In the era of the “gig economy,” where businesses hire freelancers and independent contractors (ICs) for short-term engagements, business owners may run into questions about whether workers are truly ICs, or really just part-time or even full-time employees. According to Intuit, the “gig economy” represents roughly 34% of the workforce and is expected to grow to 43% by 2020. So this isn’t just a theoretical discussion.
Employers must be aware of the multitude of organizations and rules that govern the classification and treatment of employees and independent contractors. Federal agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL), as well as individual state revenue, labor and workers compensation agencies each have different regulations regarding designation and treatment of workers.
Earlier, we covered the IRS classification criteria, and the penalties accruing to employers for misclassification of employees. Here we take a look at the DOL criteria and whether workers should be covered under laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which deals with regulations regarding wages and overtime pay as well as child labor laws and what counts as “hours worked.”
Corporate Payroll Services and banks will be closed on Monday, May 28, 2018 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.
If you are a direct deposit or CPS Checks customer, please submit payroll at least one business day early to ensure proper funding of employee bank accounts.
Memorial Day Direct Deposit Deadlines:
Checks Dated On: Submit Payroll By:
Friday, 05-25-2018 Wednesday, 05-23-2018
Tuesday, 05-29-2018 Thursday, 05-24-2018
Wednesday, 05-30-2018 Friday, 05-25-2018
Payrolls must be submitted prior to your branch’s cut off time to be processed the same day.
Payrolls submitted after your branch’s cutoff time on Friday, May 25, 2018 will not be processed until the following Tuesday.
Auto-run payrolls will be processed early to ensure timely funding of employee bank accounts.
If you have any questions, please contact your Payroll Specialist at your Branch Office.
Itchy eyes. Runny nose. Achy muscles. It’s allergy season. Every year I can tell spring is in the air – not because of tulips emerging from their hibernation and dogwoods unfolding their pink and white petals, but because I feel like I have the flu. I. Am. Miserable. I’ve taken over-the-counter medications. Inevitably, though, the runny nose I attempt to manage with regular use of a Neti pot and packaged allergy medicine turns into a painful sinus infection.
You’ve just gotten back to your desk from a lunch appointment when several employees come to your office requesting a brief meeting. When you invite them in, the group informs you that Jerry, a reliable and hard-working employee, has started to show signs of bad hygiene and grooming. His hair is unkempt, his breath is foul, and his body odor is noticeably pungent to the employees seated around him.
You think that maybe Jerry hasn’t yet adjusted to the recent warmer temperatures, but even as you consider this possibility, you know the problem is more serious and needs to be addressed. As the group exits your office, you thank them and ask for their discretion.
Last week, Georgia waded into the sticky issue of collection of state sales tax on Internet sales made by out-of-state businesses. The governor signed a law requiring online retailers who make at least $250,000 or 200 sales per year in Georgia to collect and remit sales tax on items delivered in Georgia. As an alternative, online merchants will be able to send “tax due” notices to Georgia customers who spend at least $500 yearly on their sites. Recipients of the notices would be required to remit sales and use tax returns to the state for unpaid sales taxes due.
The new law goes into effect January 1, 2019. It has been estimated that the measure could mean as much at $500 million to $600 million in annual sales tax collections to state and local governments in Georgia.
Your shipping department manager, Jack, is having knee replacement surgery next month. He has been told by his doctor that he should plan to be out of the office recuperating for three to six weeks. He has asked about Family Medical Leave (FMLA) eligibility. You have appropriately designated his anticipated time away as FMLA leave, since he has been with your company for over 12 months, met the hours of service requirement in the preceding 12 months, and works at a site with at least 50 employees within 75 miles.
Graduation season is upon us. The majority of college graduates entering the workforce are saddled with debt. With the job market close to full employment, business owners would do well to consider offering a particularly attractive benefit to appeal to recent graduates: student loan repayment.
This type of program is a unique, highly-valued and sought-after benefit. Over 70% of college graduates have student loan debt, while only 4% of companies offered the benefit as recently as last year. According to American Student Assistance, 86% of young workers surveyed said they would commit to an employer for 5 years if the company helped pay back their student loans. These workers indicated that student loan debt negatively affects their health, their focus and, longer term, their retirement planning. Over 60% indicated that their priority is paying off student loans and not contributing to a 401(k) or other retirement plan.
The Internal Revenue Service has reversed itself and is allowing taxpayers to use $6,900 as the Health Savings Account (HSA) maximum family contribution for 2018 rather than the updated $6,850 amount it set forth on March 5, 2018.
You send an employee in your marketing department to a training class on email marketing. The class is meant to improve her skills so you can more consistently communicate with your growing client base. The class is offered during your normal business hours. Do you need to pay her for the time spent in class?
You operate a residential care facility and are offering an Alzheimer’s training session after hours for your team of caregivers. The dishwasher who works the day shift at your facility attends the training session after his shift is over. Does the care facility administrator have to pay him for the time spent at the training session?
