The Paycheck Protection Program Application Window Has Been Extended

President Trump signed a bill Saturday, July 4, 2020, to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application window until Saturday, August 8, 2020.

Key Highlights:

Reduced Payroll Costs Requirement: The payroll expenditure requirement of the PPP dropped to 60% (was 75%).

Longer Covered Period: PPP borrowers can use the 24-week period to restore their workforce levels and wages to the pre-COVID-19 levels required for full forgiveness. This must be done by December 31, 2020 (was previously June 30, 2020).

What Happens If Some Employees Reject Your Offer To Come Back To Work?

Short answer: It is OK as it won’t affect your forgiveness levels, but you have to meet the following qualifications:

  • You must have made a written offer to rehire in good faith (either through e-mail or a physical offer on paper).
  • You must have offered to rehire for the same salary/wage and number of hours as before they were laid off.
  • You must have documentation of the employee’s rejection of the offer (written documentation with the employee’s signature showing they rejected your offer).

You can also qualify for an exemption if any of these conditions apply to one of your employees:

  • They were were fired for cause.
  • They voluntarily resigned.
  • They voluntarily requested and received a reduction in their hours.

Do You, Or Someone You Know, Want To Apply For A PPP Loan?

If you, or someone you know, have NOT applied for your SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), you need to hurry as the new application deadline is August 8, 2020. The highlights are:

There is approximately $100 billion still remaining in PPP loan money from 5,461 lenders.

As of July 6, 2020, 4.8+ million loans have been made in both rounds of the PPP program; the total loan value exceeds $510 billion.

The average PPP loan amount is $114,000.

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A note about the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is here, count on us!

Dear Valued Client:

Miami Payroll Center is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for our employees and ensuring business continuity in service of our clients. We have implemented additional measures to ensure COVID-19 does not impact our ability to provide services and support your payroll/HR needs.

We’ve created this Miami Payroll Center_COVID-19 Information Resource Sheet for you to share with employees who may have questions about best practices for prevention and well being.

If you don’t already use our secure online portal to process payroll, contact us today to get set-up. Employees also have free access to a Self Service portal to view their information and access pay stubs. Please reach out if you need assistance getting them enrolled.

At this time we are awaiting any state updates related to unemployment or sick leave assistance that may be provided for businesses or employees due to COVID-19. We will do our best to relay any helpful information that may apply to our clients and their employees.

We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves and will make adjustments to our plan accordingly to help keep everyone safe and healthy while continuing to provide support for your business.

Thank you again for partnering with Miami Payroll Center!

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U.S. Department of Labor issues final overtime rule

Today the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to make 1.3 million American workers eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

“For the first time in over 15 years, America’s workers will have an update to overtime regulations that will put overtime pay into the pockets of more than a million working Americans,” Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella said. “This rule brings a commonsense approach that offers consistency and certainty for employers as well as clarity and prosperity for American workers.”

“Today’s rule is a thoughtful product informed by public comment, listening sessions, and long-standing calculations,” Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton remarked. “The Wage and Hour Division now turns to help employers comply and ensure that workers will be receiving their overtime pay.”

Continue Reading Here.

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Can you force independent contractors to attend training?

Your business depends on the work of contractors, but you have to train said contractors to service your clients the way you want them served. Can you force contractors to attend training? That’s the question before many companies today as the size of the contract and on-demand workforce continues to explode.

The degree to which an employer “controls” aspects of the job and how it is performed is one of the main factors the IRS uses to gauge the classification of an employee or independent contractor. Facts that provide evidence of the degree of control and independence fall into three categories:

1. Behavioral: Does the company control or have the right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his or her job?
2. Financial: Are the business aspects of the worker’s job controlled by the payer? (these include things like how worker is paid, whether expenses are reimbursed, who provides tools/supplies, etc.)
3. Type of Relationship: Are there written contracts or employee type benefits (i.e. pension plan, insurance, vacation pay, etc.)? Will the relationship continue and is the work performed a key aspect of the business?

trainingSince independent contractors bring their existing talents and skills to a job, providing additional training to a contractor might fall into the area of behavioral control and endanger their contractor classification. So, what do you do if you can’t require independent contractors to attend training but need them properly trained to service your business?

For one, you can provide incentives for your contractors to take the training you offer. These incentives can be monetary or otherwise. An example of a monetary incentive would be for example you pay a higher hourly rate to contractors who have completed X training program. Another monetary reward could be to offer select (think premium) project opportunities to contractors who have completed X training program.

