When I speak with business owners and HR professionals, one of the biggest challenges I hear is making sure “I have all of my new hire paperwork in order.”

One of the forms that I find the business owners fail to have done is the LS-54.  This form is the notice of pay rate and payday and is required by New York State. 

This form is needed every time you hire a new employee or an employee has an increase in pay rate.  This form is very easy to fill out, you need our employee’s rate of pay.  You need to know if they are weekly, monthly, or bi-weekly payroll when their payday is.  Whether it’s Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday and what their overtime rate is.  Then they sign it and you sign it and it’s done. 

What is your risk involved in not having one of these forms? 

There is a penalty of $5,000 plus double liquidated damages, which is another $5,000 to equal $10,000 in possible damages.  The risk is very high in not having the LS-54 filled out with each employee, by the way, there are different LS-54 forms for your hourly employees and there is also on for your salary employees. 

The good news is if you’re working with a payroll company they should be doing this for you already.  If they’re not what you could do is go to the New York state department of labor website and look up the LS-54 form notification of pay rate and payday.

Is Our Company Required To Offer Paid Time-Off?

Let’s talk about time-off.  I’m often asked are there any regulations requiring our company to pay employees for time off?  In the old days, the answer was NO.  Today, the answer is MAYBE. 

In states, like New York, there are laws that require some employers to pay for sick time.  Other business, just choose to provide paid time off as another employee benefit.  You may be wondering how many different time-of categories should our company have? Many companies have moved away from having separate time-off buckets for vacation, sick, and personal days. 

It’s easier for companies to combine all these buckets into one called Paid Time Off or PTO.  You may be thinking isn’t if best for our company just to give employees 2 weeks paid time off, all UPFRONT, every year?

  Not necessarily.  That’s old fashioned and was popular when businesses kept tracking of time off with a spreadsheet. Businesses would lose money if an employee took two weeks PTO in January and then suddenly quit in February? 

There is a better way.  Have your employees accrue a little bit of time and earn PTO every single pay period. Your payroll company should easily be able to do these two things for you: First, accrue PTO every pay period for all your employees, and two, accrue PTO based on each employee’s hire date. 

This way the system will automatically increase PTO accruals based on length of service, so employees with more tenure will automatically earn more PTO time.