One of the hottest topics in small business now is what are the specific regulations around managing hourly employees remotely. While some of your team may have been working from home for years, there has never been a situation where your entire hourly workforce are outside the office until COVID 19 pandemic.
Jaime Lizotte of ComplyRight on Managing Remote Employees
On the Small Business Radio Show this week, Jaime Lizotte, Manager of HRdirect Smart Apps at ComplyRight talks about how little preparation most small businesses were able to do before they sent all their employees to work from home.
According to Jaime, the most challenging situation is how to supervise non-exempt employees who are typically paid hourly since they are no longer “clocking in and out” like when they arrived and left the office.
The problem is that while they still need to record when they start and complete work while at home, Jaime warns that its very easy to sit down at their computer for business outside of these hours and be entitled to overtime (and you must pay them regardless of whether it was authorized).
As a result, when they perform work needs to be strictly managed by the employer. This becomes especially problematic if their work email is on their phone. Jaime recommends putting all this into a documented policy using easy online programs so employees know what the guidelines are.
Please check with your human resources professional on who should be classified as an exempt or a non-exempt employee.
Team Communication is Critical
Jaime believes that team communication every morning is critical when it comes to working remotely by using tools like Zoom, Skype or Teams. She suggests also setting one on one weekly meetings to make sure they are getting the work done especially for exempt employees since they are measured on the goals they achieve.
In addition, small business owners not only have to worry that employees work hard but are they emotionally and physically healthy.
There is a help in this area from the federal government. In the 2020 Cares Act, Jamie explains that the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), allows employees to get leaves of absences to take care of family members due to COVID in the form of partial paid time off and job protection through December 2020.
There is a total of 12 weeks that are available to employees and are tax credits available for any paid time off.