A Columbus, Ohio-based nursing home facility found itself in hot water—owing nearly $100,000 in back wages after trusting advice provided by their payroll company.
The mid-sized home health agency didn’t know they were breaking the law when they paid their nurses and health aides an additional $1 for each hour they worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek. They were merely following guidance from their payroll provider’s customer service representative, someone they trusted.
The customer service representative did not knowingly mislead them. In fact, they thought they were doing their client a favor by offering this pay method as a cost-saving measure, unaware that it violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime wage requirement of time-and-a-half the normal rate of pay for overtime.
Regardless of intent, both parties found themselves in an unfortunate situation. Despite it admittedly being the payroll provider’s fault, it was the employer who was ultimately responsible for the consequences and the hefty pay out.
In the U.S. Department of Labor news release, Wage and Hour District Director Mary Boldman warns “Employers must educate themselves on labor laws. Payroll companies are a resource for employers, but the pay practices implemented by the employers are ultimately their own responsibility.”
Who Should You Rely On?
You may be wondering why we are writing this article. Balance Point is a provider of human capital management solutions, including payroll, who boasts the experience and expertise of our customer service representatives. Are we trying to spotlight the misfortunes of a rival payroll company?
It is true. Our customer service representatives are experienced in all matters related to payroll—ensuring employees are paid on time, withholding the correct taxes, facilitating direct deposit, and much more. They are attentive, friendly, and proactively attend to the needs of our clients. But…
Payroll professionals are not human resource professionals.
You can trust their advice on matters relating to payroll, but to protect your organization from penalties that stem from employment law violations, you must follow guidance from a competent, HR-accredited professional.
Qualified HR support benefits an organization, beyond what a competent and experienced payroll support representative can provide. That includes:
- Creating and maintaining your employee handbook and all policies within it
- Assisting with recruitment
- Monitoring your performance evaluation program
- Performing benefits administration
- Handling employee relations counseling including corrective actions
- Maintaining HRIS records and reporting
- And, of course, ensuring your compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws
HR support is more important now than ever. The COVID pandemic has added responsibilities, including:
- Understanding the new regulations and effectively communicating them your employees
- If your workforce is remote, creating policies to manage them
- Creating policies to ensure your employees’ health and safety
If you have been relying on guidance from your payroll representative, or any other trusted advisor, now is the time to explore dedicated HR support.
If you are a Balance Point client, your customer service representative is eager and willing to support you with your payroll needs. However, if you need help with a delicate HR concern, ask them to tell you more about BPHR, our HR consulting service. If you are unsure where that line is drawn, we are happy to assist you.