Taking on Union Workers?

Collective Bargaining

A controversial Supreme Court ruling was issued in late June 2018 stating government employees who elect to opt out of joining a labor union aren’t obligated to help fund collective bargaining.

This means that government workers aren’t required to finance union activity; forcing them to do so violates the First Amendment, as it requires payments to unions that negotiate with the government and forces workers to endorse political messages that could disagree with their beliefs. In contrast is the belief that government employees who choose not to join a union are entitled to refunds of their dues spent on political activities, such as promotional advertising that supports a political candidate.

What’s Involved with Hiring Union Workers?

Before taking on a project that uses union employees, research the union’s requirements. The local union’s business manager can assist you with:

  • What are the effective dates for payment and dues?
  • How and when will union workers get paid?
  • Are there any rate changes within the union?

Tracking union payroll can keep contractors up at night. Meticulous records need to be kept. Errors, such as incomplete reporting, late payments, and delayed distribution of paychecks, can result in expensive fines, lost contracts, or being removed from a union. The outcome can seriously strain HR and payroll departments when it comes to deductions that have to be tracked on union workers.

Depending on the union, either online submission or check deposits are required. Keep track of payment dates made to the union and your union workers. If you miss a deadline, you can be charged for each hour a union employee’s paycheck is past due.

And follow the same protocol when working outside your local union’s jurisdiction, as you could be responsible for a different set of wage, fringe, and deduction requirements and rates.
HR departments not familiar with union regulations may be surprised to learn how this affects members who work in certain areas of a business. For example, unions need to closely track workers’ time to make sure their employees don’t work more hours than contracted or their hours worked align with their schedules.
When processing union workers’ payroll, also keep in mind that union deductions are handled differently from non-union employees. A predetermined portion of each union worker’s paycheck needs to be set aside for union dues. If your business employs union and non-union workers, this can be challenging to track.
ASAP Payroll Service can simplify union payroll processing, despite it varying, based on each job and contractor. While there’s no universal answer that streamlines the process, you can reduce stress related to reporting by accurately tracking and recording, or by investing in a construction-specific payroll system (for example, ASAP Payroll Service) that will do it for you. ASAP has software that automates deductions related to union, open, and agency shop agreements between employers and organized labor unions, so that proper deductions are always handled on time and in full. Tracking time and attendance or mobile punching functionality can simplify the process, so workers don’t have to clock in from outside a building or geographic area designated by the employer.

Union, Agency, and Open Shops

As mentioned earlier, there are union, agency, and open shops. Closed shops aren’t included here, because they’re prohibited according to national law (the Taft-Hartley Act). In a union shop, it’s not mandatory for employees to join a union as a condition of being hired; however, they’re required to join within a specified amount of time, generally after 30 days. Technically, though, employers aren’t allowed to fire employees who refuse to join the union, provided those employees pay union fees and dues.

In an agency shop, employees must pay union fees and dues; however, they’re not required to participate as members. And, with an open shop, employees don’t have to join a union or pay dues and fees. Generally, open shops are found in right-to-work states where laws prohibit both union and agency shop agreements.

When dealing with these different kinds of shops, remember that, if your payroll solution automates calculations, this reduces human-error and saves you from getting bogged down with manual processing and correcting errors. ASAP Payroll Service’s time and attendance software can track union employees’ hours worked, vacation time taken, and can gather said data for purposes of creating quick and accurate reports. Each is tracked through Evolution Advanced HR, one of the top HCM systems on the market.

Processing Payroll
ASAP can help you process payroll across collective-bargaining union contracts and maintain accurate week-to-week payroll. We track different pay rates, shift differentials, deductions, and overtime rules. If you’re looking for a more audit-proof, scalable solution to process payroll across collective-bargaining employees, we can also help.
ASAP customizes differential rules; if the employer chooses to offer shift differential pay (extra compensation for employees who work less preferred shifts, such as evening or night), rather than make manual adjustments to employees’ paychecks each pay period, union employers can benefit from ASAP Payroll Service’s technology that records and runs shift differential rules and automatically makes adjustments to pay statements. Because shift differential rules and rates can vary among different bargaining units, our software can customize and run these rules according to each bargaining unit.

Tracking Collective Bargaining Agreements
Accrued time off, sick pay, and other employer-specific types of leave may require different rules based on collective bargaining agreements. Variations in the maximum time an employee earns, based on the union contract, might also need to be addressed. For example, maximum time, tenure changes, waiting periods, and how often the time needs to be processed. ASAP Payroll Service can monitor these through its payroll or time-keeping software. In addition, enhanced tenure changes can be tracked. We also offer mobile tracking through an app that can “geo tag” employees’ locations.
Akin to shift differentials, an employer can customize accrual calculation profiles that can then be applied separately to each collective-bargaining group. And, in terms of audits or grievances, employers with automated accrual systems can rapidly validate or amend accrual calculation disputes.
ASAP Payroll Service also uses one of the top payroll products on the market, Evolution Advanced HR. It’s a dynamic payroll, HR, and tax management system developed by payroll and HR service bureau veterans for the Human Capital Management (HCM) industry. It’s designed to reduce payroll errors. Check out the Human Capital Management page on our website: asappayroll.com.

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