Austin Human Resources

UniqueHR offers a number of Human Resource services for companies and employees in the Austin area, and produce on-site and online Human Resource Training programs. We create custom employee handbooks and procedures for each company. We provide verifications including the Department of Human Services, Attorney General, Social Security Administration, and more. In addition to these services, we also handle background checks, employee status changes, and pre-employment screenings.

austin human resources

Austin, the capital of Texas, is the 11th largest city in the United States. It is home to various lakes, rivers and waterways and is located in Central Texas. The University of Texas is located in Austin and has approximately 50,000 students. Various Fortune 500 companies have offices located in Austin, including Apple, Cisco, eBay, Google and IBM. Austin is known as “The Live Music Capital of the World”, and residents call themselves Austinites. They are known for their annual film/music festival South by Southwest (SXSW).

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Workplace Safety

At UniqueHR, we have Worker Safety experts that assist and educate clients with a number of different programs. Our safety programs include Safety Program Development, Safety Manual Development and Implementation. We also offer Safety Meetings and Training, with specific training certifications. We also provide job site inspections and audits.

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Workers’ Compensation Austin TX

There are many benefits of partnering with UniqueHR for Workers’ Compensation. We offer $1,000,000 Coverage, with excess limits up to 15 million if required. We provide workers’ compensation administration and claims management. We also offer exclusive remedy protection under workers’ compensation regulations. We also offer no premium down payment and relief from annual audits, adjustment of payments, and hearings by state.

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Benefits Administration

Our Benefits Administration offerings in Austin include Major Medical Group Health Insurance, Dental Care, Vision Care, and Health Savings Accounts. We also offer life insurance, short term and long term disability. Healthcare regulations are constantly changing and it’s hard to keep up. Unique HR uses their experience to help shoulder your compliance burdens, stem the paperwork tide and reduce the risk of noncompliance.

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Retirement Management

Planning for retirement is important to most employees. The hurdle for most businesses is to put together a 401(k) plan that is up-to-date, easy to use and cost effective. UniqueHR overcomes these hurdles for our clients with plan design, investment performance and service which are second to none. We offer a number of services that help you with retirement benefits.

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Austin Staffing

UniqueHR clients have the added value of turning to Unique Employment Services for a cost-effective manpower solution for their direct hire, executive search, and temporary hiring needs. Our staffing agency has been serving South Texas with excellence for nearly four decades. UniqueHR can help you with all your staffing needs in Austin. We work hard to provide individuals with the best employment opportunities available.

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Payroll Services Austin TX

UniqueHR’s payroll services include preparation of payroll, payroll registers and billing reports for Austin area companies. We offer secure web-based time reporting, online access to earning reports, and year end W-2 forms. We complete the processing of wage garnishments and wage assignments. We prepare job costs and certified payrolls at no additional charge. We also provide a shift in liability for all state and federal tax compliance and reporting.

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FAQ’S

Q: DO I HAVE TO PAY OVERTIME IF I HAVE AN AGREEMENT WITH MY EMPLOYEES?

A: Yes. The Department of Labor does not recognize agreements that are contrary to the United States Fair Labor Standards Act. The law states that employees must be paid at one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 hours in a seven day period regardless of the total hours worked in a bi-weekly, semi- monthly or monthly pay period. The employer may choose the seven-day period as long as it remains consistent.

Q: I PAY MY NON-EXEMPT EMPLOYEES COMMISSION OR PIECEWORK. DO I HAVE TO PAY OVERTIME?

A: Yes. Non-exempt employees paid on a basis other than hourly are entitled to overtime pay. Note that regular hours and overtime hours need to be reported as a part of payroll.

Q: CAN I HOLD AN EMPLOYEE’S PAYCHECK BECAUSE OF THEFT?

A: No. Wages cannot be held because an employee is suspected of theft. The law considers the suspected theft as a separate matter that must be pursued through the court system.

Q: CAN I TERMINATE AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS ON WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FOR AN ON-THE-JOB INJURY AND IS TAKING TIME OFF UNDER THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (FMLA)?

A: No, termination under this circumstances is strictly prohibited by state & federal law. FMLA can take effect with as little as three-day absence.

Q: DO I HAVE TO PROVIDE BREAKS?

A: No. The Fair Labor Standards Act does not require employers to give breaks. However, if breaks are given, rest breaks of twenty (20) minutes or less must be compensated. Uninterrupted lunch breaks of at least thirty (30) minutes need not be compensated. Certain state laws may be more stringent. We encourage you to contact the Wage and Hour Board for specific state requirements.

Q: WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AGE FOR AN EMPLOYEE?

A: 14 years of age. Minors under the age of 18 can work in non-hazardous occupations, determined by the Secretary of Labor, with certain restrictions. These restrictions generally prohibit a minor from operating power driven machinery as part of their job duties. Many states also restrict the permissible hours of work for minors. Violations of child labor laws can result in fines of up to $10,000 per violation. Please contact the Wage and Hour Board for any clarifications you need.

Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR INITIATES AN INVESTIGATION OF MY COMPANY?

A: You will be asked to supply each employee’s name, physical address, Social Security number, hire and termination dates, and I-9 and payroll records. Please contact our Human Resource Department for help with these matters.

Q: HOW DOES AN EMPLOYEE CHANGE HIS TAX FILING STATUS, NAME OR ADDRESS?

A: The employee must fill out a new W-4 and submit it to the UniqueHR’s Human Resources Department. A W-4 form may also be downloaded from the IRS website at www.irs.gov or from the UniqueHR website.

  1. A PAYCHECK HAS BEEN LOST OR STOLEN. WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE FOR GETTING IT REPLACED?

A: Report the information to the Payroll Department on a Lost Check. It may take an additional three (3) business days to process the stop payment and reissue a check for the employee. We must pass on the charge of $25 from our bank on all stop payment orders.

  1. WHAT ARE AN EMPLOYEES RIGHTS UNDER THE TEXAS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SYSTEM?

A: 1. You may have the right to receive benefits.

You may receive benefits regardless of who caused, or helped cause, your injury. You may not receive benefits if your injury occurred while you were intoxicated, you injured yourself intentionally or while unlawfully attempting to injure someone else, you were injured by another person for personal reasons, you were injured while voluntarily participating in an off-work activity, you were injured by an act of God, or your injury occurred during horseplay.

  1. You have the right to receive the medical care reasonable and necessary to treat your work-related injury or illness for the rest of your life.
  2. You have the right to the initial choice of doctor.

You may not change doctors except with the approval of the Commission. You do not need to get approval to go to a different doctor for emergency treatment, if you or your doctor moves or if your doctor is unable to continue treating you.

  1. You have the right to hire an attorney to help you get benefits or to help you resolve disputes.
  2. You have the right to receive assistance from appropriate, qualified Commission staff and, in the event of a dispute resolution proceeding, from a Commission Ombudsman free of charge. To request assistance, contact the field office handling your claim, or call 1.800.252.7031.

You have the right to receive information and assistance regarding your claim. Commission staff will explain your rights and responsibilities under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. Additionally, you have the right to be assisted by a Commission ombudsman in informal dispute resolutions and in administrative proceedings if you are not represented. However, an ombudsman cannot serve as a legal representative or attorney for you.

  1. You have the right to confidentiality.

Only people who need to know, such as your doctor, your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier, may see information in the Commission’s files. A prospective employer may get limited information from the Commission about your claims. If you wish someone who is assisting you to have access to your file, you must provide written approval for them to do so.

Q: WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE EMPLOYEE IN THE TEXAS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SYSTEM?

  1. You have the responsibility to tell your employer about your injury or illness.

You must tell your employer within 30 days of the date you were injured, or within 30 days of the date you first knew your illness might be work-related. You, or someone helping you, may either talk with or write your employer or any supervisor where you work.

If you do not tell your employer within 30 days of the date you were injured, you could possibly lose your right to receive benefits.

  1. You have the responsibility to fill out a claim form and send it to the Commission.

You must send a completed claim form, called a TWCC-41, to the Commission within one year of the date you were injured, or within one year of the date you first knew your illness might be work-related.

Send the completed claim form to the Commission even if you are already getting benefits.

If you do not send the form within one year, you could lose your right to get benefits. For a copy of the form, call the field office handling your claim, or call 1.800.252.7031.

  1. You have the responsibility to tell the Commission and the insurance carrier any time your income changes.

If you are not receiving benefits and you have changed employers since your injury, tell the Commission if your injury causes you to miss work or lose income. Call the Commission at 1.800.252.7031.

If you are getting benefits and you have changed employers since your injury, tell the Commission and the insurance carrier paying your benefits if your income changes. Tell the Commission and the insurance carrier regardless of whether your income went up or down.

If you have stopped working since your injury, tell the Commission and the insurance carrier if you start working again or if you have a job offer.

  1. You have the responsibility to tell your doctor how you were injured and if you believe it may be work-related.

If possible, tell the doctor before the doctor treats you.

  1. You have the responsibility to tell the Commission and the insurance carrier how to contact you.

You should contact the Commission and UniqueHR if your home address, work address, and/or phone number changes, so the Commission and UniqueHR will be able to contact you as necessary.

Q: WHAT ARE THE FEDERAL LAWS CONCERNING DISCRIMINATION AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY?

A: Employers must comply with decisions involving termination, promotion and refusal to hire under three main Federal laws. They are:

  • Title VII 1964 Civil Rights Act
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1991, which bars discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. You must enforce equal opportunity within your company. You must post and maintain an EEOC statement. You also must keep all procedures non- discriminatory. Included in the HR Appendix is UniqueHR EEO statement for you to use.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects qualified people with disabilities from employment related discrimination. Qualified individuals must be treated fairly when being considered for hire, pay increases, promotions or any other condition of employment. Under certain circumstances, employers also must provide reasonable accommodations that permit a disabled employee or applicant to perform the essential functions of a job. An example of this might include in- stalling a telephone hearing assist device for a hearing-impaired employee.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discrimination of applicants and employees who are 40 years old and older. Age-based discrimination in hiring, promotions, training, pay rates or any other condition of employment are all included under ADEA. Some states have their own laws that prohibit age-based discrimination at a much younger age. The best practice employers can have is to hire, promote, pay and train individuals based on their skills, abilities and work performance.

