Lumber Toolkit
October 29, 2023
min read

Common Mistakes Made in Construction Payroll

October 29, 2023
min read

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Construction payroll can be a complex and challenging aspect of managing a construction company's finances. The construction industry is known for its unique labor needs, with a workforce that may include full-time employees, subcontractors, seasonal workers, and unionized labor.

Handling payroll efficiently and accurately is crucial to maintaining compliance with labor laws and keeping your team happy. This article will explore common mistakes made in construction payroll and how construction companies can avoid these pitfalls by using the right construction payroll software.

Construction Payroll Process

The construction payroll process is a fundamental aspect of managing a construction company's financial operations. It involves the calculation, distribution, and management of wages and compensation for all workers involved in construction projects.

This process can be particularly intricate due to the industry's unique labor dynamics. Construction companies often employ a diverse workforce, including full-time employees, subcontractors, temporary labor, and unionized workers.

Each category of worker may have different pay rates, benefits, and tax implications, making accurate payroll processing essential for compliance and maintaining a satisfied and motivated workforce.

Common Construction Payroll Errors To Avoid

Inaccurate Time Tracking

Construction payroll Errors often begin with inaccurate time tracking. Construction projects often involve various job sites, shifts, and overtime hours, making it challenging to record and calculate employee hours accurately. Manual time tracking methods, such as paper timesheets, are prone to errors and can lead to overpayment or underpayment of employees.

Misclassification of Workers

Misclassification of workers in Construction Payroll often leads to costly errors and legal repercussions. The construction industry frequently uses a mix of full-time employees and subcontractors. Misclassifying workers can result in serious legal and financial consequences. Employers must correctly classify workers as employees or independent contractors, as misclassification can lead to back taxes, penalties, and lawsuits.

In 2021, a Chesterfield Township-based electrical subcontractor company got an opportunity to work on a Federal project for the first time. Unfortunately, they misclassified a few employees as low-voltage installers or technicians, though their work was not restricted only to low-voltage data cabling.  Due to this error, they underpaid electricians, laborers, and apprentices less than the required prevailing wage rates and benefits. They were investigated for this costly oversight by the Department of Labor and had to pay $94K to the workers as wage balance and fringe benefits immediately.

Failing to Account for Prevailing Wage Rates

Construction Payroll Mistakes and Construction Payroll Errors are often linked to the failure to account for prevailing wage rates. Construction projects often involve government contracts or prevailing wage requirements, which mandate specific pay rates for different trades and job classifications. Failing to account for prevailing wage rates in your construction payroll can lead to legal issues, including contract violations and penalties.

Ignoring Union Rules and Deductions

Failure to comply with union rules and deductions is a significant Construction Payroll Mistake. Construction workers who are part of labor unions may have unique payroll requirements, including union dues, benefit contributions, and pension plan contributions. Ignoring these rules and deductions can lead to unhappy employees and labor disputes.

Manual Data Entry Errors

Construction Payroll Errors often result from manual data entry mistakes. Manual data entry is another common source of payroll mistakes in the construction industry. Transposing numbers, mistyping names, or making other clerical errors can result in incorrect paychecks and unnecessary stress for your employees.

Late Payroll Processing

Consistently processing payroll late can lead to frustrated employees and can damage your company's reputation. Many construction companies still rely on manual payroll processing methods, which are time-consuming and prone to delays.

What are the consequences of consistently processing payroll late in the construction industry?
Besides affecting employee morale, delaying payroll can have another equally serious consequence. If payroll is not done on time, it also means that payroll taxes are not paid on time. As we all know, the IRS does not take lightly to delayed or missed payments. You will be penalized with a payroll tax late payment tax penalty, and apart from the penalty, you will also incur interest on the missed payments and these interest rates can vary from 3% to 6% of the total amount owed. Consistent late payroll can trigger investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) or state labor departments. These investigations can result in penalties, fines, and orders for back wages.

Neglecting Compliance and Reporting

Construction Payroll Mistakes often stem from neglecting compliance and reporting. Construction payroll involves compliance with various federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Neglecting compliance can result in fines, penalties, and legal troubles for your construction company.

Lack of Employee Self-Service Options

Construction Payroll Errors can occur when employees lack self-service options. Employees in the construction industry often want easy access to their payroll information, such as pay stubs, tax documents, and leave balances. Failing to provide employee self-service options can lead to increased administrative work and frustration among your workforce.

