Innovative Business Solutions
 Friday, July 25, 2014..:: News::.. 



The Static News items are offered by IBS as items we feel are highly relevent to our business. The various news feeds below are not maintained by IBS and are provided without endorsement.
 News Minimize

ACA Resources - Monday, November 04, 2013

New Health Care Reform requirements affect both your business and employees.  Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), large employers may face penalties in 2015 if they do not provide affordable coverage to their employees... read more

You can also use the links provided below for more information on the Affordable Care Act:



FUTA Surtax and Credit Reduction Surcharge - Tuesday, January 03, 2012
IRS fails to extend Futa Surtax and 20 states hit with Credit Reduction surcharges for failure to repay unemployment loans to the Federal government. read more ...

2013 Tax Rates and Wage Limits - Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Click the following link to view the 2013 Tax Rates and Wage Limits: read more ...

Contribution and Benefit Limits for Retirement Plans for 2013 - Tuesday, January 01, 2013
For 2011, the dollar limit on annual elective deferrals under 401(k) plans, 403(b) annuities, 457 (deferred compensation) and salary reduction SEPs is $17,500. The maximum catch-up contribution for employees over 50 years of age is an additional $5,500. The dollar limit on annual elective deferrals to a SIMPLE plan is $12,000 with catch-up contributions at a maximum of $2,500. 

Court Decision on Meal and Rest Periods - Friday, August 08, 2008
A California appellate court decided three significant issues related to meal and rest periods, easing the burden on employers.  Use the following link to read a synopsis of the decision: 

Minimum Wage (California) - Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Effective January 1, 2008, Minimum Wage for California Employers is $8.00.  

Federal Minimum Wage Increase - Friday, March 04, 2011
The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 increased the Federal Minimum Wage rate to $7.25 per hour effective 7/24/2009. States like California will not be impacted because their minimum wage already exceeds the Federal rate. The following states were impacted by this change in 2007:  Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.  Please review your pay rates if you have employees in any of these states. 

SSN Verification for New Employees - Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Please be sure to document your new hires properly. I-9 and W-4 Forms must be completed and kept on file. If you wish to further validate a Social Security Number with an employee's Social Security Card name, you may call 1-800-772-1213 for confirmation. 

EDD Employee Registry / Independant Contractor Reporting - Tuesday, January 01, 2008
ALL California employers are required to participate in the New Employee Registry Program. In the past, employers in certain industries have not been required to report newly hired employees. Please contact us if we are not currently reporting your new hires and you would like us to provide new hire reporting services. 


 HR News Feed Minimize

Developing a Successful Employee Orientation Program
Download this white paper and learn how to develop a successful employee orientation program that effectively illustrates job duties and company policies, lowers the learning curve and gets employees off to a good start that ensures long-term success.

Guide to Writing Effective Job Listings
In the digital age, it’s imperative for HR departments to learn how to use online job listing space more effectively. Techniques that are effective in newspaper listings often fall flat online. Creating effective job listings improves the process for applicants and recruiters. These pointers will help human resource departments and recruiters get the most out of each job listing and secure the best applicants in a short amount of time.

Compensation Data Collection Tool Update
In the past three years, Office of Federal Contracts and Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) approach towards compliance enforcement has been more aggressive than ever. Since the new administration took over in 2009, we have seen significant changes to how the agency has been conducting compliance reviews.

Employing Individuals with Disabilities: Understanding the Latest Requirements, Updates, and Potential Changes
With the announcement of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regarding updates to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the agency has brought focus on the affirmative action efforts for individuals with a disability as a top priority. In the effort to enforce these requirements, federal contractors and subcontractors are compelled to look into their employment practices to improve their recruitment efforts.

Affirmative Action Industry Profiles
  When it comes to effective affirmative action compliance—one size doesn’t always fit all. Depending on the industry, affirmative action compliance and planning can vary greatly. This is especially true when it comes to the needs, expectations, requirements, industry trends, and solutions for best practices. Three industries that must comply with affi rmative action regulations, but have differing concerns and requirements, are the manufacturing, healthcare, and financial industries.  

Social Media and the Workplace - To Be or Not to Be?
Did you know Facebook has over 300 million users? Chances are many of the employees at your company contribute to this number. Right now we’re living in a time of TwitterFaceSpace Pandemonium. No, this isn’t a real word—but as the emphasis on social media sites and its impact on the workplace continue to grow, it may soon become one.

Examining Upcoming Veterans Requirements - What to Expect in 2012
In the last couple of years large numbers of Veterans have returned, or are in the process of returning to civilian life, from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their employment is a high priority of the current Administration. Consequently, on April 26, 2011, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to change the regulations that govern how federal contractors and subcontractors complete their Veterans affi rmative action plan (AAP).

