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A Look Back on 2013

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As the end of the year approaches, people and businesses alike take the time to review what has happened and prepare for what is coming next. HR Strategies is no exception. In the world of business, especially Human Resources, a lot of changes are on the horizon, and the HR Strategies staff has been taking a look back at what occurred in 2013 to prepare for 2014.

The following are significant 2013 highlights from both the company itself, and the Human Resources industry:

  • HR Strategies added several new vendors to our Perks Program, including Anytime Fitness, Medieval Times and Lifelock. Our Perks Program enables us to provide our clients discounts at many different places including theme parks and wireless phone carriers.
  • Continued our philanthropic outreach and added a new “Philanthropy” page to our website. This website allows visitors to see how we are making a difference in each of the charities that we support: Relay for Life/American Cancer Society, the Quinn House, and Saint Jude Research Hospital.
  • Additional staff members were added, including a new VP of Finance, Brandy Barden; and Sr. Human Resources Consultant, Susan Clotfelter.
  • We continued our investment in our internal and worksite employees through a variety of benefit programs. These include the Humana Vitality Program, an Employee Assistance Program through EAP Consultants, and timely and effective Open Enrollments periods for Flexible Spending Accounts and Voluntary Benefits in addition to medical and dental.
  • We continued to improve our technology through updating the efficiency in our Service Center on the website, added more functionality to our Time Tracker systems, and best of all we began Electronic Onboarding!
  • A number of senior level associates were able to attend a variety of conferences, allowing them to bring back important new information in the world of Human Resources to continue to improve upon the services provided by HR Strategies as a PEO.
  • We continued to expand our knowledge and pass it forward to our clients as the Health Care Reform continues to evolve and expand.

HR Strategies continued to strive to be their clients’ trusted advisor, and are proud to announce yet another way we’ve enhanced that credibility by undergoing an internal controls audit. Our clients can have complete confidence in how we are processing payroll and all other outsourced services provided by HR Strategies. By taking the extensive steps to have an internal controls audit done, we continue to establish our dedication to earning the trust and approval of our clients. The SOC Report from the SSAE 16 audit verifies that HR Strategies has standard processes in place and that those processes are uniform and consistent.

These briefs highlights from HR Strategies’ year give prospects and clients a slight view into what they can continue to expect in 2014. Clients can rest assured, knowing that HR Strategies is growing while continuing to provide the best service and solutions in Human Resources.

HR Strategies Collects Gifts for Angel Tree

During the holiday season, the Quinn House distributes paper angels, like the ones in the image below.

Angels before 2013

Written on these hand decorated angels is the name of a child, the child’s age, and a toy they would like for Christmas. As you can see, we display these angels in our front entry way, and internal employees and clients alike take angels and purchase the gift associated with each child. Today, these gifts are being picked up by the Quinn House, who will distribute the gifts to children all over Georgia on Christmas morning. Click Here to visit the Quinn House Site. Without the Quinn House and people willing to donate, the children whose names are on those angels wouldn’t get any gifts at all on Christmas morning. Pictured below are the gifts donated by HR Strategies internal staff. We are so very grateful that we are able to make donations to needy children this holiday season.

angel tree gifts 2013

The HR Strategies staff knows that there is an understood communal agreement between community and business, and that philanthropy leads to community building. We are proud to support both local and national charities, knowing that it is our corporate responsibility to give back to the community where we work and live. If you would like to know more about our philanthropic efforts, click on any of the pictures above or click here.

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!

HR Strategies’ main office will be closing today at 2:00pm. We will also be closed tomorrow for Thanksgiving Day and Friday in observance of holiday travel. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving from HR Strategies! Read on to find out how Thanksgiving traditions got their start:

Click here for full infographic.

Voluntary Benefits Open Enrollment: What is it? What do I need to know in regards to PPACA?

health care reformOpen Enrollment is the period of time when worksite employees and client companies can make changes to their elected voluntary benefits; these include Flexible Spending Accounts, Disability Insurance, and Life Insurance. While the PPACA has changed health/medical insurance, in ways that many are still trying to figure out, most companies and individuals are just now beginning to realize that the new health care law will have an impact on voluntary benefits as well.

