The Problem With Voice Over IP (VOIP)

Our company has been using Voice Over IP phone systems for many years. We were lured in by promises of convenience and mobility. Indeed, we love that we can get work calls while out on business – or even pleasure for that matter – that our remote employees can all use the same phone system, that we can check our call history online, and that we can forward calls based on various options. Sounds great doesn’t it?

We have used two different companies in the last 5 or 6 years and both have come with their share of issues. I don’t need to mention any names here because, for the most part, VOIP companies are all fairly similar. The features are similar. The expectations are similar.

And the problems are similar!

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WebEx WebOffice Discontinues Service

Welcome to!On November 30th, 2014 Cisco’s WebEx WebOffice will be discontinued. The company announced End of Sale last December and is set for End of Life next month.

“These products are being discontinued due to market demand, shifts in technology, and a change in focus and investment. There will not be a direct replacement for WebOffice and Workspace services within Cisco’s product portfolio. It is recommended that you consider alternative vendor solutions as early as possible.”

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Negative Accrual Balance – Should You Allow It?

Negative leave balanceOccasionally, employees need to take more time off than they have accrued. In other words, they want to spend more than they have in the bank.

These requests might come up for any number of reasons: Maybe it’s the holidays and the employee is just shy of what she needs to take off for a holiday trip. Maybe a baby is born prematurely and the parent doesn’t have enough paid time off to swing maternity or paternity leave. Maybe the employee wants to take a vacation during the summer when the kids are out of school but hasn’t accrued enough time since January 1st. Probably the most common situation is simply that new-hires want to take time off before they have accrued enough time. Whatever the reason, it happens that employees want to take more time off than they have earned. So the question is, what are you, the employer, going to do about it?

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Affordable Care Act and the Misclassification of Employees

Employee vs contractorEmployers have always faced penalties for misclassifying employees as independent contractors but now, with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), some employers are finding yet another reason to try to skirt around the law. Under the ACA, employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer health benefits to their workforce. If they don’t make health benefits available by the deadline, the company pays a penalty. You can see, then, how some companies might want to report having fewer than 50 employees so that they don’t have to offer health benefits. One way to achieve this is to classify some of that workforce as independent contractors. But this isn’t right and it will get you into trouble if you do it.

The Consequences of Misclassification

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Check Timecards for Mistakes!

Time card with errorsI talk a whole lot on this blog about making sure you don’t short your employees their due overtime. First, it’s not fair to employees and, second,  wage and hour lawsuits are expensive!

This is all very important but the opposite concern also happens a lot: overpaying employees.

Now, online time tracking systems like ours are designed to prevent this in most cases but, if you’re not careful, you could end up overpaying employees anyway.

Here’s how it could happen:
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Pay Period Versus Work Week and How It Relates to Overtime

CalendarOccasionally, we hear from customers who want to know why an employee has overtime on his Pay Period Report but does not appear to have overtime on his timecard. Under normal circumstances the two would match but given the right mix of conditions they sometimes don’t. Today I am going to explain why that is and what you can do to avoid it.

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FAMILY Act – How Maternity Leave Is Changing in the US

Pregnant womanMost people in the US probably don’t realize this but the United States is behind every other developed nation with regard to paid-time-off. Your average American probably thinks that getting paid to take time off is just for the elite. But this is far from the truth. Every other developed nation offers some benefits to postpartum mothers, and many of them offer quite a bit. As President Obama recently told an audience in June at the White House Summit on Working Families: “There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us. And that is not the list you want to be on by your lonesome.”

In addition to the President’s support there are many advocates that are trying to change our leave policy in the United States. The nation is seeing a city-by-city grass roots movement to change sick leave policies. And there are a couple of US Senators advocating to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act, called the FAMILY Act so that more people would qualify for the benefits.

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