Annual Tax Preparation: Employee’s Guide

Following the first official tax season after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was enacted, the IRS has been exploring ways to assist taxpayers have a better tax year in 2020. That includes replacing the old Withholding Calculator with the new Tax Withholding Estimator.

The Tax Withholding Estimator assists taxpayers in completing the Form W-4 correctly to ensure the correct amount of tax is withheld from employees’ paychecks based upon their personal situations. The Tax Withholding Estimator is available at the link below:

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Back to School: How to Handle Hourly Limitations for Young Workers

As the new school year approaches, it is important to consider the hourly limitations of young employees as they transition back into their school schedules. 

Both Federal and State laws govern the employment of young workers and when both are applicable, the law with the stricter standard must be obeyed. Employers should be aware of any discrepancies between the federal laws and the laws of the state(s) in which they are conducting business to remain compliant.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) establishes both hours and occupational standards for youth. Children of any age are generally permitted to work for businesses entirely owned by their parents, except those under age sixteen (16) may not be employed in mining or manufacturing and no one under the age of eighteen (18) may be employed in any occupation the Secretary of Labor has declared to be hazardous.

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FLSA Frequently Asked Questions

HR Partners frequently has inquiries regarding exempt employees and managing their schedules. See below for a few of the most common questions and answers.

Can an employer create a specified schedule for exempt employees? 

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) does not specifically prohibit employers from requiring exempt employees to work a particular schedule or to track the hours they work. The Department of Labor (“DOL”) has stated that employers may require exempt employees to work a specific schedule and to record and track hours without affecting their exempt status. 29 CFR Part 541. However, it is important to note that if you require exempt employees to work a certain number of hours and account for their work time on an hourly basis, you may jeopardize the exempt status of these employees if the accounting has the effect of treating them like hourly workers. This will likely create liability for overtime payment for the employer.

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CBD in the Workplace  

Marijuana and hemp both contain Cannabidiol (“CBD”), which is now being marketed and sold in a variety of forms, including oil (the most popular), health and beauty products, vapors, beverages, and infused edibles, such as chocolates and gummies. CBD is a chemical found in marijuana and its close relative, hemp. However, pure CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”), the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana that produces a high. In addition, pure CBD usually will not report a positive test result for marijuana because drug tests typically look for THC levels that are too low to be detected from pure CBD. For this reason, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, employees are generally not at risk of becoming intoxicated or impaired if they use pure CBD. However, if the CBD product contains enough THC, it is entirely possible the product could cause a positive drug test result for THC.

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Motivating Burned-Out Workers

Have you noticed your best workers unmotivated or burned out? Motivating a burned-out employee takes more than an extended weekend. Below are five (5) strategies to help employees go from burned-out to energized:

  1. Create a career development pipeline. Companies should look for opportunities to build a succession planning program, particularly among non-exempt employees where the potential to create advancement opportunity is easy to achieve.
  2. Develop a “high-po” program. High potential programs focus on identifying the top workers and awarding them for their achievements, while building their skills. These employees may not be ready to promote, but the structured program serves as an effective recognition and development tool that contributes to formal succession planning.
  3. Develop an active employee recognition program. Employee recognition is critical to honor outstanding employees and their efforts. Look for simple and effective ways for managers to recognize their employees and communicate the expectations and celebrations openly.
  4. Help employees reach their personal career goals. Employee satisfaction is driven by career development. Companies can assist their high potential employees by building their resume through training and educational opportunities.
  5. Plan ahead. Job security and stability is crucial to employees. Informing employees of how their contributions affect the company’s larger goals is an effective way to motivate employees.

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What our clients say...

Grandstand Glassware & Apparel

Gwen Denton
Human Resources Director 
Grandstand Glassware & Apparel

"I have worked with HR Partners for over two (2) years in an advisory and legal capacity. The HR Partners Team has made themselves available with little notice when I’ve been in need of their expertise in an immediate situation.

They are available when I want to bounce an idea or will just listen when I need to work through a situation. They have assisted with phone screens, job descriptions, policies, unemployment, FMLA, HR audit, and so much more. They are very easy to work with and I have always felt they ‘really’ cared about assisting me and our organization. Their guidance has helped me grow personally in my knowledge which extends to being a better HR Professional for my employees and my company.

Thank you HR Partners!"