR and business leaders have had to endure a myriad of recommendations, from the vague (“be more strategic”) to the vapid (“paint your walls yellow, make more money”). Thought leaders constantly drop words like “culture” and “engagement,” and sometimes tie them holistically to an employee’s output, placing pressure on many businesses to either adapt or disappear.

One example of this difficulty lies in the connection between productivity and employee engagement.

In the past, if employees agreed with statements like “Company X is a great place to work,” they were considered “engaged,” while those who answered no were “disengaged.” However, a recent Harvard Business Review study reported that a “yes” to the question simply could mean that particular employee matched well with the corporate culture, while employees who answered “no” just could be dissatisfied with the status quo and looking to make big improvements. In that case, “engaged” employees were no more productive than their “disengaged” counterparts were.

Both engagement and productivity are worthy business objectives, but leaders must clearly outline their goals and then understand the metrics they are using to quantify said goals. Moreover, companies ought to utilize both behavioral and survey data to measure their workforce and then inspire management to take the findings to heart.

Increasing Productivity

Because of such studies, today’s HR and business leaders should make observing and learning from their workforce a top priority. This notion aligns with practices of such successful companies as Google and Southwest, which employ “design thinking.”

According to a recent Deloitte University Press article, “Design thinking moves HR’s focus beyond building programs and processes to a new goal: designing a productive and meaningful employee experience through solutions that are compelling, enjoyable and simple.”

Design thinking begins at the base — the employee — and works from there in order to improve output.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to know that different personalities, backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses exist within a single department; therefore, the ways in which businesses inspire those individuals to work harder and better inherently will vary.

Design thinking helps HR leaders classify people into different groups or “personas,” and once businesses form an understanding of their workforce, they then begin testing measures to inspire those different “personas” to produce. Design thinking is flexible; it tests each finding to its end. If the technique does not work, practitioners view it as a learning experience rather than a failure, and then continue trying different techniques until they figure out the best way to stimulate production from their different groups of workers.

But does design thinking actually work?

According to Deloitte, “The data from our survey this year suggest that the more importance an organization places on design thinking […] the faster the organization grows.”

Business leaders should remain vigilant about the experience of their employees without losing sight of their company’s overarching goals. This precarious balancing act requires constant observation, assessment and the occasional serving of humble pie. However, the result of an empathetic and nimble business is a churning, successful workforce.

Be sure to check out our article about personal productivity and how you are truly only two steps away from inciting increased productivity in your daily life.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, HR Management, Leadership, Talent Management

Katy Fabrie

by Katy Fabrie


Author Bio: Katy Fabrie is a Marketing Specialist at Paycom where she assists with executing integrated marketing campaigns. With extensive experience in both writing and research, Katy enjoys crafting content that helps HR professionals develop strategies to reach their goals. Katy has created both digital and printed content for a myriad of local and national companies, and she enjoys continually expanding her HR knowledge base. Outside of work, Katy enjoys reading, running and spending time with her husband, Colby, and dog, Fox.

Just 2 Steps to Being More Productive

You Are 2 Steps Away From Being More Productive

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You Are 2 Steps Away From Being More Productive

Productivity often is touted as the Holy Grail of today’s workforce. Countless books and apps are packed to the brim with tips promising to make you more efficient, while today’s managers scour for — and promote — candidates with past episodes of grand productivity.

You would think that with such pushes, a steady increase in individual and workplace productivity would exist. You would be wrong.

The Myth of Productivity

In a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the productivity change between 2007 and 2016 in the nonfarm U.S. business sector increased 1.1 percent, an all-time low since the 1940s. Scholars give a myriad of reasons for this dip, ranging from a decrease in innovation to repercussions from the Great Recession; however, this stark stat likely makes even the most motivated worker feel defeated

But the thing about leaders is they have something others lack: foresight. Leaders see the bigger picture. They believe that their actions actually matter, and in fact, that those actions can inspire others.

You can’t control the changes that come with working in a knowledge economy, but you can control what you do each day. Below are two proactive ways to incite productivity in your daily life.

  1. Prioritize Time

Think back to a time when you felt like you were crushing it.

Perhaps you were working on a report or managing a team, and you were completely engrossed in your task. Now think through your typical day: Likely, there are moments of productivity … and then you get a text or an email or a meeting request, perhaps all at the same time. Information is everywhere; it clouds our lives. A 2015 Deloitte study noted that in a single day, people exchange more than 100 billion emails, yet only one in seven of those emails could be qualified as extremely important.

Although technology has made space for innovation and ease, it also has been a metaphorical shock to the U.S. workforce’s system. Indeed, many experts who study time management have changed the ubiquitous phrase of “multitasking” to the more apt “rapid toggling” to communicate the futile effort of doing multiple things at once, even when technology promises we can.