Non-monetary rewards for completing training are even easier to devise. For example, you can maintain a list or database of contractors who you will turn to for desirable contract work that is only open to contractors who have completed X training program(s) that you offer. Mention this requirement to contractors currently operating within your business and watch them make time to learn skills more valuable to you.

There are many other ways to design training requirements for your independent contractors that will have them voluntarily coming to you to attend without violating the IRS’s independent contractor requirements- if you would like help designing your training courses to meet this business need, please reach out to us here at the office (305) 273-4066. One of our Human Resources generalists or consultants will be happy to help you out.

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2018 Florida Minimum Wage Changes

Effective January 1, 2018, the minimum wage increased from $8.10 to $8.25 per hour for most employees in Florida, with exceptions for tipped employees, some student workers, and other exempt occupations. The federal minimum wage is $7.25.

The annual calculation is based on the percentage increase in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the South Region for the 12-month period prior to September 1, 2017. The Florida minimum wage was $8.05 per hour in 2015, $7.93 per hour in 2014, $7.79 per hour in 2013, and $7.67 per hour in 2012. Due to the inflation and cost of living formula used, a minimum wage increase did not occur in January 2016.

FLSA_webThe Federal Fair Labor Standards act defines special minimum wage rates applicable to certain types of workers. Employees may be paid under the Florida minimum wage if they fit into one of the following categories:

  • Florida Tipped Minimum Wage – $5.23 – Employees who earn a certain amount of tips every month may be paid a special cash minimum wage, but must earn at least $8.25 including tips every hour.

Download the updated Florida Minimum Wage Poster here.

An employer found liable for intentionally violating minimum wage requirements is subject to a fine of $1,000 per violation, payable to the state.

Need help ensuring your Human Resources and Pay practices are up to date? Contact our HR team today!

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Costly HR payroll mistakes restaurants make

Restaurants in general continue to make costly HR payroll mistakes that leave them exposed to claims by plaintiffs’ lawyers, and increasingly U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (otherwise knows as ICE). These mistakes are easily avoidable by making some easy to implement policies and procedures.

hr payroll classificationFirst of these costly mistakes is the misclassification of employees as exempt, mainly to avoid paying overtime. Cooks, wait staff, and even assistant managers rarely meet the legal requirement required by the IRS to exempt them from overtime laws. Yet, due to the long hours required of these jobs and the temptation to skirt overtime pay an owner will simply misclassify one of these positions as exempt.

We’ve even come across restaurant owners who tell us- My Executive Chef is an artist, and therefore qualifies under the “creative professional exemption”. To this we point out that the Executive Chef must (1) possess a four-year specialized academic degree in a culinary arts program; (2) regularly design unique dishes and menu items (using invention, imagination, originality or talent); (3) be paid on a salary basis of at least $455 per week; and (4) they cannot primarily perform routine mental, manual, or physical work (e.g., routine cooking and food preparation) to qualify. When analyzed closely with this criteria, many Executive Chefs simply fail to meet one or more of the requirements for the exemption.

You cannot simply rely on job titles like “Executive Chef” to determine a classification. To see the full list of exemptions, and the requirements for each- you should visit here and get your information straight from the Department of Labor.

Overtime Pay

Secondly, let’s talk about overtime- always the elephant in the room. Whenever hourly (non-exempt) employees work over 40 hours in a given week, you must pay them time and a half. Sounds simple enough right? What if you are a restaurant in Florida where your tipped employees $5.23 an hour in cash wages, do you pay overtime at $7.85 ($5.23 X 1.5)? This is where many restaurant owners get tripped up.

To properly calculate the overtime for a tipped employee in Florida, you must do the following:

  1. Break out Florida’s combined minimum wage. So, you have $5.23 in cash wages, and $3.02 which is Florida’s maximum tip credit for 2018. Combined, these two add up to Florida’s minim wage of $8.25.
  2. Multiply the time and a half by Florida’s combined minimum wage, so 1.5 X $8.25 = $12.38
  3. Now subtract the tip credit of $3.02 from this overtime calculated rate of $12.38 to get the tipped credit overtime rate of $9.36- and there you have it.

Every hour your tipped Florida employees work in a given week over 40 should be paid at $9.36. Of course, paying your tipped employees more than the $5.23 minimum would impact your tip credit and thus the entire calculation. You’d end up paying your employee more than the $9.36 calculated above.

Lastly, incomplete or incorrect hiring paperwork can come back to bite you in the rear as a restaurant owner. You should have job descriptions, employment applications, a completed and signed W-4 form from the IRS, and a completed and signed I-9 form and verified identification for all of your employees. We also recommend using the government’s E-verify system to verify that your employees can legally work in the U.S.- you can sign your business up to use the system by clicking here.

