What a difference a year can make! I’m quickly coming to the one-year mark of ‘working from home’ full time.
I’ve got to admit; I’ve gotten rather comfortable with working from home. I’ve enjoyed rolling out of bed a little later each morning; spending each weekday with my all-time favorite office mate – my 10-year-old son, who is doing better at virtual school than I could have ever hoped; strolling upstairs after my workday to make dinner for my family and having a laid-back workday in general.
Spring has always been associated with Hope and as the warm, sunny days of Spring start to tease us once or twice a week, I stay optimistic about what 2021 has in store. My hope is that we can return to life closer to “normal” but better. I hope I can hug friends and family again soon. And I hope I can see each of you in person this year; but if not I’m happy to see you via our Zoom chapter or one day meetings.
What are you hoping for in 2021; want to get your certification? Or Recertify? Want to get more involved with our chapter? No matter what you might be looking to do in 2021, may all your hopes and wishes come to pass this year!
Julia Lopez Divack, CPP
The WMAC has just lost one of our founding members, Evelyn (Evie) Adkins.
Evie was a pioneer in the payroll world and was very active at both the local and national level of the APA. She loved her APA chapters. Evie served in various capacities for the WMAC, but most remember her as Secretary, a position that she held for many years. Evie was very active with the WMAC into her 80’s at which time it became too difficult for her to drive the 495 beltway to get to the meetings. Additionally, Evie was involved with both the Baltimore and Richmond chapters. She also served as the Secretary for both of these chapters.
Evie was a trooper and lived a phenomenal life. She passed away peacefully on March 5 at the age of 95. A celebration of live will be held at a later date when the department of health allows more than 30 people to gather, and people have been vaccinated.
The memories and legacy of Evie will live on forever within the WMAC.
For over 25 years, Covenant House Greater Washington (CHGW) has served as the region’s leading non-profit throughout the area in protecting, supporting, and transforming the lives of youth ages 18-24 experiencing homelessness, disconnection, and exploitation.
CHGW has provided a safe harbor and wrap-around supportive services to one of the area’s most vulnerable populations. The programs and services offered to young people help them to get back on track in achieving housing, career, and economic stability.
CHGW creates tailored solutions for each young person that goes beyond short-term housing and support. Their approach equips youth with the resources they need to overcome common obstacles and barriers. Aside from housing, youth receive workforce readiness, job/career placement, post-secondary support, case management, mental health support, drop-in services, child development center (for youth with children), and more.
Our goal for 2020 is to raise $5,000 for GHGW. How can you help? It is simple, donate. You can do it several ways:
- There is a link for a cash donation on the meeting invite for our chapter meetings
- There is a link for a cash donation on the Community page of the website.
- You can donate directly to CHGW and send us the receipt. Remember, your company may match funds as well.
All funds raised will be matched by the WMAC!!!
If you have any questions, please reach out to us.
Join us on Thursday April 8 for our next Virtual Chapter Meeting! Kevin Valuet, CPP will be joining us to discuss Telecommuting. Now that many of us are faced with day today telework, how do we develop strategies to ensure success? What are the benefits to Telework for both the business and the employee? We are facing remote work issues in the workplace that we have not faced before. We have had to adapt quickly to the pandemic and it is important to plan for what may be a more permanent teleworking future.
Kevin is the Director for Payroll at IPS Enterprises, Inc. Prior to this role, he has worked in various payroll and non-payroll telecommuting positions for the last 15 years. Kevin is based in Minnesota and is the current President of the Northstar Chapter.
This meeting has been approved for 2 RCHs. Registration and additional details can be found on our website here.
My WMAC journey started when I volunteered to teach a class for the CPP study group in 2010. Well, you can see how that worked out! I hope you will consider volunteering your time with our chapter. I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding it’s been for me over the years.
I’ve put together a list of some areas we can use extra help. Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] for more information!
Committee volunteer opportunities – Virtual
Education Committee – we need extra hands to cover Administrative duties for the CPP study group this summer. Summer study group dates
Meeting Admin – We can use one or more people to admin each study group session. You would ‘drive’ the Zoom meeting, logging in 15 minutes prior to the session. Admit students to the online class and monitor the chat when students have questions for the teachers. Must keep the meeting breaks, stopping to launch polling questions and ensure ending of session is on time. (RCH eligible)
Speaker Liaison – You will assist in finding/confirming and scheduling volunteers to teach study group classes. You will confirm sessions with the teacher 1 week and 1 day before their class. Will gather polling questions from speakers (2-3 per presentation hour) as required by APA for virtual meetings to obtain RCH.
Membership Committee – Helping the membership chair in emailing former members to entice them back as a member. Emailing potential members from the APA list requested twice a year. Reaching out through our social media platforms in search of potential members.
Social Media/Communication committee – Sharing payroll related topics on our social media sites to keep them current, interesting and spark conversation with our members.
Submitting payroll related articles for our newsletter to give a new/different perspective and engage our members.
Why Should YOU Get A Payroll Certification?
