12 Ways Your Payroll Provider Should be Supporting Your Business in 2021
COVID-19 has challenged most businesses in many ways – loss of revenue, decline in customer base, perhaps even a shift to operating completely remote.
COVID may even be creating issues in your payroll and HR. You might need to generate reports to apply for PPP loan forgiveness, or your staff’s PTO accruals are now overwhelming and complicated. You’re probably unsure on procedures for returning your staff to work safely—or when you can do that. How do you properly pay employees for leave they take due to COVID?
These are complex topics, but the right HR and payroll provider can be the one simple solution you need. For these trying pandemic times, a full service HR and payroll provider like MP will help customers optimize their cashflow, pay staff in the most strategic way, and advise them on all of the legal and regulatory changes that have come about from COVID. Read on to discover how your HR and payroll provider should not only help with daily human capital management, but also guide you through COVID’s challenges
Table of Contents
- Assistance With Unemployment
- Handling PTO Accruals
- Creating a Policy for COVID Diagnoses
- Guidance on Returning to Work
- Support for Staying Remote
- CARES Act and FFCRA Tax Deduction Assistance
- Assistance with PPP Loan Forgiveness Applications
- Paying our COVID-Related Earnings
- HR Strategy for COVID Challenges
- Employee Engagement Tools for a More Productive Workforce
- Employee Training Software for a COVID World
- Hiring and Onboarding Solutions
- HCM Buyer’s Guide Checklist
- Why MP is Uniquely Prepared to Guide you Through COVID and Beyond
“Regardless of industry, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every business in the world. It is crucial for businesses to stay abreast of the latest legislation, court rulings and governmental guidance to avoid unnecessary exposure or litigation.“Paul Carelis, PHR, SHRM-CP VP of HR & Client Services
1. Assistance With Unemployment
There are a few different facets of unemployment that your HR provider should be assisting you with. First, there’s the question of who will qualify. The CARES Act has expanded unemployment options, including workers who aren’t usually eligible for unemployment benefits. This becomes even more convoluted, as eligibility for regular unemployment compensation varies from state to state.
Your HR provider should give you the information you need to examine unemployment claims and ensure that you’re only paying what you’re responsible for. You may also require guidance on how to fill out benefit questionnaires, disputing fraudulent unemployment claims, as well as handling layoffs and furloughs in a compliant way.
2. Handling PTO Accruals
Your PTO accruals and policies may need to be updated for the pandemic. Is your HR provider giving you the information you need to decide if time can be rolled over (or if you need to apply a cap to how much can be carried over)? They should assist you if you’re exploring a use-it-or-lose-it policy for PTO time, as well as implementing it in your payroll systems. Your HR software should also facilitate your process for approving requests.
The COVID crisis has altered travel and vacation plans. Your payroll provider might also advise you as you consider offering PTO payout, and then help you implement and ensure compliance with state and federal laws.
3. Creating a Policy for COVID Diagnoses
Has your HR provider given you the guidance to help you prepare in case one of your employees (or somebody they’re in close contact with), receives a COVID diagnosis or has COVID-like symptoms? With knowledgeable HR advice, you can create policies clearly outlining the strategy you and your staff will implement if an employee gets sick. Your HR provider should assist you in creating policies that comply with state and federal guidance for preventing further infection, sanitization processes, and reporting diagnoses (or possible diagnoses) in a way that will protect employee confidentiality and keep compliance. It’s vital to create standards that make it easy to determine when it’s safe for everyone to return to the office, or if they need to leave.
4. Guidance For Returning to the Workplace
When it’s time to return to the workplace, there are a number of safety and compliance concerns to consider. Your HR provider should give you the resources you need to come up with a return to work plan, as well as how you’ll approach COVID vaccination.
A payroll provider should also aid you in identifying the best systems to use for non-exempt employees who need to track hours. They’ll help you stay in compliance and pay employees for all the time they’re owed (this will include time for COVID testing and time spent getting the COVID vaccine).
In addition to safety, you may also need assistance with unemployment, as you might encounter workers who resist returning from furlough (for safety or other reasons). An HR partner should give you guidance to navigate these delicate situations and report fraudulent unemployment claims if necessary.
8 Key Return to Work Safety Measures:
- Required Health Screenings
- Temperature Checks
- COVID Testing
- Mask Policies
- Visitor Policies
- Social Distancing Measure
- Staggered Breaks and Work Shift Schedules
- Sanitizing and Cleaning Protocols
5. Support for Staying Remote
If your workforce is going to continue remotely, your HR and payroll provider should offer a system that makes it easy to track hours worked for non-exempt employees. HR consulting can help keep you in compliance, even with a remote staff. Some recent COVID-oriented rules and regulations allow you to assign exempt employees non-exempt work, yet keep their exempt status (for the pandemic). Your HR provider should help facilitate communication about approval processes for overtime, flexible schedules, and PTO. An HR and payroll system should also be equipped with electronic document signing tools, as well communication and collaboration channels.
Is your HR provider offering you these additional services?
HR providers might also help you draft work-from-home agreements and telecommuting policies. They’ll guide you in setting clear expectations on responsiveness, core hours, or what flexibility to afford staff in case they’re caring for children or sick relatives. HR services can help you create a system for tracking equipment such as laptops, computers, and phones. If you’re onboarding new employees remotely during the pandemic, HR and payroll systems facilitate this and build a strong remote onboarding process.
6. Cares Act and FFCRA Tax Deduction Assistance
If you chose to defer payment of employer FICA taxes, your HR and payroll provider should assist you in making a plan to pay them back. A payroll provider should also assist you by generating reports on what you’ll need for filing taxes, as well as creating a process for paying it back post January 2021.
If your business meets certain criteria, you may be eligible for an Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). Your payroll provider should help you pull the reporting you need, week by week. They’ll also advise you on the limits of how much tax credit you can claim per employee.