Running a business requires organization maintenance. One important but easily overlooked factor within any work environment is cleaning. No, not tidying up the books, but actually cleaning the areas where you and your staff get your job done. For businesses in the restaurant industry, health standards dictate that cleaning must be done daily, but who should be doing it?
Basically, you have two choices: your staff or an outside contractor. To many, having staff members clean the workplace seems like a no brainer. Workers can devote what seems like a little bit of their time to tidying up, or outright scrubbing (depending upon your workplace), and money can be saved on a cleaning service. You know who to go to in the event that something is not cleaned to your standards, and you can avoid the fees charged by a cleaning service or staffing company. But have you really fully evaluated the costs versus the benefits of hiring a cleaning service? Tracking their charges is easy: you look at the bottom of the invoice. But can you track what you lose when you assign your staff to clean your space?
Outsourcing Is a Good Idea
Even if you break up the responsibility of cleaning an office or restaurant kitchen among multiple staff members, you might be losing out. If your staff is scrubbing a floor or cleaning a bathroom, they aren’t calling on customers, making sure paperwork gets filed correctly, or even getting extra prep work done for the busy weekend you have coming up. This means you are either not getting your core tasks completed or risking paying overtime so your staff can finish both their jobs and the cleaning.
Additionally, you might be hurting morale. People who apply to work in one position do not want to be told that they are also the cleaning crew. Even in the restaurant industry where getting your hands dirty is expected, cleaning bathrooms is not. Making staff break from their core job functions and clean will cause some employees to feel degraded, even bitter. Once this happens, you can expect a shoddy cleaning job followed by some poorly performed core job functions. All of these negative factors can be avoided by contacting a cleaning service or better yet, a competent staffing company that can provide staff to clean on a scheduled basis.
If you outsource the cleaning, you help your business stay focused. When employees have to work in several different aspects of the business, they tend to produce less quality work. It is not because they are lazy or do not care, but if a person has to shift focuses multiple times per day, it becomes hard to get into a groove and concentrate on being successful. You might be losing out on some creative ideas and extra attention to detail if you decide to have your staff come off task at certain times of the week in order to clean.
This argument works for literally every industry. It is better to have employees focused on a particular set of tasks. Cooks should worry about cooking and maintaining a clean workstation, and mail room clerks should be on top of properly distributing mail and delivering messages. It might seem like a good idea to reassign a lower-level employee to cleaning, but in the end it is almost always a bad one. Once you realize how cost effective outsourcing can be, especially in combination with better morale and productivity of your core staff, you will see that it is actually an investment that pays out.
Thinking about hiring a couple of high school kids to fill some part-time positions for you? For some businesses that makes sense; some positions that need to be filled carry a relatively low level of responsibility and autonomy. These positions also only need to be filled part time and might even warrant slightly lower wages than some of your more technical positions. This position might be a hostess or a busser at a restaurant or even someone who hands out fliers for an income tax operation that is about to see an influx of business. A minor might make sense for your open position. If so, you must be aware of some of the child labor laws that we are subject to here in Arizona.
Child labor represents one of the few areas of employment regulation that is subject to oversight from both the federal government and the Industrial Commission of Arizona (they do a lot of the work here in Arizona that OSHA does from a federal standpoint in other states). The Industrial Commission states that businesses are subject to two separate sets of laws. If these laws ever conflict, you must follow the stricter law. If one entity has a law or restriction pertinent to a particular topic but the other does not, then you must follow the guidelines of the agency that has the law. Basically it goes like this: if the Fed says that minors cannot work before 7:00 am (which they do for minors under 16) and the state says they cannot work before 6:00 am (which Arizona does), then you must follow the federal law because it is stricter than the state law. If the Fed didn’t restrict the hours that minors can work, but the state did, then you would be bound to follow the state law and would not be able to legally defend yourself by citing a lack of federal guidelines.
Facts You Need to Know
- Youth under 16 years of age cannot work more than 3 hours on a school day—if they are enrolled in school—while school is in session, or more than 8 hours per day on a non-school day. If they are enrolled in school, they cannot work more than 18 hours per week when school is in session.
- Youth under 16 years of age cannot work before 6:00 am or after 9:30 pm if they have school the next day. If they do not have school the next day, they are not permitted to work after 11:00 pm. Youth who are not enrolled in school cannot work before 6:00 am or after 11:00 pm.
- No youth under 16 can ever work more than 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.
- Generally positions that require driving are not suitable for minors by law. The exception is that 16- and 17-year-olds can drive up to 2 hours per day or 25% of their shift (whichever is shorter), but cannot drive large vehicles.
