Welcome to MidwestHR’s HR Resource Center

Here you will find a variety of complimentary HR forms, articles, tools and whitepapers that you can download and use for your business.

Don’t see the form you’re looking for?  Have a burning HR, benefits, payroll or payroll tax question?  Contact us and we’ll be glad to provide you with some confidential help if we can.

Most Common HR, Benefits, and Payroll Questions & Answers

  • Do I have to have an employee handbook?
    • Legally, no. But, if you have more than a few employees, it is a good idea to create an employee handbook that clearly explains your workplace policies and the consequences if they are broken. Having defined rules and guidelines protects your company against abuse, expense and allegations of discrimination. It is also a consistent message delivered to every employee of what you expect of them and what they can expect of you, the employer.
  • If I’m a small company, why do I need job descriptions?
    • Even though the law does not require you to have job descriptions for your organization, you may be required to have them for your workers’ compensation carrier, general liability carrier or if your company is required to submit to audits for licensing of conducting business. The other great benefit of having written job descriptions is that they help to make sure your staff’s duties align with your company vision, mission and goals. Think of it as trying to coach a football game without a game plan. Your players don’t know what to do, where to go or what is expected of them to complete the play – imagine the chaos! Having a list of general duties for each of your employees will help them (and you) know what components are needed to be accomplished their job – making them, and you, successful.
  • Do I have to provide a leave of absence?
    • That depends. If your company has more than 49 employees, you must abide by the Family Medical Leave Act in regards for time off needed for an employee or their family’s serious health condition. FMLA also covers absences needed for specific Military needs. If you have less than 49 employees and your state does not have its own leave rules, you are not required to have or offer a leave policy. BUT, it is normally good practice (and good for morale) to adopt a “mini” leave policy that allows your employees time off needed for family or medical emergencies.
  • Can I hold a final check for an employee who refuses to return company property?
    • No. It is against both federal and state law to refuse to issue out final pay to a terminated employee. The only way you may dock or deduct funds from final pay is with signed authorization from the employee that specifically states the amount and reason for the deduction. If an employee owes you funds or property, you will need to consult with your local authorities (to see if it is considered theft) or file a claim in court to recoup your losses.
  • Can I change the waiting period in order to accommodate a new hire who needs benefits immediately?
    • An employer is unable to change the eligibility period to favor one new hire. If you wish to change the waiting period, a request must be made and approved by the insurance carrier, and then will take effect for anyone hired on or after the effective date of the change.
  • Do I have to offer medical insurance?
    • If you have less than 50 employees, you do not have to offer coverage. If you have more than 50 employees, you should be offering an ACA compliant health plan to avoid a penalty for not offering affordable coverage.
  • What is a 401K Safe Harbor Plan?
    • 401K Plans must satisfy compliance tests and Safe Harbor Plans allow the employer to automatically pass the tests if they abide by the provisions. The provisions are that the employer must contribute to the eligible employee’s 401k plan and that the contribution is 100% vested.
  • Can I pay my employee as a 1099 Contractor?
    • Services performed by an individual shall be deemed to be employment unless they meet the following three requirements: The individual is free from control or direction over the performance of services, the service is outside the usual course of business, and the individual is engaged in an independently established trade or occupation. Generally, if these requirements are met, the individual can be considered an Independent Contractor.
  • When should my employees expect to receive their W-2?
    • According to the Internal Revenue Service, W-2 forms should be mailed out to employees by no later than January 31. While employees may not receive them in the mail on this date, they must postmarked by this date.
  • At the end of the year, my employee’s last paycheck shows more money than their W-2 shows. Is the W-2 incorrect?
    • The W-2 form does not show Gross wages paid to an employee. The wages on your W-2 show your income that is subject to Federal, State, Social Security and Medicare taxes. These wages exclude any Section 125 deductions or 401k deductions. Note the W-2 is not a reconciliation of an employee’s gross income.
  • How long does it take to set up a new direct deposit account for payroll?
    • It usually takes 7-10 business days. Each new deposit account request is subject to a prenote authorization service. The prenote service works in conjunction with the financial institutions and the Federal Reserve to verify the account number, ownership and status prior to the initial deposit of funds.
  • I received garnishment/tax levy/child support order paperwork…how do I handle this?
    • The best way to handle this is to send a copy of all pages to whoever it is that’s responsible for payroll at your company. From there, proceed to answer all interrogatories, calculate the deduction amount accordingly, take the deduction directly from the employee’s pay and forward that payment to the garnishing authority. If you use a 3rd party payroll service, they should be experienced in handling this for you.
  • What benefits does workers’ compensation insurance cover?
    • Workers’ compensation insurance covers the costs associated with illnesses or injuries your employees suffer while working, including, legal costs associated with defending your company against an employee’s injury claim, as well as settlements or judgments for which your company is found liable (e.g., medical bills or payments for mental distress).
  • Who pays for workers’ compensation benefits?
    • By law, the employer is responsible for the cost of workers’ compensation benefits. Employers buy the insurance, and the insurance company pays the benefits on the employer’s behalf. No part of the workers’ compensation premium or benefit can be charged to the employee.
  • Are workers’ compensation benefits taxable income?
    • No, workers’ compensation benefits are not taxable under state or federal law and need not be reported as taxable income.
  • What are workers’ compensation classification codes?
    • Workers’ compensation codes are a complicated compilation of job definitions designed to accurately identify various workplace exposures. Each specific job classification is assigned a four-digit number which is then used throughout the workers’ compensation system. Each workers’ compensation code has its own rate for the purpose of calculating premium charged to your company.