FMLA and Reasonable Accommodation Enforcement

Posted by Marisa Jue Sep 1, 2015 7:00:00 AM on

As you know, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons. We’ve previously discussed six common FMLA leave request errors that can trigger lawsuits.

This August, the Department of Labor (DOL) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced their specific areas of focus on FMLA and reasonable accommodation enforcement for 2015 through 2016. Jeff Nowak, an employment law attorney and the author of the blog, offered some important takeaways.

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Topics: Time Off Management

Leave accrual rules: how did we get here?

Posted by Virginia H. Jul 17, 2014 11:00:00 AM on

Superpowers would be a welcome gift for managers who have to keep track of employee time off. They could clone three replicas of themselves, one for the calendar year, another for the fiscal year and a third for the employee-anniversary year. They could time-travel from holiday to holiday, magically paying everyone who'd earned holiday pay -- and double time for union workers. They could predict the future and know who would need military leave or protected medical leave, and when.

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Topics: Time Off Management

The Biggest Employee Lie, and One Easy Way to Curb It

Posted by Alan E. May 8, 2014 7:00:00 AM on

The reason employees lie is they do not want to cause or get into trouble. In some cases, employee lying is to cover for another employee's lie. In other cases, they lie to cover for themselves.

7 steps to radically improve time off management  Download Free E-Book Now!

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Topics: Time Off Management, Employee management, Employee benefits

The Tortured History of Paid Leave in the United States

Posted by Alan E. May 7, 2014 7:00:00 AM on

How did we get here?
The United States is one of the few industrialized countries without statutory national mandates for paid leave. The EU  requires a minimum of twenty leave days, not counting national holidays. Australia has similar laws.

7 steps to radically improve time off management  Download Free E-Book Now!

On average, U.S. companies provide ten to twenty days per year depending upon seniority. But many companies provide only ten days (two weeks) off per year. Then there the 25 percent of American workers and 31 percent of low wage earners have no paid vacation time at all, according to a 2011 study by the Center for Economics and Research

Where Did Paid Leave Start?

Amazingly, while the U.S. currently lags behind, the push for paid leave actually started here. Paid leave mandates have been attempted and got stopped each time. More than 100 years ago, in 1910 President William Taft proposed that every American worker needed 2 to 3 months of vacation. He said it was “in order to continue his work next year with the energy and effectiveness which it ought to have.” Taft hammered away at Congress, but his law never passed. However, But around this time, Sweden and Germany took the American president's lead, and both passed legislation mandating seven weeks of paid vacation per year.

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Topics: Time Off Management, vacation time, paid time off, sick time

The Top 5 Causes of Unscheduled Employee Absences

Posted by Lara S. Apr 22, 2014 7:00:00 AM on

Unscheduled absences can be expensive for your business. They leave you short-staffed, can overburden other employees and cause delays. Understanding why unscheduled absences happen can help your organization find ways to reduce their impact. The journal Employee Benefits took a survey of employers and found the top five causes of unplanned absences from work. Read on to what they are and how to avoid them.

7 steps to radically improve time off management  Download Free E-Book Now!


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Topics: Time Off Management, Unscheduled absence management

Paid Time Off (PTO) Replacing Traditional Leave Models

Posted by Alan E. Apr 17, 2014 7:49:00 AM on

Still  growing in popularity with both employers and employees is the changing of policies on sick days, holidays and vacations. Rather than each classification having its own bucket, employers are putting all categories of paid time away from work into a single bucket called Paid Time Off or PTO. 

The popularity of Paid Time Off over traditional vacation, holiday and sick day models grew to 47 percent of companies between 2002 and 2011. Simultaneously, traditional time off plans decreased by 23 percent. 

According to a WorldatWork survey, employers who made the switch, sweetened paid time off by adding benefits such as allowances for jury duty and bereavement leave. In fact, by 2010 three out of four employers did this. 

So, why is the sea change to PTO occurring? 

Why Employers Like PTO 

With the introduction of PTO policies, there is a reduction in unauthorized leave. 

By reducing unauthorized leaves, the costs and losses in productivity associated with unscheduled absences are also cut. 

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Topics: Time Off Management

How To Evaluate Time and Expense Tracking Software

Posted by Pacific Timesheet Apr 6, 2012 2:35:00 AM on

This article was updated on June 4, 2017

Developing Your Short List

Evaluating time and expense tracking software can be a daunting task given the number of options out there. You begin thinking of the steps: "I'll read some white papers, look at screen shots, develop a short list, schedule demo meetings and do some free trials." Your thinking is right on track. Then you're off to Google or Bing find the information you need so you can narrow things down. But when you do search one the phrase "timesheet software," Google says there are 10,000,000 pages to look at. You start to twitch as your cortisol levels start to soar. Then one of two impulses will take over: 

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Topics: Time Off Management, timesheet, Timesheet Software, Time Tracking Software, time tracking, SaaS Timesheet, Online Timesheet, Web TimeSheet, leave timesheet, Time and Attendance Software, Crew Timesheet

Using Google To Develop Your Timesheet Short List

Posted by Pacific Timesheet Apr 6, 2012 2:31:00 AM on

How to Start When You’re Not Sure What To “Google”

So your boss says he wants you to develop a short list of timesheet and work tracking software applications. He says it shouldn’t take long if you use Google. You’re busy with other things, but you agree you’ll get back to him in a few days. Big mistake, unless you know how to search. You see, Google has been SEO’d, that’s Internet marketing-speak for “search engine optimized.” That means that many vendors have smart people and consultants who figure out how to trick search engines into giving them high rankings, particularly on simple single-word searches, even if their applications do not warrant such high visibility in the marketplace.

