2023 Feature Updates: Realizing the Promise of Embedded Payroll

Behind the Paycheck
embedded payroll features

In 2021, we launched Gusto Embedded to empower other software companies to customize payroll solutions within their platforms. With 100+ app integrations at the time, we heard clearly from these partners that their small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers want more than the typical API integration. Looking back at 2023, we are proud to say that beyond the embedded payroll features we released, our initial vision has come into sharper focus as our embedded partners now serve thousands of payroll customers. 

Last year, we enhanced our APIs and platform to help developers learn and navigate the complexities of payroll more effectively. The result: many of these partners are thinking about how to iterate and grow their payroll business rather than just launch a payroll product. We’re also grateful to these partners for their continued feedback—feedback is a gift, and we use it to continue to improve.

2023 was about offering more flexibility and control over partners’ embedded payroll build. Our releases allow partners to customize their payroll offering where it matters most to customers and refine their end-to-end, holistic payroll user experience (UX). There are three key areas where this shines through:

New payroll Flows

We added 14+ new Flows in 2023, enabling our partners to ship faster and decide where to tailor their payroll products to their customers’ specific needs. Prebuilt Flows allow partners to choose how they allocate their resources, focusing UI customization on the aspects of payroll that matter the most to their customers and help their offering stand apart from the crowd. 

Flows also allow partners to quickly prototype and launch a payroll offering based on Gusto’s years of experience serving a wide range of SMBs. This strategy helps partners balance competing development priorities, allowing them to quickly understand payroll concepts, identify key architecture decisions, and streamline front-end development efforts to test, learn, and optimize efficiently while also deciding where to focus time and effort to differentiate. 

What’s more, we launched three new Flows with benefits providers to help employees get paid faster and access benefits. Clair On-Demand Pay allows early access to earnings, SimplyInsured’s marketplace enables easy access to health insurance, and NEXT Insurance provides a pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation insurance coverage UI. These benefits all have a connection to net payroll costs for employers and net pay for employees, making them compelling additional offerings.

Compliance-focused additions

Compliance is not merely a feature but a dynamic, shifting responsibility when offering payroll across all 50 states. While Gusto has built over a decade of expertise in the intricate realm of compliance, we wanted to establish new levels of collaboration with embedded partners. The four releases below are examples of our commitment to keeping partners compliant and helping them navigate the nuance of payroll compliance.

API enhancements

We always want to make life easier for developers and recognize that building a customized embedded payroll product is challenging without the right tools. At Gusto Embedded, we’re working to abstract away as much payroll complexity as possible and give developers the tools they need to integrate payroll seamlessly.

In 2023, we introduced 20+ new APIs and webhook (plus companion guides) to simplify the development process when building embedded payroll. In February, we began adding much more step-by-step instructions and code samples to the API docs to help developers build their payroll products efficiently. The additions to the guides in our API docs focused on making more and more edge cases easily understandable to developers. And more webhooks give partners more control to ensure that systems are updated and synchronized correctly. Together, these releases provide developers with the necessary tools and knowledge to build efficient payroll systems.

2023 Embedded Payroll Highlights


Garnishments in Onboarding Flow

Employee onboarding now allows setting up, editing, and deleting garnishments. Customization choices include naming, recurrence, payment type, and court order designation. See how Garnishments integrate seamlessly into payroll processing once configured.

Off-Cycle Payroll Flows

In 2023, we introduced prebuilt Flows for off-cycle payroll runs due to high customer usage. This feature provides a quick overview of its benefits, emphasizing its significance in managing unscheduled payroll runs efficiently. Learn more about Off-Cycle Payroll Flows and try it here.

Prebuilt Company Onboarding Flow

This new flow offers a streamlined process for employee and contractor self-onboarding, accessible through the updated Company Onboarding Flow feature within the Flows endpoint. It triggers automatically when a company admin adds and verifies at least one employee/contractor for self-onboarding. Demo the Prebuilt Company Onboarding Flow.

Payroll History Flows

Understanding the historical context of payroll is vital for businesses. The addition of payroll history flows in 2023 allows for a comprehensive exploration of historical payroll data, aiding in decision-making and record-keeping. See it in action by selecting “Payroll history” from the Flow type dropdown and following the prompts.


