HR Fast Facts: Key Terms for Payroll

Here’s a glossary of key terms related to payroll and payroll processing.

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Here’s glossary of key terms related to payroll.

Payroll Terminology

  • Bi-weekly: When an employee is paid every other week. On a bi-weekly pay schedule, an employee will receive 26 paychecks in a year.
  • Calculate Only: One of two tax service options that Zenefits offers, in which Zenefits will calculate tax amounts but will not debit or send payment on your company’s behalf. Learn more about Zenefits Tax Levels of Service.
  • Catch-Up: If an employee has been under-deducted, and therefore has not paid the full amount for their insurance coverage, Zenefits will calculate a “catch-up” i.e., it will deduct greater amounts from the employee’s paycheck for a period of time until the full amount is paid. If you are managing payroll through Zenefits (with synced payroll or Zenefits Payroll) you will see this catch-up amount as a pending deduction adjustment for your approval.
  • Check: One of two payment methods that Zenefits Payroll offers–note that Zenefits does not print or send checks for a company! Learn more about check payments in Zenefits.
  • Deduction Code: A code that corresponds to a deduction amount. These are always set up directly in the payroll system. If you are using Zenefits Payroll, these codes will be automatically generated for benefits managed by Zenefits.
  • Effective Date: The date when both the benefits and deductions go into effect.
  • Employee Contribution/Deduction: The amount that an employee must pay towards their own benefits.
  • Employer Contribution: The amount that an employer contributes towards an employee’s benefits.
  • Exemptions: A reduction in taxable income. Learn more about adding and removing tax exemptions in Zenefits.
  • Full Service: One of two tax service options that Zenefits offers, in which Zenefits will calculate the tax amounts, debit your account, and send to specific agencies on your company’s behalf. Learn more about Zenefits Tax Levels of Service.
  • Garnishment: A court order directing that money of a third party can be seized to satisfy a debt owed. Learn more about garnishments in Zenefits
  • Gross pay: The amount of money received before any taxes and deductions are taken out.
  • Manual: When a company’s payroll is not linked to Zenefits; there is no sync established. Learn more about updating payroll without the sync.
  • Multi-tenant account: Multiple payroll accounts tied to a single login with the payroll provider’s system.
  • Net pay: The amount of money taken home, after all taxes and deductions have been taken out.
  • Pay run date: The date on which the administrator approves their payroll information.
  • Pay date: The date on which employees receive their money, also referred to as check date.
  • Pay period: Defines how often employees are paid and how many regular paychecks they’ll receive in a year.
  • Pay template: Lists the earnings, deductions, garnishments, reimbursements, and/or employer contributions that will be automatically added to a pay stub in each regularly scheduled pay run. Learn more about pay templates in Zenefits.
  • Pre-Tax: All deductions (aside from contributions past the federal limit for commuter benefits) are set to be pre-tax due to the Section 125 or POP plans set up through Zenefits. For deductions for benefits not managed through Zenefits, please consult a licensed tax advisor.
  • Post-TaxDeductions taken after taxes.
    More information on the taxability of deductions.
  • Prorate: To pay or deduct an employee based on their exact effective/hire date. Salaries may also need to be prorated for employees that are hired or terminated in the middle of a pay period. More information about prorated salaries and synced payroll or Zenefits Payroll.
  • Reciprocal agreements: When states have agreements that employees who live in one state but work in another state can be taxed on income only in their state of residence. Learn more about reciprocal agreements in Zenefits.
  • Remit: Send money, as in payment. Learn more about how Zenefits may be able to help remit payments for taxes and garnishments.
  • Reverse Catch-Up: If an employee has been over-deducted, and therefore has paid greater than the full amount for their insurance coverage, Zenefits will calculate a “reverse catchup,” which will generate a pending deduction adjustment for your approval.
  • Semi-monthly: When an employee is paid twice a month. On a semi-monthly pay schedule, an employee will receive 24 paychecks in year.
  • Sync(ed): When a company’s payroll is linked to Zenefits. During the duration of the sync, Zenefits will push changes made in Zenefits to payroll. Learn more.
  • Two-factor authentication: An extra layer of security to verify that the person using a login account is who they say they are.
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