HR Toolkit

This toolkit explores successful recruiting techniques and suggests best practices for your organization. Included within are walk-through guides, potential interview questions, sample forms and much more. Download here: HR Toolkit

 

Worried about the Equifax breach?

 

You and/or your employees may be worried about the latest high-profile breach to hit the news. But remember, if you’re a Deluxe Provent® partner, you already have the protection tools needed: award-winning ID theft and fraud protection services.

 

Security incidents like Equifax’s recent data breach remind us that protecting sensitive information is more important than ever. Deluxe works with EZShield® to bring award-winning services* to help secure and monitor your employees’ personal and financial information. If employees are victimized by an identity theft crime or other breach event, our service works to restore their identity. This is a good time to remind your employees of Unland’s identity theft protection program you offer as part of your employee benefits package.

 

Of course, if you haven’t already signed up with Unland to provide Deluxe Provent services to the people at your business or organization, there is no time like the present. Identify theft and fraud protection services are occupying an ever more important space in the benefits world.

 

Learn how to navigate the breach

We’ve created a tool for you to share within your organization to help customers navigate this most recent breach and show them the value of identity protection.

 

Download tool

For additional information about your Provent program, email deluxefinancialservices@deluxe.com and type “Provent” in the subject line.

 

*2013, 2015, 2016 Best Overall Identity Protection Services Leader award by JAVELIN https://www.ezshield.com/javelin-awards/

 

Benefits Buzz: Senate Rejects ACA Repeal Efforts

In the early morning hours of July 28, 2017, members of the U.S. Senate voted 49-51 to reject a “skinny” version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), called the Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA).

This was the final vote of the Senate’s 20-hour debate period, and effectively ended the Republicans’ current efforts to repeal and replace the ACA. However, the skinny repeal bill may be reintroduced at some point in the future.

What did the HCFA propose?

Similar to the American Health Care Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the HCFA would repeal the ACA’s individual and employer mandate penalties, effective Dec. 31, 2015. However, the employer mandate repeal would only be effective through 2024.

In addition, the ACA’s reporting requirements under Sections 6055 and 6056 would remain intact.

The HCFA would have also:

  • Extended the moratorium on the medical devices excise tax.
  • Increased the contribution limit for health savings accounts up to the maximum out-of-pocket limits allowed by law for high deductible health plans.
  • Amended the ACA’s existing Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers, added stricter requirements for the Department of Health and Human Services in approving waivers, and extended waivers to eight years (instead of five), with unlimited renewals.

What are the next steps for employers?

Because the Senate was unable to pass any ACA repeal or replacement bill, the ACA remains current law, and employers must continue to comply with all applicable ACA provisions.

Following the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that Republicans now intend to focus on other legislative issues, although they remain committed to repealing the ACA.

Updated Form I-9 Required Beginning Sept. 18

On July 17, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issued an updated version of Form I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Under federal law, every employer that recruits, refers for a fee or hires an individual for employment in the United States must complete a Form I-9.

The updated form replaces a version that was issued in 2016. Employers may continue using the 2016 form until Sept. 17, 2017. Exclusive use of the updated form is expected by Sept. 18, 2017. The new form expires on Aug. 31, 2019.

The updated Form I-9 includes revisions to the instructions and to the list of acceptable documents, but does not include substantive revisions for completing the Form I-9. Visit the USCIS website for more information regarding USCIS or the new Form I-9.

DID YOU KNOW?

On July 28, 2017, the Department of Treasury announced that it will be shutting down the my Retirement Account (myRA) program. The program was put in place by former President Barack Obama as a means to help those who did not have access to a retirement account at work to save for retirement.

Jovita Carranza, the United States Treasurer, explained that the program is being discontinued because it cost too much compared to the demand for the accounts.

For more information, please see the Department of Treasury’s myRA press release announcement.

 

 

 

Educating Employees on Voluntary Benefits

Offering voluntary benefits is a great way to enhance your benefits package, differentiate from competitors and increase employee satisfaction—all with little impact on your budget. But while employers may choose to offer numerous types of voluntary benefits that can deliver convenience and value for employees, many employees do not understand the advantages of these voluntary benefit options or are unclear how they work. Educate your employees on the advantages of these voluntary benefits so that you both reap the rewards.

Demonstrate the Value

When compared to employer-sponsored benefits, many employees may fail to see the value of voluntary benefits that they must personally finance. For example, one perk to voluntary benefits is that purchasing insurance through an employer group is often cheaper than buying individually, yet research shows that few employees are aware of this. When promoting your voluntary benefit options, discuss the benefits of having coverage, the risks of going without, and emphasize the convenience and value of purchasing through the company and paying through payroll deductions.

Coverage Education

It is important that employees fully understand their policy so that a misunderstanding does not lead to resentment toward the employer. For instance, if a consumer does not completely understand the nuances of property-casualty insurance and believes herself to be covered, it will come as a shock and possibly with misdirected frustration in the event of a major loss.

