As with direct materials variances, all positive variances are

unfavorable, and all negative variances are favorable. The labor

rate variance calculation presented previously shows the actual

rate paid for labor was $15 per hour and the standard rate was $13. This results in an unfavorable variance since the actual

rate was higher than the expected (budgeted) rate. Labor variances focus on both rates and hours, also called efficiency or quantity.

- With either of these formulas, the actual rate per hour refers to the actual rate of pay for workers to create one unit of product.
- It is not sufficient to simply conclude that more or less was spent than intended.
- Labor rate variance is the difference between actual cost of direct labor and its standard cost.
- United Airlines asked a bankruptcy court to allow a one-time 4 percent pay cut for pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, flight controllers, and ticket agents.
- Direct labor rate variance measures the cost of the difference between the expected labor rate and the actual labor rate.

Note that both approaches—the direct labor efficiency variance

calculation and the alternative calculation—yield the same

result. The 21,000 standard hours are the hours allowed given actual

production. For Jerry’s Ice Cream, the standard allows for 0.10

labor hours per unit of production.

## Causes of Labor Rate Variance

As a result of these cost cuts, United was

able to emerge from bankruptcy in 2006. An error in these assumptions can lead to excessively high or low variances.

In this case these are hypothetical figures for the purpose of using the formula. The labor rate variance is $1,000 unfavorable, meaning that the company is spending $1,000 more on labor than expected. As with material variances, there are several ways to perform the intrinsic labor variance calculations. Or, one can perform the noted algebraic calculations for the rate and efficiency variances. The combination of the two variances can produce one overall total direct labor cost variance. The company A manufacture shirt, the standard cost shows that one unit of production requires 2 hours of direct labor at $5 per hour.

However, this inefficiency was significantly offset by the $20,000 favorable variable overhead spending variance ($105,000 vs. $125,000). The direct labor variance measures how efficiently the company uses labor as well as how effective it is at pricing labor. There are two components to a labor variance, the direct labor rate variance and the direct labor time variance. The labor variance is particularly suspect when the budget or standard upon which it is based has no resemblance to actual costs being incurred. If the actual hours worked are less than the standard hours at the actual production output level, the variance will be a favorable variance. A favorable outcome means you used fewer hours than anticipated to make the actual number of production units.

Labor rate variance arises when labor is paid at a rate that differs from the standard wage rate. Labor efficiency variance arises when the actual hours worked vary from standard, resulting in a higher or lower standard time recorded for a given output. Following is an illustration showing the flow of fixed costs into the Factory Overhead account, and on to Work in Process and the related variances.

## Sweet and Fresh Shampoo Labor

Enter the actual hours worked, the actual rate paid, and the standard rate pay into the calculator to determine the labor rate variance. United Airlines asked a bankruptcy court to allow a one-time 4 percent pay cut for pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, flight controllers, and ticket agents. The pay cut was proposed to last as long as the company remained in bankruptcy and was expected to provide savings of approximately $620,000,000.

## Staffing Variances

When we review the results of the labor cost analysis, the one-dollar increase in the amount paid per hour was a good choice because there was a savings of four hundred hours. There are many possible reasons for this, such as increase in morale due to a pay raise or a different type of incentive program. As such, the company saved more money in the end even though they paid more per hour. Another element this company and others must consider is a direct labor time variance.

Blue Rail’s very favorable labor rate variance resulted from using inexperienced, less expensive labor. Was this the reason for the unfavorable outcomes in efficiency and volume? The challenge for a good manager is to take the variance information, examine the root causes, and take necessary corrective measures to fine tune business operations. Variance analysis should also be performed to evaluate spending and utilization for factory overhead.

## Follow-Up Meeting at Jerry’s Ice Cream

An unfavorable variance means that the cost of labor was more expensive than anticipated, while a favorable variance indicates that the cost of labor was less expensive than planned. This information can be used for planning purposes in the development of budgets for future periods, as well as a feedback loop back to those employees responsible for the direct labor component of a business. For example, the variance can be used to evaluate the performance of a company’s bargaining staff in setting hourly rates with the company union for the next contract period. Commonly used direct labor variance formulas include the direct https://simple-accounting.org/ and the direct labor efficiency variance. We have demonstrated how important it is for managers to be aware not only of the cost of labor, but also of the differences between budgeted labor costs and actual labor costs.

## 7 Direct Labor Variances

A how to solicit reviews from your customers is a measure between the total amount paid for labor and the standard amount paid. Labor yield variance arises when there is a variation in actual output from standard. Since this measures the performance of workers, it may be caused by worker deficiencies or by poor production methods.

The variable overhead efficiency variance can be confusing as it may reflect efficiencies or inefficiencies experienced with the base used to apply overhead. For Blue Rail, remember that the total number of hours was “high” because of inexperienced labor. These welders may have used more welding rods and had sloppier welds requiring more grinding. While the overall variance calculations provide signals about these issues, a manager would actually need to drill down into individual cost components to truly find areas for improvement.

Our mission is to empower readers with the most factual and reliable financial information possible to help them make informed decisions for their individual needs. Our writing and editorial staff are a team of experts holding advanced financial designations and have written for most major financial media publications. Our work has been directly cited by organizations including Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Investopedia, Forbes, CNBC, and many others. This team of experts helps Finance Strategists maintain the highest level of accuracy and professionalism possible. At Finance Strategists, we partner with financial experts to ensure the accuracy of our financial content. After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2002, United cut close to $5,000,000,000 in annual expenditures.