The Wonder of the Web: Why Web-Based Applications are Necessary for Effective Affirmative Action Compliance
Most of us can still remember having to pop in a cassette tape to play our favorite song. If we wanted to hear the song again we pressed rewind…and waited patiently for the tape to backspin to the beginning. Fast forward to today, and we have music literally at our fi ngertips. The changes in technology have completely streamlined our process. What does this have to do with HR? Everything.

What You Should Consider Before You Terminate That Employee
Without question, the employer may determine that a termination is justified, that not terminating based on certain conduct would establish a bad precedent and send a very negative message to other employees as well as potentially driving away customers from your business. A decision to retain an employee given certain types of conduct may also result in increased liability for the company. The purpose of this paper then in not to dissuade an employer from terminating an employee, but rather to make sure that the matter is fully explored before a final decision is made.

Jeopardizing Exemptions: Mistakes to Avoid
Improper classification of employees can have severe consequences. If misclassified, employees may lose overtime compensation and other rights to which they may be entitled. These may sometimes be recouped through subsequent litigation. On the other hand, if employers misclassify employees, the employers may face substantial liability for unpaid overtime compensation, liquidated or double damages, prejudgment interest, and attorneys fees. 29 U.S.C. § 216. In some circumstances, employers incur such liability because they attempt to apply the wrong exemption, even though they could have used a different exemption or exception to avoid overtime liability.

Labor Law For All Employer (Part Three)
This is the final issue of this three-part series. The National Labor Relations Act protects employees’ right to organize into unions: Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join,  or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, . . . and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment as authorized [under this law]. NLRA § 7, 29 U.S.C. § 157.

Labor Law For All Employer (Part Two)
This is part two of a three-part series on labor related laws.  Check back in April for the final issue of this three-part series. Many employers with good intentions develop employee participation committees as a means of improving productivity, increasing efficiency, and maintaining competitiveness. Employers may even develop employee participation committees as a means of easing tensions with employees and giving employees a forum for addressing their workplace concerns without needing to turn to a union for support. In spite of the benefits employee participation committees may bring to a workplace, employers must be cautious when instituting any such committee, because the employer might violate theNational Labor Relations Act.

Labor Law for All Employers (Part One)
This is part one of a three-part series on labor related laws.  Check back in March for part two of this three-part series.TRUTH v. FICTION IN LABOR LAWMany employers mistakenly believe that without a union representing employees, or seeking to represent employees, they do not have to worry about federal labor laws.Fiction:My company is union-free, so I don‟t have to worry about labor laws, right?

Determining Employee Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Determining employee eligibility is the first step in handing an employee’s claim for unemployment insurance benefits. Having a solid understanding of employee eligibility not only saves employers time in the beginning of a claim by allowing them to determine quickly which claims to dispute, but also allows for the best possible case presentation before the administrative law judge through more informed decisions.

Evidenced-Based Wellness: Innovation and Return on Investment
Healthcare spending for employees is a common and logical focus to direct cost-control measures. However, experience has taught us that arbitrary limitations or reductions can cause more unintended consequences and unexpected harm than good. Poorly conceived plans can backfire resulting in not only a corrosive harm to staff morale, but also potentially exacerbate the healthcare costs that were attempting to be managed.

Lawful Hiring
Employers should save documents that reflect their efforts to diversify their workforce through their recruitment sources. If employers rely on "word of mouth" referrals from existing employees, it is likely that the job applicants will mirror the demographic composition of the existing workforce. If the employer's existing workforce is not diverse, word of mouth recruitment will have the effect of perpetuating imbalances in the workforce.

An Employer's Guide to Health Saving Accounts
The following provides you, as an employer, with information about Health Savings Accounts (?HSA?) under Code Section 223. You should read this explanation to evaluate whether HSAs are either an alternative to, or in addition to, health flexible spending accounts (Health FSAs) under Code Section 125 or Health Reimbursement Accounts (?HRA?) under Code Section 105(h).To fully understand the requirements of these new accounts, the following discusses its terms and its advantages and disadvantages over Health FSAs and HRAs in a question and answer format. In addition, a chart comparing both Health FSAs and HRAs with HSAs is included at the end of this explanation.It is important to remember this explanation is not intended to serve as a substitute for the advice of your lawyer, accountant or other personal tax or financial advisor.

