Direct Labor Variances Formula, Types, Calculation, Examples

The combination of the two variances can produce one overall total direct labor cost variance. Standard cost is the amount a cost should be under a given set of circumstances. The accounting records also contain information about actual costs. Labor rate variance arises when labor is paid at a rate that differs from the standard wage rate.

What are the causes of unfavorable labor rate variance?

Unfavorable variances occur when an organization pays more for something than was planned. Both types of variances can occur within labor, materials and overhead budgets. The labor rate variance measures the difference between the actual and expected cost of labor. 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. 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. (Figure) shows the connection between the direct labor rate variance and direct labor time variance to total direct labor variance.

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An example is when a highly paid worker performs a low-level task, which influences labor efficiency variance. If we used the same hours at a higher rate of pay it is called a labor rate variance. At Hupana Running Company, our budget allows for .5 hours of direct labor per pair of shoes produced. The human resources manager of Hodgson Industrial Design estimates that the average labor rate for the coming year for Hodgson’s production staff will be $25/hour.

5: Direct Labor Variance Analysis

Labor mix variance is the difference between the actual mix of labor and standard mix, caused by hiring or training costs. Even with a higher direct labor cost per hour, our total direct labor cost went down! In this question, the Bright Company has experienced a favorable labor rate variance of $45 because it has paid a lower hourly rate ($5.40) than the standard hourly rate ($5.50). Watch this video presenting an instructor walking through the steps involved in calculating direct labor variances to learn more. Note that both approaches—direct labor rate variance calculationand the alternative calculation—yield the same result. Determine whether a variance is favorable or unfavorable by reliance on reason or logic.

Calculating Overhead Variances

The amount by which actual cost differs from standard cost is called a variance. When actual costs are less than the standard cost, a cost variance is favorable. When actual costs exceed the standard costs, a cost variance is unfavorable.

Favorable when the actual labor cost per hour is lower than standard rate. On the other hand, unfavorable mean the actual labor cost is higher than expected. Usually, direct labor rate variance does not occur due to change in labor rates because they are normally pretty easy to predict. A common reason of unfavorable labor rate variance is an inappropriate/inefficient use of direct labor workers by production supervisors. Doctors, for example, have a time allotment for a physical exam and base their fee on the expected time.

He is the owner of St. Louis Test Preparation (), where he provides online tutoring in accounting and finance to both graduate and undergraduate students. We present additional data regarding the production activities of the company as needed. The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. During the year, company paid $ 200,000 for 80,000 working hours.

How would this unforeseen pay cutaffect United’s direct labor rate variance? Thedirect labor rate variance would likely be favorable, perhapstotaling close to $620,000,000, depending on how much of thesesavings management anticipated when the budget was firstestablished. The labor efficiency variance accountant definition calculation presented previouslyshows that 18,900 in actual hours worked is lower than the 21,000budgeted hours. Clearly, this is favorable since theactual hours worked was lower than the expected (budgeted)hours. The 21,000 standard hours are the hours allowed given actualproduction.

Doctors know the standard and try to schedule accordingly so a variance does not exist. If anything, they try to produce a favorable variance by seeing more patients in a quicker time frame to maximize their compensation potential. United Airlines asked abankruptcy court to allow a one-time 4 percent pay cut for pilots,flight attendants, mechanics, flight controllers, and ticketagents. The pay cut was proposed to last as long as the companyremained in bankruptcy and was expected to provide savings ofapproximately $620,000,000.

Because Band made 1,000 cases of books this year, employees should have worked 4,000 hours (1,000 cases x 4 hours per case). However, employees actually worked 3,600 hours, for which they were paid an average of $13 per hour. Jerry (president and owner), Tom (sales manager), Lynn(production manager), and Michelle (treasurer and controller) wereat the meeting described at the opening of this chapter. Michellewas asked to find out why direct labor and direct materials costswere higher than budgeted, even after factoring in the 5 percentincrease in sales over the initial budget. Lynn was surprised tolearn that direct labor and direct materials costs were so high,particularly since actual materials used and actual direct laborhours worked were below budget.

Do not automatically equate favorable and unfavorable variances with good and bad. Each bottle has a standard labor cost of 1.5 hours at $35.00 per hour. Calculate the labor rate variance, labor time variance, and total labor variance. Each bottle has a standard labor cost of \(1.5\) hours at \(\$35.00\) per hour. As with direct materials variances, all positive variances areunfavorable, and all negative variances are favorable.

This estimate is based on a standard mix of personnel at different pay rates, as well as a reasonable proportion of overtime hours worked. Figure 10.7 contains some possible explanations for the laborrate variance (left panel) and labor efficiency variance (rightpanel). Still unsure about material and labor variances, watch this Note Pirate video to help. Since the actual labor rate is lower than the standard rate, the variance is positive and thus favorable. Direct labor rate variance is very similar in concept to direct material price variance. The variance is unfavorable since more hours than the standard number of hours were required to complete the period’s production.

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. The company A manufacture shirt, the standard cost shows that one unit of production requires 2 hours of direct labor at $5 per hour. In this example, the Hitech company has an unfavorable labor rate variance of $90 because it has paid a higher hourly rate ($7.95) than the standard hourly rate ($7.80).

