The Payroll Blog

News, tips, and advice for small business owners

Payroll Continuity Plans and Best Practices During COVID-19

Posted On
Caitlin Carragee

Since the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, the world has changed. Uncertainty about safety, the economy, and a return to normalcy continues to grow.

A woman sitting at a desk, signing a check, with the sun shining in the background.

Update: We’ve created a specialized report that is currently available for SurePayroll users to help make applying for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan simpler. Log into your account to get your report today! Note that household employers are not eligible for a PPP loan.

Small businesses are facing unprecedented circumstances and painful decisions.

Some of you may be working diligently to enable your employees to work remotely; some may be facing or have already made the difficult decision to furlough employees or cut staff; all of you are likely uncertain about what to expect next and how prepared you are to face the unknown yet to come.

And while ensuring the safety of your staff and the future of your business are your top of mind priorities, managing your payroll responsibilities through this crisis is still a critical to-do.

We wanted to share some best practices to help you through this.

  • Make sure you can run payroll anywhere…literally. If your payroll provider offers an app, be sure to download it on all your mobile devices. With transportation limitations and localities issuing orders to shelter in place, increasing your access to the services you need is key.
    • SurePayroll customer? Learn more about our mobile apps here.
  • Go Paperless! Paper checks pose some challenges in our current national emergency environment: will you be able to print checks? Will you be able to deliver or have checks delivered to employees wherever they are on time? Even if you can maintain continuity of check printing and delivery during these times, you may increase the risk of exposure and contamination. If possible, switch your employees to direct deposit for the duration of the outbreak.
    • SurePayroll customer? If you have an employee who has requested to switch to direct deposit, you can update the payment method by logging into your account, clicking on “Employees” and selecting “Employee List”. Select the employee you’d like to edit, select “Bank” and click on “Direct Deposit”. Enter the bank account and routing numbers. Repeat as needed for additional accounts for split deposits. Click save. If you had a payroll entry in progress before you updated the employee, the system will require you to reset payroll and re-enter the information. 
  • Set your payroll on cruise control. This situation is uncertain and is going to challenge your time management. If your payroll provider gives you the ability to set a default payroll or run an auto payroll, consider this option if you run the same payroll each pay period.
    • SurePayroll customer? To set up auto payroll, log into your account and go to the payroll entry screen. Click “Set Up Default Payroll” and enter the default pay information for your employees. Once completed, you will be able to turn on auto payroll. You will be prompted to accept the terms and conditions and then your payroll will be on cruise control.
  • Check your options. Depending on your business and industry, you may be feeling the impact of COVID-19 more immediately or severely than others. It may put you in the difficult position of ceasing business operations and furloughing employees. If you use a payroll provider, you should ask about your options. They may offer an option to freeze your service; this will reduce your costs while ensuring you still have access to reporting and continued payment and filing of required taxes.
    • SurePayroll customer? Reach out to our customer care team to discuss your specific situation and determine the option that best fits your needs and helps your business during this difficult time.
  • Taxes. Benjamin Franklin once wrote “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” And while our government has taken a unified approach to working on legislation aimed at alleviating the pain being experienced by Americans and provide specific relief to small businesses, taxes are still coming due. First quarter 2020 ends on Tuesday, March 31, and first quarter 2020 federal payroll tax filing and payments will not be delayed, according to our sources in Washington, D.C.
    • SurePayroll customer? We’re moving forward with our normal federal tax filing plans. If we learn otherwise regarding the federal filing deadline, we’ll let you know as soon as possible. We are also actively monitoring changes at the state level. As these changes are solidified, we will communicate to you as soon as possible.

We started 20 years ago with a mission to serve America’s small businesses and that mission is even more critical in these trying times. When it comes to ensuring you and your business are supported through the COVID-19 pandemic and your payroll continuity is preserved, we’ve got your back.

Stay safe and stay healthy. We will get through this together.

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This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. SurePayroll is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, SurePayroll. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. If you require legal or accounting advice or need other professional assistance, you should always consult your licensed attorney, accountant or other tax professional to discuss your particular facts, circumstances and business needs.