“Whether you choose a manual process or to go with a system like ours,” says Mitch Stephens, Founder and Chief Software Architect of HRTMS Jobs, the first stand-alone job description management tool, “it’s critical to communicate with those who know the job. HR understands the intricacies of job description construction, but managers and employees are the ones who know what the job actually entails. Without the help of those who have a true understanding of the job, HR has no way of knowing if the job description they have on file and the classification derived from that description is accurate.”
As the accuracy of the job description is verified, HR professionals will also have to look at more than just the title of a job to arrive at an appropriate classification. They will need to evaluate the exemption status of each task. Let’s look at the job of Assistant Manager for example. Previously, this position was considered exempt because of its “management” status; however, if the employee spends only a minimal amount of time performing management duties and the majority of time is spent performing more non-exempt tasks, that employee may soon be entitled to overtime pay, since the proposed changes may require employees to spend at least 50% of their time performing management duties to remain exempt. If your company is not tracking percentage of time for essential functions, you may soon be required to do so in order to substantiate the exempt status given for each job.
Many legal professionals are also calling for companies to require employees to review and sign off on their job descriptions. Getting the job description right is only the first part. Making sure that employees comply with the job description downstream is just as important. In fact, it’s likely that the DOL will focus more on what an employee actually does than how the job is described in measuring compliance.
Finally, because jobs change over time, it’s critical to arrive at a strategy to maintain your job description portfolio. Who will be tasked with making sure job descriptions are accurate and up-to-date? How will revisions be requested, made and tracked? How often will internal audits be done and employee acknowledgements be required? Will you use a paper and email method or an automated job description management system?
Still, we must wait to hear from the Administration on what will be included in the proposed changes. But it is clear that if these changes do come to fruition, the job description will be an even more critical piece of the FLSA compliance puzzle.