Big changes are coming to your payroll processes in 2020: Are you prepared?

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Almost every familiar payroll process is changing for 2020:

Payroll Taxes

  • Employees’ W-4s, plus employer withholding based on those W-4s
  • Brand new electronic filing requirements for your W-2s, 1099s and 1095s
  • New rules detailing which employees must be paid overtime
  • Changes to your calculation of the regular rate of pay

On top of that, payroll and HR are dealing all the ongoing conundrums like when it’s illegal to set a use-it-or-lose-it vacation policy … when and how to pay a final paycheck … when to pay employees for travel time … and how to handle employees who terminate with negative PTO balances.

To stay in compliance and out of trouble, it’s important to know how to plan for these big changes coming in 2020. Here are three to start planning for now:

Sept. 4: The Payroll Compliance Workshop.
The HR Specialist Summit begins with a special half-day session (starting at 8:30am) to help keep your payroll process in order. Alice Gilman Esq., editor of Payroll Legal Alert, will walk you through the best compliance strategies on everything from benefits to recordkeeping to travel pay. She’ll also host a breakout session Sept. 5 on Solving Tricky Pay Issues. See the full Summit agenda and register now to grab early-bird pricing!

1. Get ready for a brand new W-4. The IRS just published a draft of the new W-4, which includes major revisions that take effect on the 2020 form. The seismic changes – which are a product of the 2017 tax reform law – include the elimination of withholding allowances, which were tied to the old personal exemption amount. The new W-4 also replaces complex worksheets with more straightforward questions.

A key point for HR: Employees who submitted a W-4 in previous years won’t need to submit a new version of the form. If workers choose not to adjust their withholding using the new form, you can simply calculate their withholding based on information on the employees’ most recent W-4. (Discover the details at the HR Specialist Summit.)

2. What counts in the “regular rate” of pay? When calculating overtime, you must pay workers at 1.5 times their regular rate. But what figures into that calculation? Regular hourly wages, of course. But what about bonuses, shift differentials, commissions, call-back pay and more? For many years, employers have been uncertain about what to include in the regular rate, and that confusion has discouraged some from offering more perks.

Now the U.S. Department of Labor has proposed changes to the regular-rate definition for the first time in 50 years. The good news: Many employers may find themselves paying a bit less for overtime in 2020 under these changes. (We’ll explain why at the HR Specialist Summit.)

The Summit … a truly interactive conference!
At those mega HR conferences, you leave only with aching feet. At the Summit, you’ll be trained on every aspect of your HR job in smaller breakout sessions, interactive roundtables and Q&A sessions. Real HR learning! To see the agenda and learn more about our two-track approach (Strategic and Compliance), go to

3. Start planning for the new $35k overtime threshold. Get ready to crunch the numbers again. After years of false starts and lawsuits, it appears this new version of the overtime salary threshold may actually be finalized – possibly by the new year. The proposed changes call for white-collar employees earning up to $35,308 per year to be eligible for overtime – a 50% jump from the current salary threshold of $23,660 that’s been in place since 2004.

This means at least one million additional white-collar employees could suddenly be reclassified. Employers can take many different steps now to minimize the impact, including giving raises or bonuses to affected employees to go above the threshold. (Learn the changes and the necessary strategies at the HR Specialist Summit.)

Payroll may be the most heavily regulated aspect of HR – and those regulations have teeth. You can make sure you’re staying in compliance and get all your payroll questions answered at the HR Specialist Summit, Sept. 4-6. Plus, you’ll have a fabulous time with your peers at the legendary MGM Grand Resort & Casino.

See you in Las Vegas!

Dan Kaplan, Esquire
Moderator, 2019 HR Specialist Summit

P.S. Two FREE Bonus Gifts. All HR Specialist Summit attendees will receive comprehensive course materials … 6 months of our HR Specialist newsletter … PLUS 6 months of our HR Specialist: Premium Plus online service – a combined $597.00 value – yours FREE!

P.P.S. We’ve negotiated our lowest room rate EVER with The Signature at MGM Grand – a quieter, all-suite resort hotel adjacent to MGM Grand (and much closer to the Summit meeting rooms). But rooms are extremely limited, so book yours today!

P.P.P.S. We promise you’ll be satisfied. If the HR Specialist Summit fails to meet your needs, we will immediately refund 100% of your tuition. No questions asked – and your free bonus gifts are yours to keep.

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