Break Time for Nursing Mothers

breastfeeding-symbol-flickr

August is National Breastfeeding Month, and this year’s theme happens to be “Breastfeeding at Work: Let’s Make It Work!” Women cite returning to work as one of the foremost reasons for discontinuing breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding requires supportive environments, and that includes a mother’s workplace.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and requires employers to provide a reasonable amount of break time as well as a space to express milk as frequently as needed by a nursing mother, for up to one year following the birth of her child. Here are some other requirements:

  • The space must be shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers or the public.
  • The use of a bathroom is not an acceptable space to provide to nursing mothers expressing milk.
  • Nursing employees must have access to this space each time they need to express milk.
  • The frequency of breaks needed to express breast milk as well as the duration of each break depends on several factors and may vary.

According to the Department of Labor, all employers covered by the FLSA, regardless of the size of their business, are required to comply with this provision. However, employers with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to the FLSA break time requirement if the employer can demonstrate that compliance with the provision would impose an undue hardship. Whether compliance would be an undue hardship is determined by looking at the difficulty or expense of compliance for a specific employer in comparison to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer’s business. Be aware that the FLSA requirement of break time for nursing mothers to express breast milk does not preempt State laws that provide greater protections to employees.

Get Tax Help Via Social Media

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We are using Google and other means to search for answers to all kinds of questions, including those on Taxes; but have you ever thought to use Social Media to find the answers? Yes, Social Media has swept our culture, all the way down to our taxes. IRS Tax Tip 2015-21 highlights the top Social Media tools from the IRS to help you connect with the IRS, in order to get help and have your questions answered.

IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2015-21, August 19, 2015

Whether you use social media to blog, share photos or socialize, you can also use it to connect with the IRS.  You can check on your tax refund, learn the latest tax news, or get helpful Tax Tips on how to do your taxes. Here are some of the ways you can use IRS social media to get tax help:

  • Twitter.  IRS tweets include tax-related tips, news for tax professionals and more. Follow the IRS @IRSnews, @IRStaxpros and @IRSenEspanol. Follow the Taxpayer Advocate Service@YourVoiceAtIRS.
  • IRS2Go.  IRS2Go is a free app where you can check your refund status, get tax news or follow the IRS on Twitter. Subscribe to get helpful IRS Tax tips via email. You can download the app free from the Google Play Store for Android devices, or from the Apple App Store for Apple devices. IRS2Go is available in both English and Spanish.
  • YouTube.  IRS YouTube Channels offer short videos on a variety of tax topics. You can view them in English, Spanish and American Sign Language.
  • Tumblr.  The IRS Tumblr blog gives you the latest tax news. You can access Tumblr from your smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • Facebook.  IRS Facebook pages post useful information for taxpayers and tax return preparers. You can also connect with the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
  • Podcasts.  Short IRS podcasts provide useful tips on many tax topics. Listen to these audio files from the Multimedia Center page on IRS.gov.

Protecting your privacy is a top priority at the IRS. The IRS uses social media tools to share public information. We do not use social media to answer personal tax or account questions. You shouldnever post your Social Security number or any other confidential information on social media sites.

IRS You Tube Videos:

IRS Podcasts:

NATIONAL SECONDHAND WARDROBE DAY

Allstaff Can Help!

National Secondhand Wardrobe Day is celebrated each year across the United States on August 25th. Donating some of your rarely worn business attire can benefit you with extra space, and can help someone else who is reentering the job market during difficult financial times.

Here are a few ideas of how you can celebrate today’s holiday while impacting the lives of others and the professional world:

Dress for Success is a global not-for-profit organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

https://www.dressforsuccess.org

Donate your stuff to Goodwill, and help create opportunities for individuals in your community looking to find a job and build skills, including veterans and military families, single mothers and many others.

http://www.goodwill.org

Career Gear promotes the economic independence of low-income men by providing financial literacy training, a network of support, professional attire, career development tools, job-readiness and essential life-skills training that help men enter the workforce, stay employed and become role models and mentors to their families and communities.

http://careergear.org

Changes to the Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights

HR Strategies continues to be dedicated in providing you guidance when it comes to workplace safety as well as compliance with required postings. The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker was updated July 1st 2015. It is very important that the updated Bill of Rights is posted in a prominent area available to all of your employees. A brief description of the changes to the Bill Of Rights are:

  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD)- If an employee is injured on the job and he/she misses more than 7 days of work due to the treating physician taking him/her completely out of work or placing him/her on restricted duty that the employer cannot accommodate, they would be entitled to weekly TTD benefits effective the eighth day. The amount of the benefit is determined by calculating 2/3’s of the employee’s average weekly wage. The maximum allowed weekly benefit has changed from $525 a week to $550.
  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) – In cases where an injured worker is able to return to work after a work related injury however it is at a lower rate of pay or reduced hours due to restricted duty, they may be entitled to TPD payments. The maximum allowed weekly benefit has changed from $350 a week to $367.

