How to Deny a Time Off Request

Whether paid or unpaid, time off is an important respite that allows your employees to take vacations; attend to personal or family business; or simply rest and recharge. However, managers and employees alike must recognize that not every request for time off can be approved. Of course, most managers would like to accommodate their employees, but some businesses demand coverage during typical holiday or vacation periods. There may also be specific times during the year—for example, the end of quarters or fiscal periods—when a company needs to be fully staffed.

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Communicate Attendance Policy to Employees

These expectations should be clearly spelled out in your attendance policy, together with the amount of sick, personal, and vacation time allotted to employees and procedures for taking that time, including any time off that may be required by federal or state law. Clarify how far in advance employees must notify their supervisors of their intention to take time off, and whether those requests will be approved based on corporate or departmental needs. For example, even if your office closes early on Friday afternoons in the summer, you will likely still need someone on site to answer phones, accept deliveries, and respond to client emergencies.

Your time off policy should be articulated in both the employee handbook as well as on the company’s internal web site, or intranet, if one exists. You should also communicate in writing any variances to the time off policy that apply to specific departments or positions. When hired, employees should sign a written acknowledgement that they have received and read the handbook, to be placed in the individual employee’s personnel file.

Comply with Federal and State Law

When considering whether to grant an employee’s time off request, it is necessary to comply with applicable federal and state laws regarding time off and nondiscrimination. For example, employers covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, must provide eligible employees with unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons, including certain family military leave entitlements. The FMLA provides specific procedures and notice requirements for both employers and employees when it comes to requests for time off.

For employers covered by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, permitting the use of accrued paid leave, or unpaid leave, is a form of reasonable accommodation when necessitated by an employee’s disability. In general, the ADA requires that covered employers make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship. An employer does not have to provide paid leave beyond that which is provided to similarly-situated employees.

Certain employers may also need to grant time off requests in order to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, as required under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In addition to federal requirements, many states and cities also have laws requiring that certain employers allow employees to be absent from work, either with or without pay, due to specified circumstances. These laws may grant employees expanded or additional rights above the federal requirements, or they may be preempted by the federal law. As a result, employers in certain instances may be required to comply with only the federal law, only the state law, or both. If there is any question as to which law applies to a particular employer or situation, the employer should contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney or contact its state labor department for specific guidance.

Examples of state-specific laws regarding time off include family and medical leave; paid or unpaid sick leave; disability and other nondiscrimination laws; military leave; jury duty, crime, and witness leaves; leave to donate organs or blood; and leave to participate in school or day care activities for an employee’s children.

As you manage your employees’ requests for time off, also consider whether a flexible work option might be a good fit for your company. Flexible work hours can minimize inconvenient time off requests, and help managers plan for extra coverage during busy times. Upfront communication about expectations and schedules is key to making flexible arrangements work.

If Leave Must Be Denied

Time off requests must still on occasion be denied. If you are in that position, be empathetic and fair. Have your conversation with the employee in private, not in front of peers or colleagues. If appropriate, explain your reasons for denying the request. Listen to the employee’s needs and concerns, and attempt to find a resolution that works for the employee, the department, and the organization. Finally, remember to follow all applicable laws, and apply those laws and your company policies consistently and fairly among all employees.

Introducing: Pumpkin Spice Payroll

Well, it’s that time of year.

The branches and walnuts crunching pleasurably beneath your boots on your way into work. Tossing on that grey sweater over an argyl collared shirt while cradling a venti pumpkin-spiced latte and relishing the fresh October morning. And as you take your next sip sitting at your desk, you realize… it’s time to run payroll… and you wish it were Pumpkin Spice.

Execupay is proud to launch the next generation of Payroll, sure to be a disruptor in our industry, Pumpkin Spice Payroll V10.31. With exciting new features such as basic and easy to understand icons, a new warm layer of autumn scents and colours in the User Interface and prints, and new one click Pumpkin Spice ordering button, you’ll be running Payroll in yoga pants in no time.

When we were developing the new Pumpkin Spice Payroll product, we literally couldn’t even. “With great new job titles available in our drop down at your finger tips, such as ‘Autumnal Ambassador’,  ‘Mr. Fall’, or ‘the walking, talking essence of the Northern Hemisphere’s annual tilt away from the sun’, you’ll be able to capture your new employees spirits any time of the year,” says Dave Cashwell, lead developer of Spice Development, “and in version 11.13, you’ll be able to choose ‘down jacket with a fur-trimmed hood’ as a uniform selection.”

