APA Congress: Final thoughts

The American Payroll Association’s 36th Annual Congress, held this year outside Washington, D.C., just concluded. Here are some parting thoughts.

  1. Rain, rain, rain. Three entire days of rain. It rained out our attempt to catch a ballgame between the New York Yankees and the home team Washington Nationals. But more important than that, torrential storms grounded IRS rep, Anita Bartels, who was stuck in Florida. She never was able to address the assembled payroll pros as planned.
  2. On-demand pay. The latest “innovation” in payroll is on-demand pay—paying employees when they want, rather than on a fixed payday. Unfortunately, no one really knows yet what this means in real life. Different vendors (and there were several) had different definitions. Upshot: Don’t buy into on-demand pay until you have a good idea of how this will affect compliance with state and federal tax and wage payment laws.
  3. Big data. Payroll collects a lot of data about employees—their start and stop times, where they work, how they work, pay deductions, their method of pay. In seems the C-Suite has finally caught on to this. Lesson: You can leverage this data into a higher profile within your company.
  4. The future of work and pay. Seventy-seven percent of CEOs expect artificial intelligence and robotics to increase significantly in the next two years, said Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin Deloitte Consulting, LLP. AI is expected to cost millions of jobs, but create millions more. Employees, therefore, will require new skills.
  5. Rise of the gig economy. Who’s working is changing, according to Don Weinstein, chief strategy officer at ADP. His stats: Between 2002 and 2015, employers filed 4% fewer W-2s, but 1099-MISC filings increased 15%.
  6. Kids. 75% of all child support payments are collected through withholding, according to Scott Lekan, commissioner of the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. What does that 75% add up to in dollars? $32.4 billion for the federal government’s 2017 fiscal year. On a cost-benefit scale, $5 in child support is collected for every $1 spent.
  7. FLSA enforcement. The dollar amounts the DOL has recovered for employees hasn’t slacked off. According to Bryan Jarrett, acting commissioner of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, $278 million was recovered for employees last year.