Below are some interesting numbers pulled from the 2013 HRIS Requirements Report published by our friends at compareHRIS.com.
This infographic provided courtesy of compareHRIS.com.
It can’t just be me. Do you find the latest round of changes in the status of health care plans tiresome and tedious to decipher?
The latest statistics I have seen describe a significant shift in the attitude of small business owners to eliminate their compliant but “grandfathered” programs and implement ones that are more fully in line with the government mandates. The aim is, of course, to avoid penalties for non-compliance. Still, I wonder at the cost of changing one compliant plan for another simply to avoid a future hassle. The calculations are intense to say the least.
Similarly, companies with so-called “Cadillac” plans face the same scrutiny and decisions. These high-value health care plans provide benefits that far exceed those of more mundane ones. For example, many of these plans have no deductibles and co-pays under $20 for a visit to a primary care physician.
The government doesn’t really look closely at the real value of these plans. It is simply a matter of cost and of perceived “fairness.” In short, if your company pays more than a certain amount for either individual or family plans, then the plan is considered a high-value or Cadillac plan and will be subject to a non-deductible, excise tax of 40%. How’s that for motivation to eliminate Cadillac plans?
Health care benefits are an essential element of finding, recruiting and hiring the best talent as well as retaining them after the fact. Still, the PPACA and its future iterations are becoming more and more complex and the time required to understand the mechanics of the process as well as its tax ramifications are enormous.
If you would rather concentrate on running your business and leave the challenges of the PPACA to the experts, consider retaining the services of a Professional Employer Organization. PEOs spend their time demystifying and understanding the implications of existing labor law and its ramifications for small to mid-sized businesses. The expertise of these companies is indispensable when it comes to benefits administration and its tax consequences.
Forget grandfather clauses and Cadillacs. Consider the advantages of a PEO. Eliminate some aggravation and save your time, your energy and other resources to grow your business.
In a stunning departure from their avowed goals, the Obama administration has decided to delay the implementation of the Small Business Health Options Program
(SHOP). The plan was touted as a way to provide affordable health insurance to small businesses and their employees and was one of the main selling points of the entire Patient Protection and Care Act (PPACA
The delay is just another instance of the government’s inability to recognize the ramifications of its actions. While demanding that small business owners comply with the mandated edicts in a timely manner, the government, despite massively larger resources, cannot do the same. While politicians pound the table with demands that speak solemnly about the need to “do something,” they are remarkably unable to implement their schemes. It is just another betrayal to the working people of this country. What is SHOP?
With all that said, the small business owner must still acquiesce to the law. So here are some of the particulars about the Small Business Health Options Program.
As originally written, the law would have the federal government establishing “health care exchanges” in every state. These entities would provide a multitude of healthcare insurance plan options for small businesses.
In turn, this would allow employers to choose the level of health insurance coverage that they would offer. Employees would then be free to choose from a variety of qualified health plans. The idea was that employers could offer multiple plans but have a simplified system of payment.
Originally the SHOP would go into effect in January, 2014 but the government expected that most states would opt out of the “exchange idea’ and did not foresee that 33 states chose the “exchange” option. Overwhelmed by this denial of their fiat, the federal government must struggle to provide what they promised. Unfortunately, they are not prepared to do so and have delayed implementation of the SHOP until at least 2015.The Ramifications
Citing “operational challenges,” the Obama administration has failed in its obligation to adequately provide the insurance markets or “exchanges” that would allow for employees to have a choice. Instead, the vast majority of small employers buying through the exchange can offer only a single option. In addition, a single option does nothing to increase the downward pressure on insurance costs. It is a lose-lose proposition with everyone from employee to employer expecting to pay more premiums for less benefits.
In the most telling example of the “bait and switch” tactics utilized by the Federal government in passing the PPACA, the two states, (California and Connecticut) with the most advanced state run exchanges have opted to not provide choice for their members as it is NOT mandated in the federal guidelines. What to Do?
If you are confused about this issue – and many are, including the architect of the plan, Sen. Jay Rockefeller – consider the benefits of using a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) to help you wind your way through the bureaucratese. You will save an immense amount of time, money and aggravation. PEOs
are experts in all aspects of human capital management but bring exceptional expertise to the implementation of employee benefits. Not only are they experts in the administration and monitoring of this crucial arena but they can also use their superior bargaining power to provide greater benefits to your employees at a lower cost to you.