When offering any benefit option, employer-paid or voluntary, you should be sure your employees understand exactly how the coverage works. Here are a few ways to make sure your employees are sufficiently educated about their benefits:

  • Invite current employees to the monthly or quarterly benefits meetings provided for newly hired individuals.
  • Many voluntary benefits providers are willing to send a representative to discuss their coverage with employees.
  • While most benefits administrators don’t have time to meet individually with employees, consider scheduling small-group meetings with a few employees who have questions.
  • Enhance your existing benefits communication program with social media. Social media provides a convenient and effective way to reach out to your employees with educational information, tips and reminders.

Employer Advantage

In addition to boosting participation in your voluntary benefits programs, providing this meaningful education can position you as a valuable source of knowledge and strengthen employee satisfaction and loyalty to your company.

Talk to your The Unland Companies representative to learn more about available social media and employee benefit communication resources.      

8 Ways to Improve Your Culture

1. Recognize and reward valuable employee contributions.

According to Deloitte, the top 20 percent of companies with a recognition-based culture have a 31 percent lower turnover rate. Fifty percent of workers surveyed by CareerBuilder believe that recognition is a factor that drives retention. To effectively implement a rewards-rich work environment, be sure to do the following:

  • Identify specific behaviors and/or results aligned with your company’s values. Recognize those behaviors as frequently as possible.
  • Make it easy for everyone at your company to recognize and reward co-workers’ behaviors. Often, peer-to-peer recognition is the most effective way to infuse recognition into your culture.

2. Encourage employee autonomy.

It’s no secret that micromanaging your employees rarely produces favorable outcomes. Trusting your employees to manage their responsibilities on their own is not as simple as it sounds, though. Some simple, yet effective ways to inspire employee autonomy include the following:

  • Establishing autonomous work groups
  • Reining in bosses or co-workers who tend to hover over others
  • Creating decision-making opportunities

3. Incorporate flexibility into your organization.

Workplace flexibility can improve morale and reduce turnover. In fact, 51 percent of workers surveyed by CareerBuilder believe that a flexible schedule is a factor that significantly drives retention. Workplace flexibility programs are up to the organization’s discretion, but common ways flexibility is demonstrated include the following:

  • Telecommuting (work from home) opportunities
  • Flexible scheduling opportunities
  • Paid time off (PTO) policies

4. Provide regular and timely feedback.

Once-a-year feedback is a thing of the past. Younger generations thrive in environments where they know exactly how they are doing. Continuous, meaningful feedback provides employees with the tools they need to improve and grow. Opportunities to provide feedback outside of performance reviews could include the following:

  • Monthly or semi-monthly check-ins between a supervisor and employee
  • Peer-to-peer weekly check-ins
  • Mentoring programs

5. Embrace workplace transparency.

Trust is the foundation of a great company culture. Transparency can improve employees’ trust of upper management, give employees insight into a company’s operations and future, and improve cross-departmental collaboration. One way to improve your organization’s transparency is to share both the successes and challenges your organization and its employees face with everyone.

Another way to improve the transparency in your organization is to implement modern communication and collaboration tools. These tools make it easy for your employees to connect with one another and share crucial information. Listed below are popular tools used by other companies for chat and collaboration, video conferencing and project management purposes.

  • Chat and collaboration
    • Yammer
    • HipChat
    • Google Apps for Business
  • Video conferencing
    • Skype
    • Google Hangout
  • Project management
    • Jira
    • Trello

6. Promote strong professional co-worker relationships.

According to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, when individuals identify with and are invested in professional relationships with their colleagues, workplace productivity increases, employee morale increases and burnout levels decrease. However, building strong relationships takes time and effort. To help your employees, consider the following suggestions:

  • Encourage collaboration and peer-to-peer work.
  • Create “collision points” in your office. Collision points include areas like a communal coffee station or cafeteria.
  • Host events. No matter how small (think: team happy hour) or large (think: corporate outing), employer-sponsored events are a great way for employees to interact with peers that they normally would not on an average day.

7. Create a mentoring program.

Providing employees with professional development opportunities is a low-cost retention tool and a simple way to improve employee engagement and your company culture. A mentor is an individual in the workplace who shares his or her knowledge and expertise to help another employee grow professionally. Some companies use group mentoring, third-party mentoring or reverse mentoring, while others use peer mentoring, flash mentoring or one-to-one pair mentoring.

Mentoring programs provide benefits to all parties involved. Benefits include the following:

  • Skill development. Mentors teach mentees the skills and qualities necessary for success. Mentoring provides mentors with the opportunity to develop their communication and leadership skills.
  • Improved networking and teamwork. Mentoring allows employees to build a professional relationship over a period of time and teaches them about the value of networking. This also instills a sense of cooperation and teamwork at your company.

