Hiring Employees in the New Year? Be sure to file the latest forms!

Many small businesses will find themselves hiring their first, or additional, employees this year. There are several documents on our website that can help in this process, including the Employer Checklist. There are also PowerPoints from past workshops and worksheets on interviewing techniques and other aspects of hiring. These can be found on the virtual… Read more »

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Many small businesses will find themselves hiring their first, or additional, employees this year. There are several documents on our website that can help in this process, including the Employer Checklist. There are also PowerPoints from past workshops and worksheets on interviewing techniques and other aspects of hiring. These can be found on the virtual resource library, , sort by HR Programs. The Alexandria SBDC also offers HR consulting to Alexandria City small businesses each month.sample-employment-eligibility-form
As seen on the Employer Checklist, there are some forms that must be filed when hiring a new employee. We have been asked to inform our small business clients that one of these forms has been updated. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification that must be used by all employers by Jan. 22. Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of citizens and non-citizens hired for employment in the United States. The new form includes more prompts to ensure the information is entered correctly, allows the ability to enter information on preparers and translators, and a dedicated area for including additional information. For more information on how to complete the new form, call 888-464-4218 or visit their website at www.uscis.gov/i-9-central.

The post Hiring Employees in the New Year? Be sure to file the latest forms! appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

Hiring Employees in the New Year? Be sure to file the latest forms!

Many small businesses will find themselves hiring their first, or additional, employees this year. There are several documents on our website that can help in this process, including the Employer Checklist. There are also PowerPoints from past workshops and worksheets on interviewing techniques and other aspects of hiring. These can be found on the virtual… Read more »

The post Hiring Employees in the New Year? Be sure to file the latest forms! appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

Many small businesses will find themselves hiring their first, or additional, employees this year. There are several documents on our website that can help in this process, including the Employer Checklist. There are also PowerPoints from past workshops and worksheets on interviewing techniques and other aspects of hiring. These can be found on the virtual resource library, , sort by HR Programs. The Alexandria SBDC also offers HR consulting to Alexandria City small businesses each month.sample-employment-eligibility-form
As seen on the Employer Checklist, there are some forms that must be filed when hiring a new employee. We have been asked to inform our small business clients that one of these forms has been updated. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification that must be used by all employers by Jan. 22. Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of citizens and non-citizens hired for employment in the United States. The new form includes more prompts to ensure the information is entered correctly, allows the ability to enter information on preparers and translators, and a dedicated area for including additional information. For more information on how to complete the new form, call 888-464-4218 or visit their website at www.uscis.gov/i-9-central.

The post Hiring Employees in the New Year? Be sure to file the latest forms! appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

Overtime Rule – Legal Update

This post was written by Patricia Frame of Strategies for Human Resources, and originally appeared here. Since the new salary level test for overtime pay was first announced, we have offered extensive training and counseling on the Fair Labor Standard Act and who is required to be paid overtime. Many of the questions we got… Read more »

The post Overtime Rule – Legal Update appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

This post was written by Patricia Frame of Strategies for Human Resources, and originally appeared here.

Since the new salary level test for overtime pay was first announced, we have offered extensive training and counseling on the Fair Labor Standard Act and who is required to be paid overtime. Many of the questions we got were about other aspects of this law as well. The new salary level which was to go in effect on December 1st has now been stopped by a temporary injunction. Alexandria HR Advisor Patricia Frame offers the following information and recommendations for how you could handle this last minute change.

The New Overtime Rule – Legal Updateovertime-rule-legal-changes-blog

Planned for a December 1, 2016 effective date, the new overtime rule which raised the salary level test to $913 per week under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has been suspended by a federal court which issued a temporary injunction.

This means that you do not have to make changes to who gets overtime or to raise pay based on this rule now. At this time we do not know what will happen next. The US Department of Labor could appeal the ruling, the court could move to hearings over a final decision, or the entire matter could get ignored until the next administration takes action.

