By having a strong payroll policy, you’re positioned to meet payroll deadlines, comply with federal and state payroll laws, and protect the business against lawsuits. Ultimately, your policy should be concise while giving employees a solid understanding of your payroll procedures.
Below are some best practices that should be included in your policy:
- Workweek Records –Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must keep records that show when the workweek begins for nonexempt employees. In your payroll policy, say what time and day your workweek starts and ends, such as 12:01 a.m. Sunday through midnight Saturday.
- Timekeeping– Employees must be paid accurately and on time. Therefore, you’ll need to be clear about procedures surrounding the use of time clocks or time sheets. Explain that submitted hours are subject to approval by the respective supervisor. Also, list the penalties for falsifying time records.
- Breaks – Do you provide short breaks and lunch periods? If so, for how long? Under what circumstances are breaks and lunches paid or unpaid? Do employees need to clock in and out for breaks and lunches? Address all of these questions in your payroll policy, and make sure your responses adhere to federal and state requirements.
- Overtime– Let employees know whether overtime is permitted at your workplace, how many hours constitute overtime under federal or state law and how overtime is calculated. Describe the approval process for working overtime. State the consequences of unauthorized overtime. Make everything clear cut.
- Overcommunicate– How often do you pay employees? When does the pay period for each payroll start and end? Do you have salaried and hourly employees? If so, do you have separate paydays for each group? Do you offer direct deposit? If so, is it mandatory or voluntary? Your responses must not conflict with applicable federal and state laws.
- Tax Deductions – State the different types of payroll taxes that are typically withheld from your employees’ wages. Say what forms employees need to complete for federal and state income tax withholding, such as Form W-4 and the state’s withholding form. Explain how wage garnishment is handled. You might say that, along with informing the employee of the garnishment, you will obey the garnishment order as required by law. State whether voluntary benefits are deducted on a pretax or after-tax basis.
- Final Compensation Checks – When will terminated employees receive their final paycheck? And will it encompass all wages due at the time of separation? Will unused vacation or PTO be included in the final check? When employees resign, do they need to give advance notice in order to receive payout of their unused vacation or PTO? Which deductions are taken out of the final paycheck? To ensure your answers are correct, examine federal and state laws on final wages.
Your payroll policy may also cover holiday pay, salary adjustments, pay increases, salary advances, overpayments, W-2 distribution and expense reimbursement.
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