USCIS Form I-9 Revised August 1, 2023

The USCIS has revised the form I-9 effective August 1, 2023.  This new form will be in effect until July 31, 2026.  Employers may use the 2019 Form I-9 through October 31, 2023.  Beginning November 1, employers MUST use the revised form, (which has been uploaded to our webpage under Employee Services).  The Spanish version is available on the USCIS website.

Overview of Form I-9 changes:

  • Reduced Sections 1 and 2 to a single sheet. No previous fields were removed. Multiple fields were merged into fewer fields when possible, such as in the employer certification.
  • Moved the Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area to a separate Supplement A that employers can use when necessary. This supplement provides three areas for current and future preparers and translators to complete as needed. Employers may attach additional supplements as needed.
  • Moved Section 3 Reverification and Rehire to a standalone Supplement B that employers can use as needed for rehire or reverification. This supplement provides four areas for current and subsequent reverifications. Employers may attach additional supplements as needed.
  • Removed use of “alien authorized to work” in Section 1 and replaced it with “noncitizen authorized to work” and clarified the difference between “noncitizen national” and “noncitizen authorized to work.”
  • Ensured the form can be filled out on tablets and mobile devices by downloading onto the device and opening in the free Adobe Acrobat Reader app.
  • Removed certain features to ensure the form can be downloaded easily. This also removes the requirement to enter N/A in certain fields.
  • Improved guidance to the Lists of Acceptable Documents to include some acceptable receipts, guidance, and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation.
  • Added a checkbox for E-Verify employers to indicate when they have remotely examined Form I-9 documents. Overview of Form I-9 Instructions changes:   
  • Reduced length from 15 pages to 8 pages. • Added definitions of key actors in the Form I-9 process.
  • Streamlined the steps each actor takes to complete their section of the form.
  • Added instructions for the new checkbox to indicate when Form I-9 documents were remotely examined.
  • Removed the abbreviations charts and relocated them to the M-274.

Employers must retain original I-9 forms for three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is later.  The forms should be stored separately from other personnel files in its own filed labeled Employee I-9 and may be stored electronically.

How To Manage Leave Deductions

By Wisconsin Pay Specialists

Tracking leave deductions accurately is tricky for many employers. If you are doing this by hand, there are lots of opportunities to create compliance issues. For example, if you don’t accrue appropriately, employees could have a case against you for not providing the right amount of time off based on published policy. 

Automated systems take care of this for you. An automated system accrues hours based on your policy.  When employee requests time off, the system will show how much time is available. When the manager approves the request, the system will earmark those hours for use. When the employee uses the hours, the system will automatically deduct them from the employee’s account.

An automated system can track any type of PTO:

  • Holiday
  • Paid Family Leave
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • Paid Bereavement Leave
  • Personal
  • PTO
  • Parental Leave
  • Maternity Leave
  • Jury Duty

An automated PTO system synced with timekeeping and payroll tracks leave accurately according to company policy and applicable laws.

PTO and Small Business Compliance

Leave management impacts compliance in several ways:

  1. Employers must track qualifying FMLA separately.
  2. 23 states have laws that regulate PTO payout upon separation.
  3. 4 states restrict use-it-or-lose-it PTO policies.
  4. Employers that fail to grant leave requests equitably risk a discrimination challenge.

The foundation for all wage and hour compliance is proper recordkeeping. A PTO/Timekeeping/Scheduling system automatically tracks accruals as employees clock in for shifts. Most systems only support basic accruals policies, however. Because we offer custom scripting, our PTO system can administer any accrual’s structure.

Employees Can See Accruals 24/7

It’s impossible to overstate the benefits of employee self-service when it comes to anything related to time and labor. With our PTO solution, employees can view their accruals on their phone through our timekeeping mobile app. This includes the forecasted balance for any future date.

Anytime, anywhere access to timecard information helps employees plan how to use their time off. No more requests for unearned time. No more errors in computation. And no more strained relationships due to PTO mix-ups.

Make Life Easier for Administrators

Your managers and HR team have better things to do than respond to employee emails and calls about PTO. Modern small businesses provide employee self-service time and attendance. This includes timecards, pay stubs, shift schedules and accruals.

How Does Paid Leave Affect the Balance Sheet?

Let’s discuss PTO in light of finances and accounting. In most cases, PTO is an accrued liability as employees earn it. If an employee leaves the employer, many states require the company to compensate employees for unused paid leave. With a front-loaded system, there is full liability on the balance sheet the day the employees are given the PTO. If an employee leaves, then the employer will usually cash out the unused PTO to the employee. In contrast, with unlimited time off policies, there’s no accrued liability on the balance sheet and therefore no cash out obligation upon separation.

