I have explained elsewhere that you must pay your staff at least the minimum wage. One of the points I noted there was that you must pay the minimum wage for all hours worked.
That is particularly relevant for salaried staff.
It is not unusual for salaried workers to work overtime, for which they rarely get extra pay. You will likely have a clause in your employment agreements that says something like:
Your salary is sufficient compensation for all hours worked.
Now, that clause helps to make clear to the salaried employee that they don’t get overtime pay.
But there can be a problem with this approach if your employee is on a low salary. Can you be sure that they are getting paid at least the minimum wage for every hour worked?
A PROBLEM SOLVED
Because you don’t pay salaried staff by the hour, it is not usual to bother tracking their hours worked.
You may feel free to ask the employee to stay longer at work to finish a job, knowing that you don’t have to pay them more for it. Their salary is sufficient compensation, after all. But you might not have been able to say how many hours in total they worked for you.
Yet, if you don’t know how many hours they worked for you, you can’t make the minimum wage calculation. To do that, you have to divide the employee’s salary payment by the hours worked in that pay period. If you don’t know the hours worked, you don’t know if you’ve paid the minimum wage.
Contrast that with how you deal with hourly-paid staff.
You need to know the hours that they work because that’s the basis on which they are paid. You may have a set roster, or you ask them to submit time sheets for every hour spent working. So long as you pay at least the minimum wage for their hourly work, you’re compliant.
The solution for salaried workers is simple. The Government introduced it with a raft of changes that came in April 2016. That is, by law you must now track your salaried staff’s hours. This must form part of the wages and time records you keep for every employee.
That may seem ridiculous for highly paid executive staff. They will never be at threat of receiving less than the minimum wage.
But employees on low salaries could well be at risk in settings where they work long hours.
Still, the obligation is there for you to track hours for all salaried staff.
HOW TO TRACK HOURS WORKED
How can you go about tracking the hours of your salaried staff?
First, you don’t need to track every hour of a salaried employee’s work day. If their employment agreement specifies the hours they are to work, and they work those hours, you are set.
But if the employee works overtime, you do need to keep track of those extra hours. You can then add them to the hours specified in their employment agreement to get their total hours for any pay period.
If staff already complete timesheets for chargeable work, the change may be easy. You will ask them to also record both chargeable and non-chargeable time. That should pick up the extra hours worked.
If you don’t already get staff to complete timesheets, you’ll need to take other steps.
There are ways you can automate some of this tracking. For example, software can track time spent on a computer or other devices. You could mine that data to work out the employee’s overtime hours.
But what about travelling time, or time spent in meetings? It may not be possible to track it without the employee’s cooperation. Ask them to record overtime hours and email them to you daily, weekly, or monthly.
Tracking the hours spent by salaried staff could take some adjustment. But the obligation is there and must be complied with.
You might see this as an opportunity to communicate about workloads with your staff.
The number of hours they have worked will be good feedback on whether they are coping. It might be very useful information to fold into your regular staff catch-ups.
See what I just did there? Turned a potential negative into a positive.
What is the greatest challenge you face in tracking your salaried staff’s time?