HR & Compliance

Add SBAM offers a full spectrum of human resources services to keep you compliant and help your business run more efficiently and profitably....

Human Resources Solutions

ASE LogoLooking for help with tough HR issues? 

SBAM partner ASE has the answers about hiring, firing, FMLA, ADA and more! Get access to a FREE HR hotline, affordable and cost-effective research consultation services, discounted employee handbooks and workplace posters, and more.

Section 125 Plan, FSA, HSA & HRA Administration


KUSHNER & COMPANY LogoLooking for ways to contain health care costs?
With the cost of health insurance continuing to rise, most employers require their employees to contribute to the cost of health insurance premiums. SBAM partner Kushner & Co. can help you put a tax-favored, consumer-directed plan in place that benefits you and your employees.


COBRA Administration

Personalized, affordable administration for your business. 

If you have 20 or more employees, your company is required by federal law to offer continued health insurance coverage via COBRA and will face huge fines if it's not administered correctly.  Let SBAM help you stay compliant for only $30 per month. 

Heads up: an innocent request for time off can trigger a wage and hour violation

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

By Michael J. Burns

The weather is getting warm and the days longer. Workers are looking for more time off to enjoy the good weather, or take care of personal business they would otherwise take care of on the now-beautiful weekends. So what might they do?

One way of freeing up more time has been to put in some overtime and request to take that time off in the foreseeable future. The supervisor, seeing a way to provide a simple perk to a good employee, says “Sure, when do you want to take the time off?”

To accede to this simple request could result in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). What the employee is requesting is referred to in the HR world as compensatory time off. If the employee’s position is non-exempt, this can cause a problem. Why?

FLSA’s rule on overtime pay states that non-exempt employees that work over forty hours in a week must be paid at the rate of time and one-half for all hours in excess of the forty-hour limit. The concept of compensatory time that is occasionally—and incorrectly—practiced is to permit non-exempt employees to take that time off at some future time and date. Typically it is the same amount of time off that they put in as overtime.

Allowing an employee to take off, at a later date, the same amount of  time that was worked as overtime, violates the basic rule of overtime in two ways: First, it does not adequately compensate overtime worked in pay; second, the time off is not (typically) provided at a rate of time and one-half.

Keep in mind that we are talking about non-exempt employees. Exempt employees (Executive, Professional, Administrative, Outside Sales and some IT positions) can take time off at their and their employer’s discretion and generally not run afoul of wage and hour law.

The real question is this: Is it ever possible to give time off to a non-exempt employee for overtime worked? The answer is yes, but only under some very specific criteria, and strictly speaking it is not compensatory time off. Here are the requirements:

  • The non-exempt employee must be paid on a salaried basis (and keep in mind another common falsity that paying a salary to a worker does not, per se, make the position exempt).
  • The pay period must be two weeks in length.
  • The overtime worked in one week must occur within the same pay period as the time taken off in the other week.
  • The time taken off in one week (whether the first or second week in the pay period) must be one and one-half times the time worked in overtime the other week.
So the non-exempt employee that works one hour of overtime in week one must take 1.5 hours off the following week (week two of the same pay period) in order to comply with wage and hour regulations. This is why it is not “compensatory” time off. It is re-balancing the employee’s regular paycheck so it equals his or her regular salary with overtime included. The overtime is paid for the one hour of additional work, but the 1.5 hours taken off in the following week reduces the employee pay in that week to a rate equal to his or her normal two week salary.

It is important for employers to review this issue with their supervisors and managers to ensure they following the correct practice in their workplaces.

If your organization is concerned about whether it has properly classified its jobs as exempt or non-exempt, ASE can analyze them for you and advise you as to their proper classifications. If you are concerned in general about your HR compliance practices, ASE can conduct a full audit of your HR function. Click here to learn more about the ASE b

Get up to 80 hours of talented pro bono internships for your company

Michigan Shifting Gears (MiSG) is a three month program that helps highly experienced, educated and talented people undergoing a career transition find new opportunities with smaller, innovative companies. The purpose of the program is to help displaced professionals learn new ways to frame their value in the workplace and develop networks - thus opening new doors to job opportunities, and allowing Michigan to retain key talent for growing employers. To learn more about the program, please visit the website.
As part of the MiSG program, participants provide 80 hours of pro bono service to a company. The current cohort began on April 30; the internship talent connection is on Thursday, May 31 from 3 – 5 pm, with internships beginning on June 4th. As part of the internship portion of the program, an ‘internship talent connection’ will be held at Regional Host Partner locations, which include Prima Civitas for the Lansing region. This event provides an opportunity to meet with participants one on one to discuss your company / projects. Attending a talent connection event is not required but is recommended to increase your chances of connecting with a Michigan Shifting Gears participant for your project. Following the event, companies and MiSG participants directly connect and work out details and ensure proper fit. You can register your company/project here.

Steven Strauss: great moms

Question: My wife is both a terrific mom and a terrific businesswoman. I would just like to say thank you to her, and to all of the great moms out there who juggle life and business. 

Answer: Like many people, I have been fascinated with this great season of AMC’s Mad Men. It is interesting on so many levels, not the least of which is the struggle and challenges of women in the workplace. And in that regard, the indomitable Peggy Olson is our favorite character. Her spunk, great attitude, smarts, and dedication have, and will, take her far.

Similarly, Don Draper’s new wife Megan is a fascinating character. Rather than the ditzy airhead we (I) anticipated, it turned out that she too is an incredibly capable young woman, bursting with creativity and mad skills.