Workers’ Compensation Administration is a service that HR Strategies provides for its clients. See how we can help your business with workers’ compensation by clicking this sentence. If you’d like to read the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights for the Injured Worker, click on the image below:

BOR

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to HR.

Often times large companies, and even some small companies, feel that creating a service plan and sticking their clients in the most “appropriate box” of services, is the best way to create efficiency and savings for clients. The problem with this approach comes when the client doesn’t need the specific, and/or all of the items listed in a particular service option.

OneSizeFitsAll

A Human Resource provider can often bundle services and offer a discount. While this approach is very efficient for a majority of client companies, it is not the right choice for all. How much of a savings is it when you pay for Option C (services 1-5), but your company needs services 1-5 plus service 9? With some HR providers you are stuck. You either choose Option C, and forego service 9, or you choose Option 1, and pay for 4 additional services that you may never even use. HR Strategies doesn’t see this as a very viable way to do business.

We believe that the field of human resources is not ‘one size fits all’, and that not all of our solutions are for every company; instead, we offer flexibility and choice in our scope of services. With an understanding that each company—its culture, industry, business practices, and its people—are unique; HR Strategies believes that the best model for a Human Resource provider is one that is tailored to each organization’s needs. This allows us to deliver the greatest strategic value and effectiveness. With HR Strategies you will not find a diagram or services menu, such as the one above. Instead, when a future client contacts us to partner with them in managing their human resources, it is through detailed conversation that we identify their specific individual needs; only then are we able to create the customized solution specific to their organization. By taking on various levels of Human Resources, either through a PEO or HRO agreement, we allow our clients the ability to focus on their bottom line.

Our individual attention to our client’s needs, and being able to offer customizable, boutique-style solutions to meet the individual needs of your company, empowers you to take your employees, management, and therefore business to the next level. NAPEO (National Association of Professional Employer Organizations) recently published an article in their PEO Insider magazine, detailing how HR Strategies takes the “Boutique Approach”. For a free needs analysis click here.

It’s Open Enrollment Time! Don’t miss out.

Open enrollment is a period of time, occurring once per year, when employees of companies and organizations may make changes to their elected fringe benefit options, such as health insurance.  Because of the tax advantage of pre-tax deductions, the IRS limits when you can make changes to your benefit elections. Generally, you can only make changes during open enrollment, unless you have a qualifying event/life status.

 HR Strategies is pleased to offer several options for the Open Enrollment process this year, including On-Site Enrollment, Electronic Enrollment, or Paper Enrollment. HR Strategies’ open enrollment process will continue to include Open Enrollment Dependent Eligibility Verification. HR Strategies requires employee’s to provide proof of dependent eligibility for all additions to coverage during Open Enrollment, in order to comply with plan eligibility requirements. Documentation of proof of eligibility can be a copy of a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, an employee’s tax return, or adoption papers.

Containing benefit costs while continuing to offer excellent benefits and coverage levels for our clients is always a main priority for HR Strategies.

benefits

If you are a client with questions regarding Open Enrollment, or if you are a business looking for a way to provide your employees with a comprehensive employee benefits plan, at a reasonable cost, while relieving you of the burden of administration of the benefits, our Benefits Department is happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact Us today at 770-339-0000.

There’s An App For That!

Mobile App Technology for smart phones is no longer the wave of the future, but commonplace and necessary in every aspect of today’s world. This day and age demands information on the go and for everything to be accessible on a “smart” mobile device; the world of Human Resources is no different.

Our HRIS system offers Web Access for clients and worksite employees, and what’s more, there are apps for a few of the items, such as check stubs. How nice is it to go completely paperless? I.e. an employee has direct deposit – no check stub needs to be printed at all, if the company chooses. The employee can simply pull up their check stub right on their smart phone using an app!

HR Strategies Time Tracker Plus enables you to track your employee’s time, but you can also keep track of Paid Time Off Accruals and requests, and employee scheduling. What’s more, Time Tracker allows your mobile workforce to do the key essentials of the system right from their smart phone using an app! Not sure about the security of tracking time on a smart phone? No worries, if you choose to do so, GPS coordinates can be captured as to where the employee is when they punch in!

As mobile application technology continues to grow in the general population, you can be sure that it will continue to grow in the HR world. We at HR Strategies are continually striving to keep pace with the needs and wants of our employers in bringing that mobile application technology to all of our clients. As we do so, we will always continue our in depth customer service and client satisfaction. After all, any form of technology is only as good as the people bringing it to you and servicing it on a daily basis.

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