The recent ratification and implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA
) is just one of the many challenges that now face the human capital management personnel of any company. In this business environment, small business owners must reevaluate the need for an in-house HR solution and look for more innovative ways to meet their human capital and talent management needs. What Was the Traditional Role of an HR Administrator?
Whether you title them a generalist, a manager, or a director, all of the traditional HR oversight positions fulfilled a similar basic role; managing and facilitating certain aspects of the human capital management
process for an organization. These roles, depending on the size of the company, could often involve overlapping responsibilities that would become more distinct and clearly defined as the company grew but always their main focus was clear; facilitate the interactions between company employees, management and the government.
This highly fluid interactivity put HR administrators in a somewhat awkward position. While they were ostensibly employed by the company, they were also tasked with being advocates for their real “customers”, the employees of the company. It took a superior HR professional to perform the delicate balancing act necessary to successfully meet both needs.The New, Evolving Role of HCM Administrators
While many HCM managers still perceive their roles as described above, more forward minded professionals recognize that the role of the HR professional must change to more accurately accommodate the needs of today's modern and rapidly changing organizations. The days of the HR department being simple accountants and administrators are at an end.
To gain the most benefit from of your employees and to provide them with the best opportunities, a more balanced and comprehensive approach is needed. Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS
) and outside contractors like Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs
) that can help a company systematically hire, retain, motivate and properly deploy their employees must be utilized. Simply put, HR administration is no longer enough. Talent management is now the future of HCM.
People who work closely together may sometimes develop a false sense of familiarity, which can lead to one co-worker making unwanted advances toward another.
When the person making the advance is your boss, you may feel like you're in a no-win situation. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to handle it:
Both women and men can find themselves the target of unwanted advances by managers or bosses. Unfortunately, even though your boss may not mean any harm by asking you out, his position can make it uncomfortable to turn him down.
Your first instinct may be to go to HR, but if this is the first time he or she has done it, consider trying to handle it on your own first. Right or wrong, a complaint to HR may mark you as a troublemaker, which can lead to hostility from other managers or even your co-workers.
An Ounce of Prevention
You may be able to prevent unwanted advances before they happen by presenting a serious, focused image at work. Always wear professional attire, and don't engage in sexually suggestive joking with co-workers or management.
This is not to say it's ever your fault if you're sexually harassed, but making it clear you're there to work can help cut down on the possibility. Even the most focused worker can earn unwanted attention from a superior. In that case, it's time to be proactive.
Defusing the Situation
The first thing you should do is make it clear that your boss's advance is unwelcome. Be gentle, but firm with your rebuff. If your boss seems understanding and backs off, you can save both of you a trip to HR.
Make sure you remain respectful while telling your superior you're not interested. While the stressful nature of the situation may tempt you to be harsh, this can lead to hostility, which will eventually require HR or legal intervention.
Respectful ways to turn down an advance include, "I'm sorry, but I have a standing policy to never get involved with someone from work" or, "I want to keep our relationship professional."
If All Else Fails
If you've politely turned down your boss's advances, and he or she continues pressing for a personal relationship, you may have no other choice but to report the incidents.
If your complaint to the company's HR department falls on deaf ears, you may need to escalate your claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Finally, the EEOC will determine whether it will prosecute the case on your behalf or, more likely, will send you a "right-to-sue" letter that allows you to hire a lawyer and take the case to court.
Unwanted attention from your boss may be as simple as a misunderstanding, but if you don't make your feelings clear, it can turn into a far bigger problem. Take quick action to turn down these advances so they don't develop into ongoing sexual harassment.
Professional Employer Organizations
PEO companies are well versed in HR policy and are a great resource in all things HR. They will make sure the right course of action is chosen and will offer wise counsel to help eliminate the threat of legal action as well as eliminate the unwanted advances from the supervisor.
This post was provided by Angie Mansfield who writes on a variety of business topics, you can view her latest post here on how to remove information from public records.
At the end of the day, most employees just want to do their jobs.
While the majority will never consider filing a lawsuit against their employer, the Jury Verdicts Research 2007 edition of "Employment Practices Liability, Jury Award Trends, and Statistics" stated that the number of employee lawsuits has risen more than 400% over the past 20 years.
Of those lawsuits, more than 41% were against small to mid-sized private employers -- those who have 15 to 100 workers.
Why Employees Sue
Many times, employees sue their bosses for emotional, rather than legal complaints. An employee whose discipline or firing is handled poorly is far more likely to sue than one who is treated with respect.
