Payroll: Now for self-employed staffers too!

As we mentioned in our Payroll post, self-employed staffers have a completely different process than employees. For employees, you pro-actively decide how much you’ll pay them and just pay them. Self-employed staffers, however, need to invoice you. You still know exactly how much you need to pay them, but you do need to wait for the invoice. Once that invoice arrives, you want to do two things:

  • check that the amount is actually correct
  • mark the corresponding shifts as paid, so that for the next invoice we know they shouldn’t be included

Let’s look at the process, using our favorite Hollywood actors, as usual. We’ve been hiring Jesse Spencer through October to film a special episode of Dr House, and he just sent us an invoice for the first week of shooting, for £1,250.

To  enter this into watu, we first go to see all our self-employed staff inside the Payroll area:

We can see here that Jesse has £5000 in un-paid shifts. Clicking New Invoice lets us enter the details:

The idea here is to cross-check the invoice sent by the staffer with what watu knows we need to pay them, to make sure the invoice is correct. We do this by entering the invoice total, and selecting which shifts are getting paid in this invoice. watu will calculate the total amount of the selected shifts, and will only let you save the invoice if those totals match. If they don’t match, then there’s something wrong with the invoice which needs to be corrected before it can be entered into watu.

Once you enter the invoice total, watu tries to auto-select the shifts for you, starting from the oldest one we owe, until it “runs out of funds”. Even if the totals match, you should check that the shifts selected are the right ones. This will also help you notice things like past shifts a staffer forgot to invoice, or if the invoice includes a date that isn’t in the list of unpaid shifts, you can easily check previous invoices in watu to see if it was invoiced twice by mistake.

Whatever you do, and following our Payroll design ethos, watu will never let you pay for the same thing twice, and will make it very clear if something is being left un-paid.

After saving the invoice, you get a little “receipt” for it, so you can easily check a staffer’s invoices.

Next stop: Expenses!

And as always, we’d love to hear from you if you have any feedback.

Introducing Payroll

We recently launched our Job Signoffs feature, which was a necessary step in our journey to Payroll, one of our most requested features.

Payroll is very simple to use and very powerful, all guided by two main principles:

  • No one is accidentally left un-paid
  • No one is ever paid twice, or by mistake.

This sounds obvious, but there’s a lot going on to guarantee these two conditions.

Staffer’s Payroll Data

You basically need to know two things to pay your staffers: How much to pay (Scheduling takes care of that), and how to pay them. For this last part staffers need to give you their Payroll information, including their bank account details, whether they are your employees or they will be sending you invoices, tax information, etc.

(the details for this page will depend on your country, this example is for companies in the UK)

We have found that a lot of staffers consider this information highly confidential and they don’t want to share it straight away, which is why we don’t force them to enter it when signing up. Instead, we remind them that we need this information in order to pay them as soon as they get booked on their first job. We found this greatly reduces friction for staffers.

NOTE: If you already had payroll data in your sign-up form, we have automatically imported this into the new format. However, we found that a lot of this data was incorrect or incomplete, so staffers will need to review this data. For some, they will only have to take a look and click “Save”, but others will have to actually complete data that was missing. We will be e-mailing those that have been booked already, asking them to review this data, so you can pay them promptly when needed.

You can see this data for a staffer clicking in the top-right menu from the staffer’s profile:

Paying your employees

Now for the fun part:

Paying couldn’t be simpler. Click on “New Employees Payment”, pick the date range (which by default will already be what you probably want), and click on “Process Payment” at the bottom. Done!

In the process, watu will show you which jobs you are paying for, the date range involved, shift count and total for each job, while letting you choose not to pay for a job yet, if necessary. Clicking on a job will show you all the staffers you will be paying, and their total amount.

This is where the Job Signoffs feature comes into play. If someone wasn’t supposed to be paid (if they were absent, for instance), they won’t show up here. If someone was supposed to be fined or bonused, that’s already included. Your managers have already approved payment when they signed off, so you can count on this information being accurate, no need for additional review. Also, if someone already got paid, those shifts simply don’t show up here. If everybody has done their homework, Payroll can be as quick as one single click.

And no one is ever paid twice, or by mistake.

Missing information

If someone hasn’t done their homework, however, two things may happen:

Some of the dates you are trying to pay for may not have been signed off by a manager. You won’t be able to pay for those jobs. Also, some staffer may not have entered their Payroll information. You will not be able to pay them. You can pay for a job where some of its staffers are missing Payroll information; those staffers will simply not be paid at this time, but they will be picked up again in your next payment; everyone else will get paid. No one is accidentally left un-paid.

