The first update to Sage 50 2021 released a few weeks ago. Many people were glad to get it because it fixed the problem that plagued some users with a lagging or freezing mouse pointer. But it also brought a couple of important new payroll features.

  • Unlimited Pay Types – Previously you were limited to 20 hourly pay types and 20 salary pay types. Now, while each employee is limited to using 20 pay types, you can set up an unlimited number of pay types within a company. Many users had asked for this previously but it became a priority because of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Sage had recommended setting up 3 new pay fields to track FFCRA related information that some companies will need to report on the 941. This new feature solves a significant problems for companies who were already using all available pay types before FFCRA.

    This has also brought a related change for how salary fields display on paychecks and when entering payroll. In the Maintain Employees window, salary pay types set up for an employee must have an amount OR you must clear the Use Defaults check box for a pay type you want to appear when you are creating paychecks. One example of a situation where this would be relevant is an employee who receives a base salary plus a commission. The salary line will automatically appear in Payroll Entry because you would have entered their base salary in Maintain Employees. But since the commission changes each time, you would most likely leave that blank in Maintain Employees. Starting in release 2021.1 you will need to clear the Use Defaults check box on the Pay Info tab for any pay type (such as commission) that doesn’t contain a Salary Pay Rate but that needs to appear when entering payroll.

  • FFCRA and Form 941 Reporting – FFCRA related sick and family leave needs to be reported on the 941. This is tracked by setting up new pay types to track the related pay amounts. Now, instead of having to manually enter that information on the 941, if you select Form 941 under Payroll Tax Forms, you receive a prompt asking if any employees received paid sick or family and medical leave as defined in the FFCRA. If you select Yes, you will be prompted to select the Pay Level names used for Sick and Family Leave. The associated amounts are extracted and placed on lines 5a (i) and 5a (ii).

While it’s not a long list of new features, and it’s not exactly a marketing person’s dream, I’m very happy to see Sage address these three critical issues in the new release.