As always, should you have any questions or need any help in changing your HR payroll policies or procedures to avoid any of these costly mistakes- don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call our HR team at (305) 273-4066. Thanks!

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Hurricane Irma & Our Operations

As we all work to recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Irma, know that Miami Payroll Center is here for you. It’s what family does.

We are open and operating out of our satellite offices which do have electricity. Your employees will get paid, and its one less thing you should have to worry about during these trying times.

If you have any questions, please contact Susana Muniz at, or Willy Muniz at

Thank you, and be safe!

Hurricane Irma


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New I-9 Handbook for Employers

New I-9 Handbook for Employers Released Tuesday, February 14, 2017

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) quietly and without much notice released the new M-274 “Handbook for Employers with Guidance for Completing Form I-9” on Tuesday. In addition to detailed I-9 completion instructions, the Handbook contains guidance on Photocopying and Retention, Unlawful Discrimination and Penalties, E-Verify. It also contains FAQs as well as images of sample documents.

Link to the handbook here.

The new I-9 Form went into effect on January 22, 2017.  Electronic copies of the English and Spanish versions of Form I-9 are available on the USCIS website or may be ordered by phone at 800-870-3676.

The USCIS provides customer support and resources at its anonymous Employer Hotline (888-464-4218) or at  and

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The Future of Minimum Wage May be Decided in November

If you asked around the office for opinions on the current Presidential Election (Don’t! Nothing good will come of that!), the only thing everyone might agree on is that we can’t trust politicians. As the old saying goes, “Campaign promises are like marriage vows. They are made at the beginning…but are quickly forgotten” (Dick Gregory).

minimum_wagePolitical scientists have been studying campaign promises for almost 50 years, and the results are remarkably consistent. Most of the literature suggests that presidents make at least a “good faith” effort to keep an average of about two-thirds of their campaign promises.[1] If this research is correct, then the HR landscape may be in for some big changes regardless of who wins in November, starting with the issue of minimum wage. The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since 2009, and bills in Congress to change it have not been supported. This election, however, may be the deciding factor.

The Democrats have agreed to a party platform calling for a nationwide wage floor of $15 an hour.[2] Hillary Clinton’s website shows that the candidate doesn’t exactly agree with the party, but she does believe a hefty increase is in order. According to the site “At $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum wage isn’t nearly enough to make ends meet. Americans who work 40 hours per week at the minimum wage earn just $15,080 a year—below the poverty threshold for a family of two. That’s why Hillary wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour—and why she supports city and state efforts to raise their own minimum wage even higher.[3]

The GOP’s stance on the subject is pretty clear. According to the 2016 Republican Party Platform, “Minimum wage is an issue that should be handled at the state and local level.” The rationale behind this is that cities and municipalities have varying economies and, therefore, should be able to make their own laws concerning wages. Donald Trump has said that he would like to see “an increase of some magnitude,” but that the states should decide based on what businesses need to be competitive.[4] Then again, don’t put too much stock in what Donald Trump says, the candidate has been known to change positions on a whim and stretch the truth depending on his political needs on any given day [5].

Of course, minimum wage is not the only workforce issue that the two parties do not agree on. The Republican Platform has an entire section describing plans for the 21st century workplace. However, until the Democratic Party Platform is finalized and published, we will not have a clear view of the differences between the two or what impact an election win by either side will have. If the research about campaign promises is correct, however, then a change in minimum wage is a very real possibility.








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Millennials Believe In Life After Work

According to Deloitte, many millennials around the world are planning near-term exits from their employers. Many have expressed their belief that businesses have few motivations beyond profit and they would prefer to place their own values ahead of organizational goals. For millennials searching for new employment opportunities, a good work/life balance is their top priority in any future career. The reputation of a company and its leaders is not considered important by young workers today.
Infographic: Millennials Believe In Life After Work | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

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Uber will pay up to $100 million to settle labor suits

Uber has agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle two class-action lawsuits that would have defined the relationship between the company and its drivers.

Uber has survived a major threat to its business model, settling two legal suits brought by drivers who sought to be classified as employees instead of independent contractors.
The ride-hailing firm will pay up to $100 million to the 385,000 drivers, but their employment status will not change.

The class actions were brought in California and Massachusetts. Uber, which is valued at up to $70 billion, is on the hook for a $84 million initial payment, and another $16 million if it goes public.

