Is it legal for employees currently collecting unemployment to come in and work?

I’m often asked by business owners who have recently furloughed or laid off employees, if it’s legal for employees currently collecting unemployment to come in and work?   

The answer is yes.  It is possible for employees to collect unemployment even if they are still working. Unemployment is not an all or nothing thing, it can be partial. 

Here’s the BIG qualifier: as long as the employee works less than 4 days in a week and earns less than $504 in the week, the employee may receive partial unemployment benefits. 

So, for example if you call an employee in to work 1 day this week and they earn $300, they can still collect partial unemployment benefits. If you call them in 2 days this week and they earn $600, they cannot collect unemployment this week because they earned over $504 this week, but they will still collect unemployment the following week. 

So, my advice to you, if you have employees collecting unemployment and you need them to come into work, Call Them In. 

Is my PPP Loan Free Money?

I’m often asked by business owners if the PPP Loan is free money for me?  

The answer is, it depends.  

It’s either a loan you need to pay back, or free money depending upon what you do with it when you get it.  There are some conditions that need to be met for your PPP Loan to be forgiven. 

One condition is, you must spend at least 75% of your loan proceeds on payroll. 

Additionally, the day your loan is funded, the clock starts and only the next 8 weeks count.  Knowing this, you should be very strategic and pick a funding date that makes the most sense for your business. 

So, my advice to you, is to call your payroll company and make sure they are providing you with the special PPP reports during your 8 week period. This way, every payroll, you can manage your spend, and make sure you’re on target to hit the 75% threshold. 

What should I do about the Mandated Sexual Harassment Training in New York?

I recently polled a group of business professionals at an event.  I asked how many of them had done the mandatory New York State Sexual Harassment Training. 

To my surprise, out of nearly 80, only 80 percent said they had NOT done anything yet. 

Here are two things that might happen if you do not get it done. 

First, your employees could expose you to a sexual harassment lawsuit out of ignorance because they have not been trained. 

Second, if a lawsuit should occur, your risk of incurring enhanced damages does increase because the minimum requirement of training was not met. 

I understand this may not be high on your priority list.  You may not have the time to do this yourself or you may not know what to do next..   

If you have a trusted advisor to call, get on it. Alternatively, Baron can help you get it done.  Just one call and we will get you started. 

New Overtime Rules for NYS Effective 2020

In my conversations with business owners, I’ll ask them to name 2 major classifications of their employees. What I typically hear are things such as full-time and part-time; or hourly and salaried, but rarely hear the answer I’m looking for: which is EXEMPT & NON-EXEMPT.  

Most business owners have no idea that they are required to classify all jobs at their company as either exempt or non-exempt. Not doing this, or getting this wrong, can cost your company a lot of money. 

So, what’s the difference between EXEMPT & NON-EXEMPT, and what’s the big deal?  

It has to do with overtime. Most people think if the employee is salary, there’s no overtime; and if they are hourly, they get paid overtime, AND THAT’S NOT TRUE. 

Exempt employees are not subject to overtime and to qualify as EXEMPT, they must pass these 3 main tests:  

  1. They’re paid on a salary basis; which means they get paid a fixed amount and are expected to finish the tasks required of them, whether it takes 30 hours or 50 hours in a week.  

SO, IF THEY’RE PAID HOURLY, THEY CANNOT BE EXEMPT. 

  1. In New York State, they must earn a minimum annual salary,or threshold, based upon where they work. These salary thresholds just increased in NYS again, so starting January 1, 2020, if the employee works in: 
  1. NYC or the five Boros, the NEW min salary threshold is$58,500 per year 
  1. for Nassau, Suffolk or Westchester the NEW min threshold is $50,700 
  1. and for the rest of the NYS, the min annual threshold is$46,020 

SO, IF THE EMPLOYEE EARNS BELOW THE MINIMUM SALARY THRESHOLD, THEY CANNOT BE EXEMPT. 

  1. The third test is that the employee performs job duties considered EXEMPT by the Department of Labor.  These duties are not based upon the employee’s title; but instead, on the employee’s actual job duties.  The most common department of Labor exemptions are for executive, administrative, professional, computer, and outside sales.  

SO, IF THE EMPLOYEE’S ACTUAL JOB DUTIES FALL OUTSIDE OF THE SPECIFIC Department of Labor EXEMPTIONS, THEY CANNOT BE EXEMPT. 

As a payroll company owner, my advice to you is to call your payroll company immediately and make sure all your employees are classified correctly as exempt and non-exempt. I would also suggest that you to ask your payroll company to verify that you are paying overtime correctly to all your employees.  

New York State New Minimum Wage Rates. Are You in Compliance?

Attention Business Owners and HR Professionals. It’s Larry Kagan from Baron Payroll with another red hot topic for year-end. NYS min wage has increased again starting December 31, 2019. Unlike most other states that have just one min wage rate, NYS has multiple min wage rates. 

The new min wage rate for Nassau, Suffolk & Westchester is $13 per hour. For NYC and the 5 Boros, it’s $15 across the board and for the remainder of NYS, it’s $11.80 per hour. However, for fast-food workers outside of NYC, the min wage is $13.75 per hour. These changes are effective for all days worked starting December 31st, and the keywords are “DAYS WORKED.” 

I’m often asked: because December 31 usually falls within a pay period, can our company pay 2 different min wage rates in the same pay period? This answer is YES, and you should! 

For example, if a company has a bi-weekly pay period covering Dec 23rd through Jan 5th, you should pay the old min wage rate for Dec 23-30; and the new rate for Dec 31 through Jan 5th.In this example, if you pay the old rate for the entire pay period, you are out of compliance. If you pay the new rate for the entire pay period, you just overpaid your employees.  