Studies have shown that if you want to do deep work that puts you in a state of flow and ahead of your competitors, then you must prioritize uninterrupted, focused time. In fact, a recent article in Harvard Business Review outlined the importance of restorative silence for busy individuals: “Recent studies are showing that taking time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us now live, work and lead.”

You may ask (while frantically scanning your bursting inbox), “How do I do this?”

Start by identifying a time during your day when your presence isn’t really required. Perhaps you need to attend that recurring weekly meeting only every other week, or maybe you can send an employee in your stead. Assess your daily rituals — maybe that morning stroll around the office where you chat with everyone could happen later in the afternoon so your mornings are free from distraction. Is your office door always open? See what happens if you shut it for 30 minutes. Chances are no one will notice that time you’ve stolen away for yourself, and you’ll have space to focus on what really matters.

  1. Prioritize Values

There is a reason that successful companies put such stock in their values and vision: Clarity makes space for progress. In 2015, General Electric executive took time to verbalize the company’s values, after feeling the business was becoming too complex. Known as “the GE Beliefs,” those values acted as a road map for them to plot out and execute their top priorities.

A Deloitte University Press article noted, “The GE Beliefs play a large role in leadership development and are also used to change how GE recruits, how it manages and leads and how its people are evaluated and developed.”

GE is just one example of many companies putting emphasis on clearly articulating core values in order to spur output. And if successful companies are doing so, why wouldn’t you?

According to Inc. 500 entrepreneur Kevin Daum, “Much like company core values, your personal core values are there to guide behavior and choice.”

How do you craft a list of personal values? Glance over your job description, reassess your passions and future goals, and then put pen to paper. The list of values doesn’t have to be long, but it must be clear. To spur ideas, look at examples from companies like Zappos and Facebook.

Once you have your values nailed down, certain tasks that have been consuming your time likely will lose their urgency. For example, if innovation is part of your purpose, but the last time you researched new advances in your field was six months ago, then it’s time to reassess either your values or how you’re spending your time.

Productivity can be tricky to quantify, but creating a conducive environment is a great place to start. Making crucial space and aligning your daily tasks to your vision are two steps in the right direction.

Now that you know how to increase your own productivity, be sure to check out our  new article about how to define, measure and increase your employee’s productivity,   “Employee Productivity: Here’s What Really Matters.”

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Leadership, Talent Management


Author Bio: Oden-Hall is an award-winning public relations, communications and marketing professional with over 20 years experience driving corporate strategy for Fortune 500 companies. Her Oklahoma roots and passion coupled with her global experience and creative flair have helped her drive numerous successful strategic initiatives. She joined the Paycom team as Chief Marketing Officer in April of 2012.

What do Millennials and Today’s CEOs Have In Common?

What Do Millennials and Today’s CEOs Have In Common?

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What Do Millennials and Today’s CEOs Have In Common?

HR industry experts have devoted a lot of time and research into demystifying millennial employees, only to discover that this younger generation has more in common with mature, seasoned employees than once thought.

This is especially true when it comes to the desire for day-one productivity. The C-suite values new hires who can become contributors faster; millennial employees, who were born between 1981 and 2000, crave the opportunity to do just that.

So, the goal they share is desire to be immediately productive – to be a valued contributor as soon as they walk through the front door.

Getting an early start

Growing up when technological advances made instant gratification a way of life, millennials have come to expect it in almost every aspect of their lives, including work. Young employees want to feel purposeful in their jobs, and nothing meets that need quite like getting the chance to work on the first day, instead of filling out form after form and memorizing the alarm code.

One way to get there is by designing an onboarding process that gives new hires the ability to complete onboarding tasks efficiently, either on or before day one. Consider incorporating the following strategies into your plan:

  • “Preboard” new hires.

    Allow them to complete new-hire paperwork and train electronically, via an employee self-service portal. They can get the groundwork done before they even start in order to hit the ground running on their first day.

  • Assign goals and expand training.

    According to Gallup, half of employees don’t understand what’s expected of them at work. To prevent this type of uncertainty from affecting a new hire’s productivity, include training on his or her individual role, and what his or her job looks like when done well.

  • Introduce your culture.

    Understanding what your company values can help new hires feel confident about making smart decisions. Not only can this boost early productivity, but it can help build long-term engagement, too.

Just a few tweaks to the traditional onboarding process can help new hires devote more time and attention to the activities that will help them become a valued contributor sooner than later. And that’s something both your C-suite and millennial new hires will love.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, Leadership, Pre-Employment, Talent Management


Author Bio: Oden-Hall is an award-winning public relations, communications and marketing professional with over 20 years experience driving corporate strategy for Fortune 500 companies. Her Oklahoma roots and passion coupled with her global experience and creative flair have helped her drive numerous successful strategic initiatives. She joined the Paycom team as Chief Marketing Officer in April of 2012.

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