Switching to Remote Workers? 5 Ways to Manage Payroll Obligations
Managing payroll during the uncertain times caused by Covid–19 is a challenge even for established and experienced businesses. As employers shift to using more remote workers, how can you help keep payroll functioning, ensure happy remote employees, and stay within your legal obligations as an employer? Here are a few key steps to take.
1. Give Yourself Extra Time
If 2020 has taught businesses anything, it is that surprises happen. But payroll rules generally put the onus on the employer to plan for emergencies while still providing on-time payroll.
What can you do to prepare for a surprise — such as a key employee being sick or quarantined or remote employees being hard to reach — while staying within your legal obligations? One easy adjustment is to start payroll a few days earlier or shift your payday by a few days on a permanent basis. Communicate to your employees how this change will benefit them with more stability.
2. Use Online Resources
Today’s employer has more options than ever to process HR and payroll tasks remotely. If you’re not already making use of these, now is the time to start.
Begin by choosing a payroll processing service based on online record-keeping and processing. Ideally, this should be a portal-based system or an online application accessible from all types of mobile devices where employees can do some of the work themselves.
Then, talk with your payroll service about HR options they might recommend, including on-boarding platforms where new employees can use a portal to complete necessary paperwork. Stay abreast of changing government rules regarding new hire paperwork, such as the temporarily relaxed restrictions for physical presentation of Form I-9 paperwork.
3. Learn the Rules
Managing a remote team has many similarities as managing a traditional team, but there are also key differences. For instance, most employers know that they must post required employee notices within the workplace. Do you know how to post these notifications for remote workers? In many situations, you may be able to email them or provide them within an employee portal in order to maintain compliance.
One of the best resources for staying within the rules is a professional payroll service. They can help you understand your payroll tax obligations and deadlines, workers compensation rules for remote work, and the best ways to transmit sensitive data between your main offices and remote employees.
4. Encourage Direct Deposit
Are all your employees using direct deposit for their paychecks? If not, encourage them to do so. If you live in a state, such as Arizona, where an employer is allowed to mandate direct deposit, this may be a time to enforce the payment method.
Talk with employees about the benefits of direct deposit — both in speed of delivery and safety of their money — and help them address any concerns. Remind employees that they can often use non-traditional payroll accounts, such as prepaid debit or payroll cards. You may even be able to work with a local bank or credit union or a dedicated payroll card service to encourage employee buy-in.
5. Be Proactive
Don’t wait for problems to arise or employees to come to the employer with concerns. In a remote environment, more can slip through the cracks as people are isolated from their team and rely on virtual forms of communication. Follow up to ensure employees received documents and understand how to complete them. Schedule regular meetings with individuals. And stay on top of payroll paperwork and deadlines.
For many businesses, the benefits of having remote workers right now outweighs the challenges. If you design a good system for managing paperwork, stay in communication with employees, and use the available technology, your company can enjoy a happy, healthy workforce that will carry it through 2020 and beyond.
Want more ideas for handling remote payroll? Make an appointment with the payroll specialists at Monheit Frisch Group PLC today.