Inadequate Record Keeping

Proper record-keeping is essential in construction payroll to maintain compliance and defend against legal challenges. Failing to maintain accurate and organized records can result in costly audits and disputes.

Overlooking Tax Withholding Updates

Tax-related Construction Payroll Mistakes can occur when tax withholding updates are overlooked. Tax laws and withholding requirements change over time, and failing to update your payroll system accordingly can lead to tax errors and penalties. Staying up to date with tax regulations is essential in construction payroll.

What kind of penalty will be levied for construction companies that are withholding tax incorrectly?
Construction companies that improperly withhold taxes may face penalties that vary depending on the extent of the violation. Penalties can include fines, interest charges, and potential legal consequences. Accurate tax withholding and timely submission are essential to avoid these penalties.

How to Avoid Common Construction Payroll Mistakes with Lumber

Precise Time Tracking

Lumber’s time tracking application integrates with 20+ payroll applications that are popularly used. This ensures accurate time tracking and calculation of precise wages. If you are using Lumber Payroll, the entire payroll process becomes a seamless execution, from time tracking to salary payment.

Lumber Time Tracking

Lumber Time Tracking has a color-coded clock-in and clock-out feature that makes it easy for employees to track their work hours reducing the risk of errors. Lumber is purpose-built for construction; therefore, calculating overtime, double-time, and tax deductions are automatically done.

Lumber Time Tracking

Correct Classifications

Selecting the right worker classification is essential in wage calculations. This is where a purpose-built Construction Payroll software like Lumber will make a difference. Classifying employees in the right trade is very important while doing payroll calculations. Payroll software like Lumber can maintain accurate records of worker classifications. It can also help you ensure subcontractors are properly documented and their tax forms are submitted correctly. This can help your construction company comply with labor laws and avoid costly legal issues.

Updated Prevailing Wages

One of the biggest pain points for the construction back office admin is to track and update prevailing wage rates for employees manually. Even if they use payroll software, it may not have the updated wage rates or the payroll application may not be purpose-built for construction. With Lumber Payroll, the prevailing wage rates are pre-loaded and automatically updated whenever there is a change in the rates. You can automatically generate certified payroll reports and provide the necessary documentation to prove compliance with prevailing wage requirements without breaking a sweat.

Automated Calculation of Union Payroll

Lumber payroll can automate the calculation and deduction of union-related expenses, ensuring that your unionized employees receive the correct payments and that your company complies with union agreements.

Lumber Payroll

Eliminating Manual Data Entry

Lumber Payroll eliminates manual work by seamlessly integrating with time tracking applications. This integration reduces the risk of data entry errors, leading to more accurate and efficient payroll processing.

End-to-end Payment Process

Lumber Payroll supports money movement! You can pay your employees through Lumber after generating their payroll records

Compliance at core

Compliance is baked into Lumber Payroll, and it will help you stay compliant with tax laws, labor regulations, and reporting requirements. It can generate essential reports, such as W-2s, 1099s, and payroll tax filings, accurately and on time.

Lumber Payroll

Self-service portals

Lumber also offers self-service portals where employees can access their payroll information, change their personal details, and retrieve important documents. Lumber is also multi-lingual, which helps break the language barrier and encourages workers to add and update their details. This improves employee satisfaction and reduces the burden on your HR and payroll teams.

Meticulously Keep Records

Lumber Payroll has robust record-keeping features that allow you to store and retrieve essential payroll documents and data securely. This ensures you have the necessary documentation to support your payroll processes and address potential issues.

Automated Tax Reports

Lumber Payroll automatically updates tax tables and withholding rates, reducing the risk of tax-related mistakes. It can also generate accurate payroll tax reports for submission to tax authorities.

Construction payroll can be a complex and challenging task, but with the right tools and practices, you can avoid common Construction Payroll Mistakes and Construction Payroll Errors that can lead to legal issues, financial losses, and employee dissatisfaction. Payroll software for construction companies offers numerous benefits, including accurate time tracking, proper worker classification, compliance with prevailing wage rates, and automation of union-related deductions. Investing in payroll software tailored to the construction industry can streamline your payroll processes, reduce errors, and ensure that your employees are paid correctly and on time. This helps your construction company run more efficiently and fosters trust and satisfaction among your workforce.

Get Lumber Now And Avoid Common Payroll Mistakes In Construction.

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