Archive | 2014 RSS for this section

Have a Safe & Happy Halloween!

HR Strategies works every day to keep our clients OSHA compliant, because we believe that safety in the workplace is of the utmost importance. Today, we want to remind you that safety should always come first, whether you are at work or at home. Tomorrow night, as kids across America take to the streets to collect candy, HR Strategies wants to remind you to talk to your kids about Halloween Night Safety. FedEx and Safe Kids Worldwide have created an excellent infographic with tips on how to stay safe this Halloween! Enjoy!

fedex_halloween_infographic_v9Click on the info graphic to learn more!

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Regulatory Compliance – A Black Cat Crossing Your Business’ Path

It seems as though every year the Federal and State governments are adding more acts, mandates, and laws to the business of employment. As a small to mid-sized business, you probably don’t have the time to keep up with the names of all of the new ones, let alone how they can impact you as an employer. Large corporations have complete in-house HR departments and legal departments that work at not only keeping up with the new regulations, but also keeping their corporations in compliance. Are you that lucky? Often times an employer can feel overwhelmed by the addition of regulations, and a bit apprehensive as if a black cat keeps crossing their path and they are just waiting for the bad luck of fines and work interruption from non-compliance to present itself.

black-catHR Strategies focuses on keeping you compliant by working as your off-site HR department, with the back-up of legal counsel from one of our strategic partners, Jackson Lewis, which is one of the largest law firms specializing in workplace law. HR Strategies team can help you reduce the fear of the black cat of regulatory compliance and your risk and vulnerabilities to Federal, State, Local and Professional Regulatory changes. We keep pace with changing governmental requirements that affect your business and help you stay compliant. By relieving your stress of whether or not the black cat (of regulatory compliance) crossing your path on Halloween, or any time of year, and worrying if you are in compliance, we give you the ability to focus on the aspects of your company for which you went into business, while we handle the behind the scenes issues. Click HERE or on the picture above to learn more about how HR Strategies can help you stay complaint.

Are Ghost Employees Haunting Your Bottom Line?

ghost employeA ghost employee is one who exists on paper but does not exist in the workplace. Ghost employee practices can cost employers hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. Ghost employee frauds effect the bottom line of businesses just as any other type of theft does; and can occur in many different ways. Some of the most common ghost employee practices are:

  • Payroll clerk adds a non-existent (ghost) employee into the payroll system, sets up a direct deposit account for the ghost employee, and then uses the funds for themselves.
  • Payroll clerk leaves terminated employees on payroll so that he/she can keep the former employees paycheck for personal use.

Some ghosts actually do exist; just not to the number of hours that you are led to believe they do. Common practices for ghost employment hours are:

  • Workers show up at the job site, clock in and then go off site. They are clocked in, but not actually working. These are ghost hours.
  • Ghost employees can also clock in at multiple locations, charging you for hours worked at two places during the same time frame of hours.

So how do you avoid these haunting schemes? HR Strategies can help in identifying payroll processes and controls to avoid ghost employees. Our HR Consultants and Payroll Specialists are here to answer any of your questions and concerns regarding Ghost Employees.

For assistance, call us today at 770-339-0000

The Affordable Care Act – Did you know?

single-ribbon-pink-1121367-mOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, covers mammograms for women over age 40? Under the health care reform law, certain preventive services must be covered without cost-sharing, including mammograms. This benefit applies to both fully insured and self-funded plans that are non-grandfathered plans. While grandfathered plans are not required to implement these changes, some grandfathered plans have chosen to offer preventive care services, such as mammograms, at no cost-share.

Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point. The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat.

The American Cancer Society is actively fighting breast cancer by helping women get tested to find breast cancer earlier, and helping them understand their treatment options and cope with the physical and emotional side effects. The American Cancer Society has played a role in nearly every breast cancer breakthrough in recent history. Their staff, of full-time researchers, produces detailed analyses of breast cancer trends and investigates the links between lifestyle and breast cancer. They also fund external researchers dedicated to finding better ways to prevent, detect, and treat the disease, and improve the quality of life of breast cancer patients and survivors.

