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Human Resources Simplified

helping businesses do more with less

Our team is focused on serving our clients. We bring education, experience, and enthusiasm to every business need. We are practitioners, authors, professors, consultants, professionals, managers, and trainers. Our degrees, certifications, accreditations, licenses, and registrations attest to our advanced academic achievements.

But it is our common sense, quality delivery, and practical experience that define our associates. We deliver accurate results for real companies in real time. We understand federal regulations and state regulations pertaining to the management of employees so that you can focus on what you do best.

A Full-Service Human Resources Consulting Company

Human Resources Consulting HR

Human Resources Consulting

Your employees are your most valuable resource. Keeping your staff motivated, productive and content is in your best interest. When your staff is not performing, we are here to advise you and guide you.

Business Consultant Interim Management

Interim Management

The practice of using a contract human resources executive, full-time or part-time, or an interim full time onsite HR executive, is a popular option. Interim managers are experienced executives with strategic management and specialist skills and a track record of achievement.

Job Training HR

Training

Companies that value their employees offer learning opportunities. Training is an organized activity aimed at imparting knowledge or developing skills and abilities to improve a team’s performance, satisfy annual education requirements, or provide education about new laws that affect a company’s employees.

Career Coaching Human Resources

Coaching

Beyond traditional group training lies individual coaching. Coaching looks at the outcomes desired and designs a plan to get there with the client. It is a journey both coach and client travel together to assist the client to achieve milestones through mental review, behavioral changes and actions implemented, always focused on the goals.

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Below is a List of Services We Do Best

  • Human Resources
  • Talent Development
  • Screening
  • Compensation
  • Coaching
  • Meeting Facilitating
  • Staffing
  • Employee Relations
  • Interviewing
  • Employee Safety
  • Teaching
  • Selection
  • Compliance
  • Employee Benefits
  • Termination
  • Training
  • Subject Matter Expert
  • Human Resources Audit
  • Employee Recordkeeping
  • Management Development
  • Hiring
  • Policies
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Recruiting
  • Interim Management
  • Workplace Investigating
  • Expert Witness

June Interview: Susan Howard on… Travel Pay: Everything You Need to Know to Pay Employees!

Q: The US Department of Labor has rules for employers on the topic of travel pay. But, what is the definition of travel pay in the legal context?

A: Title 29, Part 785 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines Travel pay in this manner:

Time spent traveling during normal work hours is considered compensable work time. Time spent in home-to-work travel by an employee in an employer-provided vehicle, or in activities performed by an employee that are incidental to the use of the vehicle for commuting, generally is not “hours worked” and, therefore, does not have to be paid. This provision applies only if the travel is within the normal commuting area for the employer’s business and the use of the vehicle is subject to an agreement between the employer and the employee or the employee’s representative. 

The easiest way to think of the travel time regulations is to remember that basically, any travel on company business that cuts across the normal workday is compensable time worked, regardless of whether such travel occurs on a day the employee is normally scheduled for work.

Q: So, travel time is generally not “worked time”?

A:  That is correct, in general.  The principles which apply in determining whether time spent in travel is compensable time depends upon the kind of travel involved. Home to work travel, travel to lectures, meetings or training programs, travel away from the home community are all types of travel covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Q:  When is travel time considered hours of work for pay purposes?

A: Time spent by an employee in travel as part of their principal activity, such as travel from job site to job site during the workday, is work time and must be counted as hours worked.  Think of a cleaning service, a plumber, landscapers or roofers as examples.

Q: What about employers with a labor union? Can travel pay be a point of negotiation for the labor contract?

A: Yes, travel pay is usually a provision covered in a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).  The CBA can be as simple as referring to the employer’s travel policy and procedure or detailed out in the CBA covering items such as travel location, subsistence, legitimate expenses, transportation, parking allowances etc.

Q: We are talking about the federal wage and hour laws, do certain states also have specific travel pay laws that must also be followed?

A: There are specific states that have rules that differ from the Federal Wage and Hour Laws.  The best place to research for specific state information would be your state site such as http://www.myflorida.com for Florida employers.

Q:  Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, each job must be properly classified as exempt or non-exempt for overtime purposes. Are there distinctions between travel pay for the exempt jobs versus the non-exempt jobs?

A: Yes, and the distinction would be in calculating overtime, if applicable, for those employees who travel that are hourly non-exempt.  Especially when traveling to work on a Special One Day Assignment vs. Travel away from the employee’s home community (overnight).

Q: When overtime is calculated for non-exempt employees, is travel time added into the calculation?

A: The travel time should be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay; however, it is permissible to have a wage agreement where employees are paid at a lower rate (at least minimum wage) for compensable travel time and other types of non-productive work time, as noted in 29 C.F.R. 778.318(b). However, any such agreement should be clearly expressed in a written wage agreement signed by the employee, and the time so distinguished must be carefully and exactly recorded. Additionally, if such work results in overtime hours, the overtime pay must be calculated according to the weighted average method of computing overtime pay, as provided in 29 C.F.R. 778.115. Due to the complexity of the overtime calculation method necessary and the recordkeeping involved, any company attempting this should have the agreement prepared with the assistance of an attorney experienced in this area of the law.

