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Payroll Legal Alert

Nothing upsets your well-oiled Payroll machine more than the influx of summer hires and their paperwork. Use these tips to tame the summer hiring process.

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Q: Are amounts paid for wellness programs and on-site medical clinics reportable in Box 12 of employees’ W-2s? Also, can you explain when dental and vision plan costs are reportable on Form W-2? What qualifies these benefits as “separate” plans?

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It’s a frequently recurring headache for employers and the IRS: Determining whether the value of frequent-flier miles employees accumulate when they travel on business is a tax-free fringe benefit or taxable compensation. Share this latest guidance with your colleagues in the payroll department.

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State laws usually require that employee participation in direct deposit or paycard programs must be voluntary. States may also allow paycard vendors to charge employees fees, beginning with the second transaction. This chart summarizes the states’ direct deposit/paycard rules. “Mandatory” means that a state allows you to make e-payment a condition of employment, if you choose. States that don’t have laws aren’t included. In all cases, contact your state labor department for the full story.

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To encourage employees to sign up for checkless paydays, the federal government declared May direct deposit month. As government declarations go, it’s been a success—most employees do have their pay deposited directly into their bank accounts. Most isn’t all, however.

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Forget the overdone hamburgers and warm soda. Payroll problems can arise even around the most hallowed of institutions, the annual company picnic.

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• NOTE: Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays as observed in the District of Columbia are taken into account to determine due dates. Under the federal deposit rules, you’re allowed a deposit shortfall of the greater of $100 or 2% of your tax liability. Semiweekly and monthly deposits are for the deposits of FICA and withheld [...]

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Employees looking for a place to park their youngsters during the summer should consider day camp, including speciality camps. Tax break: Parents may defray day camp expenses through the company’s dependent care assistance program, up to the $5,000 annual limit.

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As you gear up for employees’ summer vacation requests, remember that the FLSA has a lot to say about working hours, calculating overtime when employees take a day off during the week, and uniform policies. Here’s help navigating these choppy waters.

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Question: Included in our new employee handbook is a standard payroll deduction agreement, which employees must sign and return to Payroll. There’s a clause in the agreement that says employees’ consent to payroll deductions includes, but isn’t limited to, miscellaneous deductions—faxes, phone calls and so forth. HR has told employees that if they don’t sign the agreement, then no deductions can be made. What does Payroll tell employees?

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