Unemployment Compensation
1. Successfully Defending Against Claims And Managing Costs2. How To Win An Unemployment Compensation Hearing3. Implementing Successful Cost Control Measures

Top 20 FMLA Questions
1. Do Employers Have To Tell Employees that FMLA Leave Is Available? Yes. Employers must post conspicuously a notice explaining the FMLA’s provisions and how to file complaints of alleged violations with the DOL. Employers must also include a statement of FMLA rights in their employee handbooks. Employers without employee handbooks must make statements of FMLA rights available to employees. §§825.300, 825.301(a). 2. Does the Employee Have To Give the Employer Notice of Intent To Take Leave?

Effective Interviewing Techniques
Hiring decisions are too often made by individuals who are not aware of all of the related legal considerations. This whitepaper will teach you what questions you can and cannot ask, how to avoid claims of discrimination or ADA violations, how to permissibly conduct background checks, and how to avoid potential future litigation.

Payroll Overpayments
Although infrequent, there are times when an employer makes an overpayment to an employee. Reasons for an overpayment could stem from an accounting error, paying an employee at a rate that is too high or incorrect benefit deductions. Other reasons include terminated employees who receive vacation time before it was earned and sales people whose commission was too large. Regardless of how often or the reason overpaying an employee occurs, the employee is responsible for repaying the money when it is demanded. An error is not an automatic entitlement to keep unearned money.

Intermittent Leave: An Employer's Headache
Intermittent FMLA is one more challenge added to the professional plate of human resource managers. If you take your job seriously, you understand the struggle employers have with balancing leave that is guaranteed by federal law with need of the company. Dissatisfaction and confusion surrounding FMLA intermittent leave does not have to lead to headaches when you understand and evaluate the regulations. While employees have a right to take time off as needed, that right does not extend to abusing the law at the employers expense.

New Pregnancy Protections Impacting ALL Illinois Employers
HB 8, pushed through the Illinois Legislature and ready to be signed into law by Governor Quinn, amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to add to the list of employment discrimination, an employer's failure to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee based on conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Successful PTO Programs
When it comes to managing employee absences ? whether for vacation, sick leave or personal days ? every organization faces the delicate balance between what is best for its employees and for the company. The frustration of having adequate human resources to fill in for unexpected time off is also very common.

Five Most Common Workplace Injuries
Despite a firms best efforts, some employees will, inevitably, be injured on the job. In 2010, over 4,500 American workers received lethal injuries at work, while millions more incurred disabling injuries ( Injuries not only reduce productivity, they also increase workers compensation rates and can affect employee morale (

ADA Claims to Proceed to Jury Trial Despite Safety Concerns
This case illustrates how important it is for employers to fully engage in the interactive process. Despite a formal process for addressing accommodation requests and evidence that it engaged in an interactive process, at least to some extent, the judge still found GEs efforts lacking.

Reverse Age Discrimination in the Workplace
As society continues to create stereotypes surrounding the millennial generation, young supervisors and managers are finding it more difficult to gain respect from older co-workers and colleagues. Age discrimination goes both ways, and young employees in positions of authority are experiencing this type of discrimination in a variety of ways.

Ask These Questions When You Are Building Your Organization's Ethical Foundation
The public has witnessed numerous cases involving organizational scandals and questionable ethical practices in recent years. Companies such as Enron and WorldCom have ceased to exist because of the pervasiveness of unethical conduct. Other organizations, both large and small, have been subject to public scrutiny and legal actions as a result of questionable activities. Reputations have been ruined, individuals have been prosecuted, and employees, stockholders, retirees and customers have been appreciably harmed by various types of unscrupulous conduct.

Considerations in Preventing and Responding to Workplace Violence
With all of the latest advances in technology, suppose an announcement was made today touting a new device that is guaranteed to protect the workplace from the dangers of workplace violence, including the unthinkable potential of a deadly incident.

Tips for Conducting Meetings to Achieve Positive Results
Do you ever wonder why some meetings seem to last so long? Is it because discussions are allowed to veer off track? Is it the result of disorganization or a lack of preparation? It is these and similar situations that lead participants to question whether their time involved in meetings is well spent. Although organizations readily recognize the value of time as a resource and place it under a microscope in examining productivity and processes, its use can easily be overlooked in the context of day-to-day meetings.

Growing Popularity of Social Media Creates Need for Organizational Policies
The popularity of social media continues to grow as evidenced by ongoing publicity highlighting its benefits and widespread use. Employers are increasingly jumping onboard to ensure that their organizations maintain a competitive edge. While there is an awareness of the numerous benefits derived from the use of social media, employment-related downsides may be less fully understood.