FLSA Tip Credits (Minimum Wage Adjustments) API & Flow

The FLSA Tip Credits update introduces minimum wage adjustments for Employee Jobs/Compensations during payroll processing. Users can opt-in for minimum wage adjustments when creating job compensations, with the adjusted amount labeled as “minimum wage adjustment” in the payroll response. Learn how to set up FLSA Tip Credits.

Pay Schedule Changes & Transition Payrolls

This Flow allows users to create, edit, and assign multiple pay schedules based on compensation, department, or individual employees. The user can trigger or skip transition payrolls through an API call to our Flows endpoint. Learn more about creating and editing pay schedules.

Dismissals API + Flows

This release includes API updates and a new Flow to guide terminations and termination payrolls. These updates help partners ensure a compliant employee dismissal process, including termination APIs for W2s and 1099s. See the termination APIs (W2s, 1099s) and Flow guide.

Holiday Pay Policies API

Building on our PTO policies, including accruals, the Holiday Pay Policies API simplifies setup for partners and customers by reducing manual touchpoints. This API enables partners to create, manage, and configure holiday pay policies, track 11 preset holidays for automatic payroll payments, and enroll or remove employees from these policies. Learn more.


Next-Day Payroll

Partners can use the Next-day Payroll API with the ‘1-day’ payment configuration for quick payroll processing, ensuring timely payments. The API shifts excessive payrolls to a 4-day processing window to minimize errors and implement faster payments. Learn more and check out the endpoint for payment configurations.

Check Printing

This new API enables customers to produce check PDFs, based on the employer’s preference, with two options: check at the bottom stock or check at the top stock. Once generated, employers can print the checks and distribute them to their employees. Use the Printable Check PDFs doc to get started.

Custom Semi-monthly Pay Periods

Our system now allows users to set personalized pay dates within semimonthly pay periods. Users can choose payment frequency and comply with state laws by selecting legal pay schedules that consider a two-day payroll processing period. Learn how to set up custom pay dates.

Multiple Pay Schedules APIs

These APIs and the related manage pay schedules Flow allow customers to set customized pay schedules based on department, employee type, and more. They can easily modify pay schedules, reassign employees to different schedules, and automate payroll calculations when transitioning schedules to ensure compliance. Check out our guides on creating pay schedules and managing pay schedules via API and Flow

Partner Perspectives

In 2023, our partners provided valuable feedback on how our APIs helped ensure seamless integration with their applications and the importance of choosing the right payroll partner. Here is an example of what our partners achieved last year.

“Gusto Embedded Payroll gives us full control over the experience our customers see. It allows us to streamline the payroll process for our customers and, importantly, reduce distractions for them.”

Uri Bar-Joseph, Co-founder and COO, Formations

Read more


“It’s critical that the systems our customers use all talk together. From insurance billing to bookkeeping to payroll to taxes. It needs to be easy, and customers need to know they are paying themselves correctly, reporting taxes correctly and accurately each quarter.”

Victoria Li, Co-founder and CTO, Heard

Read more


“We looked at other companies, new payroll API startups… but it takes so long to build compliance. You don’t want to work with the new kid on the block…”

“An engineer can work on a lot of different things without becoming a domain expert. Payroll is different, and teams building embedded payroll need to learn to do it well.”

Patrick Bragg, VP of Product Management, Collective

Read more


“Dev work for complicated products can run into a lot of pitfalls without experience. Gusto’s experience in payroll made us feel more comfortable investing here vs. competitors. Other embedded payroll vendors will give you the shell, but you have to make it work. With Gusto we were able to get our v1 product live and therefore get to healthy unit economics much faster.”

Josh Popsie, VP of Marketing, 1-800Accountant

Read more


As we enter 2024, the valuable insights and lessons learned from our existing partners will guide us in helping even more partners build payroll products that resonate with their customers and payroll businesses that stand out in a competitive market. We’re excited for another year of rapid improvements in the platform and lots more exciting news from partners like Chase Payment Solutions, Freshbooks, Vagaro, and more.


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Updated: January 17, 2024

Brian Busch Brian is currently Head of Marketing at Gusto Embedded; the only payroll API with 10 years of experience and actionable data behind it. Before joining Gusto, Brian held leadership positions at Cloud Elements, Kapost, and Captricity. He holds a BS in finance and a BA in philosophy from Boston College and an MBA from the Cal Berkeley Haas School of Business.
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