Archive for Human Resources

What’s the Value of an Employee to You?

Every small business owner understands the value of employees on some level. Day-to-day operations would fail without employees. As a small business grows, more employees are necessary to keep the doors open. And it does not take long for a business owner to recognize the boost that a good employee can provide to the bottom line. But does this understanding make a difference in how employees are treated? As this article explains, some companies have chosen to demonstrate just how much they value their employees by implementing specific policies. Can you learn anything from their example? Read on to find out. (more…)

Posted in: Human Resources, Operating a Small Business, Payroll

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What are the Benefits of Job Descriptions?

As you can see, at the Payroll Department we focus on the key fundamentals in HR services. And the topic of job descriptions is definitely a key fundamental in HR matters for both employees and employers. There are three basic core benefits when it comes to creating a solid job description. (more…)

Posted in: Hiring and Firing, Human Resources, Policies and Procedures, Staffing

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What Is ‘At Will’ Employment?

As a small business owner, you’ve probably heard that Indiana and other states are at will employment states. But do you really understand what that means you are allowed to do or not do when it comes to terminating employees? Even in this area of your payroll process, The Payroll Department can help with information you need.

Small business employers need to understand the rules of 'at will' employment - and termination.Basically, at will employment means you can terminate an employee with or without cause, at any time, without adverse legal consequences. However, you cannot terminate an employee for illegal reasons. Additionally, you don’t have to provide advance notice of termination. For example, at-will employers can:

  • Promote and demote employees.
  • Make unannounced pay and benefits cuts. As long as the pay cut doesn’t take the employee’s wage below applicable federal or state minimum wage.
  • Reduce paid time off.
  • Change work schedules – limiting hours or requiring on-call work.
  • Set your own policies.

Alternatively, employees can leave a job at any time, with or without a reason, without legal recriminations, too.

However, there are state and federal exceptions to this law. You cannot terminate employment for any of the following reasons:

  • Discrimination or harassment based on race, gender, national origin, religion, age (40 and older) and disability. This discrimination may occur before, during or at the end of employee’s
  • Retaliation against employees who complain about discrimination or harassment toward themselves or others, or within the company, or who participate in an agency or court proceeding concerning discrimination or harassment.
  • Jury duty attendance.
  • Filing or threatening to file a worker’s compensation claim or claim for unpaid wages.
  • Refusing to perform an illegal act, such as refusing to drive a truck that exceeds legal weight limits, or reporting illegal activity.

Additionally, you cannot terminate an employee at will if:

  • The employee has an employment contract which states the employee is employed for a set time period, or outlines specific situations or employee actions that may lead to termination for cause. Reasons for-cause termination may include poor employee performance, employee misconduct or economic necessity.
  • The employee is covered by a collective bargaining agreement that specifies the employee can only be terminated for cause.
  • The employee gave up job protected status with their former employer to work for you.

As a small business owner, you’re probably more knowledgeable in the actual running of your company rather than every local, state and federal law concerning employment, payroll and taxes. Therefore, to avoid errors that can lead to substantial fines and penalties, consider hiring The Payroll Department. As an experienced payroll services provider, we can handle your payroll and payroll taxes for you, so you can get back to managing your business.

-Ariane of The Payroll Department blog team

Posted in: Hiring and Firing, HR Rules, Regulations and Laws, Human Resources, Operating a Small Business, Payroll, Payroll Processing

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What Workers Have to Say About Payroll Issues

What Workers Have to Say About Payroll Issues

You may have heard of National Payroll Week. Started in 1996 by the American Payroll Association, it celebrates “many things important to each of us who work” according to their website, During National Payroll Week, workers are given a chance to share their opinions on current topics in the areas of work and payroll. This is a good chance for today’s workers to share their thoughts. (more…)

Posted in: Benefits and Health Care, Operating a Small Business, Payroll, Payroll Processing

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Are You Following the Federal Labor Standards Act?

Does your small business have to comply with the rules and regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act? Well, of course, but which parts apply to your business and YOUR payroll?

Businesses considered covered enterprises, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act, are those who employ “workers engaged in interstate commerce, producing goods for interstate commerce, or handle selling, or otherwise working on goods or materials that have been moved in or produced for such commerce by any person.”