For example, a business may use a subassembly that is provided by a supplier, rather than using in-house labor to assemble several components. The actual amounts paid may include extra payments for shift differentials or overtime. For example, a rush order may require the payment of overtime in order to meet an aggressive delivery date. Kenneth W. Boyd, a former CPA, has over twenty-nine years of experience in accounting, education, and financial services.

Figure 10.43 shows the connection between the direct labor rate variance and direct labor time variance to total direct labor variance. 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.

Standard rates are developed by the companies’ human resources and engineering departments and are based on several factors. An overview of these two types of labor efficiency variance is given below. Hence, variance arises due to the difference between actual time worked and the total hours that should have been worked. We just add the fixed overhead variance to the variable overhead variance. Overhead costs include the pay of employees not directly involved in manufacturing, such as executives or custodians, as well as electricity costs and local and federal taxes. A change in the cost of electric power or a raise given to a CEO can cause variances.

There are a number of possible causes of a labor rate variance, which are noted below. As mentioned earlier, the cause of one variance might influenceanother variance. For example, many of the explanations shown inFigure 10.7 might also apply to the favorable materials quantityvariance. The engineering staff may have decided to alter the components of a product that requires manual processing, thereby altering the amount of labor needed in the production process.

Insurance companies pay doctors according to a set schedule, so they set the labor standard. They pay a set rate for a physical exam, no matter how long it takes. If the exam takes longer than expected, the doctor is not compensated for that extra time.

To estimate how the combination of wages and hours affects total costs, compute the total direct labor variance. As with direct materials, the price and quantity variances add up to the total direct labor variance. During June 2022, Bright Company’s workers worked for 450 hours to manufacture 180 units of finished product. The standard direct labor rate was set at $5.60 per hour but the direct labor workers were actually paid at a rate of $5.40 per hour. Find the direct labor rate variance of Bright Company for the month of June. Recall from Figure 10.1 that the standard rate for Jerry’s is$13 per direct labor hour and the standard direct labor hours is0.10 per unit.

This information gives the management a way tomonitor and control production costs. Next, we calculate andanalyze variable manufacturing overhead cost variances. Here, the actual rate is the hourly rates that are currently used. The actual hours worked are the total hours worked by the employees. The formula calculates the differences between rates, given the number of hours worked.

For this reason, labor efficiency variances are generally watched more closely than labor rate variances. For example, a company is looking to hire more staff to meet the expected cost of labor in a production facility. Hiring new staff means that they will also be able to push out more total hours worked, resulting in more product. However, the rate that the new staff must be hired at is higher than the actual rate currently paid to employees. They calculate that hiring the extra staff would cost more than raising the hourly rates of the existing employees. So, they set a new standard rate, and existing employees enjoy a pay raise which helps morale.

  1. In this case, the actual hours worked per box are 0.20, the standard hours per box are 0.10, and the standard rate per hour is $8.00.
  2. The labor rate variance measures the difference between the actual and expected cost of labor.
  3. However, these workers may cause the quality issues due to lack of expertise and inflate the firm’s internal failure costs.
  4. Determine whether a variance is favorable or unfavorable by reliance on reason or logic.
  5. The standard materials cost of any product is simply the standard quantity of materials that should be used multiplied by the standard price that should be paid for those materials.

Finally, to find the total materials variance, multiply the standard cost by the standard quantity, then subtract the product of the actual cost and the actual quantity. Just like labor variances, these can mean the difference between a favorable and unfavorable variance. In this case, the actual rate per hour is \(\$9.50\), the standard rate per hour is \(\$8.00\), and the actual hours worked per box are \(0.10\) hours.

As a result of this unfavorable outcome information, the company may consider using cheaper labor, changing the production process to be more efficient, or increasing prices to cover labor costs. As one may expect, there are also three types of materials variance or the differing amount of standard and actual amount spent on materials by an organization. First, to calculate the materials price variance, subtract the actual price from the standard price and then multiply by the actual quantity. Next, to find the materials quantity variance, subtract the actual quantity from the standard quantity and then multiply by the standard price.

A positive value of direct labor rate variance is achieved when standard direct labor rate exceeds actual direct labor rate. Thus positive values of direct labor rate variance as calculated above, are favorable and negative values are unfavorable. Variances in labor, like variances in materials are multifaceted. We might have the same number of hours at a different hourly rate, or more hours at the same rate, or some combination of these factors. Let’s first look at the standard cost variance analysis chart for labor variances.

All tasks do not require equally skilled workers; some tasks are more complicated and require more experienced workers than others. This general fact should be kept in mind while assigning tasks to available work force. If the tasks that are not so complicated are assigned to very experienced workers, an unfavorable labor rate variance may be the result. The reason is that the highly experienced workers can generally be hired only at expensive wage rates. If, on the other hand, less experienced workers are assigned the complex tasks that require higher level of expertise, a favorable labor rate variance may occur. However, these workers may cause the quality issues due to lack of expertise and inflate the firm’s internal failure costs.