My recommendation to you is to call your payroll company regarding the new, NYS min wage rates, and make sure you are in compliance and are not overpaying your employees. 

Does payroll take you a long time even though you have a time clock?

I’m here today at our time clock manufacturer with another hot topic.  As you can see there are many different types and models of time clocks on the market place today and in my conversations with business owners and HR professionals.  I’m often asked, how come it takes us so long to prepare payroll even though we have a timeclock? 

Shouldn’t the time system automatically create the payroll input for us every single pay cycle?  The answer is yes it should.  The time system should auto-populate the payroll system and eliminate the entire manual process.  It reminds me of the children’s song Them Bones. 

You know my toe bones connected to my foot bone.  My foot bones connected to my ankle bone.  My ankle bone is connected to my leg bone and that’s exactly how things should work with your timekeeping payroll and HR systems.  Everything should be all in one.  Beginning with the new decade, 2020, especially for small business owners, my recommendation is that you utilize this all in one technology because it’s simple, more efficient, and cost-effective.

Best Practices for New York Employers

up close of paystub including deductions and taxes

Attention business owners and HR professionals, it’s Larry Kagan from Baron payroll.  I am here today with another hot topic for New York Employers.  New York State has some of the most rigorous timekeeping requirements in the country. 

Hopefully, you have never received a letter like this, but many New York employers have.  This is a letter from the New York State Department of Labor requesting time cards and payroll records for a terminated employee from five years ago.  The employer has less than 10 days from the date of the letter to reply to this request and if they don’t, the letter says, “we will accept any statements made by the worker as accurate and bill you for any additional wages and liquidated damages.”  Liquidated damages is code for twice the amount.  Oh, by the way, you’re personally liable for these moneys. 

So, let me show you how Baron Payroll quickly and easily helps our clients reply to a request like this.  This is a pay statement that our client receives for all their employees.  I masked out some of the confidential information on this one.  As you can see, printed right on the pay statement is the timesheet.  It shows the exact date they worked in the pay period, the time in, the time out, and the exact hours they worked each day.  These hours are the exact amount that they are paid.  As you can see this employee got 40 hours of regular, 5.06 of overtime, a grand total of 45.06. 

The hours paid tie-out directly to the time card.  Right to the 100th of an hour.  This is the best way for companies to document time cards and payroll all in one place and everything ties out perfectly.  I urge you to take a minute and look at your pay statement or your paycheck stub and make sure your timesheet is printing on the pay stub and if it’s not, call your payroll company immediately and request that they start printing the timesheet right on the pay stub.

Biometric Time Clock

I’m here today on-site at one of our manufacturing companies.  We just installed one of the new face-time clocks that take a three-dimensional image, they have two cameras built-in. 

They take a three-dimensional unique identifying image for each employee.  They work quickly and one of the biggest benefits is they don’t even have to tough the clock.  They just walk up to the click, is sees their face, it clocks them in and clocks them out and they work quickly, which you can see how fast they work in the video link below. 

We have hundreds of these time clocks out in the field right now and they are the best way for business owners to comply with the New York State timekeeping regulations, the daily timekeeping requirement, and the meal break rules and the best thing about them, they cost under $500 and business owners tell me they pay for themselves in less than two months!

3 Easy Ways to Reduce Labor Costs With Automated Workforce Management

affordable WFM system Islandia

Even though Baron Workforce Management Suite is very cost-effective, some employers still aren’t convinced that it’s worth it and hang onto old school manual timekeeping systems. Today’s post is addressed to employers who are using manual Workforce Management methods because they don’t believe that investing in an automated system will yield a worthwhile ROI.

Here are 3 critical ways Baron Workforce Management Suite helps businesses control labor costs:

Employee Time Theft

If you haven’t caught any of your staff members fudging on their time cards—it’s only a matter of time (pun definitely intended). In a survey of over 500 retail and service industry personnel, over 30 percent admitted to calculated time theft.1 The two types they recognized specifically are buddy punching and recording incorrect start and end times.

Buddy punching, logging erroneous start times, and early punch-ins and late punch-outs result in an average of 4.5 fraudulent hours per week, per staff member. For one staff member earning a wage of $10 per hour, that can be a loss of $45 per week.

Reduce Administrative Costs

With pen and paper time cards, your managers spends tedious hours troubleshooting timesheet inaccuracies and then manually slinging the data into the payroll system. When your HR staff can complete payroll in minutes, they are free to work on company initiatives that have a bigger payoff. Overtime policing can also be time consuming, which leads us to number 3:

Control Costly Overtime

Companies that mismanage overtime for hourly team members can really take a financial hit. Manual timekeeping systems don’t have built-in warnings to inform supervisors when employees are approaching or have exceeded their authorized hours. The larger your business, the more unplanned overtime costs you. Baron Workforce Management Suite customizable overtime notifications are one of the most popular features in our system.

Bottom line?

Baron Workforce Management Suite will rapidly pay for itself and continue to save on labor costs every single payroll!

1“Employee Theft No Longer an If-It Is Now How Much!,” Kessler, https://investigation.com/2013/04/26/employee-theft-longer-now-much/, accessed March 6, 2017

Contact Baron Payroll for information regarding Baron Workforce Management SuiteUPGRADE TODAY

Baron Payroll offers Baron Workforce Management Suite, the powerful, fully-integrated Workforce Management Suite that makes it easy to optimize the performance of your supervisors, employees, and organization.

Baron Workforce Management Suite includes Baron Time, Baron Scheduling, and Baron Mobile. Baron Workforce Management Suite is established for busy employers like you who need to streamline scheduling, automate time and attendance tracking, maintain regulatory compliance, and lessen labor costs.

How much can you save? Check our Baron Payroll ROI Calculator.

We can get you up and running with Baron Workforce Management Suite in minutes. Contact us today to set up a demo.