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Snow Jams Georgia Companies

Yesterday’s snow has created chaos in the metro Atlanta area. Read this article for a taste of what we are going through here in Duluth, Georgia. Commuters are still on the road after leaving the workplace yesterday afternoon.

Here at HR Strategies, we are working though the snow and ice to make sure we meet the needs of our clients. Our employees who are closest to the office are already there working and all other employees are working remotely from home. We have a Disaster Recovery Plan put in place that prepares us for situations like today. As it doesn’t look like it will be warming up anytime soon, our clients can rest easy knowing that, just like the snow storm of 2011, we will be there for them all the way through.

Call us today at 770-339-0000 to learn more

about how we support our clients

and visit our website at  http://hr-strategies.com/

snow jam

Social Security Payroll Tax Change Effective January 1st

In 2011 Congress enacted a “payroll tax holiday”, which reduced the employee share of the Social Security payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2%, amounting to an annual income boost of approximately $1,000 for a typical U.S. family earning $50,000 per year. The tax holiday was renewed for the year 2012, but was not extended for the year 2013.

Beginning on January 1st, 2013 the Social Security payroll tax has been returned to the historical level of 6.2%. Note that this is not a new increase on taxes, rather the end of a nice break that we had received. The holiday is over, and the rates are now going back to normal.

So what does this mean to you and your paycheck?

As of January 1, 2013, all Americans who earn wage income will pay an additional 2% in Social Security payroll tax. Essentially, this will mean that all employees will see 2% less take-home pay starting with their January paychecks. The end of the payroll tax holiday affects all Americans equally.

Below is an example of what the end of the tax holiday means in regards to take home pay:

Income:       Was 4.2%        Now 6.2%      Difference      Bi-Weekly

$20,000           $840                $1240              $400                $15

$30,000           $1260              $1860              $600                $23

$40,000           $1680              $2480              $800                $31

$50,000           $2100              $3100              $1000              $38

$60,000           $2520              $3720              $1200              $46

$70,000           $2940              $4340              $1400              $54

$80,000           $3360              $4960              $1600              $62

$90,000           $3780              $5580              $1800              $69

$100,000         $4200              $6200              $2000              $77

$110,000         $4620              $6820              $2200              $85

$113,700         $4775              $7049              $2274              $87

HR Strategies Payroll Case Study

HR Strategies Delivers All Payroll On Time During Week-Long Ice Storm

Actual Picture from Ice Storm
Taken in Lawrenceville, Georgia February 2011

Challenge:

With HR Strategies powerful integrated on-site support and personal service, clients can rest assured that the responsibilities of payroll have been handled completely and accurately, even in the most adverse conditions. In February 2011, a large portion of Georgia, and therefore Metro Atlanta, experienced heavy snow and extreme winter conditions which are unusual for the area. Metro Atlanta, including Duluth where HR Strategies is headquartered, is not used to extreme winter conditions and can easily have its roads and infrastructure crippled by large amounts of snow. The snow storm that affected Georgia in February of 2011 was dubbed “snowpocalypse”, and caused many school and business closings for several days. While employees may have enjoyed having a few extra days at home, they still needed to get their scheduled paychecks. Employers were already worried about loss of revenue from being closed for business, and the thought of having disgruntled employees from a delay in payroll was an added worry on their shoulders.

Solution:

HR Strategies understood the need for client employees to be paid, and the need for the client to have one less business concern during the stress of an unforeseen circumstance prohibiting business and life “as usual”.  On the Friday before the big storm, HR Strategies staff came together and devised a plan to ensure that payroll processes, and all other client needs, would be met in case of inclement weather.  On Monday, when it seemed that the world had closed down in Georgia, HR Strategies was armed and ready for business as usual.  Beginning that morning, payroll specialists were busy getting to work, only this time it was in their homes. The entire staff took advantage of their ability to work remotely and were able to continue business as usual, to the best of their abilities from home. Payroll specialists took hours over their cell phones from clients, ran the processes and reports, sent direct deposit and bank files, all from home.  They were able to keep in contact with each other and the rest of HR Strategies staff through conference calls, and ensure that all clients were handled.  The owner and CEO of HR Strategies, along with one designated payroll specialist, was able to make it to the office to pick up live checks and reports that had generated to be packaged for clients. These live checks were then hand delivered by the owner to the client locations, as most courier services (i.e. FedEx, UPS) were not operating on time or at all during the extreme conditions. Over the next three days HR Strategies continued to make sure that all of their client payrolls were handled accurately and on-time from remote locations.

Results:

Dedication, team work, and planning enabled HR Strategies to go above and beyond to ensure that their clients and client employees were paid, and their needs met.  HR Strategies was able to pull together and use their resources and remote capabilities in order to deliver at a time when most services were unable to. Through the dedication of the whole team, clients were able to experience that HR Strategies provides exceptional service.