- Youth cannot operate heavy machinery. There are a couple of exemptions, but it is advisable to think about your liability before ever considering actually doing this. This means that in most cases, manufacturing and construction position are not suitable for minors. Other restrictions speak specifically to youth not being allowed to work in positions such as roofing and demolition.
- Parental permission is not needed in order to employ youth. Meanwhile parental permission, even in writing, does not allow you operate outside of regulations.
- You must verify the age of youth who are applying for a position with you. It is not considered age discrimination to ask youth their age. Age discrimination applies to 40- to 70-year-old applicants.
- You can, and will, be fined for violations of these labor laws that are brought to the attention of either regulating body. The state dictates that the maximum financial penalty that can be assessed is $1,000.00 per infraction. You can of course contest a fine as long as you do it within 20 days of issuance.
There are Some Loopholes
- If the minor is involved in or has completed a career education or vocational/technical training program recognized by the Department of Education pursuant to Title 15, Chapter 7, Article 5, the minor is exempt to some of the restrictions. Construction and manufacturing-based employers may be able to use this parameter when employing minors.
- You may also be able to work around regulation if the minor is in an apprenticeship program approved by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training. This might allow youth to work on a construction site in a limited capacity, and at the very least it helps to limit your liability.
Did that sound like a lot of rules? Compared to the actual set of regulations that is just the tip of the iceberg.
For more Federal guidelines click here to review more laws to make sure you are in compliance.
To brush up on Arizona’s additions, you can visit the Industrial Commission’s website.
If you would rather skip the headaches associated with all of these rules, contact Labor Systems Job Center and we will work with you to send over the right workers who will solve your staffing problems on a part-time or full-time basis. We can meet your needs throughout Arizona from Tucson to Kingman.
Workplace safety can be enhanced or undermined by a variety of factors. One such factor is employee substance use and abuse. In an ideal world, this topic would not be an issue, but let’s be honest: substance abuse is a factor in society that sometimes finds its way into the working world. As an employer, you must be on the lookout for anything that could cause your operations to be less efficient or that might lead to an accident. Substance abuse is closely tied with both of these negative outcomes, so it is important to consider the subject when organizing your business.
In Arizona, drug testing is not required by law–with the exception of a limited number of particular job descriptions. By and large drug testing in our state is at the discretion of the employer. According to state legislation drug testing can legally be used:
- To help screen an applicant before hiring
- To terminate a current employee who test positive for controlled substances
- To suspend an employee (with or without pay) who tests positive for controlled substances
If you plan to drug test your staff, there are some considerations that you need to make as an employer. You are responsible for certain things associated with the testing and could be held liable for privacy issues
Requirement to Consider
- Screening facility- You must select a drug screening facility that is approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American College of Pathologists, or the Department of Health Services to ensure accurate testing by a facility that meets certain sanitation and scientific standards.
- Types of tests- You can require staff to undergo screenings that require samples of “urine, blood, breath, saliva, hair or other substances from the person being tested.” (Arizona State Legislature) The type of test used is at the employer’s discretion.
- Confirmation- If a candidate or employee does test positive for drugs or alcohol, you are required to have a second confirmation test performed to rule out the possibility of a false positive test. The confirmation test must be a different form of drug screening than the original test.
- Privacy- Regardless of the results of the screening, you cannot share them with anyone except for the employee/candidate; internal employees who are directly associated with the human resource or management functions directly concerning the screening results; or an outside arbitrator or judge who may be brought in to settle a dispute. Otherwise nobody–not internal employees or anyone else who might have an interest in the employee–is allowed to know the results of the test. If you go afoul of this point of law, expect to lose a lawsuit.
- Transparency- If you choose to screen employees you must be up front about your policies. Put it in writing in your employee manual and take other efforts to ensure that your staff is aware of your substance use/abuse policies. You must inform your staff of:
- Who can be tested
- How they will be tested with a description of the procedure
- Substances you test for
- Implications of a positive drug test (what actions you will take as an employer against staff who fail a drug test)
- A confidentiality statement
- The employee’s right to be provided with the results of the screening
- The consequences of refusing a test
This is a basic overview of the drug screening process in Arizona. These are statewide regulations, so an employer in Tempe is subject to the exact same laws as one in Flagstaff or Phoenix. If you would like a full listing of regulations feel free to consult with the Arizona State Legislature. If you would like reliable staff who can show up at a moment’s notice, consult Labor Systems Job Center online or call 877-522-7797. We will work with you to provide candidates who have been drug screened if that is your preference.