Apply a Constructive Approach to Prevent, Resolve Workplace Conflicts
Conflicts occur within all organizations. Their results can be positive or negative, depending on whether our interactions with one another are respectful or confrontational. Applying a consistent and constructive approach to conflict prevention and resolution can influence these interactions and have a positive impact on individuals and the overall organization.

Successfully Acclimating New Employees to the Workplace Pays Dividends
As employers express cautious optimism that the economic downturn is showing signs of recovery, it becomes more likely that they will begin to make plans for hiring. At the point when preparations are initiated, it will be timely for organizations to assess programs to attract and retain employees. One initial focus would be to look at orientation and onboarding efforts, recognizing that the manner in which employees are acclimated to the organization can positively influence their perspectives and commitment moving forward.

Supervisors' Interactions with Employees Make a Difference
As employers assess their organizations and make plans for the year ahead, one area to be considered is the effectiveness of supervision in interacting with employees. Although there is a need to focus on all members of management, particular attention should be given to employees immediate supervisors.

Retirement Plans Must be Amended to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages by December 31, 2014
The IRS released Notice 2014-19 earlier this month, answering many of the open questions on the application of the Supreme Courts decision in U.S. v. Windsor to qualified retirement plans. Although the IRS provided initial guidance on the impact on employee benefit plans shortly after the Court found the Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMA) ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, many details specific to retirement plans were still outstanding.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram...Oh My! What Wisconsin Employers Need to Know Before Requesting Access to an Employee's Social Media Account
On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, signed into law the ?Wisconsin Social Media Protection Act.? The act went into effect on April 10, 2014, and places restrictions on the types of information that Wisconsin employers can and cannot seek from employees and/or job applicants regarding their personal social media accounts.

Overtime Concerns with Mobile Devices
The advent of mobile technology has brought along repercussions that have changed the way people work in a professional environment. Some organizations allow BYOD ( bring your own device) as they let the employees train and work using their own mobile devices. Mobile devices have become instrumental in providing a round-the-clock connectivity which is beneficial for a progressive organization banking on a virtual workspace. This new trend has seen many employers providing their employees with mobile devices as it has been observed to improve their productivity.

Why You Should Ditch Traditional Performance Review for Behavioral Based Reviews
Many HR professionals and even managers agree that traditional performance reviews are not effective at all. Traditional performance reviews foster animosity and reduce employee morale, making them less loyal to the company as they perceive that the company is not concerned with employee development. In fact, this obsession with rewarding employees based on the amount of work rather than the quality of work. Additionally, often only one manager is involved in giving performance reviews and appraisals and he/she has no idea how well the employee is doing and often let bias creep in.

Rhode Island to Pay People With Disabilities Minimum Wage Soon
Winds of change are blowing for the disabled (mentally disabled) in Rhode Island. It was recently agreed that mentally disabled people who are currently working long hours on low paying jobs, will be given opportunities to earn minimum wages.

Types of Employees That Put Your Cybersecurity at Risk - And How to Stop Them
Workplaces are now facing a new threat: an insider who can jeopardize company prospects and is a growing problem.

Not all business is good business. Sometimes the costs of dealing with specific customers outweigh the hoped-for benefits

President Obama Directs United States Department of Labor to Revise Wage & Hour Law
Earlier today, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing his Secretary of Labor to update the regulations to expand the number of employees eligible for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The president was expected to take more specific action based on statements made by White House personnel earlier this week, but he left virtually all of the details to the United States Department of Labor.

Firing for Bad Attitude- What Does the NLRB Say?
Managers are often heard complaining how their hands are tied and they cannot fire employees when they consistently show bad attitude. But a recent ruling of the National Labor Relations Board is set to change all that.

Group Interviews: How to Make them Work
There are many scenarios in which a group interview comes into play, but the most common one is when employers are looking to find a team lead. If an employer is looking for an applicant who is assertive and makes his or her voice heard, the best test is a group interview. You could also opt for a group interview when there is less time for individual interviews to be held, or when there are way too many candidates applying for a single post.

Examining Bonus Strategies
Payroll constitutes a crucial role in any business as it is used by most business owners as a means to motivate their employees. However, planning the bonuses strategically can make a huge difference to your business as well as the morale of your employees. Here are some of the best strategies you need to consider when it comes to planning the annual bonus at your business.

Obama Administration Issues Guidelines on Using Diesel in Fracking
The Obama administration recently made its first foray into the issue of potential water contamination caused by the controversial technique of fracking. The administration stated that it will be exerting more control over this injecting of diesel deep into the ground for extracting natural gas as well as oil.