Source: Uber will pay up to $100 million to settle labor suits

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Employee Motivation: It’s Not (Always) About Money

For far too long many employers have subscribed to the popular notion that if we pay our employees enough, they’ll produce the outcomes we’re asking for. While this might have rung true at certain points during the last century, this thought process is long outdated. Recent research suggests that the happier the employees, the more likely they are to produce.

Last year economists at the University of Warwick found that “human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity.” Specifically, study data showed that employee happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved to be 10% less productive. This research was supported earlier this year by the Blackhawk Engagement Solutions’ Survey of Employed Americans which also concluded that happy employees are more productive than unhappy employees.

According to the Warwick study, companies that invest in employee support and satisfaction tend to succeed in generating happier workers. This suggests that compensation and financial awards are not enough. The Blackhawk study reported that employee rewards and recognition programs may not be aligned with what actually makes employees happy and more productive.

Emp_BenefitsEnough about the research. What it boils down to is this: A great compensation and benefits package is only the beginning. So, if it’s not money that makes employees happy, then what will it take?

According to experts, a great place to start is to ensure that employees clearly understand your organization’s vision and goals. Experts suggest that aligning rewards and recognition with company strategy can lead to happier employees.

Next, be sure that employees have what they want and need to get the job done. Don’t assume that they are already equipped with all of the tools needed to succeed. Ask them about their jobs, the training they received, the support they receive from superiors and what tools they would like to use. Ask for input, and do it personally if possible.

As in most workplace issues, communication is key. Communicate regularly and be sure to tie your vision and goals into workplace happenings so that employees can see the larger picture. If they know how their positions tie into the larger goal, they are more likely to feel a sense of purpose and belonging.

Every business should have a way of recognizing employees and rewarding them for their hard work. In terms of keeping your employees happy, money isn’t everything. But it helps. While every job well done can’t be rewarded with a promotion or bonus, small financial incentives, such as gift cards, are effective motivators.

Lastly, it is important to note that employee happiness does depend a lot on intangibles: a feeling of belonging to the work team and feeling valued and appreciated consistently outrank money when employees are polled about job satisfaction.

Are you doing something creative or innovative to get the most out of your employees? If so, we’d love to hear from you- leave a comment below.

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Payroll Taxes Can Bring IRS To Your Door, Even Land You In Jail

You may think the IRS pursues all taxes equally but they don’t. The IRS is especially vigorous in going after payroll taxes withheld from wages that are not promptly paid to the government. This is trust fund money that belongs to the government and was withheld from wages.

That makes any failure to pay—or even late payment—much worse. In fact, that’s so regardless of how or why the employer or its principals use the money. Using the money to pay suppliers and keep the business open isn’t a good reason in the IRS view.

When a tax shortfall occurs in this setting, the IRS will usually make personal assessments against all responsible persons who have ownership in or signature authority over the company and its payables. The IRS can assess a Trust Fund Recovery Assessment, also known as a 100-percent penalty, against every “responsible person” under Section 6672(a). You can be liable even if have no knowledge the IRS is not being paid.

Being being an officer or director can land you in the hot seat. If you’re a responsible person the IRS can pursue you personally for payroll taxes if the company fails to pay. The 100% penalty equals the taxes not collected. The penalty can be assessed against multiple responsible person, allowing IRS to pursue them all to see who coughs up the money first. Responsible means officers, directors, and anyone who makes decisions about who to pay or has check signing authority.

When multiple owners and signatories all face tax bills they generally squabble and do their best to sic the IRS on someone else. Factual nuances matter in this kind of mud-wrestling, but so do legal maneuvering and just plain savvy. One responsible person may get stuck while another who is even more guilty may get off scot-free.

Meanwhile, the government will still try to collect from the company that withheld on the wages. The IRS also wants to make sure this kind of bad tax situation doesn’t occur again. The government can move to shut down the business so the situation doesn’t get worse. In extreme cases the government may seek criminal penalties.

More commonly, the government may seek to enjoin this behavior. If the government thinks the situation is getting worse, it can seek an injunction. The idea is to stop the bleeding so the government gets its tax money. Where a business gets deeper and deeper into tax debts, the practice is sometimes referred to as pyramiding.

If a company is making minimal payments of tax debts, the IRS may try to induce voluntary compliance. In some cases, the Justice Department will seek an injunction to require timely deposits and payments of all withheld employment taxes and to timely file all employment tax returns. Whatever your situation, try to steer clear of these issues. Get help early.

For that matter, if you can, stay ahead of payroll taxes. Consider using a payroll service that doesn’t allow you the choice whether to use the payroll tax money for something else.

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