  • If you have taken any actions to meet the $913 salary level test, be careful what you do. Rolling back raises is legal, but is fraught with employee morale and retention risks. Walmart has already announced that it will not do so, as it had granted wage increases in preparation to meet this rule.
  • If you have communicated any plans or information on this change to your employees, do communicate that the change has been temporarily blocked by a federal court and that you will comply with current law fully while awaiting further information.
  • Even if you have not communicated anything to employees, do expect that many may know of this rule change and have been expecting a pay raise or overtime pay. Pay attention to your employees and address any specific concerns individually.

This salary level test is only one of three tests under the FLSA which must be met to decide whether an employee must be paid overtime or not. It is the duties test which is the most problematic for small businesses – and the most important in determining who must be paid overtime. Many executives and founders do not understand it. Some think that people with college degrees are automatically exempt or that all supervisors are or have other misconceptions. This is a common issue all HR consultants see, as do the staff at the Alexandria SBDC and other advisors. There has been a significant rise in legal risk as employees become more aware of their rights and take action. An employee or ex-employee can file a claim against an organization simply and without cost via the state wages and hours agency. Law firms exist whose main business is to bring such charges and they advertise. The number of such cases has been increasing for a decade as a result. If you do not really understand the duties test or have not recently audited your positions, now is the time to do so to be sure you are in compliance with current law.

This post originally appeared at: http://shrinsight.com/the-new-overtime-rule-legal-update/

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Overtime Q&A

Businesses and nonprofit organizations have been readying themselves to comply with the new regulations on Overtime; i.e. which employees must be paid at time-and-a half for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Alexandria SBDC HR Consultant Patricia Frame of Strategies for Human Resources presented a webinar on the subject, which can be seen… Read more »

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Businesses and nonprofit organizations have been readying themselves to comply with the new regulations on Overtime; i.e. which employees must be paid at time-and-a half for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Alexandria SBDC HR Consultant Patricia Frame of Strategies for Human Resources presented a webinar on the subject, which can be seen in its entirety here. In addition, there are annotated slides which set forth the particulars of the new rules available.We urge all small businesses and nonprofit organizations to review both the PowerPoint and the Webinar to make sure that they are in compliance. We recently asked Patricia Frame a few basic questions that employers have about the new laws:

Q: Am I covered by the rule change?overtime-image

A: The simple answer is that if your organization brings in at least $500,000 in gross receipts, contributions, etc., or if you are engaged in Interstate Commerce (any business or communication across state lines – Virginia to DC or Maryland, for example), you are covered and need to comply with the law. Some special exceptions (for some charities) to this general statement are included in the PowerPoint and the Webinar.

Q:  Everyone in my organization makes over $47,474 annual salary, so I can ignore this rule change, right?

A:  Wrong. Exempt status is tied to the duties of the job, not just salary or job title.  Again, see the resources linked above for a complete explanation.  In addition, full details are available from the Department of labor E-Laws at www.dol.gov/elaws.

Q:  I hear that there are some lawsuits that have been filed and pending bills in Congress.  Can I ignore this until they are settled?

A:  While there are challenges, it is unlikely that these will delay implementation of this new rule, and you should be prepared for it when it goes into effect on December 1, 2016.

Webinarhttp://alexandriasbdc.org/interactive_resource/understanding-new-overtime-rules-webinar/

Annotated Slideshttp://alexandriasbdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/OvertimePresentation624.pdf

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Retail Hiring: Interview Questions

Retail Hiring: Interview Questions Recently, HR expert Patricia Frame of Strategies for Human Resources presented a comprehensive workshop on hiring, geared particularly to small retail businesses. The workshop covered all aspects of hiring, from defining the need and type of employee you wish to hire, through the sourcing of candidates, writing the ad, interview techniques,… Read more »

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Retail Hiring: Interview Questions

