In the News

What are the Implications to a Business Owner of Opting In or Out of Healthcare Reform Requirements? By Sharron Ngatikaura, SPHR Human Resources Dir...

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Industry Outlook: Human Resources - Utah Business Magazine SEPTEMBER 1, 2012 "From juggling compliance issues to dealing with escalating workforce...

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Steve Hubbard, Human Resources Consultant
Employer Solutions Group

Working with businesses that span across all industries, we at ESG have noticed some common mistakes which business owners have made — some more detrimental (and frequently made) than others. Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is NOT an accepted alibi. Please consider your individual business practices as you read through these mistakes and decide for yourself if you have room for improvement.

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Posted in: In the News

Utah’s human resources professionals are proving their worth as companies face mounting issues such as healthcare changes, undocumented worker challenges and compliance issues. Our human resources and staffing experts discussed the challenges and successes they have experienced as they face these and other complex issues. (Dalynn Jones, Employer Solutions Group, participated in the discussion.)

Are you seeing misuse of workers’ compensation payments and unemployment compensation?

JONES: We had a lot of unemployment claims with all the client companies that we work with. The state is being a little more lenient on allowing people to have unemployment, and we work pretty aggressively to keep them off. There’s a lot of people that really know the system and they are good at staying on unemployment. They don’t want to work if they don’t have to. It’s frustrating to see them get it and continue to work the system. I think there are a lot of people that truly qualify and are using it just as a way to get by, but there are a lot of people that are quite happy to be on it and do everything they can to stay on it.

JONES: A few years ago, you knew that you could handle a claim and they would not be getting it. And now when so many people are on it—and we should be holding those funds sacred—it seems like anyone is getting on it, and you work a lot harder to get people that should not be on unemployment off when it should be the other way around.

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Posted in: In the News
Human Resources Q&A -
To view a pdf of the article, click here

Wyatt Curran, Human Resources Consultant
Employer Solutions Group

Do you have human resources questions?  Most employers do, although many business owners don’t realize these questions are actually HR-related.  In working with clients of all industries, our ESG Human Resources Consultants hear questions that might be educational (or great reminders) for all employers to read.  Test your knowledge and see if you’re in line with where the law stands.

Q: Do I have to provide paid sick or vacation time to my employees?
A: No, not in Utah.  There is no Utah labor law that requires employers to provide benefits to its employees.  However, employers who do provide PTO and/or other paid leave must establish and abide by their paid leave policies in a non-discriminatory manner.  This generally means that employees within a given class (i.e. first-level employees, mid-level employees, managers, etc) should be offered the same amount of paid leave across the board to avoid discrimination charges.  Some employers take a risk by offering varying amounts of PTO to employees within a given work group (oftentimes extra PTO days are offered as a “deal sealer” when recruiting employees); however, this is a gray area.  If an employee someday believes he or she is not being treated fairly in regards to PTO amounts and entertains the reason to be due to some protected class characteristic (because I’m Catholic, I’m a woman, I’m an ethnic minority, I’m over 40, etc), this risk could someday turn into a lawsuit. 

Q: My Utah business has employees that occasionally travel into California.  I don’t have to abide by California labor code when those employees are actually in CA, do I?
A: It’s complicated.  Perhaps you are concerned about this because California requires that employers pay overtime for any time worked more than 8 hours in a day rather than based on the federal standard of 40 hours in a workweek.  And perhaps adding to your concern is the recent California Supreme Court ruling that nonresident employees working for a California-based company would, indeed, have to be paid according to California rules when actually working in California.  What complicates this issue even more is the careful wording used by the California Supreme Court after this case ruling where it stated, “California law might not apply to non-resident employees of out-of-state businesses who enter California temporarily during the course of a work day.”  Our interpretation of this (and final answer to the question) is no, you do not currently have to abide by California labor code for your non-resident employees working for your out-of-state business who occasionally enter California for business purposes.  However, this answer is subject to change pending the next lawsuit that is bound to occur by somebody also wanting a piece of California’s generous overtime payout.

Q. My business partner and I own two separate companies with different FEINs.  They are both wholly owned by the same partnership and we have employees that work for both companies (they bounce back and forth).  Are we required to combine their hours in order to calculate overtime?
A. Yes.  Whenever there is joint employment (meaning employers share control of the employee, or there is common ownership of the employers, or there is common management of the employers), then hours must be combined in the week to determine overtime (OT). 

Q: I have given all of my employees Smartphones so I can reach them when they’re out on the worksite.  Is this a good or bad idea?
A: Both good and bad.  Advancements in technology have allowed employers and employees to become much more productive and efficient than they were even just a few years ago.  And, as you’ve experienced, Smartphones have greatly enhanced communication when employees are typically out-and-about for their jobs.  The tricky side to providing an employee with any Smartphone-related device is both calculating work time accurately, as well as having a comfortable level of trust with how the phone will be used. 

Anytime employees are actually performing work for the company, they must be paid for time worked.  This includes responding to emails and answering work-related phone calls on their Smartphones.  Wage and hour laws clearly state that simply having an electronic device on your person for work purposes does not necessarily mean the person is working, however.  To help track hours outside the workplace, the Company may want to setup an online time-keeping system and then train employees on how to record time worked, particularly when they are unable to clock-in immediately.

Perhaps allowing employees to keep the Smartphone device for personal use should be in conjunction with an electronic device policy that outlines the Company’s expectations and appropriateness of its use.  If employees violate the phone use policy, they may be disciplined for the misuse and/or have their phone rights amended so as to only have it at the start of the work day and returned at the end.  Generally speaking, demonstrating to employees that you trust them enough to keep a Smartphone at all times will provide greater morale and higher productivity returns.

Wyatt Curran has a B.S. Degree in Management Emphasis in OB/HR.   He is a Human Resources Consultant for Employer Solutions Group (ESG), a PEO that provides human resources consulting, payroll & administrative services, creative benefit offerings, and employer liability reduction to its client companies.

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Posted in: In the News

HR Experts Talk Healthcare, Hiring and Retirement - 

Hiring in Utah is rebounding, but the increasing cost of providing benefits is changing recruitment, compensation and employee responsibility. The cost of providing employee programs is rising, and companies are finding new ways to recruit and keep good workers, according to the experts at a Utah Business roundtable discussion on Tuesday, August 2.


This year has seen a slow but steady gain uptick in hiring, said Dalynn Jones, Senior Human Resources Consultant at Employer Solutions Group. Jones said many companies put off hiring over the past few years, waiting for the economy to rebound. While the economy is still rocky, companies can no longer put off necessary hiring.

However, some companies are having trouble finding qualified applicants. While some industries, such as construction, still have few openings and many good applicants, other industries and many top positions do not have enough qualified people...


Part of the overall job satisfaction package is healthcare, but costs to the employer are increasing and HR experts are looking for new solutions. The original promise of the Utah Health Exchange has not been realized for most companies, said Jones. Many have found insurance through the Exchange is not priced competitively and is frequently more expensive than what is found elsewhere...


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