As more and more people are trying to balance the pressures of their work-day lives with their commitments to the family responsibilities, flexible work schedules are becoming more the norm that the exception. This is especially true when it comes to the preferences of the Contingent Workforce in industries like retail and factory shop floors and healthcare. Both factory and retail floors face fluctuating demands on their expected output, which is difficult to handle using the paper-pencil-eraser route. This is especially so during the holiday season when emotions run high and a sense of being victimized may overwhelm the person with the short straw!
More and more retailers and factory floors are turning to technology to ensure that they automate their labor budgeting, scheduling, forecasting and time and attendance processes. This automation provides them an added advantage in deploying an adequate number of workers, with an eye to their skills and abilities, to ensure a consistent customer experience and/or meet the required standards of performance. Their clock-ins, time-offs and mandatory breaks are managed with a strict application of state and federal regulations without fail, while providing the optimum solution for meeting the demand according to the client’s standards and employees’ personal preferences while being benchmarked to the Industry’s best practices. The automation of workforce scheduling using VMS will also ensure that over/under-staffing can be avoided and deployment is linked to demand, saving money on wasted staffing and improving brand image through better performance.
The VMS ensures that each minute of overtime is accounted for and integrates schedules with eligibility, applicable rates and the classification of work for overtime pay. It also manages the time sheets, approved lunch-breaks and appropriate wage, tax and labor laws. On the factory floor, it can record the floor related data, total scheduling and manage shift swaps and process other data related to the job. The system clocks in workers automatically, capturing the time accurately and helps the payroll department to avoid the administrative tasks of resolving complaints and grievances and re-working payrolls and pay rates with retrospective effect. The employees are also enabled to review their leave date and vacation details in self-service mode, manage leave applications and shift swaps or bid for shifts themselves.
On the compliance front, the list of items required to be kept in the company’s records, for every covered, non-exempt worker, under the FLS Act (Fair Labor Standards Act, Dept. of Labor) runs to 12-15 different items. While there is no prescribed form, there is a stipulation that the information about the employee and the number of hours worked and wages earned must be accurate. As violation of labor laws by companies, irrespective of their size, could lead to the Dept of Labor’s audits, followed by penalties and possible legal actions, it is important for all to ensure that no holes are left unplugged; especially because ignorance is not an accepted form of defense in such situations.
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