If you are required to pay out unused PTO, and an employee receives a raise between the time the PTO is earned and when they separate, consult your accountant about which wage on which to base the payout. In most circumstances, the employer must use the wage at the time of separation.

Beware of Cash in Lieu

Perhaps you are considering a cash in lieu policy. This allows an employee to trade earned paid leave for cash. In the past two years, this has become more common because millions of U.S. employees haven’t used their PTO due to pandemic-related issues.

Before you adopt such a plan, beware of the tax implications.

The problem with these plans is they create unintended tax consequences due to an arcane tax concept called the constructive receipt doctrine. In short, this doctrine taxes income, whether received, if the taxpayer has an unrestricted right to such income and may draw upon it at any time. Daniel Mayo, Jeremias Ramos “Unintended Tax Consequences of PTO Buyback Programs” 

Again, consult your accountant to make sure you withhold accurately for cash in lieu policies.

What if an Employee Requests Leave Which Includes a Paid Holiday?

The best practice for this situation is not to count the paid holiday(s) toward an employee’s PTO. For example, suppose an employee requests the first week of July off and July 4th lands on a Thursday. If your company provides July 4th as a paid holiday, the employee should not have the hours deducted from their PTO balance.

In Conclusion

Small businesses that aren’t managing leave with an automated system are missing out on key benefits. Our timekeeping clients enjoy automated PTO included in our solution. To learn more, contact us today.

For further information or questions, please contact us at 920-499-8463,

Email: Wisconsin Pay Specialists

How To Manage PTO

by Wisconsin Pay Specialists

How To Manage PTO Approvals

By Wisconsin Pay Specialists

No small business should limp along with a paper-based leave approval process. Why? First off, it is a time drain for the manager who already has a lot on their plate. Secondly, manual processes are vulnerable to human error. Thirdly, it detracts from the overall employee experience and culture. Lastly, it puts your organization at risk of compliance issues.

Automate PTO Approvals

In today’s workplace, inexpensive software can replace sticky notes and spreadsheets. PTO management systems integrate with timekeeping, payroll and scheduling for a unified solution.

Let’s recap the benefits of PTO automation:

  1. Saves time
  2. Prevents errors and mistakes
  3. Simplifies compliance
  4. Is more efficient for managers and employees
  5. Helps managers approve leave fairly and equitably

How Does an Automated PTO System Work?

Let’s discuss the PTO workflow:

  • Employees use a standard form to submit requests electronically
    • The employee can see available PTO hours in the system as well as projected accruals balances for future dates
  • The employee’s PTO request triggers an email alert to the manager
  • The manager:
    • Sees all time-stamped requests in the timekeeping system
    • Has the option to view requests on the scheduling calendar, making it easy to identify overlapping requests
    • Can generate PTO reports for any employee group or timeframe
  • When a manager approves or denies a PTO request, the system instantly alerts the employee
  • Pending and approved time off appear in the shift scheduling calendar in real time
    • The scheduling tool alerts the manager if they attempt to schedule a team member during upcoming PTO

Create a Detailed PTO Policy

If the leave approval process creates problems, it lowers morale for managers, employees and the HR team. Employees expect a transparent and intuitive digital process as user-friendly as their favorite phone app. 

Your policy is as important as the technology you use to administer it. When building a policy, address the following:

  • How will leave be awarded? Accrual, allotment or unlimited?
    • For, example, will you frontload a set number of days at the beginning of the year or will they kick in quarterly?
    • Will unused PTO roll over into the new year?
  • How many employees can be off at a given time?
    • Does the number change throughout the year?
    • Will there be blackout periods when nobody can take time off?
  • How will employees request time off?
    • How far in advance do employees need to submit requests?
    • How will managers handle overlapping requests?
    • What state laws affect PTO?

Ways To Streamline PTO Management

Once you’ve built your policy, review it often and adjust it if necessary. Also, remember to:

Track time for both hourly, salaried, mobile, and remote employees

  1. Calculate the time off balance for each employee under federal rules based on hours (part-time, full-time), hire date, and usage
  2. Understand state/local employee leave laws for every state in which you have employees and check frequently for changes
  3. Train your HR team, managers, and employees on company policies and laws

Another measure of the effectiveness of your PTO policy is whether employees use the benefit. Generate quarterly reports in your PTO system to see how paid leave usage changes over time. Determine if an increase in usage improves retention, employee satisfaction (measured through surveys), or productivity.

