The U.S. Department of Labor recovered $322 million in worker wages from employers last fiscal year. That’s a lot of money. And it’s also just a small percentage of total back wages owed to American workers.
There’s no question that payroll can be a pain. And when you’re managing hourly staff, schedules change, pay rates vary, and overtime pay can drag you down.
Fortunately, there are tools to help you avoid payroll mistakes. Read on for four tips to help you pay for the hours your staff works — not the hours they don’t.
1. Put a (time)stamp on it
When you’re trying to run payroll, ensuring accurate timestamps is high on your to-do list.
So when your employee is running just a few minutes behind and texts her friend to punch her in at the manual time clock station, what do you do?
Buddy punching can be costly — for both the employee and the employer. Thankfully, advanced scheduling apps can let employees punch in from a smartphone which makes it easier to collect accurate hours worked for payroll.
Geolocation tags can prove an employee arrived at work before clocking in. And biometric features like facial recognition can prevent timestamps from the wrong employee.
2. Let employees swap shifts
You spent almost a whole day last week creating the new schedule. It was a work of art, really. You had pieces of paper pinned to the wall with time-off requests, shift preferences, and overtime balances. And then someone called in sick today, throwing your masterpiece of a schedule out the window.
Now you’re on the phone trying to tracking down someone who can come in at the last minute. And at the same time, putting more sticky notes on the wall to remind you of the switch. You don’t want to pay your employee for the hours he didn’t work today.
Make schedule changes — and the associated payroll — easier when you put the power into your employees’ hands. Use a workforce management system that lets your team swap shifts with coworkers directly through an app. For full visibility over your team’s actions, you can opt for management approval for all swap actions so there are no surprises.
Bonus: Scheduling software can automate shift-swapping and limit employees to an approved list of coworkers to keep overtime costs under control. A scheduling software with built-in shift swapping features can track changes in real-time to reduce confusion about staffing levels and payroll.
3. Eliminate ambiguous rest break tracking
Your employees are entitled to rest breaks. In fact, the law often requires that they take those breaks. But your employees might say that they want to work through their break to leave a little early, or make up for lost time.
It’s your job to track all time worked, and to record those required rest breaks. That’s also critical to making sure your staff gets paid for the correct hours.
Look for scheduling software that can help track employee break periods. Make sure employees take the right breaks and stay at their best. First, use the scheduling software to allocate meal or rest breaks. Then use it to flag any breaks that are missed.
4. Keep those records going
It’s 10:00 at night. Your store closed two hours ago but you’re still sorting through loads of paperwork. Hours wasted sorting through dozens of text and email threads, trying to piece together the timesheet for payroll.
Paper timesheets are messy and easy to misplace. On top of that, it’s easy to make mistakes. Sure you technically have a record of hours, but is your napkin note going to stand up if you get audited?
Connect your workforce management tool with your payroll software to sync pay rates and export timesheets with a click. No more searching for records — everything is already recorded and stored for you.
Hourly work doesn’t have to be so complicated
Avoiding overpaying employees or other risks of inaccurate payroll can be simple with the right timesheet management software. A single system for scheduling and time tracking can simplify chaotic payroll processes at hourly businesses. Sign up for a free trial of Deputy to learn more about how you can help your stay get paid correctly every time.