The rules regarding tip pooling have been bogged down in litigation since 2011, when regulations were issued regarding tip ownership and tip pooling between hospitality industry employees who customarily receive tips (e.g. servers, bartenders, bellhops) and those who do not (e.g. cooks, dishwashers, janitors). In addition, federal court decisions were inconsistent regarding whether employers who paid federal minimum wage to tipped employees could distribute tips to non-tipped employees.
The recently passed federal budget bill has provided clarity by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The bill provided that tips can be pooled between the tipped and non-tipped groups where the employer does not take a tip credit—that is, where the employer pays full minimum wage to all employees. Since the rule has been eliminated entirely, court decisions interpreting it are now irrelevant.
Next week, April 29 through May 5, 2018 is National Small Business Week. Each year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing the week long celebration, which recognizes the outstanding contributions of small business owners and entrepreneurs across the country and U.S. territories. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) site, small businesses create about two out of every three jobs in the U.S. each year, with over half of Americans owning or working for a small business.
How to Reduce Absenteeism
Taking time away from work is good for the health and morale of employees. When they can rest during an illness, recuperate after an injury, or tend to affairs in their personal lives, they’re better able to focus at work and engage in the tasks at hand. Excessive absences, however, can be caused by many things, including personal problems, lack of clear expectations, even a dysfunctional work environment. It can be costly for employers and frustrating for other employees who have to pick up the slack.
Repeated unscheduled absences may be a sign of absenteeism. While illnesses, injuries or family emergencies that keep employees from coming to work typically aren’t preventable, there are definite steps you can take to reduce absenteeism.
Make sure you have a clear, written attendance policy
Your attendance policy should state your expectations for attendance and the procedures for time-off requests. Include the definition of tardiness and what constitutes excessive tardiness and absenteeism—as well as the possible consequences for violating your attendance policies. Having and following a clearly written attendance policy that is communicated during the onboarding process makes it easier to hold people accountable to it.
For example, your attendance policy might state that tardiness is defined as arriving to work 15 minutes late; excessive absenteeism might be defined as having more than 5 unplanned absences in a 3 month period. Defining these measures gives clear guidelines to all employees. Adherence to these policies can be included as criteria in your performance appraisal process as well.
Author Ally Carter once quipped, “Even the best thief in the world can’t steal time.” But every day, business owners face payroll losses through “buddy punching” and other forms of employee time theft.
What is time theft? It occurs when employees accept pay for time they have not worked. It may seem harmless enough. One of your team leaves to run an errand at lunch, but is stuck in traffic on their return trip and calls a friendly co-worker to clock back in for them. Another employee enters 9 a.m. in their time sheet when they actually began work at 9:05 a.m. Still another ends their day at 5:00 with everyone else, but hangs around talking to co-workers and punches out 10 minutes later, on the way out the door.
A study by Software Advice reported that 43% of hourly workers admitted to exaggerating the amount of time they work during a shift. A quarter of those surveyed indicated that they overstate their hours fully 76 to 100 percent of the time!
How does this affect your bottom line?
Encourage investing and keep it simple so employees will save.
One of the top benefits you as an employer can provide to your team is a way to save for retirement. In fact, 72% of employees look to their employers to help them achieve financial security*. Beyond the plan, educating employees, offering encouragement to enroll, and making the management of retirement plans engaging, interactive and uncomplicated will go a long ways toward ensuring participation, planning and saving.
Here are 3 ways to make the process of saving for retirement as easy as 1-2-3.
1. Keep it Simple
The most important part of employee education is to keep everything as easy to use as possible. Most employees aren’t familiar with the ins-and-outs of retirement saving so if they are intimidated by any aspect, they might not sign up at all. Instead, provide the right amount information so they understand what they get if they sign up, such as an employer match and compounding interest (who doesn’t like FREE money?), and how to start contributing. Streamlining the process usually improves enrollment and you can offer the in-depth information for those who want to learn more.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that salary history is not an acceptable reason for pay differences under the Equal Pay Act (EPA), even when used in conjunction with other factors. The EPA first became law in 1963 and prohibits the payment of different wages to men and women who do work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions.
The new reading of the law impacts employers in Alaska, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona, but since Circuit Courts often rely on one another’s rulings, it’s very possible that the impact of this decision will spread.
As written, the EPA allows for pay discrepancies for the following reasons:
It’s been an odd winter. It’s April and it snowed—again—in the northeast. While most cities did not have record-breaking snowfall this season, there were several inclement weather days when clients couldn’t get to their offices or payroll delivery services were delayed due to treacherous road conditions. That impacted some employees getting paid, specifically those without direct deposit.
While there are workarounds to ensure employees who receive paper checks get paid, the inability to get to the office highlights the fact that direct deposit makes payday easier for employers and employees. Among the benefits, direct deposit:
The new site is a more user-friendly resource to verify employment eligibility
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) launched a new, user-friendly E-Verify.gov website today. According to USCIS, the new site is the authoritative source for information on electronic employment eligibility verification and can be used by employers, employees and the general public.
The website provides information about E-Verify as well as Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification, including employee rights and employer responsibilities in the employment verification process. E-Verify.gov allows employers to enroll in E-Verify directly and permits current users to access their accounts. Individuals with myE-Verify accounts can also access their accounts through E-Verify.gov.
