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Q. We pay most of our employees’ wages and salaries via direct deposit. Last week, two checks for the same pay period were deposited into an employee’s account. Can we legally have the bank withdraw the extra funds from the employee’s account?
Q. Are there specific rules on when I must pay my employees?
Feel like a Jack or Jill of all trades? Pretty soon, the rest of the office may be feeling the same way, if they don’t already. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, we’ve entered the era of the “superjob” ...
With some people, the problem isn't a matter of ability, it's a matter of attitude. This can manifest itself in everything from quiet disobedience to outright insubordination. How should you respond?
In a perfect world, office equipment would never break. Colleagues would be as dependable and timely as a Swiss train. And creating a foolproof schedule for a project would be a cinch. But in the real world, well, not so much. What happens to that disciplined road map—your schedule—when you hit unexpected snags, as you’re bound to do?
Workplace identity theft doesn't discriminate. It's just as prevalent in public and government workplaces as it is in the private sector.
To better identify parents who are delinquent in their child support payments, states, under direction from the federal government, have implemented new-hire reporting. Under federal law, employers must report a new hire's name, address, and Social Security number, and the employer's name, address, and federal Employer Identification Number. State laws may require that more information be reported, or that employers report the hiring of independent contractors. Most states accept faxed copies of the employee's W-4 form, with the additional information written on it.
Q: An employee has taken a second job with our company on a part-time basis. Would our reimbursement of his travel expenses from his first job to our workplace be a tax-free reimbursement, or a taxable commuting expense?
The most common tax-free fringe benefit employers offer is health insurance. The second most popular tax-free fringe benefit is retirement benefits (e.g., a 401(k) plan). But the tax code contains many other items that may be offered to employees on a tax-free basis. Most of these fringe benefits fall under Section 132 — de minimis benefits, qualified employee discounts, no-additional-cost services, qualified transportation fringes, qualified moving expenses, and employer-provided athletic facilities. Other fringe benefits include dependent care assistance and educational assistance. Working condition fringes are separate subsets of fringes that allow you to pay for or reimburse employees for any expense they could deduct under Section 162 (trade or business expenses) and Section 167 (depreciation). Substantiation rules apply to working condition fringes. Fringes that can't be excluded from employees' income are usually valued at their fair market value and are fully taxable.
401(k) plans are defined contribution plans used to fund retirement benefits. 401(k) plans are customarily funded through employees' pre-tax deductions, up to an annual limit that is determined by the IRS. Employees who max out on their pre-tax contributions, and who will turn 50 before the end of a calendar year, can make additional catch-up contributions on a pre-tax basis. Payroll executes this withholding. Once withheld, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires that employees' contributions become plan assets at the earliest date on which those contributions can reasonably be segregated from the employer's general assets. The outside limit is the 15th day of the month following the month during which the withholding occurred. 401(k) plans must pass non-discrimination tests; plans that fail the tests may have their tax-qualified status revoked. Employees who borrow from their 401(k) plans usually pay those amounts back through withholding. In addition, auto-enrollment 401(k) plans automatically enroll employees, who must opt out of the plan to receive their full salaries. Special W-2 reporting rules
apply to employees' pre-tax 401(k) contributions.