Recently, HR expert Patricia Frame of Strategies for Human Resources presented a comprehensive workshop on hiring, geared particularly to small retail businesses. The workshop covered all aspects of hiring, from defining the need and type of employee you wish to hire, through the sourcing of candidates, writing the ad, interview techniques, selection criteria, background checks, offers and orientation for success. You may view the entire annotated PowerPoint hereinterview-blog

An area of particular interest to the attendees at the workshop was the types of questions that an employer can ask in an interview in order to assess the qualifications, skills, interest, and attitude of potential employees. It is always important to ask questions that are relevant to the work and culture of your business. For example, if you are open on nights and weekends it is relevant to ask if the candidate is available to work three nights a week and certain hours on a Saturday. That is relevant to your business and the position you are trying to fill. It also helps to ask behavioral-based questions. A behavioral-based question is designed to let you learn about patterns of behavior the person has demonstrated in past work situations as these are the best predictors of future behavior. So you may need to understand how dependable the person is in coming to work on time and staying a full shift. A question such as “Tell me about your work schedule in recent jobs and how you managed your time to get to work on time and put in a full shift, and how much of an issue that was”. You could then follow up with “When I ask your most recent boss about this, will she tell me about the same information or add more examples?”. For candidates just out of school or otherwise just entering the workforce these responses need not be for prior employment – they can refer to how the candidate has handled an issue in volunteer work, school projects, etc.

Ms. Frame gave the attendees at the workshop a few examples of the types of questions that can be asked and are designed to determine particular qualifications of the applicant (some sample questions can be found in this document). She noted that these are examples – you should design your interview questions specifically to determine whether an applicant meets the combination of skills, ability, commitment and attitude that works for the culture of your business.

It is also important to ask each applicant the same set of questions and to design a report to keep their responses straight. If you interview several candidates in a day it is easy to mix up their responses. If you have a simple form that you complete after each interview it will be easier for you to keep them all straight and find the best new employee for your business. A sample form may be found here.

For additional resources specifically for retail and restaurant small businesses, see the SBDC’s Retail and Restaurant Page

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The New Overtime Rules

Most employers are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which includes the requirements for which employees must be paid overtime pay. This law has often been difficult for small employers. Many do not understand the rules covering which employees can be considered exempt from the law. This has resulted in both legal and regulatory… Read more »

The post The New Overtime Rules appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

Most employers are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which includes the requirements for which employees must be paid overtime pay. This law has often been difficult for small employers. Many do not understand the rules covering which employees can be considered exempt from the law. This has resulted in both legal and regulatory actions against organizations of all sizes.

On December 1, 2016, the salary level test for FLSA changes. The other two tests to determine which employees are covered by the law (often called ‘non-exempt’) are remaining the same. The webinar recording here will help you to assess what your options are and how to make the needed changes in ways that will support and enhance your organization’s future.  In addition to giving you specific ways to define the changed salary level’s impact on your organization, we talk about steps to prepare now. Additionally, although the duties test and salary basis portions of the law are unchanged, we offer information on both with a focus on the most common errors small organizations make. A copy of the annotated slides from the webinar are on our Resource page here.

This webinar and the annotated slides cover businesses, non-profits, charities, and all employers. We hope you find them useful in preparing your organization for the new salary levels and for auditing your current compliance with the duties test to ensure you correct any issues there as well. If you need additional help, contact us about our monthly HR Consult options for more support.

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Why You Need a Plan….

The Alexandria SBDC is experiencing something this week that many small businesses see throughout their lifespan – the departure of a valuable member of the team. While technically an employee of our host organization, the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Amy Shields has worked with the SBDC for several years to initiate new programs, spearhead our… Read more »

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The Alexandria SBDC is experiencing something this week that many small businesses see throughout their lifespan – the departure of a valuable member of the team. While technically an employee of our host organization, the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Amy Shields has worked with the SBDC for several years to initiate new programs, spearhead our website development, improve our reporting and analytics, and other contributions too numerous to mention. In short, she made us better. We hope that you have employees or partners who do the same for your organization.

