The following are reminders for making certain you have fulfilled your obligations for year-end responsibilities. Ideally you should be accomplishing these in November or early December.
MEDICAL: Will you have any changes to your plan (s)? Determine those. What will be the new employee contribution rates? These should all be determined by November 1 or as close to that as possible.
Create a hand-out of explanations of all changes and schedule informational meetings.
PERFORMANCE REVIEWS: I am hopeful, but would not bet the farm that most small companies do performance reviews of their employees. Not doing reviews is like burning a good portion of your salary dollars up in flames, when you never coach or tell employees what they are doing well and what they can improve. How will they know if you don’t tell them?
Money for salary reviews may be scant, but you have the tools to acknowledge your good employees’ contributions to your firm. We work for money one day a year…when we get our salary reviews. Tell them you appreciate them and how they can do better the next 364 days per year.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a specially developed (and not time- consuming) performance appraisal form for small employers.
HANDBOOK REVIEW: Should you be so fortunate to have developed an employee handbook, it’s good to review it every couple of years. Form a committee of employees from various parts of the company to review it. Are you still following the policies outlined? Add new policies you are using and delete old ones not being used.
REVIEW FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) CLASSIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES: Many employers believe it is within their discretion to make an employee exempt (salaried) from overtime. It is not. The job determines that. Your exempt employees must have considerable decision-making power in their job duties, supervisor others, or the job must require a four year degree.
Should you have classified a job as exempt and it is not, all it takes is one employee to report you to the FLSA (usually an unhappy one on his/her way out). A good percentage of all FLSA audits develop from these circumstances. In the end you could owe two years’ worth of overtime pay for every employee in an exempt position which was really
nonexempt (hourly). If the FLSA thinks you should have known better and did it anyway, they can also assign huge punitive damages.
You may ask how would the employee even know how much overtime was owed him or her? Believe me, they’re keeping track.
For VERY GOOD INFORMATION without a chance of them ever knowing who your company is and coming back on you, call the Department of Labor: 515-284-4625 and they will answer your questions. At this stage, they just want to help employers follow the law.
ONE LAST THING ON FLSA: Employers are under the mistaken misconception that they MUST give a break every four hours and that they MUST offer a lunch period. Not true. The FLSA rules on overtime only. If an employee who is nonexempt (hourly) works more than 40 hours in one week (you determine the “week”) you must pay them time and ½ for over the 40 hours worked.
FORGET THOSE THREATENING SOLICITATIONS TO SELL YOU EEO POSTERS: Iowa Workforce Development offers a free Labor/Employment law Poster to all employers. You may order them by contacting their website at www.iowaworkforce.org. I have also provided The Business Warrior with a cache of posters. Contact one of them to receive one for free.
JOB DESCRIPTION UPDATES: You may say, “What job descriptions?” While small employers may not develop job descriptions to the degree large companies do, it makes sense to jot down your expectations in the job. You list the job objective and five or six responsibilities that are critical to the success of that job and minimum qualifications. It’s extremely helpful for the trainee and is a guide for you to determine if the employee is successfully completing the job duties.
What if you have nothing now? Start this project very simply by asking the person or persons doing the job to come up with their description of what they do. Then you can add to it, refine and develop one you all like. For a simple job description format, please email me at email@example.com.
Hopefully this has been helpful to you. I did include some advice you may do at any time, not necessarily at year-end.