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David Warren


David Warren
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  • Situational Awareness

    I am a moderator on another board and just had to re-read an old post because some kind soul spammed it. I re-read my answer which was correct, but not complete. It missed a point worth raising here.

    The term "situational awareness" is one used by pilots. Basically a fancy way of saying that pilot maintains a picture in their head of where they are compared to the other planes (and the ground). And that before they take any actions, they think through how it changes the picture.

    The problem on the other board was an employee b****ing about no FIT withholding because they were paid both a small base pay, plus commissions on a separate check, plus a huge number of deductions they should not claimed. The employee's problems they mostly brought on themselves. Who cares? But paying out both base pay, and commissions should have gotten the attention of someone in payroll. A single person making $80K annually with no FIT should have gotten someone's attention. I am not saying that you have to protect employees from their own stupidity, but I will say an competent payroll person needs to maintain situational awareness of the results of any actions THEY take.

    Example: Bob is on student visa, and because of that, payroll is not taking out all taxes. Sooner or later that visa will expire or change types or something. This should not be a surprise. At the time payroll finds out about Bob's visa for the first time, and does whatever they do to adjust the taxes, they should also schedule the follow up. Do not wait for the "plane" to crash when you know there is an additional action certain to occur.

    Do you routinely talk to all W-4 Exempts at least annually? All visa holders? Any one with huge numbers of dependents? I am not talking about legal requirement, I am talking about common sense. Do two different employees with different addresses both use the same bank account? Not impossible, but also not likely. Do your supervisors hand in the timesheets and hand out the paychecks? I wonder how many of those employees actually exist, if you are going to make it that easy to scam the system.