See All HR Strategies Case Studies Here

ANNOUNCING: Allstaff HR Group is now HR Strategies

We are presently engaged in a broad rebranding initiative, and we are pleased to announce that we are changing our name from Allstaff HR Group to HR Strategies! The company has undertaken minor branding alterations in the past, yet we are certain that our new branding strategy in its entirety will solidify the nature of our services.  There has been no alteration in ownership or management and we will be offering the same products and outstanding service on which we have built our reputation in the industry over the past twenty-five plus years.

Our new HR Strategies logo that reflects the new and exciting times:

The company will carry on operations in its current structure and your contacts will remain unchanged. At the same time we will change all our email addresses to: @HR-Strategies.com; however, the old email addresses will continue to be operational for the foreseeable future. Our web domain will change to: www.HR-Strategies.com; however, the old domain will be intact and will direct you to the new domain for the time being.

Our office contact information is still the same as before:

6650 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 300

Duluth, GA 30097

(770)339-0000

If you should have any questions or concerns regarding this change, please feel free to contact us. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with you as HR Strategies!

Motivated Employees vs. Unmotivated Employees: Polar Opposites?

Not According to this Twitter Study:

CNN Money posted an article this morning discussing the difference between motivated and unmotivated employees, the big question being: Are motivated employees the polar opposite of unmotivated employees? A two year study done on Tweets has led two sociologists at the University of Vermont to believe that “motivated” and “unmotivated” are two separate issues being driven by different factors. Read the CNN Money Article Below:

Inside the mind of a motivated employee

October 21, 2011: 10:00 AM ET

Bosses must not only remove the things that discourage employee motivation but must also insert positive elements in their stead.

By Linda A. Hill and Kent Lineback, contributors

FORTUNE – For most managers, hardly a day goes by without confronting the challenge of employee motivation. Are you doing enough to engage the people who you work with? Are you doing too much or just not the right things?

An article in the September 30 issue of Science describes the efforts of two sociologists at the University of Vermont who tried to better understand the rise and fall of people’s spirits. They studied 2.4 million people’s moods by analyzing the words they used in over 500 million tweets originating in 84 English-speaking countries over two years (February 2008 through January 2010).

What they found was a daily cycle of positive and negative feelings that seemed to apply consistently across cultures, geographies, and time zones. Around the world, people’s positive moods peaked in the morning (6-9 a.m.), dropped through the day until reaching a trough by mid/late-afternoon, began to pick up in late afternoon, and peaked again in the evening. The glib conclusion is that work is the culprit that destroys people’s good moods, but the cycle holds on days off too, so what’s going on is much more complicated.

The study confirmed a long-recognized phenomenon that has huge implications for managers but is rarely reflected in how bosses try to energize their staff.

What social scientists call positive affect (good feelings) and negative affect are not related to each other. As the authors of the study say, the two “vary independently and are not opposite ends of a single dimension. NA (negative affect) is neither the mirror image of PA, nor do the two measures move consistently in parallel.”

In the work world, we talk not of positive or negative “affect” but of motivation, commitment, and engagement — the willingness of people to expend the extra effort that extraordinary performance usually requires. Whatever it’s called, the phenomenon is the same: “motivated” and “unmotivated” or “engaged” and “unengaged” are two different things. The factors that drive one are different from the factors that drive the other.

A good way to understand the difference between such causes and drivers is to think of your health. If you’ve ever been seriously ill, you understand how depressing that can be. But recall what happened when eventually you recovered. You were energized by good health — for a time. But soon enough you came to expect it. Health became just normal, the way life should be. It didn’t energize you any more. So health can be a disincentive when you lose it, but good health doesn’t motivate you to do great things.

The implication for you as a boss is that if you want motivated (or committed or engaged) people, you must take two kinds of actions. You must remove restraints and replace them with drivers of motivation.

Removing the things that inhibit motivation will lead, at most, to a neutral place. To paraphrase the authors of the Twitter study, motivation and a lack of motivation (or engagement and disengagement) aren’t opposite ends of the same spectrum. They are two spectra that have to be managed separately.

If you’re like most managers we’ve met, you tend to focus on the causes of low motivation, such as poor pay and benefits, lousy work conditions, demeaning or obstructive policies and rules, status, or bad relationships with co-workers — the kinds of things that people will name if you ask them what’s wrong. You do have to deal with these things, but that’s not enough. If you want high performance, you must go further and also offer compelling reasons for people to commit themselves wholeheartedly.

What are those things? This is hardly a complete list, but it’s a good start. How many of them have you put in place?

Compelling purpose. People want to feel like they are a part of something important. Do you talk about the purpose of your work — not just what you do but why you do it? Do you talk about those outside your group who benefit from what you do?

Challenging goals and plans. Besides feeling like they are a part of something important, people often want to strive toward something important. They need challenging goals based on their purpose and plans that show how they can achieve those goals.

Clear roles and responsibilities. People often need to know what they’re responsible for individually and what others expect of them. They want to see the link between their work and the team’s overall purpose because that’s how they will feel both valued and valuable. With clarity about what they do, and clear feedback about how they’re doing, they can take control of their own work, and you won’t need to supervise their activities, which can be a powerful source of discouragement.

In simple terms, if you want superior performance, you must both remove obstacles and put in place reasons to work hard. Pay attention to both. They’re not the same.