Q: Can you give me an example of a typical work situation where travel pay is due to the employee in their pay?

A: Let’s consider a business such as a Plumbing Company.  Normal travel from home to work is not work time. However, there may be instances when travel from home to work is work time. For example, if an employee who has gone home after completing his or her day’s work is subsequently called out at night to travel a substantial distance to perform an emergency job for one of his or her employer’s customers, all time spent on such travel is working time. However, where an employee is given prior notice, as for example, he or she is told on Friday that he or she will be required to work at a customer’s place of business on Saturday, it will not be considered as an emergency call outside his or her regular working hours.

Q: Is there a time frame to pay travel time? Does it have to be paid in the normal pay cycle or not?

A: As with all wages, travel pay should be paid with the next regular pay cycle.  If an employee is required by the company to submit specific paperwork or time records and the employee does not do so in a timely manner, then the recommendation would be for the company to estimate the amount due the employee and true up wages in the next pay cycle.

Q: What are the penalties for not following the law?

A: The FLSA allows the Department of Labor (“Department”) or an employee to recover back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages where minimum wage and overtime violations exist. Generally, a 2-year statute of limitations applies to the recovery of back wages and liquidated damages. A 3-year statute of limitations applies in cases involving willful violations.

Remedies may be recovered through administrative procedures, litigation, and/or criminal prosecution.

Administrative procedures:

  • The Department is authorized to supervise the payment of unpaid minimum wages and/ or unpaid overtime compensation owed to any employee(s).
  • In lieu of litigation, the Department may seek back wages and liquidated damages, through settlements with employers.
  • Civil money penalties may be assessed for child labor violations and for repeat and/or willful violations of FLSA minimum wage or overtime requirements.
    • Employers who willfully or repeatedly violate minimum wage or overtime pay requirements are subject to civil money penalties for each violation.
    • Employers who violate the child labor provisions of the FLSA may be subject to civil money penalties. These penalties may be increased for each violation that results in the death or serious injury of an employee who is a minor, and may be doubled if the violation was determined to be willful or repeated.
    • For current penalty amounts, see https://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/index.htm#cmp.

Litigation procedures:

  • The Department may file suit on behalf of employees for back wages, an equal amount in liquidated damages, and civil money penalties where appropriate.
  • The Department may seek a U.S. District Court injunction to restrain violations of the law, including the unlawful withholding of proper minimum wage and overtime pay, failure to keep proper records, and retaliation against employees who file complaints and/or cooperate with the Department.
  • The Department may seek an order for payment of civil money penalties from a U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge where appropriate.
  • An employee may file a private suit to recover back wages, an equal amount in liquidated damages, plus attorney’s fees and court costs. In such a case, the Department will not seek the same back wages and liquidated damages on that employee’s behalf.
  • The FLSA provides that DOL may seek a U.S. District Court order to prevent the shipment of the affected goods.

Criminal prosecution:

  • Employers who have willfully violated the law may be subject to criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

Q: What resources (websites and books) would you recommend for company owners, executives and employees to learn more about this topic?

A:  I have added links throughout may answers but, the best resource is always the Department of Labor website. www.DOL.Gov. You can search by Topic, Agency, Fast Facts (travel is briefly covered in Fact Sheet #22), or even Opinion Letters the Agency has given.

The Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards act is available online and in PDF version that provides a good overview of the law and a great place to start.  https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/hrg.htm

For employers who may want some in-depth reading they can read the Field Operators Handbook for Wage and Hour Investigators www.DOL.Gov/FOH/FOH_CG31.PDF, Chapter 31 covers Travel pay in detail.

Susan Howard on Travel Pay: Everything You Need to Know to Pay Employees!

Susan T. Howard, SPHR, is the owner of Employers Resources Plus, based in Bradenton, FL. With Employers Resources Plus small businesses have the human resources “Resources” when you need them. You can contact her at http://employersresourcesplus.com/.

May Interview: Barry Demp on…

Mastering Networking: When Patterns are Broken, New Worlds Will Emerge!

Q: Networking, we are repeatedly told, is the best tool to finding a career job, or promoting your business, and staying relevant in your field. What is your definition of networking?

A: Networking is a process that provides the structure, support, skills, and strategies needed to bridge the gap between ideas and actions. The best part about networking is that it can help us reach our chosen destination, whether that’s making a job change, working more effectively with customers and colleagues, or building our own business.

Q: If you take the time and make the effort to network and you meet a lot of people, what is the next step to form a strong mutual relationship with someone you would like to learn more about?

