Posted by Health Wellness | Posted in workplace wellness | Posted on 31-05-2010
Variable compensation can be a great way to satisfy demand for higher pay while addressing senior management’s need to improve productivity and keep base salaries under control.
But there are some major pitfalls. Here are two proven ways to avoid the most common legal and return on investment risks.
Beware if you use variable comp as a pay-for-performance strategy for hourly staff members. Reason – It’s easy to inadvertently run afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime rules.
Under FLSA, you must recalculate employees’ hourly wages to include all variable pay (like individual or departmental bonuses) when figuring overtime compensation.
Failure to do so could cost your organization more in penalties and back-wage payments than the variable comp plan saved on the front end.
So it’s a good idea to double-check with Payroll to be certain the department knows to make OT adjustments after hourly workers receive bonuses.
Reward the right things
In order to make the criteria for bonuses easier for workers to understand and management to measure, many firms prefer using strictly objective measurements. Example – the plan may pay out based on how much money workers save their department in a year.
But what happens if staff members cut corners – on safety, service, quality, etc. – to reach the goal?
At some firms, staff members are still rewarded with extra pay, even though their actions potentially did more harm than good to the bottom line. for best results –
set behavioral criteria for bonuses as well as economic ones, and
consider using a mix of firm-wide, departmental and individual economic performance measures.