WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act)

The Fair Labor Standards Act was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 25, 1938.  While there have been some changes since then, the bulk of the Act is still in effect today. 

One area that is being debated today is the federal minimum wage which has been in effect since July 24, 2009.  Many states have their own minimum wages; in those cases, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage.

Nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek at a rate of not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.  Overtime pay is not required for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest unless those hours total more than 40 in the workweek.

Exempt employees include certain executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employees.  The 3 tests include a) salary level of at least $684 per week; b) salary basis is guaranteed; and c) primary job duties.

Hours worked include all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty or at a prescribed workplace.   There also must be equal pay for equal jobs whether you are male or female, white or brown, etc.

Employers must display an official poster outlining the FLSA requirements and must also keep employee time and pay records.

Jobs considered detrimental to a child’s health or well-being are not allowed for children under the age of 18.  There is no limit on the number of hours worked for children 16 and over – however, there are many state laws that must be adhered to in this area as well.

Breaks are not required; however, for a break to NOT be paid, it must be at least 30 minutes and the employee must be free to leave the employer’s premises.

For more information, see the following link:  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/flsa

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – Help Wanted


 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rates in the United States vary from a low in South Dakota and Utah of 3.3% to a high in California of 9.3% and Hawaii of 10.3%.  To put things in perspective, the historical low rate was Connecticut in 2000 at 2.0% and the historical high was Nevada in April 2020 at 29.5%.  Wisconsin is currently at 4.0%; with a historical low of 3.0% in 2018 and a historical high of 14.8 in April 2020.

It looks like things are looking up – that is unless you are trying to hire!   The best part of being a business owner is the employees!  The worst part of being a business owner is the employees!

Here are some suggestions for help in hiring:

  1.  Utilize Social Media – it is here to stay folks – make your presence a big one and leverage that.
  2. Online Job Boards such as Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, Indeed, or Job Monkey to  name a few provide help.
  3. LinkedIn – You can post jobs and search for people with specific experience and skills.
  4. Career Sites – Make sure your Website has a “Join Our Team” or “We are Hiring” tab and sell yourself to future employees!
  5. Temp agencies and 1099 contractors can help fill immediate needs.
  6. Take your time, resist the urge to hire quick.  In the long run it costs you much more to hire the wrong people.

Keep in mind, all new hires must be reported to the state in which they are working, and you must have an I-9 completed and saved for every employee.  For a complete list of all required paperwork for new hires, go to our website, www.wisconsinpay.com and click on Employee Services.    (Note:  We do the new hire reporting and social security number verification for our clients.)

If you are hiring, send us a summary of what you are looking for and we’ll put it on our Facebook and Linked in pages as well.  Go get ‘em!

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – Record Keeping

     


In the old days, record keeping on behalf of our payroll clients consisted of massive quantities of paper, filed alphabetically by client by year.    We would spend the first weekend in February moving files out of current year files and into boxes to be hauled to an attic or basement.  In a perfect world, that would be the last time that we would see them for seven years when we pulled them out and spent days shredding and/or burning.   
When an employer would ask for their quarterly returns from two years ago – what a disaster!  It would take hours and sometimes days to find what they needed.  Something had to give…

Enter my IT guy (also my brother)!  “We are going paperless,” he said (this was before the days of everything being online).  I panicked.  He dug in and I am happy to say that for the past three years, cleaning out our year end files was accomplished by several clicks of the mouse and we know (almost) all we have, we know where we have it and here is a reminder of how long you must keep it! 

Permanent:  Tax returns and major financial records such as payments to the government, legal filings, inheritances, etc.

3 – 7 Years:  Supporting Documentation including W-2, 1099’s, bank statements, receipts (in this case we recommend erring on the side of caution and just keep for 7 years after returns are filed).

