Tracking employees’ time and paying them appropriately is a large task for any organization. It becomes even more complicated, though, when a company’s workforce is made up of union workers.
Most union contracts are constructed through collective bargaining agreements – contracts that were negotiated by the employer and the union that provide specific language for a number of personnel areas, including how and when union workers must be paid. There are almost always specific rules in place for not only how much a union worker must be paid per hour, but also when overtime kicks in (and at what rate) and the maximum number of hours union employees can work in any given day, week and/or month.
Sorting out the complexity of schedules for union employees as well as paying everyone appropriately within the guidelines of the collective bargaining agreement can be a monumental task for employers. Today, though, this process has become easier to manage through the use of time tracking software and workflow software solutions.
The Complexity of Time Management for Union Workers
Each collective bargaining agreement will have specific language that regulates various aspects of the employer-employee relationship. As it relates to pay and time tracking, this generally includes:
- Definitions for different salary levels
- A different rate of pay for each salary level
- A clearly-defined overtime structure, with different rates of pay for OT
- A minimum and maximum number of hours an employee can work in a day, week and/month
A scenario such as this one, then, could be commonplace in a union employee work environment:
- Level one union employees are paid $15 per hour for their normal shift from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- The normal shift includes two 15-minute breaks that are paid and a one-hour lunch that is unpaid.
- Overtime kicks in for any hours worked before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m. during the week, or for any weekend hours.
- The overtime per-hour rate of pay for weekdays is $22.50 and for weekends is $30.
- A level one employee may work Monday through Thursday from just 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., then Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., and Saturday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
And this is just for one employee. Now, imagine a workforce made up of 50 union employees who all work slightly different hours throughout the week, with five pay-rate levels. It’s not hard to see how difficult it is to manage not only tracking the time of these employees, but also managing an employer’s personnel budget.
How Time Tracking Software Can Help
In days past, the entire scenario above would have to be managed and tracked by employers manually. Originally, this meant taking punch cards, handwriting hours in a docket and processing payroll based on complex calculations. The advent of computers made this process easier, but people still had to manually type in all the data from these punch cards (or other time tracking equipment) into spreadsheets or programs.
Now, though, an even simpler and worry-free solution is available – time tracking software.
With time tracking software for union workers, and employer no long has to worry about the hassle that tracking time and different rates of pay creates. Instead, employers can set rates of pay, including overtime, into the time tracking software back-end.
When union employees clock in and out of work, that data will automatically be compiled and calculate the accurate payroll numbers for the managers, without any additional work. The time tracking software can also help employers forecast where they might be short-staffed or over-staffed, and make adjustments to the work schedule where needed.
Time tracking software allows the employer to much more easily comply with the terms laid out in the collective bargaining agreement, ensuring they not only pay each union worker the accurate amount of money as stated in the CBA, but they adhere to any maximum hour limitations the CBA includes.
In addition, time tracking software makes it easier for the union workers to track and manage their own time as well. Most software solutions allow employees to easily clock in and out of work remotely via a mobile device, without having to remember to keep their punch card on them or forcing them to trek over to the office to “punch the clock.”
Furthermore, if a union contract includes different rates of pay for different assignments on a job site – or assignments at different job sites altogether – the time tracking software will allow the employee to quickly and accurately clock in and out of the appropriate job location and definition, which also removes another level of headache from the employer.
Remove the Headaches, and Be More Accurate, with Time Tracking Software
Time tracking software is well worth the investment for any company that has a mid- to large-size workforce or that has at least a relatively complicated pay and work schedule. However, it is almost essential nowadays for companies that hire union workers.
It is of the utmost importance that these employers adhere to the terms laid out in the collective bargaining agreement with the union, and it’s easy to make honest mistakes when managers try to handle the process manually.
Time tracking software not only ensures employers can adhere to the CBA, keeping their union employees happy, but it also allows them to save valuable time and money that can be spent elsewhere.