HR Strategies is proud to be able to support the American Cancer Society, through our participation in the Gwinnett Relay for Life every May. Relay for Life events comprise the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Every year, the Relay for Life movement raises more than $400 million worldwide.

We encourage all of you to support the American Cancer Society and to get your mammograms!

Angel Tree 2014

During the holiday season, the Quinn House distributes paper angels. On each of these hand decorated angels is the name of a child, the child’s age, and a toy they would like for Christmas. The HR Strategies Staff displayed these angels in their front entry way for internal employees to take and purchase the gift for each child. Look at all the gifts that will go to children in need this Christmas morning! To read more about Philanthropy at HR Strategies, click here or on the picture.

Angel Tree 2

ANgel Tree 4

Angel Tree 3

Hot Topic: Immigration Reform

Executive Actions on Immigration could affect not only an estimated 5.2 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, but small business owners and entrepreneurs as well.

Capitol Hill

Here’s a look at the actions listed to streamline legal immigration, according to the White House Fact Sheet on Immigration Accountability Executive Action:

  • Providing portable work authorization for high-skilled workers awaiting LPR status and their spouses.
  • Enhancing options for foreign entrepreneurs.
  • Strengthening and extending on-the-job training for STEM graduates of U.S universities.
  • Streamlining the process for foreign workers and their employers, while protecting American workers
  • Reducing family separation for those waiting to obtain LPR status.
  • Ensuring that individuals with lawful status can travel to their countries of origin.
  • Issuing a Presidential Memorandum on visa modernization.
  • Creating a White House Task Force on New Americans.
  • Promoting Citizenship Public Awareness
  • Ensuring U.S. Citizens Can Serve
  • Creating a mechanism that requires certain undocumented immigrants to pass a background check to make sure that they start paying their fair share in taxes.
  • Expanding DACA to cover additional DREAMers

With this immigration reform 3.7 to 4.1 million unauthorized immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens and LPR’s (lawful permanent residents) will have the opportunity to request a temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for three years at a time; if they come forward and meet certain qualifications. To meet the qualifications they must register, have been continuously present in the U.S. for more than 5 years, submit to biometric data, pass background checks, show that their child was born before the date of this announcement, and pay taxes. Again, this is only a temporary relief of three years at a time.

The Executive Action also allows for the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; eliminating the age cap that had previously limited the law to childhood arrivals who turned 31 prior to 6/15/12. Just as with the parents mentioned above, continuous presence in the US must have begun prior to January 1, 2010; and will also only be granted in increments of 3 years.

So what does all of this mean for the common small business owner from an HR standpoint?

One thing of importance is that thus far the executive order does not allow this new class of worker to get subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the president’s executive order at present does not extend to the ACA eligibility in anyway, there for these employees won’t count towards your 50 employee of more threshold quota.

Some theorize that many of these individuals will step forward to claim a legitimate work status; thereby using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to contribute to the social security system and pay taxes. However, employers may also see an increase in employment lawsuits or more union organizing, as this new population of workers who have been silent at the worksite begins to speak out in regards to their grievances; ranging from harassment, discrimination, and lack of overtime pay. Be sure that these employees who may not have been given vacation time, and other benefits in the past, will now have the same expectations as the other employees.

However, it is expected that many of the immigrants who could seek relief will not do so, as they realize that this is “temporary” and not legislation. Additionally, while receiving amnesty (even temporarily) may seem enticing, many will choose to forego applying, to avoid paying the application costs, and having to pay taxes.

There are sure to be several new guidance’s issued in the coming weeks from the Department of Labor in coordination with other agencies, such as the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, regarding the new executive actions; and as with anything new there are bound to be greater audits and regulatory checks. Businesses may want to entertain the idea of doing their own proactive audit and recheck their employee’s documents, legitimizing the work statuses of employees, even if you think they have passed previously. Remember that any employee who presents new forms of identification should also complete a new I-9 form. Most importantly of all, remember not to take any discriminatory or retaliatory actions against any workers as it relates to the new immigration orders.

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