Since these are complex laws, whenever there is a question about an applicant or employee who may have a disability, please contact our HR Department at 361.852.6392. Please refer to the HR Appendix for laws governing Equal Employment Opportunity.

You must also consider state laws. Most states, including Texas, mirror the federal laws regarding discrimination and leaves of absence associated with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Some municipalities provide protection of marital status, sexual preference, parental status or other categories. You must have basic knowledge of employment dis- crimination issues. Business owners cannot discriminate against any worker or job applicant on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability.

Company owners must create a workplace free of harassment on the same basis. In the HR Appendix of this manual you will find our Harassment Policy. We can provide you a brochure for each employee that fully states this policy. Along with you as co- employers, we must be committed to a workplace free of harassment or discrimination of any kind. To protect your company from liability claims in this area you must distribute the Harassment Policy, enforce it, follow the complaint procedures, and provide training to your employees if possible. Recent Supreme Court Rulings have made two things very clear when a company faces an employee suit on these matters. First, you are liable for the actions of your supervisors and managers regarding discrimination and/or harassment. Second, the “good faith” effort you make in pro- viding a policy to the employees, enforcing it, taking action on claims, and training the employees will mitigate or reduce your exposure to liability. Our HR Department can provide training on the policy.

Q: WHAT ARE THE BEST TIPS FOR AVOIDING LEGAL ACTION BY EMPLOYEES?

  1. Document, Document and Document 

Documentation is one of the best strategies to prevent or win employment lawsuits. A written employment record can help convince an opposing attorney not to file suit or convince a judge in your favor if a suit goes to trial.

  1. Honesty Does Pay and Timing is Everything

If an employee’s performance is below standard, you should promptly communicate that fact to them. Several things hap- pen when this is ignored. The employee can continue below standard performance or become angry when later told about the unacceptable performance after it was condoned. Nobody wins if feedback is not honest and timely.

  1. Take Action

Take action to deal with employee misconduct, unacceptable attendance, or unacceptable performance early. It is easier to correct if addressed before it becomes ingrained. This is particularly true of new hires who need feedback. You should closely monitor a new employee’s performance. Remember to provide the employee feedback in writing.

When you keep good records, it is easier to terminate or put an employee on notice. If employee performance does not improve, then the employee should be terminated. Your proper documentation will be important in protecting you from wrongful termination actions by a former employee.

  1. Train Your Staff and Enforce Your Policies Fairly, Consistently and Aggressively

You must tell employees the rules and what action will take place for violations. Regulatory agencies and courts ask if you have told the employees the rules. If you use an employee handbook, publish and distribute it. Hold employee meetings and post memos on bulletin boards to communicate your policies. Training cannot be over emphasized. With today’s volatile employment atmosphere, it is essential that all supervisors are aware of the fundamentals of discrimination and fair treatment. Management personnel are acting agents of the company and are never off work. You can pay a stiff penalty for inappropriate or unlawful actions by supervisors. You can be held liable for their actions.

  1. Changing Policies 

You can face a lawsuit if you give in to an employee’s frequent demands for exceptions to the company rules, policies, or procedures. However, you can make exceptions to your policies when it makes good business sense. You must document that decision and explain the business rationale for doing so. A policy is also what you practice, not just what is written.

  1. Employment Law Attorneys

Employment Law Attorneys take cases based on a contingency fee; therefore an employee may only have to pay minimal court cost to file a lawsuit. As an employer, a key issue for you is providing a convincing rebuttal to any legal charge. Documentation is critical. If you have valid, documented business reasons for your actions, it is possible the employee’s attorney will drop the case.

  1. Your Communications Can Be Tested

When a suit is filed the employee’s attorney may seek discovery or any and all documents pertaining to the issue. You are obligated to provide any and all written information pertaining to the employment of your employee. Failure to disclose all information is illegal. You may be asked to explain the meaning of your documents under oath. Make sure documentation is written in a business like manner and includes only information that is believed to be true and factual. This includes e-mail documents, voice mail, notes, memos, formal counseling, warning letters, etc.

  1. Fair and Consistent Application of Policies

Fair and consistent application of employment policies is the key to success. Under Texas and Federal Law, in these matters of discrimination and harassment, you and UniqueHR are considered co-employers of the employees. We share the liability if a claim is filed. A key element to the limits of the liability is what happens at the work site. That is the place where   you are in control, it is also the place where your supervisors and managers represent the company. Together we can ensure that a safe and harassment-free workplace is created. We can create a place where employees treat each other with respect and work as a team.