Constructive Voluntary Quitting?
Many employers are familiar with the concept of constructive wrongful termination, a legal theory invoked by plaintiffs who claim that they were forced to quit as a result of intolerable and illegal working conditions. But what about constructive voluntary quitting? Constructive voluntary quitting is a doctrine codified under California Code of Regulations as well as earlier cases which establish that an employee is deemed to have quit ?by engaging in a voluntary act or course of conduct which leaves the employer no reasonable alternative but to discharge the employee and which the employee knew or reasonably should have known would result in his or her unemployment.? Cal. Code Regs., Tit. 22, ? 1256-1(f).

Will Your Retirement Plan for Employees Pass the Audit Test?
Employers need to be extra cautious while implementing benefit schemes for employees, because some of them may not comply with the new 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) rules. In 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) found that 75 per cent of plans they audited were fined, or had to reimburse for errors made.

Your Company is Losing Thousands of Dollars a Year on Employee Stress
According to the latest studies, employers in the United States are losing over $200 billion a year on employee Stress. These losses are occurring from a combination of employee absenteeism, lower productivity, turnover, workers compensation, medical insurance and more. One of the biggest costs to employers is the mistakes made on the job by employees who are tired and stressed and are unable to focus and concentrate efficiently at their job. Stress is not just affecting American Companies, but also international businesses as well. The United Nations International Labor Organization has defined Stress as a ?global epidemic?. That all being said, stress management for employees is going to be the most important issue of the 21st century.

Failure to Maintain I-9s can Result in Severe Civil Penalties
Non- maintenance of the I-9 forms for new employees can prove to be very costly for a business. A recent judgment in the 9th Circuit court resulted in civil penalties being imposed by the United States Immigration/ Customs Enforcement on an employer based in Washington. The incident has highlighted how important it is for all employers to understand that merely verifying if new hires have the proper legal status in the country is not a substitute for I-9 completion and maintenance.

NLRB Quickens the Union Voting Process
The National Labor Relations Board once again revived its effort of implementing new rules of making it simple for employees to form their unions. The recently proposed rules are quite similar to the ones that were given out in 2011, before they were quashed by a federal court due to procedural issues. The key to this new proposal is the 'quickies election rule' that will allow quick voting for union representation. The voting can take place in as less as ten days once the petition for organizing the polls is filed. On the other hand, it took around 42 days previously for the same, under the old guidelines of the NLRB for holding these elections.

Best Practices and Management of an Employee Referral Program
Employee referral programs can boost a business like no other. A referral program is like building an army of devoted ambassadors, who keep your brand at the top of the game. Most people are cynical about what's posted about a company through banners or media, unless said so by a ?trusted source.? Not all of your employees are going to...

ADA's "Substantial" Not as "Substantial" as it Used to Be
The U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, reversed a dismissal from the District Court on an ADA claim, ruling that temporary impairment from injuries can also be constituted as a disability under ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)....

Supreme Court Holds that Donning and Doffing of Work Gear Under a Collective Bargaining Agreement is "Changing Clothes" Under FLSA Section 203(o)
On January 27, 2014, in Sandifer v. U.S. Steel Corp., 12-417, 2014 WL 273241 (U.S. Jan. 27, 2014), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Seventh Circuit decision that time spent donning and doffing protective gear was time spent ?changing clothes? under Section 203(o) of the FLSA allowing parties to a collective bargaining agreement the ability to bargain over compensability of such time at the beginning and end of the work day...

Worker's Compensation Metrics: Assessing and Reporting on the Success of Your Program
The good old way of keeping your employees motivated is through performance based compensation. Nearly one-third of companies use this technique, to keep their stellar performers motivated. Surveys have shown that companies need to track the effects of these compensation programs better, to see the influence it is having on the employees...

Supreme Court Decides on Compensating Time for "Changing Clothes"
Employers in industries where employees don work clothes got a shot in the arm when the US Supreme Court ruled that workers do not have to be paid for the time they spend in ?donning and doffing? safety gear before or after their shifts. Such actions were not eligible for compensation under Section 203 (o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. US Steel, the employers, said that the time taken to put on or take off work clothes...

Nearly 600 NLRB Decisions Striked Down by Supreme Court
The National Labor Relations Board have their work cut out for them, after having over 600 decisions which were taken in 2012 being shot down by the Supreme Court. The Constitution enables the president to make high-level appointments while Congress is in recess, while President Obama made appointed officials to the NLRB in 2012--when this was not the case with the Senate. It is said that the Senate was holding sessions once in three days, so as to prevent the president from exercising his constitutional authority to make these appointments.

