impactnews: Minimum Wage Levels to Increase in MD, VA, DC on July 1

Beginning July 1, 2017, the minimum wage in Maryland increases from $8.75 per hour to $9.25 per hour. (The rate increases further to $10.10 per hour on July 1, 2018.)

Also in Maryland, the minimum wage in Montgomery County increases from $10.75 to $11.50 this July 1 and the minimum wage in Prince George’s County rises from $10.75 to $11.50 on October 1, 2017.

For the District of Columbia (DC), the minimum wage increases from $11.50 per hour to $12.50 per hour on July 1. (The rate increases further to $13.25 per hour on July 1, 2018, $14.00 on July 1, 2019 and $15.00 on July 1, 2020.)

In addition, for tipped employees in DC, the minimum wage goes up from $2.77 per hour to $3.33 per hour on July 1. Employers please note: if an employee’s hourly tip earnings (averaged weekly) added to their base minimum wage do not equal the full, new minimum wage of $12.50, then the employer must pay the difference.

Kelly Mitchell: Six Tips to Avoid Trouble in Wage and Hour Practices

Every employer, regardless of company size, must comply with basic employment laws that regulate wage and hour practices. Yet, roughly 70% of employers routinely violate wage and hour regulations without realizing it, writes impactHR’s Kelly Mitchell in a new blog post. In addition, she notes federal wage and hour lawsuits filed nationally have increased by more than 400% since 2000.

To comply fully with the DoL’s wage and hour regulations, Mitchell offers six tips, including 1) ensure your employees are properly classified as exempt or non-exempt to be in compliance with federal and state regulations; and 2) familiarize yourself with the overtime exemption criteria and remember that simply because an employee is paid on a salaried basis does not automatically disqualify the employee from entitlement to overtime compensation. Read more

Virginia, Maryland Lead the Nation in Startup Company Growth Rates

When it comes to environments that foster high-growth entrepreneurship, Virginia and Maryland are tops. In fact, the two states are one and two respectively in a national ranking of startup activity, according to a new report from the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation. The Kauffman Index of Startup Activity, an annual ranking of startup activity across the country, covers approximately 5 million companies, capturing business activity in all industries.

For Virginia, the study shows the state’s rate of startup company growth was 81%, meaning the average startup grew 81% by number of employees from 2008 to 2013 (most recent data available). For Maryland, its startup company growth rate was 79%. Rounding out the top ten states for this ranking are: AZ, MA, TX, LA, CO, NC, AL and GA

The Kauffman Index takes into account three components of entrepreneurial business growth: the rate of startup growth, the share of scale-ups and high growth company density. Read more

Is Moving to a Paid Time-Off (PTO) Policy Right for Your Company?

Most employers recognize the value associated with providing some kind of paid time-off benefits in terms of engaging and retaining employees and to remain competitive in recruiting new hires. The question becomes what kind of program is right for your company. Employers typically are faced with deciding how leave will be structured and how much they will offer to their employees.

One challenge with the traditional system of paid time off – by designating separate vacation days, sick days and personal days – is that not every situation fits into any one category. Many companies have made the switch from the designated days off to a Paid Time Off (PTO) policy. These specific days can be used for sick time, personal days, vacations, or for whatever reason the employee may need time off. Like vacation and other forms of time off, the annual number of PTO days may increase based on years of service and/or the employee’s position within the organization.

For executives interested in enhancing their employees’ work/life balance, this can be a positive step. Employees generally like PTO plans because of the flexibility and privacy they provide. It gives employees a choice in how their PTO is used, and typically they are not restricted to using their time for only vacation or sick leave. PTO benefits can also be used more equally by all employees, including those individuals who are rarely ill or who do not have children under their care.

Employers can easily implement a PTO program and track time easily because all days go under the same heading in a tracking system. This can provide a financial benefit to the company in terms of time spent on tracking and determining eligibility for requested time off. Just like any other policy or program, the success of a PTO program requires planning, coordination and continuous communication to employees.

A poorly executed program can lead to confusion, frustration and misuse as well as potential liability for the company if not compliant with applicable regulations. This is especially the case for employers with operations in the several states (California, Rhode Island, Washington, New Jersey, and New York – and the District of Columbia) that currently mandate paid family leave for employees.

If you have any questions or would like help crafting a paid time-off benefits structure, please contact an impactHR team member at or phone 443-741-3900.

Google Launches Job Recruitment/Search Service Using Artificial Intelligence

Steve Ingham, CEO of PageGroup, a specialist recruitment agency, recently said at an industry conference: “You don’t build a business – you build people, and then people build the business.” Ingham’s quote dovetails well with the announcement last month that Google is moving into the job recruitment and job search space. Unveiled at Google’s annual developer conference last month, Google for Jobs is a new search service designed to enhance and accelerate the process of enabling employers and prospective employees to find the right fit for open positions.

Leveraging Google’s expertise in search and tapping into machine learning and artificial intelligence, the Google for Jobs search engine displays jobs across experience and wage levels, including jobs hard to search and classify such as retail and hospitality. The service also gives instant information on commute times/distances for each job within a specific search.

In addition, Google for Jobs is built to complement other job listing and search services, including Monster, Career Builder, Craig’s List, Indeed and Zip Recruiter, in a move to speed and streamline the job search and recruitment process. “It’s a powerful tool – we’re addressing jobs of every skill level and experience and are committed to making these tools work for everyone,” says Sundar Pichai, Google CEO. Learn more

How To: Implementing an Effective Employee Onboarding Program

When hiring a new employee, an effective onboarding process can be vital to ensuring new hires feel welcomed, productive and ready to be committed for the long term. When transitioning new hires into your workplace, make them feel welcome immediately and, in turn, help enable them to understand they made a good decision in accepting your job offer.

In contrast, a poor onboarding process can lead to high turnover rates. Employee turnover, in fact, can be expensive – the average cost to fill one position is $11,000. To this end, here is a pocket toolkit to help you build a smart employee onboarding program:

  • Make a new-hire welcome plan and send it to the new employee just after the offer is accepted, including tips for parking, dress code, start time, schedule, as well as pertinent documents and related items they need to bring
  • Send them a welcome message to get them excited about their new job
  • Take them on a tour of the office or facility and point out bathrooms, kitchens, break rooms etc.
  • Give them a company orientation, including information about company history, products/services, organizational structure and important contact information
  • If possible, provide formal introductions to senior leadership so new employees know who they are and their roles within the organization
  • Provide immediate access to computers and phones
  • Plan a lunch for the new hire with a few co-workers

A successful onboarding process commonly can take up to 30 to 60 days. During this onboarding time, there should be strategies in place to ensure the new employee is fully engaged in and acclimated to their role.

If done right, a well-planned, proactive onboarding process can provide lasting benefits to your company and to your company’s overall growth.

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