Flexible Spending Accounts offer employees a way to save on payroll taxes by setting aside a portion of their earnings through a cafeteria plan into an account for qualified medical expenses.  According to a recent article by NAPEO, “The new guidance (on PPACA) make clear that a health FSA that does not qualify as “excepted benefits” is subject to the PPACA market reforms, including the prohibition on essential health benefits and the preventive care rules. However, the new guidance provides that a health FSA that provides only excepted benefits is not subject to the PPACA market reforms.” So what does this mean for PEO/HRO/ASO clients and worksite employees? And what are excepted benefits? To be an excepted benefit, a health FSA must satisfy two conditions: The maximum benefit payable to any participant for the year cannot exceed two times the salary reduction election under the health FSA for the year (or, if greater, the amount of the employee’s salary reduction for the health FSA for the year, plus $500); and other non-excepted group health coverage (e.g., major medical) must be made available for the year to the participants by reason of their employment.(Troutman Sanders, LLP) If your company is outsourcing their employee benefits, it is imperative that you review what is being offered, and know whether or not your FSA is an excepted benefit. If your FSA does not qualify as an excepted benefit, you could be in for some penalties under PPACA.

On the other hand, Health Savings Accounts are a type of savings account offered to those participating in high-deductible major-medical plans. The latest guidance, mentioned in relation to FSA’s, does not address HSA’s. This does not mean that HSA’s are not in play when it comes to PPACA, as the IRS has stated that the preventative health services can be paid for by a high-deductible plan without the deductible being applied. This is good news for those participating in high-deductible plans. Additionally, “some employers are pushing employees to high-deductible plans combined with health savings accounts. That approach is designed to give employees more of a financial stake when getting health care.”

As PPACA continues to shape the way benefits, not only major-medical but also voluntary, are handled and approached, HR Strategies clients and worksite employees can rest assured that we are staying ahead of the curve, and will continue to update them on how the new guidance’s and regulations affect them.

  1. Carrie Teegardin, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  2. http://www.napeo.org/insider/currentissue/nov13/healthcare.cfm
  3. Troutman Sanders, LLP

Discounts and Deals on Veterans Day 2013

Alexis ShawALEXIS SHAW More From Alexis »

Check out these great discounts for veterans from ABC News. 
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In honor of Veterans Day, businesses across the country are offering discounts and deals to show their gratitude to those who have served in the U.S. military.

Make sure to bring your military or veteran identification to take advantage.

Feeling like a free cup of joe? Starbucks is serving up a free, tall brewed coffee for vets, active duty military personnel and their spouses to say, “Thank you,” according to its website.

Veterans can fill up on all-you-can-eat stacks of buttermilk pancakes from Denny’s for free until 2 p.m. at participating restaurants. The deal also applies to those on active or inactive duty.

Restaurants offering deals to veterans include California Pizza Kitchen, where any menu pizza and a non-alcoholic beverage are free. Check out Chili’s, Golden Corral, Olive Garden and Red Robin for other Veterans Day deals.

Applebee’s is letting vets and active military duty choose a free entrée from its “Thank You Meal” menu, as long as they show proof of military service.

In addition, Hooters invites all veterans, as well as current servicemen and women, for a free meal up to $10.99 in value, as long as they buy a drink.

Not feeling like dining out? Vets can get a free whole chicken with the purchase of any Family Meal at Boston Market.

For dessert, servicemen can head to Krispy Kreme and present their military ID or wear their uniform for a free doughnut and a small coffee at participating locations.

Today is the last day for current and former military personnel, as well as their families, to head to J.C. Penney to earn 20 percent off their in-store purchases.

Even if you haven’t served in the military, national parks nationwide are waiving their entrance fees to commemorate the holiday.

Today is Election Day!

votingThough it is a mid-term election, which usually has a lower turnout than presidential elections, it is equally important that employers review and know the laws regarding an employee’s right to vote and laws regarding time off to do so. When it comes to giving time off to vote, there are no federal laws that require an employer to permit an employee time off to vote, however; a majority of the states have laws requiring employers give employees time off to vote. Yes, most states have enacted laws requiring employers to allow employees time off to vote, these statutes of course are subject to the individual’s hours of work and the times when the polls are open.

Voting is a right in the United States, and Georgia state law ensures that work doesn’t get in the way of that right.

Georgia Code §21-2-404

Time off to Vote Each employee in this state shall, upon reasonable notice to his or her employer, be permitted by his or her employer to take any necessary time off from his or her employment to vote in any municipal, county, state, or federal political party primary or election for which such employee is qualified and registered to vote on the day on which such primary or election is held; provided, however, that such necessary time off shall not exceed two hours; and provided, further, that, if the hours of work of such employee commence at least two hours after the opening of the polls or end at least two hours prior to the closing of the polls, then the time off for voting as provided for in this Code section shall not be available. The employer may specify the hours during which the employee may absent himself or herself as provided in this Code section.

Just as employers should encourage their employees to participate in their community in any way they can; HR Strategies encourages every employer to be aware of the voting laws in every state in which they operate, as time off to vote is dealt with on a state-by-state basis.

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