Most people are happy to gain an hour’s sleep when we go from daylight saving back to standard time on November 4. But HR managers have to brace for a double hassle.
Come 2 a.m., Sunday morning, sleep an extra hour, everyone, unless you work the night shift. Then you’ll probably have to work an extra hour. And if you’re in HR, you’ve got more than an extra hour’s worth of work to do.
HR managers have two time change hassles to deal with: First, there’s the issue of how your payroll system is going to handle the extra hour. And then there are all the other systems, contacts, and arrangements to be checked, verified, and notified—but we’ll save all that for tomorrow’s Advisor. As for today…
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Notify Your Employees
First, make sure your employees know how you’re going to handle the extra hour on November 4. Will the night shift work an additional hour? Or will they work their normal hours and then stop? If they do stop, is any special coverage needed? What about phone, security, reception, maintenance?
If nonexempt employees work the extra hour, be sure they get paid for it and that it counts as an hour worked for overtime calculation purposes. Those aren’t our rules, they’re the government’s.
If you want to avoid paying overtime for the ninth hour in an 8-hour shift because it kicks your workweek over the 40-hour mark, consider adjusting employees’ schedules on another day. (Unless you are in a state like California that requires overtime after 8 hours in a day—then you’ll have to pay.) If you are a public employer, you may consider a comp time arrangement.
For any of these pay scenarios, the important thing is to make sure employees know what is happening—employees don’t like surprises in their paychecks.
Check Out Your Payroll System
Payroll systems are notoriously reluctant to pay for a 25-hour day. So, before the time change occurs, check with your payroll people to see how your system is going to handle the extra hour, and find out precisely how your supervisors should report the extra hour—it probably has to go in under a special code.
Do you use a payroll processor like Paychex or ADP? The big outfits have naturally thought this issue through, but you still need to check with them about how to report.
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What other systems affect payroll operations? Make sure that your scheduling software, time clocks, and other similar software and hardware are ready for the extra hour.
Too Early to Think About March?
Things get a little trickier in March, when clocks get set ahead. Most employees will want to get their full 8-hour shift in, although some will welcome a “mini-vacation” of an hour.
Many organizations pay for 8 hours even though employees have only worked for 7. This is fine, but, again, you have to work through the reporting carefully. And remember, if you do pay the missing hour, it does not count for overtime calculation purposes, because it is not an “hour worked” under the FLSA.
Daylight Saving Time Factoids
Here are a few factoids from the U.S. Naval Observatory to include with your announcements about the time change:
- In 2008, daylight saving time begins on March 9 and ends on November 2.
- Standard time in time zones was originally established by the railroads in 1883, and became law only in 1918.
- Hawaii and most of Arizona do not observe daylight saving time.
- Many other countries observe some form of “summer time,” but they do not necessarily change their clocks on the same dates the U.S. does.
What other time change issues are lurking in HR’s bailiwick? We’ll see in tomorrow’s Advisor.
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