Managing payroll is a complicated task, and union reporting adds another layer of complexity. Between paying dues, political action contributions and pensions, managers and bookkeepers need to designate more time for managing union-related financial tasks.
Additionally, many of these tasks come with strict requirements for how they need to be reported and paid to ensure union employees are being treated fairly. Failure to properly pay employees or the union can result in fines, making it especially important to do correctly.
If you’re managing payroll for union employees, keep reading for tips on how to manage your books.
Learn your employees’ union requirements
Whether you’re hiring union employees for a specific project or maintain a pool of employees who are members of a union, it’s important to build a relationship with the union’s local business manager. The business manager will inform you of any requirements and how to meet them.
When paying union employees you’ll want to know how and when to make payments and dues, the effective dates for those payments and any rate changes. Failure to comply with paying employees or the union could result in costly fines. If you work with union members from different chapters or locals, you’ll need to be familiar with their requirements as well.
Understand deductions versus fringes
When paying union employees you need to understand which paycheck deductions are required and which fringes you need to pay. Deductions are withheld from a union employee’s paycheck, like for dues. Fringes are additional money the employer pays union employees through benefits or cash, like a vacation fund. Each union is different, so you’ll need to study the rate table to ensure you aren’t overpaying or underpaying on deductions or fringes.
Include fringe benefits in your costs
When you’re estimating the cost of a project or future expenses, be sure to include the cost of fringes in your estimate. These are costs you’re required to pay by employing union workers, so you need to add them to your budget as you would any other employee benefit programs. If you are in a field where you bid for projects, you’ll want to include these costs in your bid. Include fringes in any labor costs you calculate for financial reporting.
Track employee time accurately
Union requirements contain a lot of language around how much employees are allowed to work, and what their overtime pay is. As the payroll manager, you want to make sure that number is accurate. The right time-tracking software can help employees clock in and out at the right time and let supervisors approve in real-time.
Managing payroll for unions differs widely by job and by union. It’s important to build a relationship with your union representative and know which questions to ask to ensure payroll your company is managing payroll properly.
If you employ union workers and could use some help managing your payroll, contact our team of bookkeeping professionals at Patin and Associates today.