For further information or questions, please contact us at 920-499-8463, Email: Wisconsin Pay Specialists

How To Manage PTO Requests by Kat Meissner, WI Pay Specialists

Wisconsin Pay Specialists advises Paid Time Off is an important benefit for employees and job seekers. If a generous PTO program helps you attract talent, you need to make sure employees can actually use it once they are hired. A confusing PTO process, or a culture that discourages vacations can lower morale and contribute to burnout. This decreases productivity, drives turnover and makes your company less desirable to job seekers.

The Principles of PTO Management

How do world-class companies manage time off requests? Number one, they have a transparent, equitable policy and communicate it to their workforce. Number two, they make it easy for employees to monitor their accruals and request PTO. Number three, they train their managers to approve requests where possible, treat everyone fairly, and refrain from contacting their team members when off work. Number four, leadership and managers set a good example by taking vacations and encouraging all employees to do the same.

The Benefits of Automated PTO

An automated PTO system is essential for managing leave effectively. They are most powerful when integrated with employee timekeeping and scheduling.

How Does a PTO System Work?

· Employees can see available PTO in the timekeeping system–including amount available for any future date

· Employees submit a request in their timekeeping portal–just like an email but easier

· Managers receive requests in the system

o All requests are in the same place

o Schedulers can easily review requests in light of shift schedules

o Each request is time stamped

· Approved PTO is automatically registered in the timekeeping system

· The software updates pending or approved accruals in real time

· Employees can check their balance on a mobile device 24/7, including forecasted balance for any future date

Benefits for the Employee

PTO systems provide a transparent, standardized procedure which makes it easier for employees to plan for and use time off. A cloud-based system allows employees to plan vacations at their convenience outside of work hours. With 24/7 online employee self-service, they can do it all without the hassle, delays and risk of paper-based processes.

Accommodate All Personality Types

Not everyone is comfortable asking their manager for time off in a face-to-face conversation. An automated system makes it easy for less-assertive employees to ask for time off. A PTO system with a mobile app lets employees request time off from the comfort and familiarity of their smartphone. Mobile-friendly access creates an intuitive, employee-centric work culture.

Ensure PTO Doesn’t Trigger Payroll Errors

An automated system also ensures that PTO use doesn’t cause payroll errors. Companies with paycheck problems can expect frustrated employees to look for work elsewhere.

A PTO Mix-Up

Mismanaged PTO is a common friction point for small business teams. Consider the following scenario:

In March, team member Kevin asks manager Natalie for the first week off in June to go to his sister’s wedding. Natalie tells Kevin, “I’m sure that will be okay, but I will confirm after looking at the schedule and reviewing the June workload.”

Natalie makes a mental note to write down Kevin’s desired dates in the Google calendar where she keeps PTO requests. Unfortunately, Natalie is pulled away before she makes it back to her office and forgets to write down Kevin’s request. A few weeks later, since Natalie hasn’t denied the request, Kevin assumes he can take the time off,

Meanwhile… in April, team member Kelly asks Natalie for the same week off in June to go on a cruise with friends she hasn’t seen since college. This time, Natalie remembers to make a note of Kelly’s request but doesn’t remember that Kevin had asked for the same week off. During a meeting a week before the time off, Kevin says he needs to discuss who will handle his accounts while he is away for his sister’s wedding. Kelly is surprised because she had planned to be away for the same week. Since it’s a small team, both employees can’t be gone at the same time.

What can Natalie do? What if she doesn’t remember when Kevin asked for the time off? How does she prioritize the requests? While a wedding is an important event, Kelly’s friends have taken time off and the group has put a sizable deposit for the price of the cruise. There is no way Natalie can solve this problem without disappointing either Kevin or Kelly.

Certainly, this type of PTO mix-up can cause resentment and frustration for hard-working employees that want to use a valued benefit.

How can a manager successfully manage time off? The solution is good PTO tracking software and a formal leave policy.

Build a PTO Workflow

When creating a paid leave process, consider the following:

1. Define the method employees use to request leave: email, paper form, or automated system

2. Determine whether unused PTO will roll over into the new year or ‘use it or lose it’

3. How managers will handle overlapping requests

4. How far in advance employees need to submit requests

5. Blackout periods when nobody can take time off

Let the System Do the Calculating

With automated PTO tracking, you don’t need to waste time calculating PTO balances for future vacation requests. Instead, balances calculate in real time as employees build a time off request. Employees and managers can rest assured that time off requested is available. Balance calculations include accrual method and rate, PTO already used and pending time off already approved.

