News You Can Use

Get More Bang for Your Buck with Tax-Favored Employee Benefits

Sun, 03/13/2016 - 23:32
The phrase "fringe benefits" is misleading when the value of those benefits adds up to around one-third of your employees' compensation, as they often do. And when benefits are tax-free, they're even less on the fringe. As might be expected, this is an area the IRS polices carefully. Here are the latest developments, including what changed in 2016 and what remains the same.

What Health Coverage Forms Must Large Employers Complete and When?

Sun, 03/06/2016 - 23:37
As an applicable large employer (ALE) with a fully insured health plan, what forms do you need to complete to report the the federal government about health coverage? When do you need to file them with the IRS? There are several requirements, as described in this article. Fortunately, employers have been given some extra time but they will need to start the process ASAP.

Know the Rules before Running Criminal Background Checks

Sun, 03/06/2016 - 23:37
Screening potential new-hires for a criminal history is a smart safeguard in many situations, and perfectly legal. You can do the same for people already on your staff. However, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble if you go about it the wrong way. Here's what you need to know.

Don’t Let March Madness Turn Into Workplace Madness

Sun, 02/28/2016 - 23:47
In no time at all, "March Madness" will be tipping off again. Why should you care? As basketball courts heat up around the country, your company's productivity may cool down noticeably. Some of the games in the three-week-long NCAA tournament and the conference games leading up to it are broadcast during the workday. If you have college basketball fans on your payroll, it could be a challenge to keep them focused. Here are some ideas.

Hiring Vets: How to Leverage a Valuable Resource

Sun, 02/28/2016 - 23:47
Nearly 200,000 military veterans transition into the civilian workforce each year. Some employers make it a priority to hire them. Others do so inadvertently by choosing the best candidate available, who happens to be a veteran. Either way, there are skills and character traits common among vets that may add great value to your workforce. Here are some pointers.

Do After-Hours Communications Qualify for Overtime Pay?

Sun, 02/21/2016 - 23:46
When does the act of checking job-related emails after hours become "work" subject to overtime pay for nonexempt employees? It's a serious question, and getting the answer wrong could cost your company a lot. Fortunately, a recent federal court ruling helps to provide greater clarity on the topic. Here's more.

A Solution to Your Need for Short-Term Workers: H-2B Visas

Mon, 02/15/2016 - 00:02
Having trouble finding employees for jobs that will last only a year or so? Thanks to a temporary federal visa program known as H-2B, there will soon be a new pool of workers who might meet those needs. Beginning on January 16, workers from 16 more countries will be eligible to provide manpower in the United States. Here's a closer look at how H-2B works.

Good News in the New Year: IRS Extends ACA Filing Deadlines

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 00:17
For the 2015 tax year, some employers and other entities are required to file information returns containing the type and period of health insurance coverage provided to employees. The IRS recently announced that it's extending the deadlines for filing Forms 1094 and 1095. This article reveals the new deadlines.

Give Your Employee Handbook a Facelift

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 00:17
With a new year at hand, it's a good time to make sure your employee handbook is up-to-date. And while you're scouring the document to make sure it's consistent with the latest laws in your state, make sure it's written to give you the most mileage. Here are some ideas on how to go about it.

Is Progressive Discipline Right for Your Organization?

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 00:21
There may be no easier way to spark an employee discrimination lawsuit than by using a haphazard discipline policy. You might be able to mitigate that risk somewhat by adopting a "progressive" discipline policy instead, a practice which is growing in popularity. But certain precautions as well as an awareness of potential downsides are essential. Here's what you need to know.

Video Job Interviews Gaining Popularity

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 00:19
Using video technology to conduct job interviews and candidate screening is growing in popularity, for several reasons. Some who advocate its use even suggest that younger job prospects might consider your company stuck in the past if you don't make use of this technology. Should you jump on the bandwagon? Here are some points to consider.

Take Steps to Help Employees Achieve Financial Wellness

Mon, 01/11/2016 - 00:03
Many of your employees may not feel well but they aren't physically ill. Instead, what they lack is "financial wellness," a hot topic in many companies these days. In a nutshell, they're worried about making ends meet today as well as in the future, and that can take a toll on their productivity. Should you try to do anything about it? And, if so, what?

Perceived Retaliation Can Put Your Company in Hot Water

Mon, 01/04/2016 - 00:00
Suppose your employee complains about discrimination on the job, a complaint you feel is unwarranted. Dealing with that sort of complaint can be troubling and time-consuming. But be aware that any form of retaliation real or perceived against that employee while you investigate the complaint is illegal. Make sure you've fully informed your managers and supervisors understand just how important this is. Here's what you need to know.

EEOC Proposes Important Changes for Wellness Plans

Sun, 12/27/2015 - 23:46
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently proposed interesting changes for wellness plans. Plan sponsors may soon be allowed to offer incentives in exchange for information, including genetic data, from the spouses of participating employees. The incentives, while limited, could amount to thousands of dollars in savings. Here are the details of the EEOC's proposal.

Plan Ahead for Changes to Overtime Pay Rules

Sun, 12/20/2015 - 23:40
Last summer, the Department of Labor proposed new rules to govern overtime pay. That was followed by a comment period, in which they were flooded with feedback. Of course, it's impossible to know how much of the industry feedback will be incorporated into the final version of the rules, but it might be prudent to make contingency plans now. Here's a quick review of what may happen, and how to get ready.

Boosting Employee Wellness is Achievable, but Not Easy

Mon, 12/14/2015 - 00:15
Employers want a healthy workforce, but achieving that goal has eluded many, if not most, organizations. Typically this is because wellness initiatives are launched with a burst of enthusiasm and high hopes, only to be subsequently neglected. An extensive study by one university looks at "wellness that works" and offers practical ideas on how to implement a program that actually achieves results.

Are You Burning Out Your Salaried Employees?

Mon, 12/07/2015 - 00:10
A smartphone is a great tool, except when it extends the workday beyond normal boundaries. In one workplace study, the majority of respondents said their employers expect them to be reachable during off hours. Commitment is a good thing, but when taken to the extreme it can lead to burnout and decreased productivity. This article looks at reasons why your company may be better off limiting the extra hours your salaried employees put in.

Paid Sick Leave Policies Becoming Mandatory for Some

Sun, 11/29/2015 - 23:46
With cold and flu season kicking in, it's likely that many of your employees will get sick and still come into work. Most employers offer some form of paid sick leave, but there are still many that don't. Some states and localities as well as the federal government have taken action to mandate paid sick leave for certain workers. This article lists them and describes where the issue stands.

Court: No Pay for Employees Monitoring Electronic Devices during Lunch

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 00:08
Do employees have to be compensated for time they're "on call?" What about for activities before and after their shifts and for work done during lunch breaks? Line technicians for a cable company filed a lawsuit that they should be paid for this time. However, a recent federal district court ruling sided with the employer. Here are the details of the case.

Boomerang Employees Making a Comeback: Good Idea?

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 00:08
Let's say a former employee who left your company for greener pastures has decided that working for you wasn't such a bad experience after all. Should you rehire that person? The answer is, "it depends." In fact, it can depend on many factors. Before you decide yes or no, here's some food for thought.