Affinity HR Questions & Answers


With Labor Day right around the corner, we have decided to keep the business open on the holiday. Do I have to pay a premium for employees who are scheduled to work?

Customer

Q

With Labor Day right around the corner, we have decided to keep the business open on the holiday. Do I have to pay a premium for employees who are scheduled to work?

 

A

There is no obligation under federal or state law to pay premium pay for holidays. Of course, you are obligated to pay overtime for any hours in excess of 40 hours in the workweek but premium pay is not statutorily required. Therefore, your decision should largely be guided by your existing holiday pay policy, if one exists. If one doesn’t exist, realize that how you handle this situation may set precedence for future working holidays, so make your decision with that in mind.

What ever happened with the proposed increase in the minimum salary threshold to be exempt from overtime?

Customer

Q

What ever happened with the proposed increase in the minimum salary threshold to be exempt from overtime?

 

A

The increase that was put in place by the Obama Administration -- from $23,660 to $47,476 – in order to be exempt from overtime has been held up in court since December 2016. The Trump Administration just filed a brief with the court saying it does not intend to defend the new, higher level. This means it may go back to the former level or a new level could be established. Our recommendation is to continue and wait and see what the Administration and courts decide.

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.