Inclement weather policies for business

If you haven’t been hit by the winter storms striking areas across the United States this year, consider yourself lucky. From power outages, to transportation and building maintenance issues, recent winter storms have had a negative impact on businesses across the nation.

There are ways you can protect your business and your employees by making sure you have inclement weather policies in place.

Tips on creating a better inclement weather policy for your business:

  • Compare with others in your industry. Use networking resources such as your local SHRM chapter to see how others in your area deal with inclement weather.
  • Consider OSHA guidelines. You could be putting your business at risk if you attempt to open and your work environment is unsafe due to temperatures, ice or dangerous sidewalks and entryways.
  • Consider federal and state laws. There are limitations and laws on how time off is recorded due to inclement weather. Employee pay depends on many factors, including the type of employee (exempt or nonexempt) and whether the time is paid or unpaid leave.
  • Include telecommuting options if it is feasible for your business. By having the ability to telecommute, you can ensure that business can still move forward and productive time is not lost. If this is a possibility for your business, make sure every employee that is able to work away from the office is given the means to do so and understands expectations.

What you need to include in your inclement weather policy:

  • Define what constitutes an inclement weather day.
  • Discuss pay for each employee type.
  • Clearly define how time-off will be recorded (as Paid or Unpaid Time off, as a vacation day or company snow day, etc)
  • How will work responsibilities be covered during or after the event?
  • How and when will your employees be contacted?
  • What to do if office is open but an employee is not able to physically make it in to work due to weather.
  • Outline expectations and policies for delayed openings or early closures. Be sure to consider employee commutes and requests made by transportation departments.
  • If telecommuting is an option, clearly define tasks and expectations.

 

 

Case Study: United Way and SoftTime Online

Who is United Way of the Greater Dayton Area?

United Way of the Greater Dayton Area is part of a national movement of more than 1,300 locally governed organizations. They are a non-profit organization that helps people maintain and/or improve the quality of their lives. United Way’s local roots trace back to 1913. Based on the successful community-wide campaign to raise money for relief efforts following the Great Dayton Flood, civic leaders decided to apply the same concept of federated fund raising to meet the ongoing health and human service needs of the community.

Today they continue to serve their community by working towards their mission: To meet human service needs and find long-term solutions in the Dayton region by engaging the greatest number of donors, leaders, and volunteers and partnering to advance the common good.

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The Challenge: Automation

Vicki Hahn Director, Human Resources United Way of the Greater Dayton Area
Vicki Hahn
Director, Human Resources
United Way of the Greater Dayton Area

Vicki Hahn has been with the organization for 29 years in the Human Resource Department and has seen many changes over the years. Originally, their entire attendance tracking system was a completely manual process. “I had a printed calendar page for every person. Hourly employees would submit weekly timesheets with vacation and sick pay included on it. Monthly and salaried employees would give me utilization amounts. I had to record each and every occurrence on a notebook page for each individual. It was a completely manual process,” Hahn stated.

Even outside of the manual recording process, the calculations were done by hand as well, “Every month I would have to send them a monthly tally that I calculated … we had to find a way to make this process not as time consuming.”

The Solution

Hahn and her staff researched and interviewed several organizations before selecting SoftTime back in 2000. They have been with the same attendance software provider since.

Seeing the Difference

Hahn saw the difference as people could now use their computers to send leave requests electronically, “it just made everything easier. It also helped us make sure Supervisors approved all time taken.”

Making the Transition

United Way of the Greater Dayton Area first used the desktop solution and have since moved to the recently updated cloud-based version, SoftTime Online. Hahn noted “… everybody loves it! The new features make it even easier to use. The online version is fantastic because it has the tutorials – I didn’t have to do any training. I just shared the online information where the tutorials were and no one has even had any questions for me. It has eased up the workflow a great deal for me.”

Saving time

In addition to improving the workflow and cutting back on manual calculations; implementing the attendance software also reduced the amount of time Hahn had to spend on the phone. “It used to be people would always call and ask about how much vacation they had left, now they can sign in and look themselves.”

Flexibility

Each organization has its unique set of issues and SoftTime is built with the flexibility in mind to address varying needs. Hahn notes that this flexibility comes in handy with a staff that consists of a wide range of employees. “One of our departments works 24-7. It is a crisis center and people work very odd hours. SoftTime Online has the flexibility to schedule occurrences in different increments such as half or quarter day.”

Connecting Offices

One of the benefits of moving to cloud-based attendance software is that it enables your office to grow and easily connect with satellite offices. Hahn stated, “Even though most of our people work in our downtown Dayton office, we still do have offices in four locations. Having this internet based, those outside our home office can still access the system and that has been a huge help.”

Tracking employee infractions with point and occurrence tracking software

Did you know that SoftTime employee attendance tracking solutions will track points and occurrences as well as attendance? Tracking occurrences opens up a world of flexibility allowing an administrator to literally track anything at all. You can create an unlimited amount of occurrences and ultimately associate points with those occurrences.
For example:

  • Late without calling (5 pts.)
  • Late with notification (3pts.)
  • 90 Days Perfect Attendance (-5 pts.), and so on.

Now, when these occur, they can be tracked on the SoftTime monthly calendar, are subject to multiple reporting options, and points can be tallied to end with certain results.

  • A certain amount of points = verbal warning
  • Next amount of points = written warning U
  • Ultimately enough points would = grounds for termination

Points can also be set to ‘roll-off’ after any given amount of time. You can create occurrences for anything you like: chronic lateness, leaving early, flat tires, chewing gum, missing quota, hitting a certain production goal – just to name a few. Click on Free Trial to find out how SoftTime currently helps over 50,000 companies control attendance more effectively. Or call 540-721-1000 today to ask questions, schedule a quick net-meeting, or to purchase this popular SoftTime solution today.

