It has finally arrived - The Penland School of Crafts Apology Letter!!
Penland School of Crafts
Helping People Live Creative Lives
I am writing to you, as a former employee, because we want to address an error we made in keeping payroll records in the period of 2000-2007, and we think you may have been affected by this error. We would like to talk to you about these payroll issues, to apologize, and if you have some resulting concerns about your pay during this period, to try to make it right.
You may be surprised to be receiving this letter from Penland, or you have heard about this situation from recent postings on Penland's website and other social media. Here is the background.
Prior to 2007, Penland's payroll was managed in a way that unintentionally resulted in some hourly employees not always being properly compensated when they worked overtime. At that time, as you may recall, Penland paid employees every two weeks, and hours were recorded as a single number for the pay period. While hourly employees were paid time-and-a-half if they recorded more than 80 hours in a two-week time period, they should have been paid time-and-half for the extra hours if they worked more than 40 hours in a single workweek. In some instances this means that overtime was not properly paid.Penland's handling of overtime was not intentionally incorrect. The staff members administering the process believed it to be legal, and this is apparently a mistake that has been commonly made by other non-profits and small businesses.
The problem was brought to light in 2007, and it was fixed going forward; and, following the recommendation of the school's lawyer specializing in labor law, a group of then-current employees were compensated for back wages for the previous two years. Also following our lawyer's advice, we did not attempt to contact former employees who had worked during that time, or earlier, but we paid one former employee who contacted us about back pay. The mistake in Penland's payroll process was not denied or hidden-it was corrected, but in what we now believe was a too-limited fashion.
We are writing to you now because we have come to conclude that the choice not to go beyond the recommendations of our legal counsel did not reflect Penland's values and aspirations. Although the
mistake in the timekeeping system was not intentional, we regret this mistake and we regret that it was
not fully addressed at the time by reaching back to all employees who worked during the affected time
period. We want to address this mistake now and, if possible, address any overtime hours not paid correctly.
So, Penland is inviting you to contact me if you believe that you worked overtime based on a 40-hour
week during your time at Penland. I know that it was years ago, but I would like to talk with you about your recollection of hours worked during that time, so that we can resolve how that time should be handled.
Please get in touch with me by October 5, even if you don't believe Penland owes you any additional compensation. Again, we are very sorry that this happened. We are doing our best now to resolve this past payroll error in a way that is in keeping with Penland's values and its appreciation of its talented and