1 Year:  Supporting Receipts, pay stubs – things to verify the accuracy of W-2’s, etc.

As a suggestion on filing procedures, we create a file at the start of each year named 2021.  Then everything that happens in 2021 that applies only to 2021 goes into that file.  We also create all the subfiles we need to keep it organized.   At the start of 2022, we will create a file named 2022 that will house all 2022 records and move 2021 to Archive (which is not online – it is backed up to an external hard drive and we are then not paying for data storage for things that never change).  We have two copies – one internal and one off-site.    

We also have a file named “Company Info” this is where we file tax returns and major financial records including powers of attorney, etc.  This file does not get archived.

Good luck and remember – Records management is knowing what you have, where you have it and how long you must keep it! 

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – Gratitude Attitude

Perhaps one of the most talked about self-help topics is a person’s attitude.  How does one see the world – glass half empty or half full?  Do you wake up knowing you can tackle the world, or be tackled by the world? 

In the aftermath of my daughter’s death, I heard the following words: “Look for the blessings – starting – right – now.” 

WHAT??  What blessings?? Obviously, you have never lost a child!    Those were my initial thoughts.  However, I let the words settle, mulled them over and eventually, I quietly, softly, and humbly thanked God for all three of my three daughters.   After losing a child, your remaining children become more precious (yes, it is possible).  Hmmm a blessing??  I think so.  

I am grateful that I will never again take my loved ones for granted.

After acknowledging the first blessing, I was encouraged to find more and I did – many more.  Was it smooth sailing?  No.  Not even close.  But I knew that even while navigating the waters of child loss – when my attitude was that of looking for blessings, my heart would fill with joy.  When my attitude was that of despair, I quickly sunk into darkness.   When I focused on precious memories and making more of them, I found blessings.

I keep a “Gratitude Journal.”  Very few entries are tangible things; but it is full of things like:

“The wonderful, tight hug from my granddaughter, when she whispered in my ear, “I missed you so, so much.”   “The smell of my newborn granddaughter.” “The tick-tock of my grandma’s cuckoo clock.”  “The sound of my dad’s voice when he is reciting his prayers.”  “The way I see my mom’s hands when I look at my own.”   “My husband’s love for me.”

Zig Ziglar said, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions.  The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”  

Express your thanks and look for your blessings – starting – right – now.  

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – All Hallows’ Eve

All Hallows’ Eve falls on October 31, the day before All Hallows’ Day – also known as All Saints day.  The name comes from Old English “hallowed” meaning holy or sanctified and is now usually the more familiar Halloween,  While there is much discrepancy with the origin of Halloween, today it is celebrated both in the Christian and secular worlds.

New insurance deductions for 2021 will start coming our way as well as 2021 unemployment rates.  In the business world – you have two months to adjust your profit and loss.  It’s a good time to connect with your tax preparer and take a look at what your tax situation looks like for 2020.    Better to be prepared than surprised.

I like Halloween.  I do not like scary movies, or haunted houses or scary characters.  I love trick or treating,  I really LOVE trick or treating!  I love seeing the lights on people’s doors inviting little goblins up for a treat.  I love the expectant look on the kiddos faces as they hold out their bag and their adorable “thank yous.”  I love seeing the neighborhood walk the neighborhood.  I love the magic of “being” something / someone for Halloween.  I love roasted pumpkin seeds and carving pumpkins – but am so sad that I did not know until this year that you can use a drill to carve your pumpkins!  (You must try this!)

So even if you are old – take a few minutes on October 31 to dress up and pretend to be something or someone.  Spread some joy as others take delight in your costume.  Go shopping with curlers and a bathrobe – it’s ok on Halloween!  …and if you get extra peanut butter cups – I’ll trade you!!

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – Daylight Savings

The idea of daylight savings was that of Benjamin Franklin during his time as an American delegate in Paris in 1784. Some of Franklin ‘s friends, inventors of a new kid of oil lamp, were so taken by the scheme that they continued corresponding with Franklin even after he returned home.

Prior to 1883, the time of day was a local matter – most cities and towns used some form of local solar time maintained by a well-known clock (think Back to the Future).   The use of standard time increased as people began to see the obvious benefits for communication and travel.  Time zone changes have changed greatly since their introduction and continue to do so.