Employers Must Post OSHA Recordkeeping Summary by February 1st
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has made a public announcement reminding employers that they must post the total number of job-related illnesses and injuries that took place through the course of a year. The statement must be provided by the end of April, 2014. The form to be focusing on is the Form 300, and not the 300 Log provided by OSHA. The forms are accepted from February 1, 2014, until April 30, 2014...

2014 Deadline Approaches for Employee Stock Statements and Returns
The IRC (Internal Revenue Code) now dictates that companies and employers give a written statement allowing employees and former employees to take part in trading stock options as per incentives or bonuses. The statement must be made directly to the employees, and should either state that they have exercised their right to an incentive stock option, or obtained share titles of the corporation...

FMLA to Turn into the FAMILY Act?
The FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) has been in force for a long time now. But it may soon be replaced by the newer FAMILY Act. Several experts identified shortcomings and problems with the FMLA that the FAMILY Act tries to correct. Both the acts cover the same area which is paid leave, medical leave, and family leave for employees. This area has long been a contentious issue with critics claiming that not enough leave benefits were available to most full-time employees...

A Guide to Writing an Employee Handbook
When you start your own company, having an employee handbook may not seem all that important. But only with time you realize that this is one of the most significant pieces that you need to have, not just to tell your employees what you want from them, but also to communicate to them what they can expect from you. It is one of the most important tools of communication between employers and employees so it needs to be chalked out well...

Gratuity: Taxation and Management of Tipped Employees
Come January 2014, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) will categorize automatic gratuities under service charges. This move will make gratuities liable to payroll taxing as they will be considered as regular wages. The ruling, which had been issued in 2012, while updating the tax policy on tips, has been delayed until now...

The Employer's Playbook for ACA Compliance: Ten Practical Strategies
The Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Health Care Reform, or the ACA) is complicated. While there is nothing in the ACA that requires any employer to provide group health care coverage to its employees, the failure to do so can come with a price. The ACA is a game changer - one that requires a different approach to compliance than in the past. As with any complex law, the devil is in the details. Some of those details have been omitted in order to help you focus on the big picture...

NLRB Rules Out No Gossiping Rule
NLRB ALJ Donna Dawson recently passed a verdict stating that rules preventing employees from gossiping violates Section 8 (a) (1) of the National Labor Relations Act, and also diminishes exercising Section 7 of the NLRA. The Laurus Technical College case involved the dismissal of Joslyn Henderson, a former employee at the college...

End of Year Payroll Tips
The end of the year is not always a cause for celebrating. This is especially true for small businesses. Such organizations must start planning how they are going to plan their year-end taxes. The HR department in such organizations play major roles in handling this issue that comes up every year. A few simple steps should ease the process out for you...

Unpaid Interns May Finally be Protected
Interns are the people who an organization hires as a temporary arrangement for a particular period of time before they are made permanent employees or they are asked to leave. The time period varies from one place to another, but usually it starts from two months and can even go up to two years. Most of the time, this internship is done by students during their year break period or it is done after the completion of their course...

Behavioral-Based Interviewing
The employment market remains saturated with unemployed, highly qualified workers vying for a small number of job openings. Seasoned job candidates with years of experience compete with new college graduates looking for a chance to begin their careers. With a labor market this competitive and diverse, comparing credentials and years of service isn't always the best way to measure true potential. For human resource managers and recruiters, finding the right hire has become more about choosing those with the right judgment, wisdom and reaction skills to handle the challenges of the moment. So, behavior matters as much as experience. That's where behavioral interviewing becomes key...

Fake Obamacare Websites Trying to Trick Users
There is growing nationwide concern among law enforcement officials regarding potential fraud associated with the Obamacare program. Authorities in California have recently shut down ten different fake Obamacare websites. These domains of these shutdown sites closely resembled the official marketplace website for Covered California ( that offered affordable health insurance under the Affordable Care Act...

California's Paid Family Leave Benefit Leading to Confusion
This year, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law an act that provides ?paid family leave? benefit to employees. But the wording of the act has created a lot of confusion. There are many misunderstandings of the act and what it actually entails for the employees. The law is not currently in force and will only be in effect from the year 2014. Until then, the employees will not get the paid benefits though they can still take the leaves...

Popular Apps to Make Your Job Search Easier
Nowadays with so many smartphones available in the market at a very low cost, their popularity has increased in an enormous way. With that, the use of apps has also increased. An app is nothing but a shorter version of the term ?software application. These software applications are commonly used in mobile phones and tablets...

Stock Issue in 401(k) Plans - Waiting on Supreme Court
Department of Labor had filed a petition in the early November to the Supreme Court to look into the matter of fiduciary forethought in managing company stock as one of the options for investment. The petition by the department looks forward to tackling the problems in the circuits of the judiciary which may make it easy for individuals to challenge their employers at such times when the company loses its stick value.

