August 2015

HR Extras

DOL raises the bar on independent contractors

On July 15, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Administrator’s Interpretation (AI) that narrowed the definition of an independent contractor. This interpretation is significant because it shifts the focus from the degree to which a business controls an individual’s work to the economic realities test. When determining if a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, the interpretation requires employers to use the six factors of the “economic realities” test as a guide to determine if a worker is economically dependent on the employer. When workers are economically dependent on a particular employer, they are, in effect, “employed,” and should not be treated as an independent contractor.
 
DOL cautioned against using these factors as a checklist. Each factor should be analyzed in relation to one another and no factor should be given more weight than the others.
 
The DOL economic realities test factors are as follows:
  • Is the work an integral part of the employer’s business?
  • Does the worker’s managerial skill affect his or her opportunity for profit or loss?
  • How does the worker’s relative investment compare to the employer’s investment?
  • Does the work performed require special skill or initiative?
  • Is the relationship between the worker and the employer permanent or indefinite?
  • What is the nature and degree of the employer’s control?
The full text of the DOL Administrator Interpretation is available on the DOL Website.

Symposium on developing human capital management systems in October

If you want to learn how to transform your district’s HR operations through an improved human capital management system, an upcoming symposium will provide you with the help you need.
 
The Texas Center for Educator Effectiveness (TxCEE), TASB HR Services, and the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA), have teamed up to present Optimizing Educator Effectiveness: A Multifaceted Approach. The symposium takes place on Oct. 27 and 28 at the San Marcos Embassy Suites, 1001 E. McCarty Lane, San Marcos.
 
Discussion topics include stakeholder engagement, teacher and principal evaluation, student growth measures, professional development on the job, new compensation models, and data management systems. Participating districts include Austin, Houston, Dallas, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo, Lytle, Anderson-Shiro, and Southside.
 
The symposium costs $250 and certified educators earn CPE credits for attending. The ESC Region 18 Website includes important information you need to know to set yourself up to register as well as the registration form.

Texas Education Human Resources Day set for Oct. 14

Gov. Greg Abbott has proclaimed Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015, Texas Education Human Resources Day. This is the sixth year school districts and the public have been encouraged to acknowledge the hard work of all human resource department staff members.
 
TASB HR Services has posted and will soon e-mail customizable certificates of appreciation and a sample board resolution to superintendents’ secretaries and district public relations staff in an effort to help districts honor their HR departments.
 
The Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA) spearheaded the effort to set aside one day each year to recognize the efforts of human resources staff.

Most in demand jobs in the U.S. are skilled trades jobs, once again

Skilled trades jobs are the most difficult to fill in the U.S., according to ManpowerGroup’s annual Talent Shortage Survey. It is the sixth consecutive year skilled trades topped the list of hardest to fill job vacancies. The skilled trade job category includes plumbers, HVAC technicians, and mechanics, to name a few.
 
Teachers also ranked among the top five in 2015. In fact, four of the top five most in-demand jobs can be found in school districts.
  1. Skilled trades
  2. Drivers
  3. Teachers
  4. Sales representatives
  5. Administrative professionals
The survey revealed that nearly one-third of U.S. employers (32 percent) reported difficulties filling job vacancies due to a shortage of talent.

Base salaries expected to hold steady in 2016

U.S. employees can expect an average base salary increase of 3.1 percent in 2016, up just slightly from the raises most received this year, according to a new WorkatWork survey. Most major job categories can expect this increase.
 
There has been little change in terms of upward pressure on wages, hence the continued limited growth in salary budgets. Compensation experts predict that at some point true unemployment (which includes individuals who have stopped looking for work) will fall to a level low enough to begin putting upward pressure on wages. With the tepid post-recession recovery, accelerated wage growth is not likely yet.
 
Top performers can expect higher-than-average merit increases, while low-rated performers are likely to see no or negligible increases in base pay.