Daylight Savings Time has been used in the U.S. and in many European countries since World War I at some level – including “War Time” from 1942 to 1945.  On April 12, 1966 President Johnson created Daylight Saving Time to begin on the last Sunday of April and end the last Sunday of October unless a specific state wanted to be exempt – they could by passing a law.

President Nixon, on January 4, 1974 signed into law the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973, set ahead until October 5, 1974.  There have been multiple changes since then to where we are today – Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. begins at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ends at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November.

The state of Arizona is the only U.S. state that does not recognize Daylight Saving Time, along with approximately 70 other countries including Japan, India and China. 

Now back to Benjamin Franklin’s idea of Daylight Saving Time – was it simply a scheme to increase demand in his electricity and thereby increase his profits??  I must admit the idea of saving daylight sounds appealing, but we need to remember that just like time – daylight passes us by whether we have used it wisely, wasted it or saved it.  Happy Fall y’all!!

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

2020 certainly is BOOSheet!   COVID, social distancing, the elections, the crazy weather, wildfires, and whatever else 2020 has thrown our way certainly has given us an opportunity to rise above our situations.  More than once, we have uttered the phrase – time to put on your big girl pants and carry on!   Out of the struggles, we’ve seen many blessings as together we keep on keeping on.

While the PPP has been a blessing to so many small businesses and their employees – to those in the payroll world – it has been exhausting!  All the remedies have included payroll modifications and many extra hours for people in the payroll world.

The SBA began approving PPP forgiveness applications on October 2 and per law, the lender has 60 days to approve and the SBA has 90 days.

Per Congress, the loan forgiveness is not taxable income.  Per the IRS, the expenses paid with the loan are not deductible.  If the loan is forgiven in 2020 – no tax impact.  If the loan is not forgiven until 2021 – uncertainty abounds.  More than 170 business and trade organizations are asking congress to allow businesses to be able to write off the expenses paid for with the forgiven PPP loan funds – now that would be a huge blessing!  Stay tuned for more info as this unfolds.

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – We’re All In Small Business Grants

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is opening up a second phase of We’re All In Small Business Grants, making available an additional $50 million of federal CARES Act funding to Wisconsin businesses hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re All In Small Business Grant – Phase 2 makes federal funding available to Wisconsin small businesses that were unable to apply for Phase 1 of the program. And, it makes additional funds available to companies that were awarded Phase 1 grants.

The program aims to help Wisconsin’s small businesses get back on their feet while encouraging adoption of best practices to build confidence in reopening Wisconsin’s economy.  Grant recipients will pledge to observe health safety best practices in their facilities.  Industry-specific guidelines can be found at https://wedc.org/reopen-guidelines/ .

We’re All In Small Business Grants of $5,000 are available through this Phase 2 program to Wisconsin businesses with more than $0 but less than $1 million annual revenues (gross receipts less returns and allowances) and one to 50 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) in 2019. Additional eligibility requirements apply.

Applications for We’re All In Small Business – Phase 2 Grants will be available at https://www.revenue.wi.gov from 8 a.m., Monday, Oct. 19, to 11:59 p.m., Monday, November 2, 2020.

For more information about the eligibility requirements and limitations of the We’re All In Small Business – Phase 2 Grants, visit https://www.revenue.wi.gov/Pages/FAQS/SmallBusinessGrantProgram.aspx#passive1

Please be prepared to apply for this funding opportunity when the application window opens October 19, 2020.

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – Columbus Day – Now known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day??

           We just received notification from our ACH provider that no ACHes will go through on Monday, October 12, 2020 for Native American Day.  Native American Day??  How did we miss that?  Perhaps it was because we were amid our software conversion – but whatever the case we missed it.  So, here is what we have learned from Wikipedia.

