By: John Dalmata

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May 22nd, 2017

Must-Have Payroll Features When Managing Union Employees

HR Technology

For employers processing payroll across one or more collectively bargained union contracts, maintaining an accurate payroll week-to-week can be a laborious task. With different pay rates, shift differentials, deductions, and overtime rules, payroll and HR departments can become inundated with collateral spreadsheets and scratch-note calculations.

For employers seeking a more audit-proof and scalable solution to process payroll across their collectively bargained employees, here are some helpful technology features to investigate.

1. Customizable Shift Differential Rules

Shift differentials come into play when you have staff workers that receive extra compensation for hours worked outside of a standard time range. For example, police officers working the 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM shift me have a standard pay rate, while those working the late 4:00PM to midnight shift may be entitled to extra compensation (A.K.A. a shift differential).

Rather than having to make manual adjustments to employee’s paychecks each pay period, union employers would benefit from using a technology that could record and run shift differential rules and make automatic adjustments to pay statements. Shift differential rates and rules may vary from one bargaining unit to the next, so an effective payroll technology for union employers would need to be able to customize and run shift differentials rules by bargaining unit.

2. Automated Accruals Management Software and Tracking

Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) may also impose different rules for how employees accrue time off, sick pay, or other employer-specific forms of leave. Different union contracts may have variations in maximum accrued time, tenure changes, waiting periods, and processing frequency (time accrues annually, monthly, on a calendar-year, etc.).

Similar to shift differentials, an ideal payroll and time-tracking solution would permit the employer to customize accrual calculation profiles that could be applied separately to each collectively bargained group. Furthermore, from an audit or grievance standpoint, employers with automated accrual systems have the increased ability to rapidly substantiate or amend any accrual calculation disputes; say goodbye to the scratch paper.

3. Enhanced Tracking of Tenure Changes

Union employees often have pay and accrual increases tied to union tenure, forcing administrators to track multiple anniversary dates and manually run increases. There’s an additional level of complexity when tenure changes occur in the middle of a single pay period, requiring administrators to prorate pay and accruals prior to running payroll.

An effective payroll technology for union employers would automatically run rules for tenure changes, mitigating any need for error-prone and timely manual proration.

4. Automated Time-Tracking

The driver for wages, accruals, and at times employee benefits, are the hours employees are logging on a daily basis. Inflated hours cause a ripple-effect of unneccesary overtime, excessive accruals, increased labor cost, and eroded productivity. In order to build accountability and audit-worthy hours tracking into the payroll process, union employers need to invest in technology that accurately captures the raw hours-worked.

Some reports revealed upwards of a 7% reduction in payroll costs when shifting from paper to electonic employee time tracking.

The Ideal Payroll Solution for Union Employers 

By this point, you’re probably seeing a consistent trend in our list of recommended payroll features for union employers. The more your payroll solution can automate calculations and reduce the opportunity for human-error (to err is human…), the less time your office will spend mired with manual processing and error-fixes.

Research has shown that Benetech’s Workforce Solution has yielded upwards of 80% reduction in payroll errors and correction time, and 80% reduction in rate of pay calculation errors. To learn how Benetech’s Workforce Solution can help you better administer your payroll and time-tracking processes across multiple unions, schedule your demo today.

Benetech Payroll Quote

About John Dalmata

John Dalmata is Benetech's VP of Operations, and manages Benetech's product development and customer experience.

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Mistakes are expensive, especially when building benefit plans.

We've outlined the 3 most common mistakes employers make when offering benefits in a quick ebook. Get your copy free when you subscribe to our blog.