Mental Health Awareness Month

Spring Is Here! 

(And So Are POOL/PACT HR Service Plan Meetings)

New Trainings And Videos!

Influential Leaders In The Workplace

Dear POOL/PACT HR: Longevity Pay

Upcoming HR Events



You may have heard that May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, during which the goal is to bring awareness, fight stigma, and provide support for those affected by mental health issues. Employers can also join this effort by finding appropriate ways to educate employees and support their mental health. 

To start, employers can raise awareness about their benefits and wellness programs available to employees. This might include drawing attention to the mental health services covered by the employer’s health insurance and educating employees on how to find in-network providers for these services. It may be helpful to invite a representative from the employer’s health insurance provider to come on site to present this information and answer specific questions.

Additionally, POOL/PACT member employees, volunteers, board members and members of their household also have access to our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Kepro. This month would be a good time to remind employees of the many services offered through the EAP (for more information on Kepro, see below).

Another way to support employee well-being this month is by reminding employees how they can ask for assistance if a physical or mental condition is interfering with their ability to do their job. Many employees are not aware of their options when it comes to managing mental health issues at work, or otherwise hesitate to ask for help due to fears that they will be negatively judged or dismissed. Remind employees that the employer wants to help them succeed, and there may be accommodations available when needed. Employers with 15 or more employees are required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities; however, even small employers not covered by the ADA can make attempts to accommodate their employees’ limitations when possible and consistent with the employer’s policies.

Lastly, employers can show that they prioritize mental health by asking employees directly for their ideas. An employer who wants to survey employees should make sure that survey responses are completely anonymous, the questions are focused on the workplace practices and benefits, and the questions do not solicit information about the individual health of employees. Two example questions might be, “What can the organization START doing to better support employee mental health?” and, “What can the organization STOP doing to better support employee mental health?”

In summary, Mental Health Awareness Month provides a good opportunity for employers to share details of their benefits programs, advertise the EAP services, and open the door for any employees who may need to ask for help.




There are two things for certain in life: POOL/PACT Service Plan Meetings and Taxes. Please forgive me for taking liberty with the adage, but I couldn’t resist. Plus, I think it accurately reflects our commitment to our member organizations in the planning of services that we can provide to them throughout the fiscal year.

Over the next few months, POOL/PACT HR Business Partners (BP) will be scheduling service plan meetings either virtually or in person with their assigned member organizations. This meeting will result in the identification of potential services (e.g., trainings, policy reviews, Phase I/Phase II Compliance assessments) that will meet the individual needs of the organization. Hopefully, prior to the meeting, the HR contact for the organization completed and submitted the five questions that were asked in an email (dated May 3, 2022) from our General Manager, Stacy Norbeck. The answers to these five questions will guide the discussion in focusing on the present needs of the organization and which services best fit those needs. By looking back over the personnel/organizational concerns from the previous year, as well as looking at the “known” concerns of the upcoming year, the HR BP and the organization’s HR contact can strategically develop a service plan based on past, present, and future needs. Of course, the service plan is a working document that can be modified throughout the year to accommodate unexpected issues that may arise and need to be addressed immediately. After the service plan meeting has concluded, a letter outlining the agreed upon services to be provided will be sent to the member organizations.

Unlike the second “for certain in life” in the original adage referenced in the opening sentence, the service plan meetings are a positive and productive experience. POOL/PACT HR’s BPs are looking forward to the upcoming service plan meetings. We hope the member organizations are too!



You asked and we listened. On many of the training evaluations for our Safe & Sober Workplace classes, participants asked that we find a new video to replace the one we have been using for years. Since good drug- and alcohol-free workplace training videos are hard to come by, we decided to make our own. Be sure to schedule your next Safe & Sober Workplace training with your HR Business Partner and tell us what you think.

During your upcoming service plan meeting, your assigned HR Business Partner will provide you with a service plan packet, which includes our new Training Catalog. Be sure to check out some of our new trainings, which include Creating an Inclusive Work Environment (in person & eLearning); Managing Conflict Through Shared Values & Teamwork: A Team Building Workshop (in person); and Inappropriate Conduct in a School Environment (in person & eLearning). Be sure to also check out our upcoming certificate and regional trainings. The descriptions for all of these trainings can be found in the Training Catalog. 

If you have any questions, please contact your assigned HR Business Partner.


Power of influence is one of the most critical qualities of being a leader. Without it, a leader isn't going to inspire action or drive success. The following article will introduce the essential competencies and skills needed to be an influential leader in the workplace.

The first skill to becoming an effective and influential leader is knowing the importance of interaction and treatment of employees. Leadership by coercion is the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats, which will most likely result in one or more negative outcomes such as high turnover, diminished motivation, and negative workplace culture. In contrast, leading by influence will motivate employees to voluntarily choose to follow the leaders and provide positive results such as higher engagement, increased productivity, and trust in workplace culture.

