Adhering to Washington’s Most Recent Labor Laws Without Hemorrhaging Costs

 
 

Like California, Washington state has made some updates to their already progressive labor laws, particularly in Seattle.

Adhering to laws that are put in place to benefit your employees benefits your organization in turn. You’ll also avoid union grievances and fines for noncompliance, saving both time and money. Keeping compliant with the recent laws, however, can severely impact your bottom line if you aren’t being strategic in other parts of your workforce management strategy.

We broke down the more recent employment laws that may currently be affecting your hourly workforce, along with the strategies you can implement to both abide by them and cut costs elsewhere.

Minimum Wage Increase Creates an Opportunity for OT Management

As of January 1, 2019, Washington state minimum wage increased to $12.00 per hour. Seattle's minimum wage is even higher. Any large company or chain with more than 500 employees globally is required to pay their employees $16; minimum wage is $15 for companies with less than 500 global employees.

Any increase in an employee’s wage will affect your bottom line. The good news is that other costs can be controlled to offset these increases. The biggest factor is overtime, where roughly 27% of overtime costs are considered to be unbudgeted. If you catch over-staffing before it happens, however, your overtime cost breakdown won’t come as such a shock.

Are your schedulers aware of which employee is close to exceeding their 40 hours? If they aren’t, then you are at risk of accidentally assigning too many unnecessary overtime hours.

We’ve previously discussed how automated workforce management can drive total overtime costs down by 19%. Providing visibility into hours worked and centralizing communication for overtime requests makes it easier for your complex scheduling organization to streamline OT hours.

Paid Leave Puts Pressure on Finding a Better Process for Shift Replacements

Initiative 1433, a law put into effect in January 2018, requires employers throughout the state to provide paid sick leave.

Whether they are full-time, part-time, or temporary, everyone who works in Seattle earns paid sick and safe time if the employer has more than four full-time employees; an employee accrues one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked.

There are other leave reform policies coming up on the horizon as well. The paid family and medical leave bill will come into effect in 2020, allowing workers to apply for up to 12 weeks of paid leave for personal illness, pregnancy, or illness of family members. This is one of the most extensive family leave initiatives in the United States.

What’s more is employers cannot require employees to find replacements to cover their absences. This means that the employer will be responsible for finding a replacement, if necessary—and for 24x7 scheduling environments like manufacturing, public safety, and energy production, it is necessary.

And when you consider that unscheduled absenteeism costs roughly $3,600 per year, per worker, you see how quickly not having an efficient shift replacement process in place could add up.

Rather than wasting time on flipping through company directories and dialing yourself, there is an opportunity to fully automate the process for finding replacements. You can fill a schedule vacancy in minutes with Workloud’s Smart Backfill™ tool; automatically call or text qualified employees to meet any need based on your pre-set compliance rules.

You can learn more about the advantages of automating this process here.

The Indeavor Solution

To keep HR and Operations sane amid these updates to Washington’s labor laws, streamlined absence management and overtime processes are key. The great news is that you can get all these benefits with Workloud.

Workloud is our workforce management SaaS solution which offers clients an end-to-end, cloud-based employee scheduling, time & attendance, and absence management system. Workloud integrates with your human capital management and enterprise resource planning systems to create a robust platform that provides you with real-time employee data.

Click here to request a demo.