You do have, however, tools to help you fix the problem easily. We show the the phone number of incomplete staffers so you can call them and enter the Payroll information yourself. You can also easily contact your managers about signing off those dates, or even signing them off yourself, if you have all the information.

But to make it even easier…

Those two buttons are the key to Payroll bliss. With just 1 click, they will automatically email and/or SMS all the staffers and managers that need to do something so you can pay. All you have to do is start a payment a few days before your actual pay date, select the date range, and click these 2 buttons (if they appear). That will get everyone swiftly working for you, so that when the actual pay date comes, there is no red on the screen, and you can just pay immediately. With one click.

Once you finish the payment, you will get a CSV export with all the information about each staffer, their full payroll info, how much to pay them, and a breakdown of the total into wages, bonuses and fines.


What about Self-employed staffers?

This page will only show what you need to pay to your employed staffers. Those who are self-employed require a completely different process where you wait for their invoice, check it to make sure it’s correct, and pay for the shifts in that invoice alone.

Read up on how to work with self-employed staffers

What about Expenses?

Expenses is a different process and it integrates beautifully into the payment workflow, learn how staffers claim their expenses and take a look at how to process expenses using watu.

As always, we’d love to hear what you think about this, and all the features in Watu.

Signing off on Job Dates

So, you’ve scheduled your job, booked your staff, big day comes, everyone shows up on time, the event goes wonderful and your client loves you!

Now what?

Well… You’ll have to pay all these people at some point for the marvellous job they did, and we wouldn’t want Watu to just decide to pay without some supervision, would we?

Introducing: Job Sign-offs!

After each date in each of your jobs, you will now need to review the allocated shifts to confirm whether everything went smoothly or not, and finally sign off so everyone can be paid what they are due. We’re not paying yet, just confirming everything went well, which is much nicer and faster to do every day in little nibbles, than having to look at thousands of shifts at the end of the month, trying to remember exactly what happened several weeks ago.

So, from now on, your welcome screen will let you know every day if you have pending sign-offs:

Don’t worry though, it’s going to be very little work. When everything goes smoothly, you don’t really need to do much, just give the page a glance and “Sign-off” at the bottom, and everyone is confirmed. Most days, it’s just one single click and you’re done.

In those rare cases when there’s a problem with a staffer, you click on their picture to expand, and edit as necessary:

  • Staffer didn’t show up? No problem, just flip that little blue switch, and they won’t get paid for this shift.
  • Did they break your contract terms? In seconds you can apply a fine.
  • Seriously misbehaved? Easily type up a note explaining the situation, and if it’s really serious, mark it as a warning so it shows up prominently in their profile, for you to be alerted in the future before booking them again.

Rating staff

From this page, you can also quickly rate how staffers did on this shift by simply clicking on the stars. You don’t need to do this, though, and in most cases you won’t, and everyone will get their default 3 stars, signalling that they did a good job.

Resist the temptation of giving everyone 5 stars! After all, if everyone gets 5 stars, no one will really stand out, will they?

The point of rating staffers is to let Watu know who underperformed, and who excelled. This is by definition for people that were out of the ordinary (in either direction). This will soon enable us to make your best staffers show up more often in searches, make better decisions and recommendations to you. However, if everyone has 5 stars, we can’t really differentiate them much.

Really, give it a try, just leave everyone with 3 stars unless they were extraordinarily good. Trying to give everyone 5 stars will leave you tired of so much clicking, and won’t be usable information  for ranking.

Unbooked shifts

There is one final thing that we need to bring to your attention when signing off a day, and that is shifts that were left unbooked. This could’ve happened because the shift was actually left unbooked, and no one covered it. However, it may also have happened because, in the rush that always happens before big events, the booking was arranged with the staffer, but not recorded into Watu.

If that happens, the booking really needs to get recorded in Watu, otherwise, that staffer won’t get paid. For that reason, we let you know when we find an unbooked shift, and ask you to either book it, or acknowledge that it really was left unbooked, and there’s no one to pay for it.

This is a security measure to make sure no one goes unpaid by mistake.

We hope you find this handy, and we’re working hard to bring you the final step of this journey: using this information you approved to actually pay your staffers.

Until then, please do try to sign off as often as possible, and as always, we’d love to hear what you think about this, and all the features in Watu.