Native American Day is a holiday celebrated across the United States in lieu of Columbus Day. In California and Nevada, the holiday is celebrated on the fourth Friday of September, whereas in South Dakota and Wisconsin, it falls on the second Monday of October. Within each of these states, Native American Day honors the cultural contributions of Native American communities to the respective state’s history, as well as to the overall country. The state of Tennessee observes a similar American Indian Day each year on the fourth Monday of September.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day[1] (Not to be confused with Native American Day) is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. It is celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October, and is an official city and state holiday in various localities. It began as a counter-celebration held on the same day as the U.S. federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Many reject celebrating him, saying that he represents “the violent history of the colonization in the Western Hemisphere”,[2] and that Columbus Day is a sanitation or covering-up of Christopher Columbus’ actions such as enslaving Native Americans.[3]

Indigenous Peoples’ Day began in 1989 in South Dakota, where Lynn Hart and then Governor Mr. George S. Mickelson backed a resolution to celebrate Native American day on the second Monday of October, marking the beginning of the year of reconciliation in 1990.[4] It was instituted in Berkeley, California, in 1992, to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Two years later, Santa Cruz, California, instituted the holiday, and in the 2010s, various other cities and states took it up.[5]

It is similar to Native American Day, observed in September in California and Tennessee.[citation needed]

Wisconsin  In October of 2019, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order which formally replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day (celebrated on the second Monday of every October) to “recognize and appreciate our tribal nations and indigenous people and their resilience, wisdom and the contributions they make to our state”.[3] There are eleven federally recognized tribes in Wisconsin and the bill emphasize the sovereignty of the nations.

Washington  DC  Also, in October of 2019, the D.C Council voted to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in a temporary move that it hopes to make permanent.   Currently it coincides with Columbus Day.  Nothing further could be found on that. 

In a nutshell, we will not be scheduling any ACHes on Monday, October 12, 2020, because of Indigenous Peoples’ Day – not Native American Day, not Columbus Day.  We are moving toward celebrating people – specifically the Indigenous People of our Country.  How to celebrate?  Attend a local Indigenous People’s Day Event, read a book, cook an authentic meal.   In my humble opinion, any move to celebrate people is a good move.  #alwaysbekind

WI PAY TIP OF THE DAY – 2021 Personal Income Taxes & Unemployment Recipients

I just had a conversation with a friend whose husband was laid off during the CoVid19 epidemic. Financially, they did ok as he received the extra $600 per week under the CARES act. 

My friend mentioned that her husband received $600 per week – which led me to ask her if he had chosen to have income tax withheld.  Neither of them had any idea that the unemployment was taxable and that those benefits would be included in their taxable income – which would mean coming up with the extra tax before April 15, 2021.  The benefits are also taxable in states that have state income tax. The following is from the IRS website (please see your state website for more info on state rates):

By law, unemployment compensation is taxable and must be reported on a 2020 federal income tax return. Taxable benefits include any of the special unemployment compensation authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted this spring.

Withholding is voluntary. Federal law allows any recipient to choose to have a flat 10% withheld from their benefits to cover part or all of their tax liability. To do that, fill out Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request PDF, and give it to the agency paying the benefits. Don’t send it to the IRS. If the payor has its own withholding request form, use it instead.

If a recipient doesn’t choose withholding, or if withholding is not enough, they can make quarterly estimated tax payments instead. The payment for the first two quarters of 2020 was due on July 15. Third and fourth quarter payments are due on September 15, 2020, and January 15, 2021, respectively. For more information, including some helpful worksheets, see Form 1040-ES and Publication 505, available on IRS.gov.

Recipients who return to work before the end of the year can use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to make sure they are having enough tax taken out of their pay. Available only on IRS.gov, this online tool can help any worker or pension recipient avoid or lessen their year-end tax bill or estimate the refund they want.

In January 2021, unemployment benefit recipients should receive a Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments PDF from the agency paying the benefits. The form will show the amount of unemployment compensation they received during 2020 in Box 1, and any federal income tax withheld in Box 4. Taxpayers report this information, along with their W-2 income, on their 2020 federal tax return. For more information on unemployment, see Unemployment Benefits in Publication 525.