Frederick Herzberg was the great expounder of this important idea in the latter part of the 20thcentury. For a summary of his thinking, see One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?

Linda A. Hill, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Kent Lineback, a writer with 30 years of management experience, are co-authors of Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader.

ADEA: The Age Discrimination in Employment Act

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is the federal law governing age discrimination, and was enacted in 1967 in order to promote employment of older workers based upon their ability rather than age, to disallow arbitrary age discrimination in employment, and to assist employers and workers in finding ways to solve problems arising from the effect of age on employment. After it was enacted, the ADEA went through a series of amendments to strengthen and expand its coverage of older employees. Originally, the ADEA only covered employees between the ages of 40 and 65. Eventually the upper age limit was raised to age 70, and then removed altogether. Since there is no longer a cap all workers age 40 and older are protected by the ADEA, with few exclusions and exceptions. The enforcing authority of the ADEA was transferred from the Department of Labor (DOL) to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in 1978. In addition to the federal ADEA law, many states also have laws prohibiting age discrimination in the workplace, many of which may be more stringent than the federal law. ADEA statute prohibits discrimination against individuals regarding any terms or conditions of employment, the act’s protections not only cover employees but also extend to both applicants for employment and discharged ex-employees. ADEA prohibits any employer from refusing to hire, firing, or otherwise discriminating against an employee age 40 or older, simply based on the employees age; under the ADEA an employer can’t deny an employee pay, nor can the employer discriminate in employee benefit plans such as health coverage, pension, or fringe benefits.  Employers are unable to unjustly classify employees into groups based on age in in a way that unfairly deprives workers of employment opportunities. ADEA defines employer as every individual, partnership, association, labor organization, corporation, business trust, legal representative, or organized group who is engaged in an industry affecting commerce; and has 20 or more employees (which may include overseas employees) for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year. ADEA protects US citizens working for US employers operating abroad, except where it would violate the laws of that country. Be mindful that there must be an employer/employee relationship for the ADEA to be relevant; therefore independent contractors are not employees within the meaning of ADEA and are not entitled to its protections.

Most employers begin the employment process by advertising the job opening, because this is the beginning of an employment relationship, the advertisements used are subject to the ADEA which prohibits use of age referenced phrases such as: young, college student, age 25 to 35, boy, girl, age 40 to 50, retried person, or any others referencing age. The only exception is if age is a bona fide occupational qualification for the position advertised. Bona fide occupational qualifications in practice are limited to the obvious, i.e. hiring a young actor to play a young character; or when public safety is at stake, i.e. age limits for pilots and bus drivers. However, the request for the age or date of birth of an applicant on an employment application or use of the phrase “state age” on a want ad is not automatically a violation because there may be legitimate reasons for requesting the age or date of birth of an applicant, but will be closely scrutinized by the EEOC. As an employer your concerns with ADEA don’t end with your want ad, they only begin.  Under ADEA it is unlawful for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age. However, employers can take action based on “reasonable factors other than age”, and employers can discharge or discipline an employee for “good cause,” regardless of the employee’s age. It is also unlawful for employers to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s age. While an employer may not deny benefits to an employee based on age, an employer may reduce benefits based on age only if the cost of providing the reduced benefits to older workers is the same as the cost of providing full benefits to younger workers. Mandatory retirement has been prohibited in most sectors under ADEA since 1978; however, mandatory retirement based on age is permitted for certain bona fide executive or high policymaking employees over 65 and who have occupied a high policy position for at least 2 years preceding retirement and are entitled to immediate non-forfeitable annual retirement benefits from a designated plan of at least $44,000. In addition to hiring, firing, benefits, retirement, and other employment practices covered by ADEA, employers must also be aware that under ADEA it is unlawful to harass a person because of his or her age. Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person’s age. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren’t very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer. For issues arising from ADEA, the EEOC borrows the remedies and damages provisions from the FLSA including back pay of wages, salary, and fringe benefits; attorney’s fees may be awarded to the prevailing party; liquidated damages are given where willful violation occurs; front pay; and injunctive relief, such as reinstatement.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act provides strict guidelines regarding age discrimination in the workplace, but ultimate decisions regarding the ADEA are in fact legal matters that are overseen by the EEOC and decided within the courts. HR Strategies is here to assist our clients in matters regarding age discrimination and the ADEA, by providing relevant information based upon legal counsel provided to us on how ADEA affects each individual business, and to help keep you in compliance. We are hopeful that this synopsis of the ADEA has provided you with insight into the statute itself, and how you can take precautionary steps to remain compliant.

Columbus Day Announcement

ATTENTION CLIENTS:

Banks will be closed on Monday, October 10, 2011 in observance of Columbus Day Holiday.

Since this is a bank holiday, direct deposits will not be processed on this day. If you need a payroll check date of Monday, October 10th through Wednesday, October 12th you will be affected. Please contact your payroll specialist to make any special arrangements.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this notification please do not hesitate to call your payroll specialist at 770-339-0000 option 1 (Payroll).

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

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