Job Abandonment an issue? Here’s how to handle it the right way

Author : Brian S. Degroat

Job abandonment is an issue when employees are terminated due to not showing up or calling in to work.

Employee attendance is difficult to manage, but easy to spot when problems arise. When employees are consistently late, or fail to show up for work, it creates a dilemma for the other employees who rely upon that person to be there, or rely upon each other. Excessive absenteeism and unauthorized leave must be addressed in a timely manner, before they can impact the morale of the department.

Whether the choice is to discipline the employee or take further action, employees should be held accountable, but if you don’t have a policy in place, you may risk litigation for wrongful termination.

For example, a policy that defines what job abandonment is may suggest that three days of unexcused and unreported absence will result in job abandonment should be issued to all employees as part of an employee policy manual when onboarding new hires. This way, the expectations are clear, and job abandonment is defined.

Another definition of job abandonment may be when the employee has been absent due to illness for 10 consecutive work days, has no sick leave days accumulated and has not requested vacation or a leave of absence. If the employee fails to return to work after an approved leave, that may also constitute job abandonment, however it should be pre-defined.

Having a clear policy that has been disseminated to employees removes much of the risk of post-termination litigation.

Many employers have policies in place that reserve the right to terminate employment if the employee fails to report to work, or fails to notify the employer of absence.

What policies do you have in place, and what policies should you have?

Small Business and HR Software: When to Make the Leap

One question posed by growing companies is “when is the best time to implement an HR Software system?” The answer is now! Companies with as few as four employees will see the benefit of implementing some sort of human resource management software.

Many small businesses don’t have the luxury of a full time human resource department. For those companies, the right HR software can ensure your company starts on the right path in employee management. By using human resource management software, you automate many tedious tasks and easily reduce the time you spend managing time and attendance. It also gives your business a head start on developing, implementing and tracking your company’s employee policies. These systems also cut down on paper work and timecard saving resources and space.

There are a variety of HR software systems that can be used. Attendance tracking software systems, such as SoftTime Online, can help ensure that your time off policies are applied uniformly. It can help your business enforce the policies and easily track how much time employees have available.

Time management software systems automate time tracking for employee time worked. By using a system you can easily eliminate payroll errors. Systems such as TimeKron come stocked with other invaluable features such as live in-out boards, project and job tracking and a variety of “clock in” methods.

Complete HR software systems can help you manage the more tedious aspect of employee management by automating recording keeping. Systems such as Software Techniques Inc.’s HR Management Software offer ways to easily track employee training, work history, employee benefits and more. With document imaging features you can eliminate stacks of paper files and easily find information when you need it.

Case Study: Proximo Spirits

Proximo Spirits is a privately owned, premium spirits importer based in Jersey City, New Jersey. With just over five years of business, the company’s portfolio has already grown to hold twelve premium brands. Proximo Sprits employees over 300 individuals between their New Jersey Headquarters and facilities in Indian, Canada as well as representatives located throughout the US.

Proximo, translated as “next”in Spanish, is the next major producer of innovative spirits marketing and new product development. The company continues to develop strong relationships with distributor partners in the US and internationally.

The Challenge: Automate vacation tracking for a fast-growing company

Doris Cuya, HR Manager, has been with Proximo since its conception in 2009. “Everything was paper based. Everyone submitted requests for vacation time via paper, ” Cuya notes. Since they had employees spread out all over the United States, each employee would have to handwrite vacation time and scan it in to send to her. It was a tedious, time consuming process and one they quickly outgrew.

The Solution

The President of the company had used SoftTime attendance software at another company he was with and suggested they look into it for Proximo Spirits. Cuya did the research and then decided to move forward with SoftTime SQL edition and since moving to the most-popular cloud based edition known as SoftTime Online (STO). “The President likes the latest of the latest for the company and STO provided that.”

Streamlining the process

After implementation, the benefits the attendance software provided quickly became clear to Cuya. She states, “we were growing so rapidly, it made it a lot easier for employees to go online and submit requests; and managers, from their emails, could just approve it. “Not only was it easier for employees, but the vacation tracking software helped streamline Cuya’s workload as well, “now we have these reports and I don’t have to type in and keep track of everything manually. In Excel, I would have to copy and paste items to create each team report, now managers can go in themselves and export their own reports.”

Flexibility

Cuya made the most of the flexibility that SoftTime Online provides, “(STO) gave us the flexibility to create account names that suited us best. I utilize reports quite a lot as well; a great feature. The Year-to-date report that was recently enhanced offers a nice 12-month look at a calendar and what has been approved. You can manipulate the report to put in what you want to see; it’s very flexible.”

Continuing Education

While SoftTime Online has video tutorials for every feature built into the software, Cuya takes it a step further and incorporates the attendance Software into the quarterly training sessions that she conducts for her company. “I conduct training sessions to refresh people’s memories and update them on changes to STO and to orient new hires.”Cuya can easily track new changes within the attendance software as they are posted in SoftTime Online’s Message of the day. “I really like the Message of the Day. I love the fact that I get instant notification of recent additions. It’s one of the great new things about the software.”

Conclusion

Proximo Spirits found an attendance tracking software that could accommodate their rapid grown, multiple locations and a variety of employee types. SoftTime Online provided easier access for managers, customizable reporting features in an easy-to-use interface.