Posts tagged ‘compensation’

Compliance Notice – Seattle Paid Leave Law

Employees working in Seattle?  This post is for you.  If you have at least one employee working at least 240 hours in a calendar year, you will have to begin complying with the City of Seattle’s new leave law.  The law takes effect on September 1st.

Here are a few highlights:

  • All employers with Seattle employees – regardless of company location – need to comply
  • Employers with all-inclusive PTO plans don’t have to provide additional leave.  (although plans without carryover options might need to adjust)
  • Employers need to post a notice to employees of their rights under the law (a poster should be available prior to Sept, check the Seattle site)

Here is the accrual rate chart.  If your PTO plan already offers at least this much time, you won’t need to change your accruals.

Employer Size Accrual Rate Based on Hours Worked within Seattle, Beginning on First Day Worked Maximum Hours
5-49 full-time employees 1 hour leave for every 40 hours worked 40
50-249 full-time employees 1 hour leave for every 40 hours worked 56
250+ full-time employees 1 hour leave for every 30 hours worked 72


Our Resource page has links to both the Regulations and the FAQ sheets.  The FAQ also includes contact information for questions regarding implementation.

Jackson Lewis LLP wrote an excellent article about the law on their blog here.





August 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Unlimited Paid Time Off – Too Good To Be True?

What if your employer told you that you now have unlimited paid time off.  Meaning, if you need to take time, that’s fine and we’ll pay for it.  The only condition is that you must continue to meet your deliverables and the company’s expectations for performance.  Would that seem like a great deal to you?

There are quite a few companies that are beginning to institute just this kind of program.  The premise is that if you treat employees like the adults they are, they will perform well and your relationships will be more effective.  Most companies that have put this type of system into place have gotten outstanding results.  However, there are a few key success factors involved:

  • The organization must have a high-performing management team
  • Organizational objectives must be clear and quantifiable
  • Organization and personal deliverables must be well-defined
  • There must be a commitment to a trusting culture from highest level
  • There must be metrics for evaluating results
Dyn has put up a post explaining their time off system.  It’s one of the best I’ve seen at clarifying how unlimited time off should work.  The Starpress also has some nice coverage on the topic.
Will some employees take advantage of the system?  Yes.  And those employees are not a good fit for a culture of trust.  The recruitment process has to allow for that fit factor and focus on employees who can work in a trust-based environment.  Management will have to re-educate employees about how to meet expectations within the new system.
I do think that having a high-performing management team is the single most important factor in a successful system.  Managers must be on top of results and performance.  They must act on difficulties in a timely manner.  They must have strong relationships with their reports.

While a system of unlimited time off might be a bit much for employees to embrace at first, it embodies the work culture that our society is demanding – one of balance, flexible hours, and remote locations.  It allows employees to work how and when they need to, and still feel they are able to dedicate attention to family and personal issues.

What’s your take on unlimited paid time off – is it too good to be true?

June 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

Pay For The Job or The Person?

One of my colleagues recently asked me whether it was appropriate to pay a new hire more money than existing employees in the same position because the new hire had more education/experience.  As with most human resource questions, the answer isn’t cut and dried.  Let’s follow a fictional example and see where it takes us.

I’m the CEO of Snail Mail Inc.  I employee stamp stickers and envelope stuffers.  Most of my employees have basic skills and education and do a fine job with those qualifications.  They get paid $10/hour.

Due to snail mail being in vogue, I need to hire another stamp sticker.  I’ve gone through the normal recruitment process, and have found a candidate that I want to hire.  The candidate will be performing the same work as the other stamp stickers.  However, this candidate has a Masters degree in Orchestral Composition from Julliard and 20 years of stamp sticking experience.  I decide to pay this person $20/hour because of these additional qualifications.

Before implementing this decision, I should ask myself these questions:

  • Are the candidate’s education and experience relevant to the job?
  • Will the candidate be using those skills and experience in the job they are being hired for?
  • Will I alter the scope of the position to leverage the candidate’s additional skills and experience?

If the answers to these questions are “yes”, then I may be able to pay them more than the other stamp stickers.

Here are a few cautionary notes to consider because, let’s face it, employees talk about their pay to each other:

  • When the other stamp stickers find out the new person gets paid more, how will that affect their morale?
  • Are the lesser paid people the same gender as the new hire?  The Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires that men and women performing similar work under similar conditions must receive similar pay.  You also don’t want it to appear that you are discriminating against the other employees because of their age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or other protected status.
  • Will paying the new person more give them an unwarranted sense of entitlement?

In the end, it’s best to pay a person for the work they are performing now, not what they might do, have the potential to do, or have done in the past.

May 22, 2012 at 10:00 am 2 comments

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