Payroll is one of the most complex administrative tasks employers face. Here are answers to five very sensitive payroll questions…

Q. How do you figure out employee turnover rate?

This is easy to calculate, although there are different methods. The Labor Department suggests using this formula: determine the average number of employees on the payroll for the year and divide it into the average total number of departures (other than retirement).

Q. Is an employer required to provide employees with pay stubs?

Not according to federal law, unless you work in agriculture. Employers are obligated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to keep accurate records of wages paid and hours worked, but they do not have to provide pay stubs.

Many states, however, do require employers to provide detailed pay stubs. When it comes to payroll and employment issues, federal law is often different from the laws imposed in individual states.

Q. Can an employer change an employee’s hours without giving notice or getting the consent of the employee?

With the exception of certain child labor laws, the FLSA does not regulate scheduling of employees. That means employers do not need an employee’s consent and do not have to provide notice before changing work hours, unless the parties have a prior agreement that states otherwise.

Q. Suppose an employee gives his or her resignation, effective in three weeks, but you decide to accept the resignation effective immediately instead. Do you have to pay through the date of intended resignation?

Not unless your business requires notice of resignation. If you simply “request” a certain amount of notice, federal law doesn’t require you to pay the employee if you ask him or her to leave before the end of the notice period, although most employers do.

But be careful. If you demand that the employee leave immediately after giving notice, you may turn a voluntary quit into a termination, which may send a bad message to other employees who try to do the right thing by giving notice.

Q. Can you charge an employee for making mistakes?

If your business suffers some economic damage due to an employee mistake, you generally cannot expect the person to pay for the damage, according to the laws of most states.

That is, unless the error was attributable to gross negligence or a patently illegal act. But even if you think one of these circumstances applies, tread carefully – it can send a bad message to other employees, and it’s hard to prove anyway.