A:  The best way to form a strong mutual relationship is to look for a reason to make another connection such as providing a piece of valuable information or simply writing or sending a special thank you note. This goes a long way towards deepening a relationship.

Q: Then how do you take it a step further and offer to share resources with them?

A: Invite this person for in-person meetings, which are far more likely to build on a relationship than e-mail or text communications. Make sure you take the time to do the research on this person because learning about their interests and passions tells them that they are important to you.

Q: Being open and receptive to meeting new people is not easy for everyone; what advice to you have on this thought?

A:  I’d tell them to remember that effective networking can turn strangers into friends and build a world full of people who will take our calls, give us their time, and answer our questions. Quality is more important than quantity. You don’t have to focus on meeting the most people, just the best people. Look for people of high character and integrity, who live out their values and fundamental beliefs. These people will enhance your credibility – and, through them, you can make a bigger difference in the world.

Q: In the world of sports, we talk about home field advantage, is it best to meet at a neutral location, ask to visit them in their office, or invite them to your office?

A: I think all three are viable choices, you can start with an invite to your office and be gracious there, or ask their choice.

Q: You talk about finding common ground to build rapport. What are some sources of things to talk about to identify interests that are shared?

A: We tend to like people like ourselves, so building common ground is important. Ask about family members, special interests, hobbies, or take notice of something interesting about the person to build rapport.

Q: I am an avid reader, but not everyone is. What eleven books would you recommend as great reads to rekindle an interest in making time for reading?

A:

  1. Super Better- Jane McGonigal
  2. Essentialism- Greg McKeown
  3. Your Best You Yet- Ditzler
  4. Give & Take- Adam Grant
  5. Quiet- Susan Kane
  6. The Power of Intention- Wayne Dyer
  7. Happier- Ben Shahr
  8. On Target Living- Chris Johnson
  9. Mastery- Robert Greene
  10. The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth- John Maxwell
  11. Drive- Daniel Pink

Q: It is important not to push your product or service or ask for your need at a first meeting as that is an immediate turnoff as we all know; at what point in relationship building should this be discussed?

A: This will depend on the situation. Be situation-specific and only explore the possibility of engagement when there’s true openness, receptiveness, and desire.

Q: I have been to networking events that are simply rapid-fire business card exchanges–sort of like speed dating.  You leave with a collection of cards. What would you do with them?

A: If you can use a CRM system – Customer Relationship Management – both personally and professionally, to hold this information and retrieve it when you need it. From there, connect on LinkedIn, and then after the person accepts, provide a free resource.

Q: Building trust with new relationships is based on words and actions. How do you judge if you should trust someone?

A:  Trust is often the trickiest, most difficult quality to create and measure. We tend to simply have a strong emotional or gut feeling about it. Judge whether you trust someone based on their character. If they are empathetic, highly consistent and dependable, and do their best to understand others, then you should open yourself up to trusting them!

Q: What other advice do you have for where to network, how much time to spend on networking, when to pay to network, and how to get the most out of it after each event?

A:  The choices are varied. What are your communities of connection? Some places that might work for networking include your gym or health club, the country club, business association and chamber events, BNI and toastmaster meetings, while volunteering or seminars. Depending on where you can connect depends on how long you spend networking with this person.

It can be beneficial to pay for networking when you are paying to be a part of a group that benefits you individually. For example, if you are working on public speaking and are already paying to be a member of toastmasters, then also try to network there when the time is right. In a way, you are paying to network, but you are benefitting in other ways as well.

Lastly, to get the most out of the event, make sure you keep track of the people you meet and things about them. Write brief notes on their business cards that will jog your memory about who they are.

Barry Demp on Mastering Networking

Barry Demp is the owner of Demp Coaching. He has worked with over 1,000 individuals as a business and executive coach over the past 23 years. Based in Troy, Michigan, he earned the distinction of Master Certified Coach (MCC) from the International Coach Federation (ICF) in 1999.  He works with executives, business owners, and high-potential professionals to help them significantly increase their productivity, profitability, and life balance. He can be reached at www.dempcoaching.com and www.thequotablecoach.com.

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With 20+ years of experience, we have seen it all. You’ll also enjoy receiving our best counsel, advice and guidance and straightforward honesty (yes, it may hurt) as we work with you, not just for you, so that you achieve your business goals.

I have hired Jean multiple times for her HR expertise and had excellent results every time.
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I have worked with Jean as an instructor and she is very knowledgeable in her field and personable.
Self-Employed Marketing Coordinator and Former Educational Assistant
Working with Jean was very enjoyable and very professional. When I think of Ideal Human Resource Director her name immediately comes to mind.
Director of Pharmacy and Former Hospital Co-Worker
Jean is the go-to person in the field of Human Resources. She worked with me on an HR project and was the consummate professional in every aspect of the project. She is very knowledgeable, and gets the job done right; and, to her credit, will only do the job the right way. I highly recommend Jean for any HR need you may have.
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