“Did you really think we want those laws observed? said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against … We’re after power and we mean it … There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”
– Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
You have to give credit to Ayn Rand, there are times when Atlas Shrugged really speaks to the soul of the businessperson and entrepreneur. The above quote is the reaction to Hank Reardon’s complaint about the government continually creating laws that interfered with the running of a business. Dr. Ferris’ response provides a humorous take on how many view this government interference.
In reality, employers are faced with new laws and regulations each year that they must abide by or face the consequences – overtime, healthcare, minimum wage, sick leave, exempt vs. non-exempt status, safety, and the list goes on. There are federal laws, state laws, and even local ordinances that can have an effect on your contact center. Consequences of violations may come in the form of fines, for example, that may be enacted on the company, executives, and even managers. This article examines the new salary threshold for exempt workers and how it does not have to mean a loss of profit for your company.
The salary threshold went from about $23,000 to slightly over $47,000. Quite a jump! The goal of the government in making these changes in thresholds for exempt workers is that there will be a steady increase every few years until most of your workers will be hourly. But is there an advantage of having workers designated as “exempt” from being paid overtime? One might think that assigning an exempt status shields the employer from paying overtime, simplifies payroll, and allows longer hours to be worked throughout the week without additional compensation. However, what if you are thinking about it wrong? Why not approach the scheduling of your exempt workers with the same precision as hourly workers?
Choosing an enterprise-level workforce management (WFM) solution can allow you to take the risk that you may need to pay overtime for all your employees, and cut that risk to a minimum. Used properly, your workforce management system should be able to schedule your management team and your workers with variations in shifts and times so they are there when you need them. No need having management all come in at 8:00 a.m. on days when they best serve the needs of customers at other times. Use the forecasting tool in your workforce management suite for all your employees. This adherence to a standardized forecasting and staffing procedure for all your employees will allow your contact center to run smoothly, keep overtime at a minimum, and protect you from liability from new FLSA regulations.
ABOUT PIPKINS, INC.: Founded in 1983 and based in St. Louis, Missouri, Pipkins is a leading provider of WFM solutions for the contact center industry. Today, Pipkins’ systems forecast, plan and schedule more than 300,000 agents in over 500 locations across all industries worldwide. For more information, visit Pipkins.com.
by: Martha Heltsley, PhD