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In the mailbag this month …

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in Office Management,Payroll Management

Welcome back!

Payroll’s Super Bowl, also known as year-end, is done. Congratulations. Now it’s time to tackle what’s piled up during the last several months.

Can employees shuffle their W-4s for a bonus payroll?

Question: We operate on a calendar year basis and give out performance bonuses within 2½ months of the close of the year, so employees will be receiving their 2015 bonuses shortly. Several employees want to refile their W-4s to claim a high number of allowances, but only for the pay period during which they’ll receive their bonuses. Then they want to refile again, to return to their regular withholding allowances. Is this legal?

Answer: The W-4 switcheroo is common. It’s legal, but you don’t have to put up with it, if you don’t want to. The rules say that you must put updated W-4s into effect as soon as possible, but not later than the start of the first pay period ending on or after the 30th day from the date employees give you their new forms. Using the latest date possible will avoid situations similar to yours. You still have some time to change your policy regarding refiled W-4s.

Does surfing for supplies mean we’re covered under the FLSA?

Question: We’re a small dental office located in Pennsylvania. All of our patients and employees are Pennsylvania residents. Our receptionist orders supplies from out-of-state companies on the Internet or phone. Are we an employer under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

Answer: Probably. There are two ways you can become covered under the FLSA. For enterprise coverage, which covers a whole business, you must have gross revenue of at least $500,000 and employees must work in interstate commerce. The FLSA also applies to individual employees who work in interstate commerce, regardless of your gross revenue. So, if the business falls under the cap, your receptionist, at least, is covered. Whether other employees are covered depends on whether they are engaged in an activity that’s closely related, and directly essential to, interstate commerce. They probably are, since they’re in contact with equipment that’s moved in interstate commerce.

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