By now, you’ve probably heard about President Obama’s plans to update the “white collar” overtime and minimum wage exemption criteria.

Currently, managerial, administrative and professional workers must make a minimum of $455 a week salary and meet certain qualifications in order to be exempt from overtime and minimum wage. Officials point out the $455 a week amount hasn’t been updated in 10 years. Many business owners and managers complain the qualification criteria are complex and don’t necessarily “fit” with the way modern jobs are structured.

Under the terms of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Secretary of Labor has the power to set the criteria for the overtime and minimum wage exemption. The President has directed the Secretary to “modernize and streamline” this regulation. To do this, the Secretary will first draft and publish a proposal, accept comments and then likely modify the final regulation based on those comments. The entire process could take months, or even years.

So why am I writing about it now?

First, the changes being discussed could have a significant impact on your business. Specifically, it will likely expand the pool of employees entitled to overtime, and change the rules regarding what it takes to be considered exempt.

It’s prudent to keep a close eye on any developments. Once the initial proposal is issued, you will have the ability to comment and make suggestions for improvement.

Second, knowing about it means you can prepare your business now for whatever changes might come. You won’t be caught flatfooted. Remember the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.

What can you do at this point?

One thing you can do right away… if you don’t already, require all your employees to record their arrival and departure times every day. Yes, even your salaried exempt employees!

Don’t worry! This won’t jeopardize their exempt status. The Department of Labor has specifically stated it’s permissible to track the time of exempt employees, as long as the time records aren’t used as the basis for their pay.

Why would you want to do this?

I’ve written before about several reasons why it’s a good idea to record salaried employee time. In a nutshell:

  1. It provides you with information you need for good workforce management. If you don’t track it, you can’t effectively manage it.
  2. Tracking employee time reduces “time theft.” The simple act of tracking time has been shown to decrease late arrivals and early departures.
  3. It could save your business a significant amount of money — perhaps even save your business itself — if any of those exempt employees bring a wage and hour lawsuit against you claiming eligibility for overtime pay, or if the DOL decides they’ve been misclassified.

Now, we can add another good reason to the list:

  1. It prepares your business for the future. If your employees are already accustomed to recording their time, it will be less of an issue in the future if some of them become eligible for overtime and you are required to track their time. If all your employees record their time anyway, this may ease the transition for you, and for those employees who are reclassified under the revised regulations.

For those who are concerned about clocking in and out in a professional office setting, recording time today doesn’t have to involve a punch clock and time card. Acroprint offers many high-tech, professional office-friendly options, such as timeQplus FaceVerify, which allows employees to clock in and out simply by looking at the facial recognition terminal. In fact, we have several types of badge and biometric systems, all of which are perfectly at home in any office environment.

We even offer AcroTime, cloud-based workforce management that is particularly useful for companies with remote or mobile workers, or those that want enterprise-quality features without the need for on-site IT support.

A new — and very popular — clock option, BioTouch, allows employees to clock in with a finger scan, a proximity badge or a PIN. The system itself is very simple to use, and requires no software installation and no computer connection. You download employee time to a USB stick, and use Microsoft Excel to review timesheets and print reports.

No matter what method you choose, tracking employee time is a smart business decision, now and for the future. To learn more about all the available options, contact Acroprint today.

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