Affinity HR Questions & Answers


At what point does a small company need a dedicated HR person? Right now our payroll person is handling HR issues. She does an ok job but I wonder if we are missing something.

Customer

Q

At what point does a small company need a dedicated HR person? Right now our payroll person is handling HR issues. She does an ok job but I wonder if we are missing something.

 

A

Many small companies who cannot afford an HR person divvy up HR duties between other administrative staff. It is not uncommon to have an administrator, finance, or payroll person handle the critical needs like making sure people get paid and benefit enrollment. Unfortunately, given the myriad of federal laws that apply to even the smallest companies, everyone needs experienced HR support from time to time. The rule of thumb in the industry is once you hit 50 employees, you probably need an HR professional and you generally need a professional for every 150 employees (so you would need two HR professionals if you have 300 employees).

If you think she’s doing a good job, maybe what you need is just a quick audit of your HR function to make sure everything is going well. She will probably learn a lot and you will have the peace of mind to know that your HR ducks are all in a row!

We often supplement our work staff with interns, particularly during rush periods and over the summer months. Do I have to pay them?

Customer

Q

We often supplement our work staff with interns, particularly during rush periods and over the summer months. Do I have to pay them?

 

A

The U.S. Department of Labor has clearly stated that, unless the intern is getting the same or similar education as he or she would get in the classroom, the intern is entitled to pay and no less than minimum wage. Many employers believe that the “real-world experience” interns receive makes it a sufficient learning experience. However, unless you have structured a bonafide educational program, you should be paying your interns minimum wage or more.

We are coming up on our health insurance renewal and I keep hearing about the Obamacare repeal. How will its repeal affect our health insurance offering?

Customer

Q

We are coming up on our health insurance renewal and I keep hearing about the Obamacare repeal. How will its repeal affect our health insurance offering?

 

A

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is a very complicated piece of regulation that extends well into the structure of the nation’s health care delivery system. Repealing it in one quick act will be difficult. Moreover, insurers are already having to submit their 2018 premiums and benefit packages to state regulatory bodies for approval. Our best guess is that you won’t see a real change until renewal 2019. Your best source of information is your local health insurance agent or broker who can keep you informed of changes to your existing policies.

I have read about the new Obama Overtime changes. If I pay my employee $50,440 or more, does that automatically qualify her as exempt from the FLSA’s overtime rules?

Customer

Q

I have read about the new Obama Overtime changes.  If I pay my employee $50,440 or more, does that automatically qualify her as exempt from the FLSA’s overtime rules?


A

No, not automatically.  If you pay her less than $50,440, she will automatically qualify for overtime.  But if you pay her more than $50,400, she still must satisfy the duties requirement of the exemption.  So, for example, if you pay your receptionist $51,000, her income level qualifies her for the administrative exemption, but if she is responsible only for answering phones, opening mail and greeting customers, her duties do not qualify her for the exemption.  So even with a salary that is higher than the threshold, in this example she would still qualify for overtime pay if she works more than 40 hours in a week.  Click here for more information on the duties tests for the various exemptions