What do you do when such an important part of your organization finds an outside opportunity that furthers their career in a way that they just can’t pass up? If your first response is tears, panic, throwing things against the wall, and so forth, you are not alone – that’s what we did. Take a few hours to nurse your wounds, have a cry (or a stiff drink) – whatever it takes.  It is what you do next that makes the difference in how your organization will continue to thrive – make a plan. Hopefully, you have had a plan all along – or at least the elements of a plan. Do you keep great records of not only your accomplishments and initiatives but also all of the steps that are taken to carry them out? That will make the transition much easier for you. As we have been doing for the past two weeks, you find yourself consolidating all of the information that you have into readily-accessible files that those who remain in the organization will understand and will know how to access. Don’t forget to get the user names and passwords!!! Have the person who is leaving explain their processes to you while you take notes – that will make it much easier for you to duplicate their actions in the future. Make a list of all of the wonderful things that person has done for your organization, and do not forget those things that happen infrequently (annual survey; domain name registration, etc.) – they are easy to overlook. Then figure out how these duties will be handled in the future – will they continue, who will take them on, what changes will need to be made?

Most important, take a deep breath. Will you shed a tear at the loss of a colleague to your organization? Sure you will! Will your organization change? It probably will, since small organizations are often a conglomeration of all of the talents and personalities of those most deeply involved. But, this person helped you to get where you are today – and the lessons that you learned and the contributions that they made, will help you, and those that remain, be even better tomorrow.

So, from the Alexandria SBDC, Godspeed, Amy! Enjoy your new challenges! We are going to be just fine.

The post Why You Need a Plan…. appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

Why You Need a Plan….

The Alexandria SBDC is experiencing something this week that many small businesses see throughout their lifespan – the departure of a valuable member of the team. While technically an employee of our host organization, the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Amy Shields has worked with the SBDC for several years to initiate new programs, spearhead our… Read more »

The post Why You Need a Plan…. appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

The Alexandria SBDC is experiencing something this week that many small businesses see throughout their lifespan – the departure of a valuable member of the team. While technically an employee of our host organization, the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, Amy Shields has worked with the SBDC for several years to initiate new programs, spearhead our website development, improve our reporting and analytics, and other contributions too numerous to mention. In short, she made us better. We hope that you have employees or partners who do the same for your organization.

What do you do when such an important part of your organization finds an outside opportunity that furthers their career in a way that they just can’t pass up? If your first response is tears, panic, throwing things against the wall, and so forth, you are not alone – that’s what we did. Take a few hours to nurse your wounds, have a cry (or a stiff drink) – whatever it takes.  It is what you do next that makes the difference in how your organization will continue to thrive – make a plan. Hopefully, you have had a plan all along – or at least the elements of a plan. Do you keep great records of not only your accomplishments and initiatives but also all of the steps that are taken to carry them out? That will make the transition much easier for you. As we have been doing for the past two weeks, you find yourself consolidating all of the information that you have into readily-accessible files that those who remain in the organization will understand and will know how to access. Don’t forget to get the user names and passwords!!! Have the person who is leaving explain their processes to you while you take notes – that will make it much easier for you to duplicate their actions in the future. Make a list of all of the wonderful things that person has done for your organization, and do not forget those things that happen infrequently (annual survey; domain name registration, etc.) – they are easy to overlook. Then figure out how these duties will be handled in the future – will they continue, who will take them on, what changes will need to be made?

Most important, take a deep breath. Will you shed a tear at the loss of a colleague to your organization? Sure you will! Will your organization change? It probably will, since small organizations are often a conglomeration of all of the talents and personalities of those most deeply involved. But, this person helped you to get where you are today – and the lessons that you learned and the contributions that they made, will help you, and those that remain, be even better tomorrow.

So, from the Alexandria SBDC, Godspeed, Amy! Enjoy your new challenges! We are going to be just fine.

The post Why You Need a Plan…. appeared first on Alexandria Small Business Development Center.