You’ve probably seen a lot of these on social media, or maybe even in email signatures while processing your payroll. What does it mean to be a Certified Payroll Professional? How is that different than the Fundamental Payroll Certification? Which one is right for me? We’re going to take a deeper dive into payroll certifications to explore what they are, how you get one, and why they are so important. This month’s segment takes a look at the difference between the two certifications, and share how the experience changed the lives of a few WMAC members.
Professional certifications are a designation earned by a person to assure qualification to perform a job or task. It’s like a letter of authenticity for your payroll skills. There’s a whole Wikipedia page on professional certifications, and yes, both the CPP and FPC are mentioned in the article!
Both payroll certifications are earned by passing an exam through proctor PearsonVUE. There are options to take your exam at one of their many in-person locations or online through their OnVUE exam delivery system. Testing windows are typically held twice each year, in the Spring and Fall. The Spring window usually occurs mid-March through mid-April, and the Fall window is usually mid-September through mid-October each year. You do not have to be an APA member for either exam.
Once earned, certifications are active for a certain period of time. You can either recertify by earning a minimum number of recertification hours (RCHs) or take the exam again. Many choose to recertify via RCH instead of taking the exam again.
Now let’s take a look at the differences between the CPP and FPC certifications. We’ll start with the FPC, since that one is the more introductory, while the CPP is the more advanced certification.
Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC)
The FPC is open to all who wish to demonstrate a baseline of payroll competency. There are no eligibility requirements for the FPC exam. When taking the exam, you have 3 hours to complete 150 multiple-choice questions. The FPC Certification is valid for 3 full calendar years following the year in which certification was obtained (ex. tests passed in 2020 expire 12/31/2023) You can maintain your FPC by earning 60 RCHs during this 3-year period, or by retaking the exam in the year it expires. More detail about the FPC, exam content, etc. can be found on APA’s website here. You definitely want to download a copy of the Candidate Handbook!
Certified Payroll Professional (CPP)
As mentioned earlier, CPP certifications are more advanced than the FPC certifications. In order to take the CPP exam, you must first fit into one of three different criteria options (ex. practicing for at least 3 years of the 5 years preceding the date of the exam application) When taking the exam, you have 4 hours to complete 190 multiple-choice questions. The CPP Certification is valid for 5 full calendar years following the year in which certification was obtained (ex. tests passed in 2020 expire 12/31/2025) You can maintain your CPP by earning 120 RCHs during this 5-year period, or by retaking the exam in the year it expires. More detail about the CPP, exam content, etc. can be found on APA’s website here. You definitely want to download a copy of the Candidate Handbook!
What is the certification process like? How can it help YOU? A few WMAC members have graciously shared their experiences with us:
Why Get Certified? By Katie Horvat, CPP
Why get your certification? This is such an important question that we hear all the time. Why is this so important? What’s in it for me?
I can tell you from personal experience that certification will change your payroll career. When I began preparing for the CPP I was terrified. I hadn’t taken a test in AGES. What if they ask all the questions I don’t know?! (I’m looking at you, Accounting!) Is it really that important? Sometimes I think we ask that question because of the fear. It was easier to convince myself that it wasn’t important than to convince myself I could achieve it. Fortunately, I pushed past my fear and got my CPP certification in 2008. What got me through the fear? Starting. Just pick a point and get started. Along my educational journey, I took classes, attended WMAC study groups and cram sessions, used PayTrain, used online assessments. Throughout this, I met new friends who became study buddies who became forever friends. We joined together and achieved our goal. It is absolutely achievable for anyone who is ready and willing to work hard.
What has the CPP done for me? Those classes to prep for the exam led me to meet future coworkers and mentors. My certification led to my first supervisory role for one of my former instructors. If I hadn’t been brave enough to try, I wouldn’t have known of or have been qualified for new opportunities. The certification will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to build and grow your career. Your network will grow. Your life circle will grow. Three simple letters really do mean a lot. If you are considering either the FPC or CPP and you have any questions, please contact me at [email protected].
Why Get Certified? By Charlotte Hodges, CPP
When I first went into Payroll almost 30 years ago and learned about the Certified Payroll Professional certification, it was never a question of whether or not I would study and sit for the exam, but when. I genuinely enjoy the ongoing educational aspects of payroll that are critical to staying current and knowledgeable in our payroll profession. For me, getting my CPP was a logical extension of my desire to keep expanding my knowledge, and as a means to progress to more prominent payroll positions.
Obtaining a payroll certification is a path to career development. It is a means to stretch beyond the boundaries of what you may do on a day-to-day basis in your current position and demonstrates initiative. Getting your certification builds confidence and will make you more valuable by building credibility with your peers and your organization. Your organization will come to depend on your expertise and knowledge when making strategic decisions.
Having a payroll certification is a solid foundation as you build your career or as you help others build their career. It can bring a deep sense of pride and satisfaction. I encourage you to take the first step in the journey.
One Day Seminar: A Day of Calculations
Do you struggle with complex calculations? Do you need a refresher on how to perform calculations? Do you understand how the different components of a paycheck impact taxable earnings? Are you preparing to take your FPC or CPP exam? Understanding how pay is calculated is imperative when proving the accuracy of a system update, when explaining to Executives the components of their pay, and when testing new earnings or deductions that are introduced to the pay calculations, to name a few examples.