The real feature here however is the new “1-Click PnPSL” button. Short for ‘One Click Payroll and Pumpkin Spice Latte’, you can run your payroll and have a pumpkin spice latte delivered to you, right at your desk.  With Pumpkin Spice Payroll v10.31, you’ll be snuggling up on the couch sipping hot apple cider and watching You’ve Got Mail on DVD before you know it. You’ll also have more time to spend part of the weekend meeting up with your friends to watch fall sports and eat fall snacks.

When speaking to one of our customers during the beta launch of the product, Janice from CedarHR said, “You’ve really got to taste, I mean really taste, the Payroll to enjoy it. They even flavor their envelop strips like Pumpkin Spice. Execupay really pulled out all the stops. Get it before it’s December, and we all know that’ll be here before ya know it.”

What’s next for Execupay? We’re currently in the planning phase of Peppermint Mocha HR v12.25, coming Christmas Morning.

Try it today. One of our PSL Specialists will be glad to take you through it’s many features and functionalities from time keeping, direct deposit, employee self service, 401k and more.

Schedule a Demo

If you have any questions about Pumpkin Spice Payroll or it’s features, please reach out directly,

Travis Bjorklund
Director of Marketing
Execupay, Inc.

(PS: Pumpkin Spice Payroll isn’t real, we’re just having some fun, but Execupay’s award winning Payroll is. Head to the link above for a demo or to to learn more)

5 Tips on Hiring Top Talent and Improve Your Business’ Image

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We all know you need skilled and dedicated employees to build and grow your business. Attracting the right people is essential to positioning your company for growth and success, but establishing your company as a destination for top talent takes effort.

You’ve got to lead the competition on two fronts by: offering an attractive compensation and benefits package, and showcasing a corporate brand and culture that both excites and motivates candidates.

Here are 5 components to consider in your compensation and benefits package:

  1. Competitive salary
  2. Bonus or incentive compensation
  3. Health care and life insurance benefits
  4. Tax-saving retirement plans, like a 401(k) or Simple IRA plan
  5. Offering other types of benefits, such as childcare assistance or gym memberships, or things like “Free Lunch Friday’s”

Another important consideration when making decisions regarding compensation is whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (also known as the FLSA). Non-exempt employees are entitled to certain protections, including minimum wage and overtime pay, under the FLSA. Be sure to comply with all federal and state laws regarding compensation and benefits.

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Ok, let’s talk about how to leverage your corporate culture during the recruitment process. It is important for you, as the hiring manager or business owner, to take the time to evaluate your company in relation to your competition, in terms of work environment, corporate brand and work flexibility.

Establishing a few new policies and procedures can enhance your corporate culture and make your company a big draw for rising stars in your industry.

Consider the following steps when improving or building your company’s image:

  • Your benefits, like flexible work arrangements, telecommuting, location and position to match candidates’ individual needs
  • Training, including career-enhancing courses, certifications and a clear path to career growth
  • Your company brand should be positive, well known and recognized in the industry as successful.
  • Your corporate environment should be a friendly, organized workplace with a well-established corporate culture and values. In fact, much has been written to support the notion that happier employees are, ultimately, more productive AND profitable.
  • Finally, and of critical importance, your interview process should be straightforward, friendly and professional.

Remember, your candidates are also interviewing you and this is your best opportunity to impress them with the vision of who you are and how they’d fit in your organization.

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7 Topics to Cover While Onboarding New Employees

New employee orientation (also called onboarding) introduces newly hired employees to the workplace and familiarizes them with some of the company’s basic practices. In addition to helping new employees understand your company’s operating procedures, a thoughtful and well-designed orientation program also serves to set expectations and can help new employees be more productive team members at a faster pace.

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How to Appeal a Marketplace Notice

Appeals Due Within 90 Days

Health Insurance Marketplaces are now sending letters to notify certain employers that one or more of their employees has been determined eligible for advance premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions and has enrolled in a Marketplace plan. Because these events may trigger penalties under the Affordable Care Act’s “pay or play” provisions for applicable large employers (generally those with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalents), such employers may seek to appeal an employee’s eligibility determination.

Employer Appeals Process
Employers have 90 days from the date stated on the Marketplace notice to file an appeal. In the appeal, the employer may assert that it provides its employee access to affordable, minimum value employer-sponsored coverage or that its employee is enrolled in employer coverage, and therefore that the employee is ineligible for advance payments of the premium tax credit or cost-sharing reductions.

Will Your Summer Employees Affect Your ALE Status?

Employers May Apply a Reasonable, Good Faith Interpretation of the Term ‘Seasonal Worker’

Employers looking to hire seasonal workers this summer are reminded that there is an exception when measuring workforce size to determine whether they are an applicable large employer (ALE) subject to the Affordable Care Act’s employer shared responsibility (“pay or play”) provisions.