Inclement Weather Pay Policies: What You Need to Know
Inclement weather is a typical weather condition that can cause major disturbance to roads and regular operations of schools and business establishments in a particular area. Different companies will have different policies regarding the pay for their employees during such inclement weather conditions. The weather conditions also differ from place to place as some regions might have problems because of cold weather leading to extensive snowfall, while other regions might be facing situations of heavy rainfall leading to floods and cyclone...

How to Ensure Your Website Will Attract New Talent to Your Company
There is no organization in the world that doesn't want talented people to work with them. However, the big problem these companies face is that they are not able to attract the right people, and as such, talent acquisition becomes an issue. There can be various reasons for it, like the company is not very well known, it has got a negative perception in the market, and many more. Many companies, however, forget one basic aspect. Their website is a major tool that helps a great deal in the recruitment process by attracting many applicants to the company...

NLRB Charges Wal-Mart for Broken Labor Law
Wal-Mart is now in quite a spot post the escalations in strikes and media scrutiny on Monday. The worlds biggest employer (as a private firm) now faces a number of threats from various fronts. Not only are a substantial number of workers in Ohio on strike, employees who haul goods into California have also stopped work. An Employee-to-employee charity initiative has been in the media and the labor groups public announcements have mentioned two separate Wal-Mart warehouses in their complaints...

Benefits to End for Unemployed in 2014
There is a high chance that about two million unemployed people will suffer the absence of benefits coming in March 2014. Nearly 1.5 million American citizens may lose the benefits they get for being unemployed at the end of the year. Additionally, another 850,000 could suffer from the withdrawal of these benefits because their agreement will expire in a few months...

How is Comparability Data Used in Setting Exec Comp?
In determining appropriate compensation levels, we often look to see amounts paid to others for similar services. This comparability data can be very helpful, but it can be misleading if not used properly...

Ways to Improve an Incentive Bonus Plan
Motivating and compensating employees can be a difficult, but important, challenge at any business. Here are some simple ways to improve a bonus plan...

IRS Announces "Use-It-Or-Lose-It" Rule for FSAs
FSAs, or Flexible Spending Accounts, are financial accounts that benefit from certain tax advantages attained through cafeteria plans as well as other employee benefits offered through Section 125 of the IRC (Internal Revenue Code). Though these bring down the total payroll tax that an employee has to face, the ?use-it-or-lose-it rule implies that those who do not...

OFCCP Final Rule Updates & Expands VEVRAA Regulations
Todays Federal Register contains the U.S. Department of Labors Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Final Rule defining the obligations of federal contractors and subcontractors with regard to disabled veterans, recently separated veterans, active duty wartime or campaign badge veterans, and Armed Forces Service Medal veterans (?protected veterans?) under 41 C.F.R. Part 60-300. 78 Fed. Reg. No. 185 at 58613-58697 (September 24, 2013). The Final Rule rescinds veterans regulations...

OFCCP Final Rule for Individuals with Disabilities Establishes Controversial New Requirements for Federal Contractors & Subcontractors
Todays Federal Register contains the U.S. Department of Labors Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Final Rule revising the affirmative action regulations for individuals with disabilities. 78 Fed. Reg. No. 185 at 58681-58752 (September 24, 2013). The Final Rule imposes major new requirements for applicant self-identification, data collection and recordkeeping, and increased recruitment efforts. In addition, despite significant opposition from the federal contractor...

Senate Votes to Advance Employment Non-Discrimination Act
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act made it through to the members of the US Senate with a vote of 61-30. Apart from getting a positive response from all of the Democrats, the bill was also supported by seven Republicans. The bill was introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon. This Act will be prohibiting certain entities, which will include...

Pre-Employment Testing: The Legal Implications
Today, many employers are resorting to pre-employment testing to verify that their employees meet the necessary health standards before they are employed. This is mandatory at some companies and is optional in others. Sometimes, employees might refuse to undergo such tests. In other cases, they may not get employed, unless they take these tests...

Effective Strategies for Documentation of Employee Discipline
Employee discipline can start affecting a business and its bottom-line. It is essential for any business to ensure that its employees are disciplined and doing their work as required. It is the responsibility of HR managers to ensure employee discipline. If there arises any major issues in case of certain employees, termination is the best way out. There are several proven strategies for implementing and documenting employee discipline...