For instance, under the Basic Wage Standards provisions, employees are entitled to a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour (effective June 24, 2009). However, some special provisions apply to workers in American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianna Islands.

34218984_sIn addition, nonexempt workers must be paid overtime at a rate of no less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

So then we have to ask, what defines a nonexempt worker?

To understand the Handy Guide, it might be better to ask who is an exempt worker? Now that includes a wide variety of workers when it comes to minimum wage and overtime pay, not limited to:

  • Executive, administrative, and professional employees
  • Outside sales employees
  • Employees in certain computer-related occupations
  • Employees of certain seasonal amusement or recreational establishments
  • Employees of certain small newspapers, fishing operations, or those engaged in newspaper delivery

There is a grey area covered by the word “certain” that makes entrepreneurs shiver.

When you are concerned with overtime pay only, there is another entire list and there is also a provision for those workers who fall under the category of “partial exemptions.”

Once you determine who does and who does not qualify for overtime pay, there is another section dedicated to computing overtime pay. It depends on how that person is paid – by the hour, by the piece or by salary. And, if salaried, you must consider if the employee is paid weekly or otherwise.

Yes, if you make a mistake or overlook something in your payroll, there are provisions in the Act for Enforcement and prosecution. Investigation, legal remedies, litigation and criminal procedures are outlined in the Act. And, as a final note, there are provisions in the Handy Guide to remind you that there are a number of other labor laws that require employer’s compliance.

The point is, simply, that every employer must comply with federal (and state) rules and regulations and IT IS COMPLEX and COMPLICATED. And, as we all know, it changes and you have new laws to understand and implement.

That is one of the reasons so many small business owners outsource payroll. The thought of making an error and being directed to those enforcement provisions is frightening. Business owners are focused on getting customers, getting work done and keeping employees and customers happy in the workplace.

The Payroll Department allows you to do what you need to do to keep the business running. We take care of accurately reporting and making deposits for payroll taxes to the government.

It’s a good arrangement.

-Elaine of The Payroll Department Blog Team

Posted in: HR Rules, Regulations and Laws, IRS and Tax forms, Payroll, Payroll Processing, Payroll Taxes, Rules, Regulations and Laws

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Helping Your Employees Save for Retirement – Make it Easy

Everyone knows the importance of saving for retirement. Everyone knows that saving money consistently and giving it time to grow is the best approach to ensuring adequate funds for the post-retirement years. Yes, we may all know that we should be saving for retirement, but that does not mean that we are doing it. The fact is that setting aside money for the future is difficult. (more…)

Posted in: Benefits and Health Care, Operating a Small Business, Payroll, Payroll Processing, Retirement plans

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Are Employee Achievement Awards Taxable or Not?

Employees need to feel valued and appreciated by employers. When you give your employees achievement awards, celebrating specific milestones in safety or length of service, you’re recognizing their efforts, which, in turn, fosters your employees’ desire to excel in their jobs and continue working at your company. However, employers need to be careful in their award gift selections. (more…)

Posted in: Benefits and Health Care, Payroll, Payroll Processing, Rules, Regulations and Laws

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Contributing to Your IRA – A Great Way to Plan for Your Future

You’ve got a long list of things to do, taking care of your business, your home, your family, and if you’re lucky, you’ve got a little time left to take care of yourself. One of the best ways you can look out for your own future is to plan for your retirement, especially if you are a small business owner. (more…)

Posted in: Payroll, Payroll Processing, Retirement plans

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Payroll Services Must Know Tax Code for Fringe Benefits

We can safely say that the employers that The Payroll Department works with want to do the best they can for their employees. Of course, they have to balance fiscal responsibility with their own personal interest in providing benefits and health care to their employees. (more…)

Posted in: Benefits and Health Care, Operating a Small Business, Payroll, Payroll Processing, Rules, Regulations and Laws

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3 Opportunities for Rewarding Your Employees

Just like every small business owner appreciate a professional and reliable vendor, good employees are also valued. They get to work on time, get things done right, and treat customers appropriately. In short, they are a positive reflection on your business. For this reason, if you have the good luck of finding a good employee, you want to do everything within your power to keep that employee…and keep them happy! (more…)

Posted in: Operating a Small Business, Payroll, Payroll Processing, Staffing

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