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.  


  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 


  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.  


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. 

FLSA Recordkeeping: Are You In Compliance?

One key element of regulatory compliance is proper recordkeeping. There are over 20 laws that affect employers and every one requires some form of personnel file maintenance.

Lax Recordkeeping Puts You in Legal Jeopardy

When an employee brings an action against an employer, courts usually rule in favor of the employee if there are inadequate records to back up the employer’s case. This results in situations where an employer is actually in compliance with the provisions of the law but is penalized for simply having poor records.

Would Your Records Stand Up To A DOL Audit?

baronHCM recommends that employers review their recordkeeping methods often to make sure they are in compliance. Most employers keep records of the obvious information—employee name, contact information, hire date—but what about the less obvious data?

Under the FLSA, employers must keep records with the following information for all non-exempt employees:

  • Employee’s full name and social security number.
  • Address, including zip code.
  • Birth date, if younger than 19.
  • Sex and occupation.
  • Time and day of week when employee’s workweek begins.
  • Number of hours worked each day.
  • Total hours worked each workweek.
  • Basis on which employee’s wages are paid (Hourly, weekly, piecework, etc.)
  • Regular hourly pay rate.
  • Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings.
  • Total overtime earnings for the workweek.
  • All additions to or deductions from the employee’s wages.
  • Total wages paid each pay period.
  • Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment.

Keep For 3 Years:

  • Payroll records
  • Collective bargaining agreement
  • Sales records
  • Purchase records

Keep for 2 Years:

  • Time cards and piece work tickets
  • Wage rate tables
  • Work and time schedules
  • Records of additions to or deductions from wages

It’s important to note that employers must also keep records for employees who have been terminated. When in doubt, keep the records until you confirm the time requirement for all applicable laws.

Are Your Recordkeeping Procedures Satisfactory?

  • Are employee time and attendance records accurate and accessible?
  • Are staff members paid for all the time worked? (Employers should not require workers to work before and after shifts, or at home off the clock.)
  • Does the system accurately calculate PTO?
  • Would the data stand up to a labor audit?
  • Can employees cheat the system?

Do Employees and Managers Increase or Decrease Your Liability?

  • Do employees know how to properly punch in/out for shifts, meals, and breaks?
  • Do team members know how to tally time cards?
  • Do managers know federal, state, and local labor provisions?
  • Do managers know how to verify time cards?
  • Do managers know how to approve shift change requests?
  • Are managers educated about DOL provisions and company policies regarding overtime?

Do Your Employees Keep Records Better Than You Do?

Did you know that the Department of Labor has a time tracking app that anyone (think employee) can download from their site? With this free app, he or she can track their hours automatically and calculate their wages to the minute right on their smartphone. If you are still using paper timesheets and spreadsheet scheduling systems, you might not be tracking data as accurately as a staff member with an app designed by the very department that enforces the recordkeeping laws.

Automated Workforce Management Solution

Now is the time to make comprehensive data management a priority. Baron Workforce Management Suite is a powerful but easy-to-use cloud-based solution that automatically captures the data required for FLSA compliance. Easily track hours worked, overtime, schedules, job codes, and breaks to meet wage and hour provisions.

Allow staff members to update contact information and manage their own time cards to prevent labor disputes. Automatically store records for verification, and have actionable data to better manage your most expensive asset. Baron Workforce Management Suite paired with one of our biometric time clocks can substantially reduce your risk of being fined for FLSA noncompliance while simultaneously decreasing the time required to track employee time and attendance.

Contact baronHCM for information regarding WorkforceHUB™UPGRADE TODAY

baronHCM offers WorkforceHUB, the unified Human Resources portal that makes it easy to optimize the performance of your supervisors, employees, and organization.

WorkforceHUB includes Baron Time, Baron Scheduling, Baron Mobile, and ApplicantStack. We’ve just added recruitment, onboarding, benefits enrollment, performance reviews, and employee engagement! WorkforceHUB is developed for busy employers like you who need to reduce cost-per-hire, streamline scheduling, automate time tracking, maintain regulatory compliance, and decrease labor costs.

How much can you save? Check our baronHCM ROI Calculator.

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

ArticleID 7557

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.

3 Benefits of Cloud-Based Workforce Management

workforce management software Islandia

It’s easy to see why companies have been steadily moving from premise-based systems to cloud-based, or SaaS (software as a service) solutions. Today’s message highlights 3 valuable benefits of cloud-based WFM systems.

1. Saves Money

Low-cost setup.
Eliminates the expense of IT maintenance.
Avoid rates for software updates.
Easily grows with your business.

2. Anywhere/Anytime Access

All you need is a web browser.
Centralized records and management.
Customize features and access per user.
Mobile access increases productivity.
Number one solution for businesses with multiple sites and mobile staff members.

3. Quick Implementation

Infrastructure already in place.
With login credentials, you are ready to go.
Integrates with your payroll system.

To learn how cloud-based Baron Workforce Management Suite benefits your specific business and industry, call 631-266-2500 today.

Contact baronHCM for information regarding WorkforceHUB™UPGRADE TODAY

baronHCM offers WorkforceHUB, the unified Human Resources portal that makes it easy to optimize the performance of your managers, employees, and business.

WorkforceHUB includes Baron Time, Baron Scheduling, Baron Mobile, and ApplicantStack. We’ve just added recruitment, onboarding, benefits enrollment, performance reviews, and employee engagement! WorkforceHUB is designed for busy employers like you who need to reduce cost-per-hire, streamline scheduling, automate time tracking, maintain regulatory compliance, and lower labor costs.

How much can you save? Check our baronHCM ROI Calculator.

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

ArticleID 7463

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!