On that same note, many employee lawsuits arise from the worker feeling mistreated. If she feels that you consistently ignore or downplay her concerns, or feels that you disrespect her, she may decide that the only way she'll be heard is to sue.
A person may also sue because the employer doesn't make expectations clear from the beginning of employment. Confusion over hours, pay, or job duties can lead the employee to feel like you're taking advantage of or exploiting him when these factors end up different than he was expecting.
How to Protect Yourself
Good communication and a respectful work environment go a long way toward preventing an employee from pursuing legal action.
Make sure all of your new hire and training materials deliver clear, direct expectations for job duties, hours, pay, and benefits. They should also make it clear what actions will lead to disciplinary procedures, up to and including termination.
React immediately to any disrespect or abusive behavior in the workplace -- whether it's on the part of a manager or an employee. Respond to employee complaints and concerns with respectful, honest feedback - and then follow up on them.
How to Terminate an Employee without Being Sued
Know the law on employee termination -- and make sure you're following it. Make your reasoning for the termination crystal clear -- this leaves no room for the employee to imagine you're firing her on the basis of age or gender.
Be diligent with documentation. Keep careful notes about all warnings given to an employee, whether written or verbal, as well as records on employee performance and absences.
Put a plan in place that clearly defines your termination procedure. This plan should include your documentation, an outline for termination meetings that includes a list of who will be present, and policies for allowing the fired employee to retrieve personal belongings from his locker or workspace. It's a good idea to consult a PEO company or an employment attorney to help define this plan.
You can also consider purchasing employee lawsuit insurance to protect you and help recover legal fees in case someone does sue.
Finally, working with a professional employer organization (PEO) can be instrumental in providing you with up to date information tied to policies and best practices thereby reducing the legal risks you face as a business owner.
Guest post provided by Angie Mansfield. Angie writes on a variety of business topics, including the essentials of small business management.
Recruiting and hiring the best talent is a tedious and time-consuming task. In addition, it is often fraught with contention and unpleasant realities. Struggling managers, stressed with day-to-day operational responsibilities may give short attention to this important task. They may overlook an excellent candidate when pressed for time or even hire a substandard candidate out of dire necessity. No one is immune to the pressures of their job and it is inevitable that sometimes they will make a bad hiring decision.
Resolving this problem situation is not as difficult as it seems. The use of a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can relieve much of the stress involved in the hiring decisions. Focused on hiring and other HR priorities, a PEO has the expertise, experience and resources to hire the very best people for your business.
Most importantly, a PEO stands outside the framework of your business allowing then to more objectively evaluate a potential employee. The staff of a PEO is not worried about the next few hours, days or weeks. Instead they are focused on the long term needs of you, your managers and your company. If you are having trouble finding the right candidates for your business, consider a PEO to help you in your hiring process and for all your other human capital needs.
Does your company have an employee manual?
If so, how can you be sure that your employees understand it and follow the regulations you have worked so hard to create?
Not all manuals are based on the things that an employer 'creates', many of the rules and regulations are based on state or federal rules. It is important for all employees to understand the things that are written in their manual, not only to stay within regulations, but to perform their jobs correctly.
Set the Example You Want Your Employees to Follow
If you are not following the rules in your own manual, such as adhering to the time tracking system rules, your employees will wonder why they must.
While it is tempting as an employer to say, “Because I am in charge”, when you set an example, employees will follow. For bad or good, this is true in most instances. No employee will respect an employer that cannot follow his or her own employee manual.
Some key facts to include in an employee manual:
- Dress code
- Time tracking use
- Sexual harassment
- Sick time
- Material data safety information
All of the above points, plus any other important information that affects employee performance, should be included in depth. The employer can write manuals, though it is advisable to have a professional writer or PEO company complete the handbook. A professional will include the standard items in most handbooks and can format an employer written handbook to make it easier to understand.
One of the most important items to cover in an employee manual is time tracking.
This includes how to clock in, out, and what to do if the employee is unable to make it in to work. If an employee does not understand how to do the basic items listed above, they are not going to be able to understand their position and what it entails.
For the employer that is just starting out and hiring employees for the first time, read through your manual.
If you are unable to understand it, your employees will not. Give the manual to a family member or friend that is not intimate with the way you think. If they can understand the manual, you may have a clearly written book that will be indispensable to your employees.
