COVID-19: Payroll FAQs For Your Employees

If you’re a small business encountering questions from your staff about COVID-19 and payroll, here are answers you can use and customize.

covid-19-payroll-faqs-for-your-employees
Frequently asked questions about payroll related to the coronavirus, plus answers SMBs can tweak to fit their own practices

Are you preparing a COVID-19 FAQ email or memo for your workers? Here are some FAQs to include.

The coronavirus pandemic is testing business sustainability, in new ways. For instance, the payroll function is being challenged, as issues surrounding employees’ paychecks and how to process payroll are being raised. Now more than ever, your employees may have questions regarding payroll.

Here are 9 frequently asked questions you might encounter, along with possible answers. Note that responses can vary by employer, and vastly depends on your company’s location and payroll practices.

Note that responses can vary by employer, and vastly depends on your company’s location and payroll practices.

1. Will I be paid as normal?

If you work during the pandemic, whether remotely or onsite, you’ll receive your pay as usual, on the regular payday.

However, payroll processing for manual checks — which are checks issued outside of the regular payroll cycle — may require more time than usual. This extension will not exceed the legally-mandated deadline for wages due.

Each regular payday, nonexempt employees will be paid for hours worked plus any additional wages owed for the pay period.

Exempt employees will receive their full pay for any weeks in which they perform any work. If the company temporarily closes for a week or more, exempt employees will not receive their full  pay for those weeks since they did not perform any work during those weeks. But if the business closes for only part of the week and exempt employees perform any work for that week, then they will receive their full weekly pay.

2. How will my pay be delivered during the pandemic?

Unless you’ve changed your payment delivery method, you will keep receiving your pay via your normal delivery mode.

We encourage everyone to sign up for direct deposit, which is faster, safer, and more convenient than paper checks. Contact your manager or the payroll team for guidance on setting up direct deposit.

3. I’m working remotely. Will I receive my paper check on time?

If you’re a remote employee without direct deposit, we will mail your paycheck to the address we have on file for you. We will process payroll and mail your check in a timely manner. But we cannot guarantee delivery of paper checks, as this is ultimately a postal service issue.

4. I’m a nonexempt employee, now working remotely. Must I still track my work hours?

Yes. As a nonexempt employee, you’re paid according to hours worked and must therefore report, via the company’s timekeeping system, your start and ending work times plus breaks and meal periods taken.

Make sure you document and report (to your manager) changes in your hours worked versus hours scheduled, plus any paid or unpaid time off taken during the workweek.

5. Will I get paid for overtime hours worked from home?

If you’re nonexempt, under federal law, you’re entitled to overtime pay — at 1.5 times your regular hourly rate — for hours worked over 40 for the workweek. You must receive authorization from your manager prior to working overtime from home.

If you’re exempt, you will not receive overtime pay for working extra hours.

6. Can the company pay me late because of COVID-19?

By law, employees must receive wages due for the covered pay period either by the next regular payday or the state-mandated deadline.

Legally, no. By law, employees must receive wages due for the covered pay period either by the next regular payday or the state-mandated deadline. This rule stands, regardless of whether the company temporarily closes or is operating on a reduced scale as a result of COVID-19.

7. Will I be paid for leave associated with COVID-19?

If the reason is connected to COVID-19, you likely qualify for paid sick time and/or family leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Outside of the FFCRA, you’re not entitled to paid time off — unless state or local law, an employment contract, or company policy mandates it. Our company policy allows you to use your accrued paid time off for COVID-19 reasons.

If you’re an exempt employee, deductions for partial-day absences cannot be made from your pay. For instance, if you leave work early because of the coronavirus but have exhausted your paid time off, you will still receive your full day’s pay. But if you miss an entire day or more and have used up all of your paid time off, your pay will be deducted in full-day increments to cover each full day missed.

Whether you’re nonexempt or exempt, you can be required to stay away from work if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19. You can also be sent home early if you’re too sick to work. In these cases, you might be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

8. How can I update my personal and payroll information?

You should promptly notify us of personal or payroll changes affecting your employee record, even if the change is short term and pertains solely to the pandemic. You can make updates — such as to your address, emergency contact list, direct deposit, and tax withholding forms — via the employee self-service portal.

If you cannot access the portal, contact your manager as soon as possible.

9. Whom should I contact for questions about timesheets or pay?

Your manager is responsible for approving your timesheet, which is then submitted to payroll for processing. So, contact your manager if you have concerns about your timesheet or pay.

Customizing your FAQs

As stated, the above responses are possible answers. You can tweak them to suit your small business’s payroll practices. If applicable, provide the website links to your self-service portal, timekeeping instructions, and direct deposit form. Also, include state-specific payroll rules and the contact information for your payroll department.

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