The New Overtime Law That’s Sending Managers Scrambling
Think those few minutes your employees spend checking work emails in the evening don’t really count? How about that Saturday conference call they are expected to dial in for? If you are at all unsure of how many hours your employees are really working, it’s time to start sweating the small stuff.
Change Is Coming
Last month, the U.S. Labor Department issued new plans that would effectively deem millions more workers in the U.S. eligible for overtime pay. Though nothing has been finalized, the plans would more than double the salary threshold that dictates who is eligible for time-and-a-half pay when working over 40 hours a week.
Companies across the country are scrambling to accurately track their employees work time, going to great lengths such as installing software that would warn managers when employees are getting close to receiving overtime, or considering which workers should be paid hourly and which on a salary. The new proposal would require salaried workers earning less than $50,440 to start tracking their hours much more closely than before.
The WSJ says the Department of Labor “estimates that administrative costs [to track hours] will be approximately $593 million in the first year.”
Now that employers will have to be scrupulous in their tracking and paying of overtime, many will want their employees to work fewer hours — and to make those hours count more.
Here are seven services that can help businesses keep better track of employee hours just in time for the new law:
#1. Easy for Small Businesses
For tracking time and attendance in the cloud, Stratustime is the comprehensive choice. Employees can, of course, clock in and out using traditional time clocks or by using the easy-to-navigate app on their handheld device or computer. In addition, the system manages paid time off, creates schedules, and tracks overtime hours (this may be the most important feature when considering the new law). All services are designed to work with a variety of payroll systems.
#2. Free for Small Businesses
Nutcache is a free invoicing program that allows for unlimited users, clients, time tracking, expense tracking, and estimates. For businesses just starting out, this is an excellent cloud-based app that effectively tracks and manages the time your employees or contractors are logging. For a small fee, you can upgrade and get rid of the somewhat incessant Nutcache branding in the free version, but for those on a budget, the free version gets the job done and does it well.
#3. For On-the-Go Employees
Tsheets is the time attendence system for employees on the move. Users can easily clock in and out (or clock others in and out) using virtually any laptop or mobile device or even with a text message or tweet. The system GPS records where employees start and end their shifts, as well as their locations throughout the day. These tools allow employers to accurately track where their employees have been and for how long.
#4. For Yourself
Worried that you’re wasting too much time or perhaps missing time you could have been billing? Chrometa is an app that automatically records your software usage, such as how many times you logged onto Facebook and for how long, or time spent drafting that new proposal or emailing a client.
The best part is that Chrometa requires no clicking around on the user’s end — it knows exactly what you’re. If you step away for a bathroom break or to grab a quick snack, Chrometa prompts you to log your “down time.” At the end of each day, you can review your work summary with helpful timelines and graphs of your time allocation.
#5. Tracking Everything Under the Sun
Replicon is much more than a time-tracking software — it’s a comprehensive service that allows employees and managers to communicate effectively and efficiently. Employees track time and productivity and submit work through the software, and managers build and assign projects, approve timesheets, generate reports, make payroll, and more. The cloud-based data is continuously backed up, and end users do not have to worry about software updates. For leaders who want to literally stay on top of things, Replicon supports a hierarchy of access levels and permissions, with the administrator having full access for detailed monitoring of employees.
#6. For Contractors You Really Trust
Harvest is a Web app that makes it easy to track time for different clients and different projects within those clients. You can automatically build in different rates for each project and keep track of budgets within the app. Despite having many features, Harvest is user-friendly and easy to navigate. One of the potential downsides (depending on whom you hire) is that users must be relied upon to clock the correct amount of time for each project. This can be somewhat of a hassle when employees are constantly having to switch from one project to the next throughout the day. But if you trust your contractors to track time correctly, Harvest is a great and accurate tool that helps you keep your budget on track.
#7. For Those You Trust Less
“DeskTime is a time tracking company that gets down and dirty with employee accountability,” the company states on its homepage. In addition to precise time tracking, DeskTime offers perhaps the most in-depth accountability software available to employers. Once installed, DeskTime runs in the background, recording all time spent on websites and applications. Users get to label which apps are productive, such as email and Excel, which are unproductive, such as Twitter and Instagram, and which are neutral (the weather?). The service then sends reports and charts to supervisors who would like to know what their employees are really spending their time on.
Regardless of the types of employees you have, whether they are virtual or in office, salaried or hourly, the time has come to buckle down and get serious about numbers. The burden of the new proposed laws falls on employees and employers alike — to be scrupulous in both tracking time and paying for it.
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