Human Resources, Small Business & Startups, and Technology

Firm helps businesses adjust to OT rules

Dominion Systems has technology ready to track exempt and non-exempt employees under DOL policy.

July 29, 2016
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Acquiring software to meet the new federal overtime standards won't be as costly as it was for previous mandates, but businesses should be sure they are ready ahead of the Dec. 1 deadline. Courtesy Dominion Systems

Any time Washington passes new HR-related legislation, one local HR, payroll and timekeeping software company gets a lot of business.

All companies have to keep up with ever-changing federal regulations, but few have to master an understanding of those regulations the way Grand Rapids-based Dominion Systems Inc. does as a provider of cloud-based solutions and software for HR management.

For the sake of the company and the legal security of its clients, it’s crucial that all technology be up to speed with the law, said Briana Cline, Dominion’s HR installations consultant.

A big part of Cline’s job is to go to seminars and watch webinars to learn how Dominion has to evolve to stay relevant and keep its clients compliant with the law.

That process can be costly, she said.

“When there are completely new regulations or anything that has to do with reporting new data to the government, we have to find new ways to track it and get it to the government,” she said. “That is when it tends to be more costly. … Time is huge when it comes to these regulations, so luckily the government gives us plenty of time.”

This year, Dominion’s big challenge has been to keep clients updated on the U.S. Department of Labor’s overtime pay change rules announced in May. The new federal ruling, which will take effect Dec. 1, updates salary and compensation levels to make more employees eligible for overtime pay.

“It’s been long overdue,” Cline said. “The regulations haven’t been updated in a long time, so increasing the salary threshold really works in the favor of what’s fair for employees — and just for the economy, keeping salary thresholds in line with the economy.

“I personally know a few people who’ve been in supervisor positions, and they’re working tons of hours, but they’re not getting paid overtime because they’re salary.”

The new regulation will impact nearly all of Dominion’s clients, Cline said. But not everyone gets out ahead of the process.

“We (will likely) have clients coming up to us on Dec. 1 and, honestly, even some who will trickle in after December who haven’t even started working on it yet,” she said. “This is something we think we’ll be working on to the end of the year and probably into the early part of next year.”

So far, Dominion hasn’t had to do much except be prepared with software for its clients and be ready to answer questions. Most of the software work involves tracking exempt and non-exempt employees, and Dominion’s software already has those capabilities, she said.

“We actually didn’t have to make any changes. We just had to make sure clients knew how to use our current software data and what they need to do to be in compliance,” she said. “We were armed and ready, and luckily there wasn’t anything we needed to change in our software. What’s changing is the salary threshold. So we need to help clients track who’s affected by this.”

Other federal regulation changes have caused major technology and software overhauls that were a lot more complicated and costly, Cline said.

The biggest from a software and HR perspective was the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

“We really had to do everything different,” she said. “We created a whole new feature for tracking and being able to report the data to the IRS. That was a completely new regulation that didn’t entail much of anything we had,” Cline said.

“We’re glad this one is less software development intensive.”

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