It is that time of year again when companies in certain sectors start looking to bring on seasonal employees. We are thinking retail, restaurant and hospitality, and delivery/courier operations. These are all organizations that need a few extra hands to get through the holiday rush. Please note that your payroll responsibilities do not diminish just because we are all celebrating the good will that comes with the annual holidays.
If anything, making sure payroll is in order is more important at this time of year than any other. Why? Because it's easy to lose track of the details when business is hectic. But missing something small can lead to a lot of payroll headaches down the road. Make sure everything in your payroll house is in order before you start seasonal recruiting.
Below are some things we encourage our own clients to pay attention to. If you are still doing payroll in-house, each of these is critical for your organization. As you read them, we encourage you to consider switching to one of our online payroll solutions. Letting us manage payroll for you takes a big burden off your shoulders.
Review Employee Records
This is the time of year to review employee records to make sure all information is accurate. When bringing on seasonal workers, check and double-check your information during the hiring process. Make sure your seasonal workers understand the importance of providing a correct address, Social Security number, etc. Incorrect records are one of the leading causes of avoidable payroll mistakes.
Establishing Hourly Pay Rates
Organizations must establish hourly pay rates for their seasonal employees before they start hiring. This is an important part of record-keeping. In some states, employers are required to tell employees upfront what the hourly rate is – before they are hired. But even in states where it is not compulsory, employers are still required by federal law to have a written record of each employee's hourly rate.
That written record comes into play when an employee is due overtime pay. So make sure it's written down. Also make sure you are accurately tracking all seasonal time so as to not short-change anyone.
Scheduling your employees is not directly related to payroll processing, but there is an indirect link here. The whole purpose of scheduling is to make sure an organization is fully staffed during all business hours. Failing to adequately schedule could mean being shorthanded during critical times. That could ultimately end up forcing a shift manager to keep some people on for overtime. The company then ends up paying more for labor than would otherwise have been required had scheduling been taking care of in advance.
Time and Attendance Tracking
This is also the time of year to seriously evaluate your organization's time and attendance tracking. If your organization is using manual time cards or sheets, the busyness of the holiday season could make it difficult for you to accurately record and verify hours worked. This represents a problem just waiting to happen.
Manual time cards and sheets are one of the leading causes of both payroll fraud and time and attendance mistakes. Eliminate both by implementing a digital tracking solution. Better yet, implement a solution that integrates directly with your payroll software for greater accuracy and single-entry tracking.
We are now on the doorstep of the busiest time of year for many industries. If you're planning on bringing on seasonal help within the next few weeks, we urge you to make sure your payroll department is up to the task. The more prepared you are for seasonal employment, the better off everyone will be.