You’ve got a policeman at your office door at 4:30 Friday afternoon–when you’re supposed to be heading out to take your youngest daughter off to college. The officer is very professional, but it doesn’t take away the panic you feel when he tells you that you must provide proof of workers compensation insurance coverage, or you’ll be heading downtown with him to get locked up, rather than moving your daughter into her dormitory this weekend.
You’re sure you have a policy in place, but he tells you that someone has reported you to your state’s workers compensation agency for lack of coverage, and unless you can produce proof of coverage, you’re going to jail. You get on the phone with your payroll provider because you set up a “pay-as-you-go” workers compensation policy with them a few years back. Thankfully they contact the agent who hurries an email over to you with your proof of coverage.
Small businesses are popular targets of cyber criminals. Thousands of attacks happen every day—with successful ones costing organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more. According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, malicious threats such as email phishing, malware and ransomware are on the increase, with many specifically targeting small businesses.
Fortunately, there are effective measures you can take to prevent hackers, scammers, and other dark web types from compromising your network, stealing information, and harming your organization, employees, partners and customers.
You’ve always dreamed of owning a bakery, ever since your grandmother shared her secret recipe for sour cream pound cake, the one with the fresh cherry filling. Opening day is fast approaching. You’ve gotten the funding, the permits, leased the space, hired staff and are finalizing everything on your checklist.
Coverage Packaged to Meet Your Needs
Have you considered the different types of business insurance you’ll need? You’ll want to consider a Business Owner’s Policy, which is an insurance package made up of several insurance policies. It can be customized to include policies such as General Liability Insurance, Business Personal Property and/or Building Coverage, based on your individual needs. Packaging insurance in this way ensures you get all discounts available to you, and makes sure that there are no gaps in insurance coverage. It can also help ensure that you aren’t paying for a policy or coverage that isn’t applicable to your business.
As the owner of a business that offers a retirement plan to its employees, it behooves you to periodically consider whether a different retirement plan provider would be more beneficial to your organization. Before you do extensive legwork, and certainly before you make any decisions, it’s important to formulate a game plan because no two plan providers are alike. As plan sponsor, you want to find a plan that fits your circumstances.
First things first
Before considering other providers, carefully review your current situation. Clearly identify and understand why you’re unhappy with your current plan and its services, as well as the improvements you’re looking for if you make a change.
It’s the time of year when business owners are approached by college students seeking summer internships to acquire skills and bulk up their resumes. It can be a symbiotic relationship, with the intern gaining experience in their field of study and the employer getting assistance on tasks that might not get handled otherwise. Prior to new rules published by the Department of Labor (DOL) earlier this year, unpaid internships could be perilous territory for employers who agreed to hire interns without paying them.
The new test outlined by the DOL—called the primary beneficiary test—is used to determine if a worker can be properly classified as an unpaid intern, or instead, should be covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and be paid minimum wage and overtime. The test adopted by the DOL has already been in use in four federal appellate courts, most recently the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The DOL’s switch to the primary beneficiary test creates a nationwide standard.
The establishment of a 401(k) plan is one of the most important steps an employer can take to benefit their business, their own retirement, and that of their employees. Tax and other financial benefits accrue to the business, as well.
A Must-Have to Attract and Retain Talent
The most recent annual Metlife employee benefit trends study found that 72% of employees consider a 401(k) or other retirement plan a “must-have” benefit, ranking second only behind health insurance coverage. In the current full employment market, offering that benefit helps small business employers level the playing field in attracting and retaining the best talent. And with the high cost of employee turnover, a 401(k) plan offers an affordable benefit to help keep employees on board.
Helps the Employer Plan
Business owners focused on running and growing a successful business may not take the time to establish a plan to help themselves prepare for retirement. It’s critical to address their own retirement early on, so when it comes time to spend a little more time on the golf course or with the grandkids, they’re not reliant solely on the proceeds from the sale of the business. By planning ahead, they can get started accumulated assets to supplement retirement income.
Last year, nearly 27,000 charges of sexual harassment were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This number doesn’t include charges filed with state and local agencies or situations where employees went directly to an attorney, and many employees who are victims of sexual harassment or are affected by it never report the incidents at all.
Victims and witnesses of harassment often refrain from reporting because the harasser has the power to retaliate or because the organization has not set up adequate channels for reporting. In other cases, victims report the harassment, but nothing is done about it. The harassment is excused, and the complaints are rebuffed. Word gets around that the organization tolerates harassment, and people cease reporting it internally. They either keep quiet, file charges with a governmental agency, or seek out an attorney.
Your business is booming. In three short years, you’ve grown from a solo landscape and lawn treatment service in a home office to a full-blown professional suite with an office manager, administrator and a team of professionals who work all over the city. With three new hires this week, you’ve reached 16 employees. Congratulations!
Did you know that when you cross the threshold to 15 employees, certain federal laws apply to your business? From our HR Support Center, here is a brief summary of what you need to know about them:
Take a break...
The Breakroom is the Corporate Payroll Services resource center for 'News You Can Use,' feature stories, holiday notices, regulatory updates, product announcements, commentary and more.