2014 Unemployment and Disability Insurance Taxable Wage Bases Announced
Unemployment insurance financially assists workers that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. This financial assistance is provided on a temporary basis. In compliance with the federal law, unemployment insurance systems are administered at the state level. Each state establishes its own rules and regulations regarding the amount, eligibility and duration. According to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, employers must pay...

Colorado's Amendment 66 Increases Taxes on Employers
With the news out about a week ago, employers in Colorado will be looking at higher taxes thanks to the changes that have been made to the tax law. The 66th amendment will kick up the individual income for those residing within the state of Colorado. Additionally, the taxes will now be calculated using a dual bracket system, as opposed to...

Wellness Programs Will Get New Rules in 2014
Employers are perpetually on the lookout for better ways to manage their employees' health care coverage. In this regard, wellness programs have always been a popular strategy. But wellness programs can help us optimize spending on healthcare, while improving the health of American citizens...

New Rule in Using Payroll Card Accounts
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau brought out a bulletin in September where it reiterated how the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and Regulation E were applicable to payroll cards also. However, the high point was the press release that accompanied the bulletin. In this press release it warned employers against...

October 15th Deadline for Medicare Part D
If you are an employer who has sponsored group health plans, here is something you should know. All the employers who have been supporting group health plans that also take into account prescription drug coverage, need to seek information from all the individuals eligible for Medicare whether their coverage is creditable or not...

Overtime Concerns With Remote Access and Mobile Devices
With the advent of technology, many employers and employees are making effective use of mobile devices to complete their work. Employers have started providing employees with mobile devices to keep the employees connected with their work at all times. This trend has increased over the years due to the increase in the employee's productivity since this concept has been adopted. Although there are...

Workplace Investigations
Workplace investigations are increasingly getting popular with a greater number of employers feeling the compelling urgency to investigate. There could be different reasons for investigations, ranging from attitude problem to theft and drug abuse. Unless these issues are addressed promptly, the problems for employers go on to compound and then it will become unmanageable...

Background Checks Hit by Government Shutdown
With the United States Government being shutdown for the past three days, many companies are wondering whether or not the background checks that are conducted will be affected by such a change. The shutdown occurred due to the fact that Congress were unable to pass an authorization for sufficient funds in order to process public operations. This means that except...

IRS to Start Taxing Automatic Tips for Waiters
For many years now, waiters have earned their livings through minimum wages and tips from the customers that they serve. It was due to their unending smiles and cheerful dispositions that tips are considered as a social obligation in most places. This has led to many waiters and waitresses earning enough money to sponsor their education and help their families...

Home Care Workers get new Labor Rights from FLSA
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), is about to see some additions with regard to the conditions and protection offered to those who work as home care workers. Under the Act, there was a loophole called ?companionship exemption, which granted neither extra pay for overtime duty, nor a minimum wage for people employed in home care...

Could Minimum Wage Increases Hurt Those It's Meant to Help?
A recent change in the legislation that looks after the minimum wages of workers in California is getting mixed reactions from the various groups affected by it. Governor Jerry Brown announced this new plan for a rise in the minimum wages of the workers in the state. It states that the minimum wages will be raised to $10 by 2016...

NLRB Aiming at Workplace Confidentiality Policies
Over the years, the confidential policies for investigation and the confidential or proprietary policies for information have come under the scope of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). When individuals join organizations, they sign a confidentiality agreement which expires long after they have left the company as well. However, in most corporations, employees at lower levels generally do not know much about the...

What is an Employee Worth?
It is well established that the most difficult part of running a business is attracting and retaining the best available workers. This is also one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. In fact, one business consultant has said that recruiting and keeping good employees should ultimately be the only priority for a business owner...

Keys to Avoiding OSHA Citations and Liabilities
OSHA is designed to maintain workplace safety standards. Companies diverse in size, variety, and working environments have one thing in common. They present nearly the same safety and health hazards and so they need nearly same solutions. They must do their homework well to meet the challenges of compliance and inspection...

Claims Management in Workers' Compensation Cases
Workers compensation claims are all too abundant, yet surprisingly, very little appears to be understood on issues involving health practice and occupational safety. Companies involve a diverse variety of work environments with challenges of regulatory compliance. However, despite the variation in circumstances, the same health and safety issues are faced by nearly all of them. ..

Video Interviewing in 2013
Use of video as a source of communication has come a long way today. Gone are the days when online video sessions were used to get in touch with your distant family members and friends. Today they have turned out to be a major part of the...

Human Resources: How to Encourage Contributions in Employee Retirement Plans
Employers try to attract the best candidates by offering retirement plans and other benefits, but many employees do not contribute as much as they should to these plans. If you are concerned about low employee contributions to your company's retirement plan, there are a few things you can...


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