Keep Your Business Running

Innovative small businesses use an automated PTO system integrated with timekeeping, scheduling and payroll. This creates efficiencies managers and employees expect while contributing to a positive work culture.

· See clearly how time off impacts shifts

· Alerts make managers aware of each pending request in shift context and who else is on leave

· No more short staffing or missing skill sets due to lack of PTO visibility

· Approved PTO instantly appears on schedules, whether published or still being built.

· Schedulers have all the information needed to adjust schedules for full shift coverage while employees use leave

· Timecards reflect PTO, ensuring accurate payroll processing

Effective PTO management improves productivity and engagement while lowering turnover.

Contact us today to discuss how these PTO practices can fit your business. 920-499-8463 or email

How to Manage Accruals Tracking by Wisconsin Pay Specialists

What Are Accruals?

In the Payroll/HR world, accruals refer to time off, sick leave and vacation time that ‘accrues’ as an employee works for the organization. For example, a company may offer four days of paid leave per quarter. When the employee has worked six months, they have accrued eight days of paid leave and continue to build up a bank of time. 

Paid Time Off (PTO) is time employees take off during normal working hours for which they are paid. Employees either earn PTO as they work their regular schedules or receive a set number of hours at the beginning of the year. Businesses generally measure the time in hours. 

Note: Accruals can also refer to unpaid leave that accrues according to FMLA or state family leave laws.

How Is PTO Different Than Traditional Paid Leave?

Traditional paid leave is categorized as sick days, personal days, and vacation. In contrast, PTO refers to leave that is uncategorized and employees can use as they choose. Some employers have a combination of PTO and sick time.

What is a PTO Policy?

The foundation for accruals tracking is a carefully designed PTO policy. When creating a paid leave policy, there are many considerations:

  • How will leave be awarded? Accrual, allotment or unlimited?
    • Will you front load a set number of days at the beginning of the year, or will they accrue based on time worked?
  • How many employees can be off at a given time?
    • Does the number change throughout the year?
    • Will there be blackout periods when nobody can take time off?
  • How will employees request time off?
    • How will you handle overlapping requests?
    • How far in advance do employees need to submit requests?
  • Will unused PTO roll over into the new year?
  • What state or local laws affect your PTO administration?
  • How will your policy affect your financials/balance sheet?

Types of Time Off Policies

Let’s look at the most common types of leave structures used by U.S. employers:

  • Traditional Leave—categories may include:
    • Vacation
    • Sick Time/FMLA
    • Federal or State Holidays
    • Floating Holidays
    • Jury Duty
    • Emergency Leave
    • Bereavement Leave
  • PTO (Paid Time Off) Banks—Employees can use the time as they choose.
  • Unlimited PTO—Employees can take as many days as they want.
  • PTO Purchase Plan—allows workers to buy and sell vacation days.
    • The ‘currency’ is their regular salary–this type of policy is often included in a cafeteria (or flex) program.
    • Employees can use pre-tax earnings to purchase benefits of their choice, which may include health insurance, life insurance, supplemental insurance, and flex spending accounts.

Automated PTO System Simplify Leave Management

The method for tracking PTO is as important as the actual policy. Many small businesses don’t have an automated tracking method. Some use spreadsheets or Google Calendar. Employees submit requests verbally and it’s up to the manager to keep track of them, determine how they impact schedules and approve or deny.

Manual PTO tracking takes a lot of time and persistence to keep track of employee requests, treat everyone fairly, and ensure business operations aren’t impacted when employees take time off.

In contrast, inexpensive automated PTO tracking software makes it easy to manage leave. The most powerful systems sync with Timekeeping, Payroll and Employee Scheduling.

What Are the Benefits of Automated PTO Tracking?

  • Ensures equitable PTO for all employees.
  • Provides a standardized way for employees to request time off
  • Helps managers keep track of employee vacations.
  • Syncs with timecards and scheduling to avoid shift coverage gaps.
  • Gives employees access to their PTO balance without calling HR.

When researching PTO systems, make sure they can accommodate your policy. If you have anything more involved than a basic policy, you’ll need a provider that offers custom scripting and there are few in the small business space.

Accruals Reporting

Another advantage of an automated PTO system is ease of analytics. Employees and administrators can run reports (for any time period) and see accruals by date and which hours have been deducted from the employees’ balances. This helps business owners administer leave policies and evaluate their effectiveness.

