Oregon’s Wage Increases Create Labor Management Opportunities

 
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Between the equal pay law that was instated this past January and a minimum wage increase that will be going into effect July 1, Oregon is making greater strides in supporting its workers in 2019.

Of course, many large Oregon employers are worried about how the wage increases are going to affect their bottom line. Minimum wage is set to increase by fifty cents across the entire state, with the Portland metropolitan area hitting $12.50 an hour in comparison to $11 for nonurban counties. That translates to an extra $250 for every 500 workers each pay period; with roughly 24 pay periods a year, that’s an extra $6k annually for just 500 employees.

By leveraging scheduling as a strategic tool, however, you can better control costs to offset these wage increases. Here’s how automated scheduling can unlock cost saving opportunities.

Match Labor to Actual Demand

Are employees standing around with nothing to do because you’re overstaffed? Have too many overtime hours been assigned because there was no transparency over how many people were approved? How confident are you that you have enough employees during your peak shifts so that production doesn’t get pushed and deadlines are hit?

Schedulers create schedules based on the demand planner’s forecasted labor requirements. On the day, however, the shift supervisor is constantly making adjustments to said schedule based on absences, overtime, shift swaps, and any other unexpected occurrences. If the changes aren’t manually entered accurately and payroll is working off an outdated sheet, the people who actually worked the shift may not get paid.

Real-time rarely reflects what the paper roster in the break room dictated three business days ago, or even yesterday. So, why is scheduling still being done this way?

With automated scheduling, your important labor data (historical demand, employee information, etc.) is integrated at the point of scheduling. This helps you make the best decision financially because you will only be staffing to match what you need.

Rather than re-entering information in a spreadsheet to send over to payroll once the original schedule is obsolete from all the changes, you can create a schedule in minutes that is accurate, consistent, eliminates user error, and follows operational rules—that can be updated, saved, and centralized after a few keystrokes. Your hourly employees can even help update the schedule for you during cases like shift swapping and job bidding.

So not only will the right people get paid on time, but your shift will have the amount of people necessary to support it based on your in-flux labor demand. Never be overstaffed or undersubscribed again—two instances that will cost you money with extra paychecks and overtime, respectively.

Speaking of overtime…

Reduce Overtime Overages

Manufacturing employees alone work an average of 3.6 overtime hours per week.

With tight production deadlines, sometimes overtime is a necessity—and that’s fine. But are you aware of how many “unnecessary” overtime hours you are allotting each week? What about the breakdown of which employees are getting too many overtime opportunities in comparison to those who are routinely passed over, potentially putting you at risk of violating union contracts?

Let’s take a look at the following numbers from a recent survey of organizations that depend on 24x7 labor:

37% of respondents claim that their shift workers average up to 99 hours of unscheduled overtime. 7% even claimed 500 hours or more. Again, this is unscheduled—and therefore unbudgeted—overtime.

Yikes.

Automated scheduling that accounts for overtime rules and contract specifics can help by providing visibility into hours worked and centralizing communication for overtime requests. With overtime allowances being accounted for at the point of scheduling—or even when the supervisor is approving or denying an employee’s overtime request—the process of streamlining OT hours actually becomes manageable. In turn, you’ll distribute overtime more fairly.

Which brings us to our final point.

Mitigate Risk for Fines with Consistent Compliance

By eliminating unfair scheduling practices such as a (usually unintentional) bias for who to grant overtime to, you are reducing your risk for grievances… and the hefty fines that come with it.

With an automated employee scheduling system, compliance coverage—union, local, state, federal, fatigue—will become integrated with your scheduling process thanks to pre-determined rules that can be customized based on your facility’s needs. This doesn’t just ensure schedule fairness with overtime hours; it can help with fatigue and certification compliance as well!

By knowing how many hours and how many shifts in a row an employee has worked, you can proactively prevent workplace accidents due to fatigue. This protects both your workers from the potential danger that exhaustion can provide and your organization from disaster recovery and fines. For the nuclear and other energy production sectors, proper fatigue management isn’t just a nice-to-have perk—it’s the law.

Qualification management is also an integral part of a robust automated scheduling system. By assigning only qualified workers with the right certificates to each position, you are ensuring that only people who are qualified (and best) for the job are working—and that those who are not allowed, aren’t. You’ll avoid costly compliance penalties and employee downtime.

For an industry like food processing, not keeping up-to-date with employee certifications isn’t just something that results in a slap on the wrist and a fine; it is a public health violation.


The Indeavor Solution

Whether you’re an employer in Oregon or not, you can surely benefit from these cost-saving strategies. Indeavor’s automated scheduling and leave management solution, Workloud, can provide all these benefits and more.

Click here to request a demo.


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.