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Topics: Time Off Management, timesheet, Timesheet Software, Time Tracking Software, SaaS Timesheet, Online Timesheet, Web TimeSheet, leave timesheet, Crew Timesheet

What is Enterprise Time, Work and Asset Tracking?

Posted by Pacific Timesheet Apr 2, 2012 10:47:00 PM on

Time, Work and Asset Tracking

An enterprise application is a big software system that can scale to support large business or government organizations. It's not software for Star Trek's USS Enterprise. 

For larger companies, time and expense is a big deal. Enterprise time and expense tracking record e verything about employees' work and the expenses:
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Topics: Time Off Management, timesheet, Timesheet Software, Time Tracking Software, SaaS Timesheet, Online Timesheet, Web TimeSheet, Time and Attendance Software, Crew Timesheet

Automating Crew Timesheets and Data Validation

Posted by Pacific Timesheet Sep 9, 2011 8:58:00 AM on

Paper Crew Timesheets/Handwritten Changes

In a previous post, we discussed how automating paper crew timeheets needs to make things faster and easier. We also alluded to the idea that automated crew timesheets should make data validation less painful. All this talk about automation is nice. But the fact is that now most construction crew timesheets, for large and small job sites, are made of paper. And, a lot of crew hours, other important information, and corrections are written in by hand. So how do you get from paper to automated? First, while you probably know this already, we want to take what you know and look at it a little differently; what paper crew timesheet "systems" (and they are systems) do now, and how they work. 

What is Data Validation? Why is it important?

Paper crew timesheets for large job sites are more than just busy-looking grid-like templates with empty spaces to fill in. They have to be setup ("pre-populated" in computer speak) with the right employees, craft codes, billing codes, pay classes and whatever else is required to make sure hours worked get billed and paid properly. Equipment resources and materials codes might also be part of this setup. The "pre-setup" crew timesheets are distributed to Foremen, who are generally responsible for entering the phases and cost codes correctly and the hours and units against resources on the timesheet as the work is done.

When Things Change: Resource Musical Chairs

Paper crew timesheets work pretty well. But there are some issues. There can be a shuffling and re-shuffling of employees and resources throughout the day, almost like a game of musical chairs (just less fun!). Maybe some employees don't show up for work and replacements are added at the last minute. Or employees get pulled from one crew to another, they get moved up to higher level pay classes, etc. If the paper crew timesheet is setup first thing, foremen later will have to correct the timesheets.

Knowing What's What

Changing the pay class of a worker because he's your new crew lead might be difficult. Let's say his name is Stan Johnson. But you don't know Stan Johnson, or even what he looks like. There's a great chance you don't know his default pay class, or his proper billing code, or what union he's in. Another place in the process where the administrative staff need to check things or redo the crew timesheet. To manage against this, after they fill timesheets out foremen send them back to the administrative staff for further checking. Assuming that foreman know the valid phases and cost codes for a job (which they usually do) this is still a lot of checking and re-checking. Is this manual process time consuming? "Yes!" Is it prone to errors? "Double Yes!" So, what do we do now?

Making It Easier On Foremen

To summarize the problem: 1) the data collection requirements put on foremen are difficult 2) in the heat of action, they need to know a lot of details, errors can be made, and checking and re-checking is needed. Especially for job sites with hundreds of employees, where crew workers move around a lot, there are a few practices that can make it easier for them:

1. Have the Admin Staff Create Crew Timesheets At the End of the Day

Do this and you save a lot of re-working of timesheets. The only way everyone knows for sure what resources worked on what crews is to setup the timesheets after "the fat lady sings." This approach reduces changes to the timesheet setup, but foremen will still want to record details throughout the day anyway. So you end up built-in inefficiency:  foremen tracking time and work on their own paper, and admins creating another sheet at the end of the day to re-enter the foremens' information.

2. Have An Automated System Assign Default Properties Automatically

An automated system should do most if not all of the heavy lifting being done manually by your administrative staff. Any information that is setup manually by the admins on crew timesheets can be setup automatically by a system. Imagine that the default settings for employees, equipment and materials sit in an updated database. When you open a daily crew timesheet for the first time the information just flows in and settles nicely like water into an ice cube tray. You get the picture. Add a resource and its information flows in with it. Nice, right?

Employee Properties

It is possible to have a worker's default pay class or billing code setup in the crew timesheet when you add them to the timesheet or if they are added mid-day. If, for example, a worker's pay class needed to be changed, and a particular union contract made the choice limited to only two options, presenting only those two valid choices would make data entry much easier and less prone to error.

Add Employee 

Name: John Smithers
Pay Class: 
- Pay Class 2
- Pay Class 4

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Topics: Time Off Management, timesheet, Timesheet Software, Time Tracking Software, SaaS Timesheet, Online Timesheet, Web TimeSheet, Time and Attendance Software, Crew Timesheet

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