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Navigating the Complex Layers of Collective Bargaining Agreements with Modern Workforce Management

Nov 21, 2023

New Proposed DOL Rule 2023

Many companies have a business requirement to adhere to a collective bargaining agreement. A collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is a written legal contract that dictates the relationship between an employer and a union representing the employees. These agreements can cover aspects like working time regulations (which often exceed national compliance rules), premiums and allowances, probationary periods, benefit quarantine periods and more.  

Collective bargaining is a process of negotiation between employers and a group of employees focused on agreements to regulate working salaries, working conditions, benefits and other aspects of workers’ compensation and rights for workers. Understanding and adhering to these agreements is crucial for both parties. But it’s a complex task that often leads to potential manual processing errors. 

We’ll discuss these agreements in detail and demonstrate how the right workforce management system can help employers remain compliant with the complex layers of rules that bargaining agreements present. 

Why are Collective Bargaining Agreements So Important?

Bargaining agreements play a vital role in determining how employee time data should be processed. They ensure accurate pay and that both parties remain adherent to the terms of the agreement. Companies with one or more bargaining agreements on top of the standard legislations (like the national working environment act, sick leave legislation, overtime legislation, etc.) will have to initiate processes to navigate these layered rulesets in a manner that meets the required conditions and rules of each agreement or legislation.   

The complex nature of these relationships can easily lead to discrepancies that require manual processes for resolution. The task of resolving conflicts is often times given to employees, requiring them to amend timesheets by entering the correct type of input or specific overtime type.  

This can lead to payroll errors and overpayments. Reliance on manual processes for resolution actions can lead to further errors, especially when handling absences and leave. For scheduling purposes, all the compliance rules and local agreement rules must be taken into consideration if the company is using one or more scheduling modules, ensuring that rest time rules, overtime rules and min/max hours from agreements and contracts are properly adhered to. 

Why are CBA Agreements So Complex and Who is Impacted?

There can be local variations of CBAs a company must consider when they operate in several locations. The task can ramp up quickly when an organisation is expected to comply with several ruleset layers. The task of proper adherence is further compounded as employees move around in the organisation, whether due to title changes or geographical location. 

The layering of agreement rulesets impacts multiple roles within an organisation.

  • Employees must adhere to these rulesets for correct pay and working conditions.
  • Time administrators must ensure compliance with these complex agreements, whilst scheduling managers work to create efficient schedules within their constraints.
  • Payroll administrators face similar challenges when attempting to accurately process pay and benefits as per varying agreement requirements.  

Avoiding errors necessitates careful coordination across all these roles to ensure legal compliance and operational efficiency. Manual corrections serve as a short-term fix. But in large organisations the cost of resolving manual processes stacks up quickly. Modern workforce management tools can leverage configurable rule structures to support each of these roles with their compliance challenges whilst avoiding the need for manual resolutions. 

A Model for Using Modern Workforce Management to Manage CBA Requirements

Here is a process example of how an organization can support employees in meeting CBA requirements using a modern workforce management solution like the WorkForce Suite:

  • Employees will not need to know all the details of their bargaining agreement, but simply register their time and follow their scheduled hours. They can follow up on their own balances and time statements in real-time. The WorkForce Suite gives first-hand indication if something looks wrong and employees can correct errors before they go to administrators, saving time for everyone.  
  • Next, the time administrator will be notified in real-time of any exceptions to the specific rules of the local agreement of each employee, even if employees within a given team are attached to different agreements. Furthermore, our solution notifies the time administrator if anyone is scheduled in conflict with work or rest time rules, and if someone has not turned up for work at a scheduled time.  
  • Predictive messaging can monitor and set alerts when an employee is approaching overtime, overtime limits, frequencies of overtime or sickness, etc. Predictive and real-time messaging will notify employees and administrators to prevent errors or situations of concern before they occur. As such, these tools save the organisation time and money, whilst reducing the need for periodic reports since similar data can be accessed through predictive messaging at any time thanks to the WorkForce Suite’s intelligent assistant.

Industry Use CasesHow the WorkForce Suite Unifies Disparate Process

Examples of industry specific use cases could be the need for employees today to enter certain allowances based on when they work, where they work (indoor/outdoor/offshore/underground), or what they’re going to do (risk or dirt allowances as examples). This means that each employee is expected to know all rules from the bargaining agreement. 

Our solution offers scheduling automation options that tells employees where and when they will work, as well as what the tasks they’ll be expected to complete. Also, if these details are not included with their schedule, the employee can register the location and task data and the system will automate all allowances and premiums based on the agreement the employee is working under. 

With the help of our advanced scheduling models, we can ensure an organisation has the best possible staffing based on the production/service level needs whilst also confirming adherence to the work and rest rules set for employees in their agreement. Furthermore, when the detailed schedule is finalised and published/posted, the Time and Attendance system will use the schedule data to evaluate registered worktime. This ensures that the payroll system receives correct payment types for all time worked. Likewise, the Time and Attendance module will produce real-time exceptions when rules are not met, using predictive messages for situations that may occur based on the registered data and the planned schedule ahead.  

The complexity of managing multiple bargaining agreements poses significant challenges for companies and their employees. The WorkForce Software solution stands at the forefront of this technology as the Best-of-Breed, providing a seamless and error-free approach to managing the intricate web of employment agreements. 

Learn more about why WorkForce Software is rated the #1 workforce management solution, providing a trusted and accurate approach to managing the intricate web of employment agreements.

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