Always know your handbook. If your employees cannot come to you for immediate clarification, then you need to read your own manual again. Know it by heart and know the procedures you expect your employees to understand. If you cannot do this, then your employees cannot be expected to understand their function.
If an employee signs a paper indicating they understand the manual, yet breaks regulations often, the employee can and should be fired.
A signed contract indicating their understanding and pledge to follow the manual is legally binding in many states. The handbook is often the legal responsibility of the owner or employer to provide.
If such a handbook is not provided, employees cannot follow rules or regulations. If federal or state laws need to be clarified to employees, not providing a manual can lead to a lawsuit on behalf of the employees, state, or federal agency.
For assistance, companies should consider utilizing their Professional Employer Organization, as they can aid you in creating and/or editing a handbook of quality and can reduce the many legal risks involved if policies aren’t stated using correct terminology.
Please refer to the 5 Fundamentals of a Well-Drafted Employment Handbook for more detailed information.
Tina Samuels contributed to this post, she writes on various small business topics such as time tracking and making the right hires.
Small business leaders and their constituents breathed a collective sigh as it was announced last week that the Small Business Efficiency Act
was introduced into Congress. The bill is intended to regulate Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs
) so that they can expand the role they can play in administering small and medium sized businesses.
Specifically, the bill will remove certain uncertainties as to the standing of PEOs in the federal tax code and also create a voluntary certification program for the PEOs. Effectively, these changes will expand the roles that PEOs can play in the payroll and tax compliance activities of their clients.Professional Employer Organizations
provide a range of services including payroll processing, benefits administration and compliance services. They bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the HR administration of the companies they represent. In addition, using the combined buying power of their clients, they are also able to obtain a superior set of health benefits for the employees entrusted to their care.
Furthermore, PEOs have banded together in the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) to further the ends, not only of themselves, but of all small businesses in the United States. In fact, NAPEO solidly supported the efforts of Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Bill Nelson (D-FL who were the key legislators behind the introduction of the Small Business Efficiency Act (S.479).
It is more than a relief to finally see government and business owners seeing eye to eye on a problem that has plagued small business for years, it is a fundamental shift in attitude that business owners and PEOs hope will foreshadow a better, more cooperative business climate in the U.S.
When you are faced with basic human resource functions, you may feel in control or you may feel overwhelmed. If you hate the job, you may wonder about outsourcing the work.
There are both good and bad aspects of HR outsourcing
, no matter what size your company is. It can mean the difference between employees lacking trust to the company running less efficiently. Which do you choose?The Advantages of Outsourcing HR Functions
There are many solid advantages of outsourcing your human resource functions to an outside company. Some of these include:
- Savings with Recruiting - Instead of paying HR year-round to recruit and interview when the business needs it, outsourcing means you only pay when you are actively hiring. This can be a great cost-savings.
- It is More Efficient - Outsourcing human resource management items are more efficient than keeping them in-house. With outsourcing, the business can focus on other aspects of the company, and let someone who has expertise in HR deal with those issues. The price that is saved by outsourcing can also go into more inventory or better equipment for the business.
The Disadvantages of Outsourcing HR Functions
- It Saves Time - When you outsource your human resource management to a company that specializes in that, you don’t have to guess at what you need. They have already done all the research and know HR in and out. They know what to do and when to do it. With outsourcing, there is no trial-and-error on the part of the business.
There are also good reasons to keep your human resource functions in-house and with your own team. These include:
- In-House Knows Your Company - An HR team that is in-house knows how change will affect the company, where as an outsourcing HR team may not know the operational process of your business. This knowledge will help a company flow better without as many disruptions.
- There is the Trust Issue - In-House HR teams may make the employees of your company feel more at ease than outsourcing HR teams. Employees that are made to deal with people who aren't in the company may begin to view it as a "them against us" philosophy. Although, there are situations where employees may appreciate the outsourced HR team rather than the in-house HR person.
- It Isn't a One-Size-Fits-All Approach - While outsourcing HR puts it in the hands of the professionals, that doesn't mean that what typically works well for others will work well for your specific company. Hiring an HR crew can mean you have people who know your company, your employees, and what subtle nuances it needs manipulated.
By weighing both the good and the bad of HR outsourcing you can make an informed decision about the direction your company should go.
A company's needs and focus often times change, meaning their human resource management shouldn’t be afraid to change as well. Guest Author
: Tina Samuels writes on many small business topics and for a variety of websites, including Reputation.com