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In the Payroll Mailbag: March ’24

Sometimes “no” can be a good thing—as in no, this item is tax-free. Here are two perfect examples.

DOL adjusts penalties for 2024

The Department of Labor has announced the 2024 inflation adjustments to penalties for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and ERISA.

Old test or new, the FLSA still defaults to employee status

The Fair Labor Standards Act is remedial legislation that is meant to cover as many employees as possible. The Department of Labor’s final worker status regulations were never intended to change this. The main reason for issuing the regs was to codify the Supreme Court’s 80-year-old test. A recent case decided before the final regs were issued illustrates.

Payroll practice essentials: Communicating with employees

Your annual memo to employees explaining the entries on their W-2s shouldn’t be the beginning and end of your outreach to employees. At some point, you will need to communicate various items to employees: new-hire orientation packets, department policies or changes to payroll procedures (e.g., switching pay periods or introducing a new employee self-service platform). Communicating with employees shouldn’t strike fear in your heart.

Bubble, bubble, toil & payroll trouble

Being on the bubble isn’t where college basketball teams want to be—maybe in or, worse, maybe out. You don’t want to be on the bubble, either. Take care of these items now and your bubble won’t burst.

Paper receipts still needed to substantiate expenses

There is no substitute for paper receipts to substantiate employees’ business expenses. Expenses entered into a software program aren’t the equivalent of paper receipts, a federal trial court ruled. A couple who relied on tax software to substantiate their business expenses and losses was out of luck and out of money to the U.S. Treasury.

White-collar Wednesdays: Initial preparations for the DOL’s final salary-level regs

We are now a little over two months away from the release of final regulations raising the weekly and annual salary amounts employees must earn to remain exempt from the FLSA, as promised by the Department of Labor. Regardless of how this shakes out, it’s best to be prepared.

Docking pay for snow-day absences: When is it legal?

The snow’s coming down pretty good and an exempt employee calls to say she can’t make it in today because her car is stuck. Can you deduct a full day’s pay from her salary for that missed day? What if she’s non-exempt? What if you close work because of bad weather? Here’s guidance—and a handy flowchart—to help you make the call.

First Friday wrap of February: IRS advises on 2023 W-2s, House passes a tax bill and more

Did the groundhog see its shadow in our first Friday wrap of February?

March 2024: Employer’s business tax calendar

Here’s your monthly guide to critical payroll due dates.