For cannabis businesses, retaining accurate employee data is critical for maintaining compliance. However, the complex nature of the cannabis industry’s compliance landscape and strict state labor laws makes accurate payroll and human resources reporting incredibly challenging. One of the biggest names in cannabis retail is currently facing a class-action lawsuit for failing to accurately compensate former employees for their hours logged both on and off the clock. This multi-state operator (MSO) also did not grant mandatory meal or rest breaks and did not keep accurate logs of their employees’ time. These are very costly mistakes that are easily avoidable with the right software solution.

On the contrary, Aster Farms, a sustainable cannabis cultivator in Northern California, is an excellent example of a cannabis operator utilizing the proper software to accurately handle payroll and manage HR reporting. Featured in Forbes, Aster Farms epitomizes the excellence of producing exceptionally well-tended, outdoor grown, terroir-driven cannabis. Sam Ludwig, president, Julia Jacobson, CEO and Director of Business Strategy, and Noah Cornell, Director of Cultivation, are dedicated to providing the highest quality flower through clean, safe cannabis cultivation practices. With native soil, their outdoor grow produces pure product while reducing their environmental footprint.

Aster Farms understands the high risks and challenges of operating a robust outdoor cannabis grow, complying with state laws, and managing their HR and payroll tasks internally. Their employment lawyer warned them about potential legal fines for not recording meal and rest breaks according to California regulations. They knew that using paper timesheets to track their employees’ time not only caused administrative burdens but increased the potential for noncompliance with state labor laws. Wurk provided them with a solution. With cannabis-specific payroll technology and the support of a dedicated payroll specialist, Wurk allows Aster Farms to:

  • follow California's accrual policies;
  • accurately track employees' accrued time;
  • deliver consistent employee payments; and, 
  • remain in compliance with California's complex labor laws. 

With self-service functionality, their employees can easily check their hours, view paychecks, request PTO, and update their personal information.

“Something important to us as a growing small business is understanding the number of people it takes to accomplish tasks and perform in certain roles. We are easily able to go into the system and sum up the number of hours that various employees have worked,” said Julia Jacobson, Aster Farms ceo. “This data gives us a good understanding of how our business is growing.”

State-specific labor laws exacerbate the risks of manually managing payroll. Wurk’s payroll technology mitigates employment labor law risks, provides accurate reporting, and allows users to track employee hours for an entire harvest so they can staff their next grow accurately. With robust, automated reporting functionality, Wurk gives managers the timely workforce data and performance indicators they need to make informed decisions to reduce labor costs. Using Wurk’s mobile application, employees can track their time from anywhere, including in the middle of their outdoor harvest, providing analytics that cannabis operators can rely on for workforce planning, productivity, and cost containment.

“Before Wurk, I dreaded figuring out taxes and understanding what types of withholdings that needed to happen, and what departments we had to file what with,” said Jacobson. “Now with Wurk, they take care of all of that for us.”

Growing cannabis businesses require hiring more employees to keep up with demand. Increasing headcount elevates the risk of lawsuits for noncompliance. For this reason, many growing cannabis operations outsource their cannabis business payroll management to allow them more time to focus on growing their business, enhancing their product, and not worrying about the risks of strict labor laws. Whether you are a 10-person cultivation or an MSO, it’s essential to rely on an experienced industry partner who understands the unique financial and compliance challenges specific to cannabis businesses. Wurk knows that people are a company’s biggest asset, and they depend on receiving consistent, accurate pay. Wurk’s single solution solves workforce management challenges and assists operators in following the work and pay regulations of individual states and municipalities.

Download the Aster Farms case study to read how they comply with complex labor regulations and easily manage payroll. Contact us today to schedule a demo and learn more about maintaining compliance, supporting your workforce, and focusing more time on refining your products, services, and business strategy.

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