In defining payroll, we generally follow the guidelines of Medicare wage reporting. There are some differences between Medicare and BWC, which include the construction industry, corporate officer wages, and payments by sole proprietors and partnerships to family members. Employers should report payroll to the reporting period in which it is paid, which may differ from when it is earned.
Payroll reporting changes due to COVID-19 pandemic
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented changes in the payroll reporting requirements to help ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 state of emergency on the Ohio Business Community.
- Employers with operational staff teleworking may report payroll to the class code 8871-Clerical Telecommuter during the declared State of Emergency. The employer must contact BWC and request classification code 8871-Clerical Telecommuter to be added in their policy. The employer is required to record, track, and document the wages associated with the operational employees teleworking for premium audit purposes. To have class code 8871 added to your policy, please send your request including your policy number to RTSclass@ohiobwc.com or call 1-800-644-6292. Clerical staff currently reported to class code 8810-Clerical shall remain reported to class code 8810.
- An exclusion to this revision involves employees working from home and performing the same duties/tasks for the employer. The employer will continue reporting those wages to the employee’s assigned operational classification code. Additionally, operational employees working periodically at the business location but being paid a full wage must report all wages to the employee’s regular classification code.
- For example: the employer manufactures surgical masks. The employees have been sent home with the equipment and materials to continue to sew these masks to meet customer demands. These employees are not 8871 Clerical teleworking employees. The classification assigned to these employees remains 2501-Cloth, canvas and related products manufacturing. The exposures for the employees do not change.
- The amount of payment made by employers to their employees while at home not performing any work for the period of COVID-19 pandemic are not reportable as wages to BWC.
- The temporary revision to the class code assignment rule only applies during the time of Governor DeWine’s “Stay at home” order, which was initiated on March 15, 2020. The employer is to return to normal reporting guidelines once the state of emergency has ended or if the operational employee(s) return to performing their previous job duties.
**Important: Effective April 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020, wages paid by employers under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for sick leave related to COVID-19 and leave time to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for COVID-19 related reasons, are not reportable to BWC. Please maintain records based on Ohio Medicare wages to present if audited.
We consider the following general items payroll.
- Gross hourly wages and gross salaries less qualifying deductions for Section 125 cafeteria plan benefits (usually Medicare wages*)
- Sick pay (including third party, excluding workers' compensation)
**Note: Leave paid under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is not reportable to BWC.
- Wage continuation - money paid to injured workers in lieu of BWC paying temporary total disability
- Bonus payments, including stock given as a bonus
- All sales commissions
- All tips
- Severance pay
- Overtime pay
- Vacation pay
- Holiday pay
- All shift or holiday differential pay
- All stock gifts - the difference between the fair market value on the date of exercise of the stock option and the price paid for the stock for a non-qualified stock option
- Profit sharing going directly to the employees as payroll
- Medical saving programs which act as savings accounts. These programs allow the employee to receive the unused portion of the money they paid in.
- Any voluntary employee contributions to retirement plans, including 401K
- Reasonable value of board, lodging, house or room rent unless provided for the convenience of the employer, located on the employer's premises and is a condition of employment
- Contributions to deferred compensation by employees (except for pre-tax contributions to a governmental 457 plan)
- Expenses exceeding one-third of an employee's normal pay
- Personal use of company car
- Payments to casual labor - We consider individuals who perform work outside a business' normal operation such as lawn care, janitorial work, etc., who do not work for another company, or hold themselves out to the public as performing these services, casual labor. Remuneration/payments to these individuals are reportable to the governing classification.
- Payments to spot labor - We consider individuals who perform work within a business' normal operation as spot labor. For example, a plumber needs short-term help with a job. He finds someone to help and pays the helper cash. The person works within the business' normal operation. Remuneration/payments to these individuals are reportable to the appropriate classification code based on the work.
*Premiums for life insurance over 50k not reportable to BWC.
Who is reportable to BWC?
- All employees – full, part-time, and seasonal.
- Officers of corporations.
- Family members (including spouse and children).
- Spot and casual labor.
- Owners, partners, incorporated individuals, ministers and officers of family farms who have elected coverage and completed an Application for Elective Coverage (U-3S). See the Elective coverage page for additional information.
- Non-Ohio residents working for out-of-state companies doing business in Ohio for more than 90 consecutive calendar days. Wages are reportable beginning with the 91st consecutive day.
- Payroll associated with Ohio residents working for out-of-state companies doing business in Ohio is to be reported for the entire duration of work in Ohio.
- Employees who are hired to work specifically in Ohio are reportable, regardless of the state where they were hired.
- The 90-Day Rule is not applicable to residents of a foreign country. Out-of-state employers who have foreign employees working temporarily in Ohio must obtain Ohio workers' compensation coverage, report wages, and pay premiums to BWC for any work performed in Ohio.
- Volunteers providing emergency services for public or private employers, such as volunteer firefighters working for townships or private fire companies. Employers must report a minimum of $300 per volunteer per year with a minimum of $4,500 for all emergency volunteers. If volunteers are paid and their wages exceed $300, then actual wages must be reported. Employers are required to maintain a roster of emergency volunteers.