I saw a statistic the other day for the number of minutes in a year–525,600. Even taking it a day at a time, the number is 1,440 per day. The numbers were being used to talk about parenting. As a parent, you can’t watch a child every minute of the day. That is why it is important for parents to work to train children and equip them to deal with situations when the parents aren’t there.
Serving in human resources presents some of the same challenges. In addition to being in charge of personnel policies and documentation, the HR staff often gets to serve as “parent” to the activities and relationships of employees. And even worse, sometimes the role is one of policeman. But the HR role can be more effective if the model is one of trainer rather than law enforcement. Usually, if the staff is educated and directed, they don’t have to be watched all of the time.
Next time there is resistance to budgeting money for training sessions or materials, remind the company just how many minutes untrained staff are on task each work day.
How do you treat payment for employees who are “On the Road Again”?
A basic tenant of employment law provides that an employee is responsible for getting to work, and the employer is not obligated to pay for this commute time to work (unless the employee works during the travel). That commute or home-to-work travel is not pay time under the FLSA pursuant to the Portal-to-Portal Act. However, there are times that the employer should pay the employee for travel time. The question is whether the travel is for the organization’s benefit (trips out of town, to clients, etc.) or for the employee’s benefit (getting to the workplace). Even if the employee works at different job sites, travel to the site is not compensable, unless the employee must report to a central location and then is sent to a remote job site.
Travel that is part of the regular daily duties of the employee, such as visits to customers, must be counted as work time. For day trips, any travel to the ultimate location is compensable. However, travel to an airport or other mass transit terminal is treated as home-to-work travel. For an overnight stay, all travel during normal working hours, regardless of the day of the week, is compensable.
“The life I love is makin’ music with my friends, and I can’t wait to get on the road again.” Sorry if you have Willie Nelson in your head now.