As the nation grapples with the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Paychex, a leading provider of HR, payroll, benefits, and insurance solutions, is observing an increase in the use of specific online and mobile HR capabilities by both employers and employees who are accessing tools and resources to help them manage this time of uncertainty.
“Small and medium-sized businesses are the engine of the U.S. economy, and we will do everything we can to help them get through this turbulent time,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “Since the coronavirus took hold in the U.S., clients and accountants are asking for our expertise, guidance, and resources to help them during this time of great need. Paychex has experienced a significant increase in the utilization of our mobile platform, Paychex Flex, as well as more customer calls. We will continue to closely monitor the use of Paychex Flex to understand what solutions our customers and their employees are leveraging most to help them settle into new workplace dynamics and support business continuity.”
Paychex is providing 670,000 businesses with access to a variety of services and solutions that are supporting them through the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in the following key areas:
1. Providing compliance support for organizations and employees impacted by positive COVID-19 tests.
“In a time of unprecedented legislative change, it’s challenging for businesses to keep up with the pace of that change,” Mucci noted. “Right now, our dedicated team of compliance professionals is connecting with federal, state, and local governments on an hourly basis to advocate for the interests of our customers and to ensure we are well-positioned to help them meet the requirements of any new regulations.”
- Support for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: The new law dedicates tens of billions of dollars for paid sick and family leave, unemployment insurance, free COVID-19 testing, and other measures to help Americans impacted by the crisis. The Paychex Flex document management system can help businesses track and facilitate requirements for employees or family members who test positive for COVID-19. Employees who test positive can submit the required documentation via mobile device, and the employer can facilitate the leave request in accordance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Similarly, employees who need time off to care for a family member who tests positive can submit a request via mobile device, and employers can automatically track the start and end dates of the leave.
2. Delivering HR and payroll guidance and support that helps businesses navigate uncharted waters.
“Thousands of our HR and payroll clients are dealing with complex new realities as the world works together to combat the coronavirus,” Mucci said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the work our team of HR professionals is doing to handle unprecedented call volumes day and night to answer questions, address concerns, and help clients through this constantly evolving environment. We remain the only provider in the industry offering access to a trained service professional 24x7x365. Our industry-leading service professionals have been leveraged significantly, particularly over the past several weeks.”
- Paychex HR Services: With an average tenure of seven years, more than 600 Paychex employees are SHRM-certified HR professionals dedicated to helping customers navigate through any workplace challenge. Since COVID-19 arrived in the U.S., customers have needed help evaluating risks, adjusting workplace policies, and communicating HR and payroll changes to employees.
3. Provide employers and employees access to cash whenever needed.
“One of the most significant impacts of the pandemic on businesses to date is cashflow,” Mucci said. “Many employers are facing challenges operating business as usual, while some employees are facing reduced hours or furlough. Because of these unique circumstances, we’re seeing an uptick in the use of solutions that enable the digital flow of money and offer quick access to cash when needed.”
- Direct deposit: Enables the electronic deposit of workers’ pay to their designated bank account(s), eliminating paper checks and a trip to the bank. Employees still receiving a paper check can leverage Paychex optical character recognition (OCR) technology to electronically convert a photo of a check to enroll in direct deposit via their mobile device.
- Pay-on-demand: Gives employees access to earned wages in advance of normal pay day. This can help workers cover required or unexpected expenses during a time when income may be fluctuating.
- Paycard: Employers may deposit earned funds onto a paycard that employees can draw on immediately. This can be particularly important for unbanked workers.
- Same-day ACH: Allows employers to run same-day payroll for employees, giving business owners additional cash management flexibility while ensuring their workers receive funds on time.
- FinFit: A financial wellness tool designed to help employees meet their financial goals, which also offers short-term employee loans for emergencies and unexpected events.
- Retirement: Participants can draw on 401(k) balances to cover emergency expenses in a time when income may be unpredictable.
4. Support evolving workforce needs with online HR tools that assist with the transition to remote work and other COVID-19 impacts.
“As more states restrict non-essential employees from reporting to work in the office, many businesses – including Paychex – are shifting to working remotely,” said Mucci. “As a result, many of our customers are now relying on technology to continue to support their workforce, help employees adjust to new working environments, and maintain company morale.”
- Paychex Learning: Customers are leveraging existing content within the Paychex learning management system to provide employees with tips and best practices for adjusting to working from home, establishing a home office environment, and minimizing stress during uncertain times. Some employers are also creating business-specific content or uploading helpful content from outside sources such as government and local healthcare websites to help a distributed workforce stay informed in what is now an all-hands-on-deck mentality.
- Time and Attendance: Enables hourly employees to track time worked online via any mobile device, which becomes particularly important if they’ve shifted from being in an office environment to working from home. For those employees continuing to report to work on-site – particularly in vulnerable locations like healthcare facilities – Paychex offers several biometric and touchless time-keeping solutions.
- Emergency Contacts: Gives employers the ability to digitally and privately maintain emergency contacts for employees, information that can be critically important during a crisis.
- HR Conversations: A recently released feature, HR Conversations creates a human connection for an increasingly distributed workforce. While not face-to-face in an office, employers can still periodically check-in with a remote workforce to ensure employees and their families are managing the current situation. Customers are also using the online communication tool to convey critical updates such as temporary office closures or the overall state of the business, to engage employees in virtual conversations, and to check in on the health and safety of one another during a time of rapid change.
- Document Management: Some customers are introducing new policies and procedures to help manage a remote workforce, and this tool allows them to distribute and track required documentation by automating form management, setting up workflow approvals, capturing e-signatures, and tracking acknowledgements. For example, employers today can set up a workflow with tracking to ensure all remote employees acknowledge critical updates to new business procedures.
“The challenges facing business owners today are unlike anything we’ve experienced in our lifetime,” Mucci said. “I’m proud to see our blend of technology and service coming together to assist our clients and their employees during this critical time.”