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March 23, 2020

The Case for Timesheets When It Comes to COVID-19

Posted by Shannon Oswald

Timesheets
Compiled Time sheet with a pen – business concept

Employers complying with the new COVID-19 legislation should also be getting some disaster relief. But how?  And when?

Most of the questions we get are from business owners asking us how it’ll really work, and how fast.   They’re weary of reading and watching the news updates because things change daily.  They want to know what to do. 

Part of the answer lies in having bulletproof HR and payroll records during this time. That way you know exactly what the COVID-19 situation is costing you, and you can apply for tax credits and help.

Humor me —  I hate timesheets too.   The requirements to pay employees either extra sick time, or extra leave time, require that time off due to COVID-19 be reported and tracked.

Strategic Tracking

You need to track the usual (if there is still such a thing) time off more rigorously and strategically.

  • Pay out, and reduce your accrued liability first, when possible.
    • Have workers who are under-utilized at this time, and still healthy enough and available to work, take their time off. 
    • Accrued time off can also be paid out when an employee requests it in place of federal/state leave times or waiting times for those benefits. 
  • The days and weeks an employer pays will need to be reported to the authorities in order to coordinate:
    • Unemployment provided by the government
    • Disability leave provided by the government
    • Workers comp claims showing days worked coincide with days of infection

The new legislation applies to 1) employees who are sick or caring for a sick family member, or 2) who can’t work because they’re at home with a kid who isn’t in school and needs care.  Based on that, we add other facets to time tracking.

  1. If you pay for COVID-19 sick time, versus “regular” sick time, you need to track it and get credit for it. Note that you need to track time if the employee is sick with COVID-19 and also track the time they are with a sick family member, which is treated differently and paid at different rates.
  • If an employee takes a family-related leave of absence, you need to report it differently (from a maternity leave, for example) if it falls under a COVID-19 family leave and make sure you’re complying with the additional protections it offers the worker.

Take Action

Do several things.   Set up new payroll categories with your payroll platform or payroll service provider.  It’s possible your HRIS system needs a good tweaking.  Certainly, your HR team will need to get good at communications and documentation. 

Have your HR and payroll teams work hand in hand! This will help you make sure you get the COVID-19 relief you need.

Have questions or need some help? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our experts. For more COVID-19 information, visit our COVID-19 resource center.

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