Secondarily, influential leaders are credible and trustworthy. Unfortunately, credibility does not suddenly appear once an employee is promoted. It requires work to build and maintain. Leaders will do well in assessing their leadership skills by asking the following questions to observe their strengths and weaknesses in credibility and trust:

  • Do I impart trust amongst my employees?
  • Am I consistent between what I say and what I do?
  • What does my example, work ethic, integrity, honesty, and transparency      communicate to the employees? 
  • How competent am I in knowledge, skill, leading, and understanding others?
  • Am I a caring leader who displays kindness and concern for others?

The answers found during the assessment will provide valuable insight into where the leaders can make improvements or continue growing their skills.

Next, influential leaders focus on bringing high positivity to the workplace. Those leaders focus on establishing possibilities, solutions, advantages, and enjoyment in their work. They share positive outlooks with their employees, compliment them, and acknowledge their accomplishments. If difficult work-related or personal issues affect the well-being of the leader or the employees, they may seek assistance through POOL/PACT HR's Employee Assistance Program, Kepro (for more information on Kepro, see below).

Lastly, influential leaders will stand out in their communication and leadership skills. They will engage the employees by using the most appropriate communication style and leadership style based on the level of assertiveness, expressiveness, competency, experience level, and commitment level of the employee. When necessary, influential leaders will also modify their styles to be most effective with different employees and situations. Employees will generally appreciate the efforts made by the leader to tailor their individual needs. By adapting to the various conditions and applying the appropriate leadership styles, leaders can be more influential than just using one leadership approach for all situations.

Employers interested in having influential leaders in their organizations can join the POOL/PACT HR Influential Leadership training in 2023. For more information on this or other HR topics, please contact your POOL/PACT HR Business Partner.


My organization pays longevity annually in the last pay period in June. Does this bonus need to be included in an employee’s regular rate of pay when calculating overtime?


No Good Deed


Dear No Good, 

Yes, the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) requires all non-discretionary incentives to be included in regular rate of pay for purposes of calculating overtime in the period in which the incentive applies.

You may now be asking yourself, “What does that even mean?” 

As you know, the FLSA requires overtime to be paid at a rate of time-and-one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over the statutory maximum allowed (typically 40 hours per workweek). Regular rate of pay is basically an employee’s average hourly rate for a workweek and includes an employee’s base hourly rate plus any non-discretionary pay or bonuses; that is, if a payment is promised to an employee and the employer has no discretion in paying the incentives to the employee, it must be included in regular rate. Examples include shift differentials, standby pay, hazardous duty pay, and longevity pay. In most cases, the incentive is paid per hour or per workweek which makes it easy for the employer to determine an employee’s “average” hourly rate of pay for that workweek. For example, Joe’s base hourly rate is $20 per hour; when he is on call, he receives a $250 stipend. If Joe worked 50 hours in an on-call week, his regular rate would be $25 per hour (50 hours x $20 + $250 = $1250 / 50 hours = $25). This is the amount in which his overtime pay will be calculated.

Unfortunately, the FLSA does not make exceptions for non-discretionary incentives that are applied to a longer period of time such as a longevity bonus, which in your case applies to the whole fiscal year. In situations like this, the employer would need to recalculate the regular rate of pay for each workweek in which overtime was worked for the entire year. For example, Karen’s longevity bonus is $520 for the year; as there are 52 weeks in a year, this deduces to $10 per week. For any workweek in which she worked overtime during that period (i.e., the fiscal year), the employer would need to recalculate her regular rate of pay for that workweek and pay her the difference.  For example, Karen’s base hourly rate is $20 per hour, and she receives a $250 stipend per week for hazardous duty pay. She worked 50 hours the first week of July last year; her regular rate was properly calculated and paid at $25 per hour. At the end of the fiscal year, that workweek’s regular rate would need to be recalculated. As she worked 10 hours overtime that workweek, she would be due $2.00: the difference between what she was paid ($25) and what was due ($25.20) for each overtime hour ($0.20 x 10 hours = $2.00). While $2.00 is not a lot of money, if she worked multiple hours of overtime each workweek, it could add up – not to mention all the other employees who may also be due these regular rate differentials.

Calculating regular rate can be tricky, especially when paying incentives that are applicable to longer periods of time. For more information on this or other HR topics, feel free to contact your POOL/PACT HR Business Partner.

Do you have an HR question for this newsletter?

Submit it to hrtraining@poolpact.com.


2022 POOL/PACT HR Leadership Conference

Join us for our 10th annual HR leadership conference, and return to work with actionable strategies and resources to take yourself and your organization from surviving to thriving.

For information about the event schedule and speakers, go to www.poolpact.com/hrconference.

Attending in person? Book your hotel room at the Atlantis at our $99 special rate (does not include taxes and fees). 


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