Come and join us on Saturday, March 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for a virtual day of calculations.
Our subject matter experts will walk you through those unique situations that don’t happen often but have a considerable impact on pay if they are not calculated correctly. We will travel through the life cycle of an employee and learn how pay calculations and considerations change along the way.
Register your seat on the WMAC website here. We look forwarding to having you participate in our day of calculations.
Charlotte N. Hodges, CPP
The WMAC has organized a CPP/FPC Study Group as a benefit to our members. We have assembled a group of subject matter experts to teach these classes and are very proud that our pass rate typically surpasses the national average. This study group will cover materials for the Fall 2021 exam which covers laws in place as of January 1, 2021. The 2021 Payroll Source is required text for attendees, which can be purchased directly from the American Payroll Association.
Class begins with a meet & greet on Tuesday, June 15th. It then runs biweekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays through September 11th. Additional details, registration, and the full class schedule can be found on our website. Registration closes on June 14, 2021 at 1:00 pm Eastern.
Virtual Capital Summit
March 15-17, 2021
The APA's Virtual Capital Summit puts attendees on the leading edge of payroll compliance from the comfort of their remote workplaces! This virtual conference features government insiders presenting the latest information on legislative and regulatory issues that impact payroll operations. For attendees' convenience, on-demand sessions are included and available through May 17, 2021.
May 18-21, 2021
The annual Congress conference is payroll’s premier educational conference. Attendees have access to over 25 workshops throughout the 4-day conference. This educational event allows attendees to build a customized education program from a wide variety of workshops covering topics pertaining to domestic and foreign payroll, human resources, management, benefits technology, and career development. Over the course of the virtual conference, attendees will deepen their understanding of how to keep employees paid and happy, maintain a working knowledge of payroll laws, and expand their careers through continuing education. Congress Xstream registration includes registration to Virtual Congress with an additional six workshops. Attendees can earn up to 47 RCHs for attending the live and/or on-demand Congress Xstream and Virtual Congress events!
Government Liaison Updates
by Jeffrey Rothholz, CPP
Chapter members: Welcome to 2021. As payroll professionals are completing the year-end processes, including reconciling, filing, and distributing 2020 Form W-2 as well as employer tax filings, we should take a moment to appreciate how much we have accomplished in this unprecedented year. While we expect additional federal legislation for Coronavirus relief in the coming months, including changes that may impact payroll, we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The importance of our role as Payroll Professionals has been reaffirmed by all levels of organizations, from CEO's to hourly employees and contract workers.
Federal Compliance Updates:
IRS Releases Finalized Versions of Publications 15, 15-A, and 15-B for use in 2021:
- Publication 15 (Circular E) – the Employer’s Tax Guide summarizes much of the COVID-19 tax credits and other tax relief.
- Publication 15-A – the Employer’s Supplemental Tax Guide contains specialized and detailed employment tax information supplementing the basic information provided in Circular E.
- Publication 15-B – the Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits explains how employers with participants in health and dependent care FSAs can amend their plans.
An Applicable Large Employer that offers an individual coverage HRA can use two previously revised codes from Code Series 1 on Form 1095-C, line 14, for reporting offers of coverage for 2020 as follows:
- 1T – Individual coverage HRA offered to employee and spouse (no dependents) with affordability determined using employee’s primary residence location ZIP code.
- 1U – Individual coverage HRA offered to employee and spouse (no dependents) using employee’s primary employment site ZIP code affordability safe harbor.
The IRS extended the deadline to distribute the 2020 forms to employees from January 31, 2021 to March 2, 2021.
IRS Releases 2021 Publication 515, Guide for Withholding Taxes to Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities:
- Publication 515 discusses withholding from U.S. source income paid to nonresident aliens and foreign entities.
U.S. DOL Delays the Effective Date of Rules Regarding Tip Income and Worker Classification
In response to a Presidential memorandum issued on January 20, 2021 titled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,” the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) delayed the effective date of two amended sections under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
- The effective date for prior amendments to the tip credit has been delayed until April 30, 2021.
- The effective date for prior amendments to worker classification has been delayed until May 7, 2021.
Local Compliance Updates:
Virginia Garnishments will Take State Minimum Wage Into Consideration
The Virginia hourly minimum wage is to be a factor in garnishment calculations under a bill signed Feb. 25 by Gov. Ralph Northman (D). The measure is to take effect July 1, 2021.
The state minimum wage is set to increase to $9.50 on May 1, 2021.
Maryland Unemployment Tax Calculation to Exclude COVID-19 Claims
Unemployment benefit ratios are to be the same for 2022 as in 2020 and 2021. Maryland’s unemployment tax rate calculations are to exclude unemployment benefits claimed during the Coronavirus outbreak in a measure signed Feb. 15 by Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Under the measure, the computation date July 1, 2019 is to be used to determine an employer’s unemployment benefit ratio if using that date would result in a lower benefit ratio and a lower unemployment tax rate.