Problems with your payroll workflow or processing can lead to headaches for you and your entire team. Here’s what to watch for.
When something goes wrong in your payroll workflow process, you’ll hear about it. Your employees get the wrong pay amounts, payroll taxes are incorrect, or the money in your bank account doesn’t look like what it should.
Before you get too frustrated, though, remember that payroll is complicated. Everyone makes mistakes. Correct those mistakes, learn from them, and move on. Ideally, of course, we avoid as many of these mistakes as we can. That’s why payroll workflow is such an important issue.
By starting at the beginning and setting everything up the right way, you can avoid many problems before they begin. And the ones that do pop up can be a lot easier to deal with.
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Solving your janitorial payroll workflow problems the right way
1. Get your paperwork in order. The first step in taking care of payroll workflow problems is making sure everything is in order. This will include such things as making sure each employee is set up with the correct rate of pay and withholdings, as well as any additional factors such as health insurance or vacation time. You may also have contractors who will invoice you at different times of the month. Even if you do nothing else, keeping this information organized will make your life so much easier when you run payroll.
2. Ensure your numbers are correct. Organization is your best friend here. There is a lot to track, including employee hours, payroll taxes for Medicare and social security benefits, and state requirements such as unemployment insurance. It’s not a bad idea to review these every year to make sure everything is correct. Your local small business association or your state’s department of labor may both be good sources for help.
3. Be aware of the wage requirements. Wage requirements vary from state to state and even within states in some locations. For example, 30 states and Washington D.C. have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage. In addition, at least 45 localities, including Cook County, Illinois, New York City, Los Angeles, and St. Paul, Minnesota, require minimum wages higher than their state minimum wages. And while a small number of states, such as Georgia with a $5.15 minimum wage, fall below federal wage requirements, it’s the federal laws that apply there.
4. Pay attention to court orders. Dealing with wage garnishment may not be ideal, but if a court order requires you to do so, you can be liable if you fail to follow through.
5. Follow the state payday requirements. You can find the requirements for your state on the U.S. Department of Labor website. As a few examples, employers in Iowa must pay their employees at least once per month. In Maine, employees must be paid “at regular intervals not to exceed 16 days.” New York requires a weekly payday for “manual workers,” and in California and Michigan, the “frequency of payday depends on the occupation.” Our advice here is to review your state Department of Labor regulations.
6. Make time tracking easy. The hard part about this aspect of payroll workflow is that your employees are responsible for tracking their time by clocking in and out. It’s not often that they will forget, but it does happen. This can be especially tricky in the janitorial industry, where your teams may be at different locations throughout a shift. One solution is to use janitorial management software that uses geolocation to automatically clock employees in and out. (Humble brag: We happen to offer that capability.)
7. Consider hiring a specialist. When you’re running on a tight budget, it can be tough to think about hiring someone to do administrative work. However, you may find that it saves you money, time, and lots of frustration. If you run a smaller company, you can probably hire someone part-time or as a freelancer. One tip here, however, is to make sure you check references and get someone who specializes in dealing with small business payroll. You’re still responsible for following any laws and regulations around record-keeping, privacy, and information security.
This is another area where your local small business association might be a good source of referrals. And if you hire someone to handle the payroll workflow for you, you’re free to take on other tasks, like submitting bids, researching green cleaning supplies, or training your team on safety protocols.
With a few solid steps in place, your janitorial payroll workflow can be problem free and maybe even easy!
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