8. Improve your “soft” benefits offerings.

There are a variety of employer-sponsored programs that encourage employee engagement, increase employee morale and attract new talent. Workplace flexibility is a highly effective benefits offering. Other top benefits to offer are listed below.

  • Wellness incentives
    • Subsidize gym memberships.
    • Provide healthier food and beverage choices.
    • Sponsor company sports teams.
  • Trendy, new voluntary benefits
    • Identity theft protection
    • Student loan repayment programs
    • Financial counseling services
    • Pet insurance
    • Discount programs
  • Child care benefits
    • On-site child care
  • Fringe benefits
    • Company-provided beverages and food

A great company culture attracts the best workers, increases retention and improves employee performance. These eight suggestions can positively impact your existing or new company culture.

House Republicans Release Details of their ACA Replacement

The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land…
BUT here are the changes that the House of Representatives just passed. Now it is up to the Senate …
Keeping you informed is an important part of what we do.

From the Desk of Larry Grudzien, Attorney at Law

House Republicans Release Details of their ACA Replacement

MAY 5, 2017 – Yesterday, the House Republicans released a summary of their replacement to the Affordable Care Act. It is called the American Health Care Act (the “Act”).

Please find below a link to this section-by- section summary of the Act This official summary incorporates changes to an earlier version of the bill (the changes being popularly known as the MacArthur Amendment and the Upton Amendment).

https://benefitslink.com/src/legislation/AHCA-Section-by-Section-Summary.pdf

If you have any comments or questions regarding any of the above information, please do not hesitate to call me at (708) 717-9638 or e-mail me at larry@larrygrudzien.com.

Thank-You,

Larry Grudzien
Attorney-At-Law

Healthcare and the Small Business Owner

Healthcare and the Small Business Owner:  Two Keys

Coffee shopSince Jan. 1, 2014, Americans have been required under federal law to purchase health insurance. Every employee of a small business in 2014 had to either maintain health insurance or pay a fine equivalent to 1 percent of his or her income, above the tax-filing threshold. In 2015 that penalty will jump to 2 percent of adjusted gross income. Open enrollment runs from Nov. 15 through Feb. 15 and is the time during which health insurance companies and HMOs are required by law to accept applicants without regard to health history. So how does this new healthcare landscape affect small business owners? There are two main things small business owners should know.

1. Businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees are not required to offer health insurance.

However, any small business with 50 to 99 full-time employees will have until 2016 to begin offering health insurance to 95 percent of their full-time employees or pay a fine. These businesses must still carefully track employee’s hours and report information to the IRS beginning in 2015. The timeline is accelerated for business with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees. These businesses must offer affordable health insurance to at least 70 percent of their full-time employees beginning in 2015 or pay a fine. That number increases to 95 percent in 2016.

2. There is no one size fits all for offering health insurance to employees.

Because each employer’s circumstances are different, owners should explore all options available—from providing group health plans to contributing defined dollar amounts to their employees monthly.

For small business not offering group health plans, Unland Insurance has developed the Smart Choices™ Marketplace. The Smart Choices™ Marketplace is a health insurance exchange where individuals can compare plans, select and apply for health insurance in a simple, stress free and intuitive online hub. This new health insurance exchange offers plenty of choices without overwhelming shoppers, and can help your employees find the right health insurance in as little as 12 minutes. Furthermore, because it’s not affiliated with any specific carrier, employees will be able to choose between well-known national and regional health insurance companies, as well as insurance plans on the public exchange.

Time is running out for employees to select their 2015 health insurance plan. Contact us today, or visit the Smart Choices Marketplace.

Are you fully prepared for new ACA form requirements?

There’s a big new change this year that may take many people by surprise.

Changes associated with the Affordable Care Act mean that most taxpayers will receive unfamiliar tax forms this year: either form 1095-A, 1095-B or 1095-C.

Confused by the difference?

  • Form 1095-A is a form sent by the Health Insurance Marketplace to individuals who enrolled in coverage there. The deadline for the Marketplace to complete that form is Feb. 1, and anyone who expecting to receive this form should wait to file their 2015 income taxes until they receive this form from the Marketplace.
  • Form 1095-B is a form sent by health insurance providers to the individuals they cover. The deadline to provide this form has been extended to March 31. Individual taxpayers will generally be able to file their returns as they normally would.
  • Form 1095-C is a form sent by certain employers, especially employers that offer “self-insured coverage.” The deadline to provide this form has been extended to March 31. Individual taxpayers will generally be able to file their returns as they normally would.

Do you need further information about the ACA and the new 1095 forms, or do you need help providing the 1095 to your employees?

Contact your Unland agent or account manager  for assistance.

Do you need help explaining the 1095 to your employees?

Because this form is new, many employees will not be expecting to receive it and may not understand its importance. Unland has a sample letter you can customize for your employees.