For further information or questions, please contact us at 920-499-8463, Email: Wisconsin Pay Specialists

Things to know about Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank’s shutdown.

Following the unfortunate news about Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank’s shutdown, we want to provide some information as to how this may affect you – even if you do not bank at either of these banks. 

Prime opportunity for scams – The recent collapse of these banks means some companies are moving to a new bank and sending notices of updated bank account information to their customers, suppliers, and vendors.

This creates an opportunity for scammers to send emails that look exactly like legitimate notices, but the bank account belongs to the scammer. Their victims pay invoices, but the money goes into the scammer’s bank accounts instead of the vendors’. Victims won’t notice anything is wrong until the vendor sends a delinquency notice. By then, the scammers, and the money, are long gone.

How do I protect myself against these scams? Companies may receive emails with notice to change the accounts used to pay vendors:

  • Do not click any links in the email.
  • Do not reply to the email.
  • Do not call any telephone number provided in the email.
  • Ensure all appropriate employees (finance teams, executives, founders, etc.) are aware of this potential. 


  • Navigate to the company’s website directly (not through email link) – log in and check for secure messages or notifications about account changes.
  • Look up the company’s phone number from a legitimate source, such as the company’s website. Call the company to ask if the request is authentic.

If you believe you may have already sent a payment to a scammer, contact your bank immediately and stay diligent.

What are the advantages of using time and attendance technology?

The basic advantage of an automated time-and-attendance system—whether based on time clocks, computer logins, badge readers, or other kinds of equipment—is that it pumps attendance and hours data directly from the collection points into your company’s payroll system.

These automated systems can eliminate the errors that often occur during the process of translating hours data from time sheets or time cards to your company’s payroll system.

Another benefit to automated systems is the convenient access to data they afford supervisors, so they can review and adjust it before each payroll is processed. Supervisors, employees, and the payroll department will each see a benefit in using automated systems:

• Payroll doesn’t have to cut as many corrected paychecks or carry adjustments over to the next payroll period.

• Supervisors have a better chance of getting to the root of any data problem.

• Employees have more confidence their paychecks accurately reflect all the time they worked.

Many employers have found that time and attendance technology can curb what’s known as time abuse. For hourly employees, this includes clocking in before work is available, clocking in for absent or late co-workers, or logging unauthorized overtime hours.

Note: If employees work unauthorized overtime, they must be paid for the time worked. However, employees can be disciplined for not obtaining prior authorization to work the overtime.

For salaried employees who are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements, time abuse includes arriving late, leaving early, or taking long lunches. Your company can’t dock salaried, FLSA-exempt employees for such partial-day absences. However, it can boost employee productivity with new technology that tracks their time based, for example, on how and when they use their computers.

Besides increasing overtime compliance and reducing employee time abuse, these systems also can help your company budget and manage employees more effectively. For example, these systems can generate overtime data that show whether overtime costs are manageable, or whether the company would be better off adding more staff instead. Data also can be used to see how much time various departments or employees devote to projects or clients, which in turn can help with budgets and billing.


Why use electronic timekeeping??

A fellow payroll service center sent out a notice to others in the industry that they had just completed a United States Department of Labor meeting with one of their clients.

One of the things that came out of their meeting is that the DOL can do a “surprise drop in” and demand on the spot timecards for all employees.  In today’s world, this poses little problem, as long as you are being proactive and tracking your employee’s time accurately and each day.

Ask us about Swipeclock and check one more worry off your list!  It is fully integrated with our payroll software, is user friendly with both desktop and mobile apps for both you and your employees. 

920-499-8463 x3 Wisconsin Pay Specialists

International Fraud Awareness Week

Nov 13-19, 2022 is International Fraud Awareness Week.

What is Fraud Week? International Fraud Awareness Week, or Fraud Week, was established by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) in 2020 as a dedicated time to raise awareness about fraud. The week-long campaign encourages everyone to proactively take steps to maximize the impact of fraud by promoting anti-fraud awareness and education.
International Fraud Awareness Week (

Hear Me Roar!

“The Struggle is Real, but so is the Reward”

Kat Meissner, Owner of Wisconsin Pay Specialists

Kat was the guest presenter at the Marinette Menomoniee Area Chamber of Commerce this week and shared her story of the struggles and rewards we experience.  An often emotional and telling story, the program ended with everyone singing and dancing to “Roar” by Katy Perry and a quote by Saint (Mother) Teresa:

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfill it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is luck, make it.

Life is precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life.  Fight for it.