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    Payroll Blog


March 1, 2018

Power Up Your Productivity without A Cup of Coffee!

It’s Monday morning, and you’ve just arrived at the office. Although rested from the weekend, you need a little something to give you a boost for the day. A cup of coffee – that’ll do the trick. Yes, it’s true, a morning cup of coffee will improve alertness and productivity. Whether your an employer or employee, if you want to optimize your productivity, here are some helpful tips.

Remove Distractions: After your coffee has been freshly brewed, practice minimizing distractions and social media/phone notifications. This includes logging out of social media accounts. Keep your personal phone twice as far from you as normally would. Constantly reaching for your phone and clicking on that Facebook tab will lessen significantly and in turn, you find yourself more productive throughout the day.

Set Personal Deadlines: Mentally keep track of how much time you’d like to spend on a task, as well as the actual time spent on them. This will eliminate spending too much time on a task that should require less. Obstacles happen and delay completion, but personal deadlines and goals will help guide your work progress, as well as prompt a task review if necessary.

Prioritize, Reorganize and Master Multitasking: High-priority tasks should be completed before low-priority tasks, obviously. But what about a task that requires less than 3 minutes? It is helpful to get those quicker tasks done sooner, rather than saving it for later (and possibly even forgetting about it). As far as multitasking goes, consider your environment and task at hand. Know your limits and when it is appropriate to multitask.

Reward Yourself: It’s time for a well-deserved break! Go outside, take a stroll with a co-worker, or now that you’ve got time for social media, log into Facebook! Taking scheduled breaks increases productivity, and it is also good for physical and mental health. It is valuable to step away from the work environment, so leave your desk for breaks and lunch. For lunch, think about good nutrition. Instead of foods that slow down productivity and make you sleepy, eat healthy foods that stimulate productivity. Get back to work, ready to finish what you’ve started.

Get Ready: Before you head out the door, prepare for the next day. Whether that’s rearranging the piles of paper on your desk, updating your lists of “to-dos,” responding to emails, etc, set up processes in place that will get you ahead for the next day (or the next week, if it’s Friday!).

Whoo! It’s the end of the day. You made it and it was productive! Who knows, maybe you won’t even need that cup of coffee tomorrow.  😊

Whether you’re an employer or employee, I hope these tips will bring a more productive day for you today! For time-saving, productive payroll solutions, contact Paragon Payroll & HR today!

December 11, 2017

Payroll Year-End Prep Checklist

If you’re not already preparing for year-end, it’s time to start looking at some items that need to be considered for payroll purposes. Before we know it, the new year will be here! So as you finish up payroll this year, keep in mind the following items:

  1. Employee Data – Confirm identifying employee (both inactive and active) information, such as address, ssn, name, etc for W-2 purposes.
  2. Year-end Bonuses – If you offer bonuses in December, note whether you’d like the amounts to be considered gross or “grossed up” for the required FICA/Medicare taxes. For example, a gross $1,000 bonus (paid at an employee’s current withholding) will handle taxes differently from a net $1,000 ($1,082.84 gross) bonus. Please let us know these amounts before your last payroll of the year or before December 29th.
  3. Year-end Adjustments – These year-end adjustments include, but are not limited to, S-Corp Shareholders Health Premiums, personal use of company automobile, 3rd party sick Pay. Anything you need to include outside of your normal payroll, let us know for your last payroll of the year or before December 29th to make the adjustments.
  4. Tax Rates – Provide us with your SUTA Tax Rate Notice (State Unemployment Rate) for 2018.
  5. Deposit Requirements – In October of every year, the IRS determines if a change for the next calendar needs to be changed, depending on the total tax liability in the company. The company either pays these taxes monthly or semi-weekly, depending on what the IRS has determined. If you have received a notice that indicates your “deposit requirements for Form 941” have changed for 2018, please forward the notice to us.
  6. Time Off Accrual/Balances – Confirm employee PTO/vacation/sick balances. Take note of sick days, vacation time, and other allowed time off, carry over rules, depending on your company’s policies.
  7. Employee updates – Have employees review their withholding allowances before the new year. Please let us know of any new pay-rates or deductions that are effective for the new year.

As you are making plans, prepping for the holidays and other year-end items, we hope this payroll year-end checklist will alleviate some of the stress during this already busy time of the year. In fact, we wish for you, that this is truly the most wonderful time of year!

March 12, 2017

Bi-Weekly vs. Semi-Monthly Basics 201

Bi-weekly and semi-monthly payrolls are the most common pay frequency among employers. The terms “bi-weekly” and “semi-monthly” can be a little confusing when it comes to payroll. Both prefixes, “bi” and “semi” mean “two or twice” but have different meanings, especially when it comes to scheduled payroll dates. Bi- means “every other” or “every two” while semi- means “half” or “twice” in the sense that it happens two times.

In payroll, bi-weekly means employees are paid every other week, while semi-monthly means employees are paid twice a month. Typically, each month for bi-weekly payrolls, employees also paid twice a month, but two months out of the year, employees are paid three times, instead of two. Confused yet? If you are, hopefully we can clarify a thing or two about the difference of bi-weekly and semi-monthly pay frequencies. Even though they tend to stay together throughout the year, there are several differences and implications in payroll.


  • Every other week or every 2 weeks
  • 26 payrolls in a year (52 weeks in a year / 2 weeks)
  • Salaried employees typically work 80 hours each pay period (2,080 hours / 26 payrolls)
  • Hourly employees’ overtime is easily calculated
  • Employees will know it will be (every other) weekday;
  • More consistent and preferred for employees. They know when the payday is coming – (i.e. every other Friday)
  • The number of days in the pay period is consistently 10 workdays or 14 total days (two 7-day workweeks)
  • Less consistent for budgeting for employers and employees, as some months have 3 payrolls in a month & are different dates in the month


  • Twice a month or every half month
  • 24 payrolls in a year (12 months  x 2 times)
  • Salaried employees typically work 86.67 hours each pay period (2,080 hours / 24 payrolls)
  • Hourly employees’ overtime often crosses over pay periods. Sometime that means extra work for those calculating payroll hours (contact us to learn more about how our timekeeping solutions can solve this issue for your company)
  • Employees are typically paid on the 15th/End , 10th/25th of the month, etc and they fall on different days of the month (depending on month, weekends, holiday, etc)
  • The number of days in the pay period changes depending on day of month; it might be 16 days or 15 days, depending on how many days are in the month (31 days, 30 days or 28/29 days in February)
  • More consistent for budgeting for employers and employees; it works great for paying bills (as paydates are always on the 15th for instance)

Just remember, a bicycle is a cycle with 2 wheels, and in payroll, biweekly means you’re paid every 2 weeks. And while we’re on the topic of transportation in Portland, how about those semi-trucks we love driving next to on the freeway? I bet you didn’t know that a semi-truck is a trailer without the front wheels, so about half of it is missing. In payroll, that means you’re paid halfway through the month as well as the final half, depending on your payroll schedule.

Of course, we must not forget about monthly and weekly payrolls. Monthly is once a month, paid 12 times a year, and weekly is once a week, paid 52 times a year. Weekly is the most preferred by employees, but payroll processing cost is the highest, as this requires more times in a year to process payroll, therefore is not very common.


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