But what neither of these women will ever be in a mompreneur. I grew up in the 60s and, as the show so ably depicts, it was a different era. Women tended to be either stay-at-home moms or women who worked. Rarely did the two mix. Witness Joanie leaving her son with her mom so she could go back to and run Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce.

There have been so many advancements in the workplace in the recent past that it is hard to pick one that is the most important – technology, mobility, laws, attitudes – work today is radically different than even a generation ago. But even with these seismic shifts, it would be hard to say that the change in attitude by and towards women at work is not the most important change; number one. 

I once had a boss who had to straddle the old and new world. Coming of age in the 70s as she did, she seemed to think that the only way she could be effective at work was to be tougher than the guys. And boy, was she tough. 

These days though, it seems that no such compromises need to be made.

When the Secretary of State is a woman, when The Masters has a problem on its hands because the CEO of one of its biggest sponsors, IBM, is a woman, we are clearly in a new world where equality does not mean out-manning the men. Rather, it seems to mean that a person can bring their own strengths to the table and succeed or fail on her own merits, period.

That is the world I want to see my daughters grow up in:

• A world where a woman can realistically think she can become president (Go Mara!) 
• A world where a woman does not have to choose between being a mom and being an entrepreneur. (According to the AP, roughly 67% of all home-based businesses are owned by women with children.)
• A world where women get equal pay for equal work (Background: Lily Ledbetter worked at a Goodyear Tire Rubber Co. plant in Gadsen, Alabama. After she learned that she was being paid less than her male counterparts, she eventually sued the company. But because she waited until near retirement to sue, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against her because, they said, she had in fact waited too long. In his first act as president, President Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act which mandates equal pay for equal work.)

So on this day after Mother’s Day, I would just like to thank all of the great moms out there (including my own sweet wife) who have changed the world and who continue to make our business life so vibrant. 

Today’ Tip: Sign of the times: My daughter, who is a freshman in college, really dislikes “feminism.” “Why?” I ask her. “Because women are already equal to men dad. Duh. There is nothing to fight about.” Little does she realize how much she owes women like my old boss, and before that, the Peggy Olsons of the world. These brave women made it so that a young woman today takes equality for granted. 

Steven D. Strauss is a lawyer, writer, and speaker, and is one of the country's leading experts on small business as well as an international busin

On Your Mark, GET SET, Hire!

Hiring a new employee can be a stressful time. Where to advertise? How long will this vacancy take to fill? What to look for when sifting through the resume responses? What screening and interviewing techniques will aid in finding ‘the one’? With all of these questions swirling around in the minds of hiring managers, it is easy to see how hiring documentation can be an afterthought. However, a clearly defined process on the front end can actually save time, reduce unnecessary stress and protect against potential liabilities along the way.

The hiring process should begin with the question, “What needs of the company will this position meet?” Those responsible for staffing should evaluate the needs of their organization both now and in the future. Look at the work that is presently being done in that position and then consider the long term responsibilities. Create a job description that is focused on the responsibilities of the job rather than the tasks. For example, a statement such as “responsible for the coordination of financial information for the organization” rather than, “handling the bookkeeping” allows for growth in the position.

Job Description Done – Let the Hiring Process Begin

After a job description has been written, the hiring process can begin. Organizations should look both internally and externally for a candidate. While sourcing for your candidate pool, develop a list of interview questions. Be sure to include behavioral, situational and open ended questions. An employment application should also be completed by all candidates before interviewing begins. This application should include At-Will and Equal Opportunity employment statements, inquiries about previous criminal convictions and eligibility to legally work in the U.S. and an attestation that the information included in the application is true and accurate – falsifying the application would be grounds for dismissal. At the time a candidate completes the employment application, they should also be required to complete and sign an authorization for a background check. This document can be used by a third party in the verification process or could be used internally to solicit previous employers’ feedback. A signed authorization form can make them more comfortable divulging pertinent information concerning the applicant in question. The background check should include verification of information listed on the employment application (education, previous employers, dates of employment, job title, salary, etc…) as well as criminal background checks, credit checks and DMV records if applicable to the position. 

Once a candidate has been selected to fill the vacancy, a verbal offer of employment should be made, followed by an offer of employment letter (hardcopy or electronic). This letter does not need to be very long, but at a minimum should include the proposed job title, starting salary, benefit eligibility (if applicable), employment status (full-time, part-time, exempt, and nonexempt) and start date. Be sure to include space for the candidate to sign and date the letter, signifying their acceptance of the offer. 

What Needs to Happen AFTER the Employee is Hired?

The remainder of new hire documentation occurs AFTER the offer of employment letter has been signed and returned; on an employee’s first day. It is then that an employer will need to have the new hire complete an I-9 employment eligibility verification form and city (if applicable), state and federal tax forms.

Organizations can download many of these forms for FREE. States also require that employers report all new employees to the state directory in compliance with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. This law expedites the collection of child support from parents who change jobs frequently and quickly locates non-custodial parents to help in establishing paternity and

Lessons of entrepreneurial success from MI 50 Companies to Watch 2012 winners. Monday at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Business Next audio seminar

Lessons of entrepreneurial success from MI 50 Companies to Watch 2012 winner Mango Languages, Superior Extrusion Inc., Cherry Republic, DuoGuard Industries Inc., Twin Bay Medical Inc.

Listen Monday at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 
Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page.