Out of time on overtime

Noncommercial operators deal with the aftermath of a wage law in purgatory.

overtime payroll timesheet

Just eight days before Dec. 1, when operators would have to comply with the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rules, a federal judge in Texas slapped an injunction on the regulation. The move indefinitely halted the rules that would have doubled the overtime threshold to $47,476, affecting nearly 4.2 million workers, according to the DOL. For some operators, the move was too little, too late. Now, they have to answer to employees who had been briefed on promised wage increases.

Kansas Memorial Union at the University of Kansas in Lawrence made changes ahead of the deadline and decided not to reverse course after the ruling. “Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can’t put it back in,” says Mark Petrino, KU’s director of dining. The rules affected 31 salaried staff members at a significant cost to the operations’ labor line, says Petrino. Dining gave eight people raises based on job duties, and converted the rest to hourlies, which would make them exempt. “Luckily, we have money in reserve for unforeseen matters,” he says. “Plus, we were aware of this last year during budget time, so we earmarked money just for this possibility.”

Only three members of the dining services team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign would have been affected by the law. The dining team had already met with each worker to discuss updating their salary, and decided to move forward with the plan. “We told each individual that we value them and recognize their contribution; as a result, they were increased,” says Dawn Aubrey, associate director of housing for dining services. “It was viewed as a promise that we would keep.”

Some operations are waiting on HR departments to give them the green light, funneling all worker communication about the matter through them. Only two hospitality services employees at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., fell under the scope of the law, because the department took steps to reign in overtime after a different regulation passed in 2010. “We control overtime pretty closely already,” says Randy Lait, senior director of hospitality services. “We had more of a strategic change in scheduling in response to the Affordable Care Act, which resulted in us scheduling 30 hours or less for many employees.”

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Regional School Unit 17 in Belfast, Maine, is banning straws beginning on Monday, the Penbay Pilot reports.

The ban was put into action by a student group and the district’s foodservice director. Over the years, the district has also phased out plastic utensils and plans to completely eliminate foam food trays this upcoming school year.

Director of Food Services Perley Martin told the Penbay Pilot that the district’s foodservice budget has not increased as a result of the transition to more eco-friendly materials, due to the fact the change was made slowly.

The...

Industry News & Opinion

School districts in Jefferson, Oswego, and St. Lawrence counties in New York will be expanding their farm-to-school programs as the result of new funding, Watertown Daily Times reports.

The expansions will be made possible by the Seeds for Success program, which awarded grants to seven school districts last year to begin farm-to-school programs. This year, it will provide $5,000 grants to an additional 19 districts to either start or expand their local food efforts.

One of the grant recipients said it will use the funds to add additional gardens and expand its composting...

Industry News & Opinion

Aramark has begun using a new system to track, purchase and report on its sustainable practices.

The system, named Open Fields, allows foodservice vendors to create and monitor their own sustainability programs. Users can run their own metrics on various sustainability initiatives based on factors such as location, product, spend, attribute, farm/vendor, miles to location and distributor. Managers can also generate reports on their organization’s sustainable purchases.

Aramark says it’s using the software to track its sustainable purchases of products that are Fair Trade...

Industry News & Opinion

Columbia Public Schools in Columbia, Mo., has introduced a farm-to-school coordinator position for its new farm-to-school program , the Missourian reports .

The district partnered with the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture to create the role, which is intended to help about 1,000 third- through fifth-graders eat more fruits and vegetables. The coordinator will be in charge of arranging student field trips to the Center’s farm as well as writing and planning a curriculum and activities for students.

The Center will provide around $42,000 for the position, and the...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code