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Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day!

Rivers will be died green. Parades will happen. Kids will be waking up tomorrow and remembering to wear their green, so they can go to school and be a pincher and not a pinchee! Adults may be flocking to their local establishments to partake in adult beverages.

It will be a festive and fun day for many as we keep an eye out for leprechauns. But if we aren’t careful, our Pot O’ Gold, may suffer by not following some simple tips for Saint Patrick’s Day when it comes to work.

1. No Green Beer

Simply put: alcohol and work do not mix. So save the green beer and Jameson for your personal time after hours! A green tinted non-alcoholic punch or drink would be a great way to celebrate with your co-workers!

2. Costumes

Be mindful of what you are representing when picking out your attire. It is always imperative that your attire stays within the realms of your company’s dress code. That being said, why not sport a green top, tie, or socks?

3. No Pinching Zone

Legend has it that if you don’t wear green on St. Paddy’s Day then you get pinched. This is one thing that we need to leave in the school yard. No green pinch is worth a sexual harassment claim!

4. Irish Flu

The day after St. Paddy’s Day has long been a day of high absenteeism. As an employee, do you have a PTO day you can schedule? As a boss, are you prepared for scheduling problems?

With those for things in mind, be ready to sport your shamrocks, eat your corned beef and cabbage, and have a festive day!

st patricks day hat

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Five Facts about Unemployment Benefits

If you lose your job or your employer lays you off, you may be able to get unemployment benefits. The payments may be a welcomed relief. But you should know that they’re taxable.

Here are five important facts from the IRS about unemployment compensation:

  1. You must include all unemployment compensation in your income for the year. You should receive a Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments. It will show the amount paid to you and the amount of any federal income taxes withheld.
  2. There are several types of unemployment compensation. They generally include any amount received under an unemployment compensation law of the U.S. or a state. For more about the various types, see Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income.
  3. You must include benefits paid to you from regular union dues in your income. Different rules may apply if you contribute to a special union fund and those contributions are not deductible. In that case, only include as income any amount you get that is more than the contributions you made.
  4. You can choose to have federal income tax withheld from your unemployment. You make this choice using Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. If you do not choose to have tax withheld, you may have to make estimated tax payments during the year.
  5. If you are facing financial difficulties, you should visit IRS.gov. “What Ifs” for Struggling Taxpayers explains the tax effect of events such as the loss of a job. For example, if your income decreased, you may be eligible for some tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you owe federal taxes and can’t pay your bill, contact the IRS as soon as possible. In many cases, the IRS can take steps to help ease your financial burden.

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Don’t Rely on Luck this Tax Season

Updated pot of gold taxes

It may be the month that celebrates the “Luck of the Irish”, but we’re not relying on luck to get us through this tax season. Until April 15, Tax Day, we will be continuing to post IRS Tax Tips to make sure you are prepared for this tax season.

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Don’t rely on luck; come to the HR Strategies blog for helpful tips on how to keep your “pot of gold” full!

pot of gold

It’s Walk to Work Day

walk to workAccording to About.com, National Walk to Work Day is held the first Friday of April in the USA, beginning in 2004. The day is promoted by Prevention magazine and endorsed by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the American Podiatric Medical Association.

The following are snippets from the article:

How to Participate:

You are encouraged to walk for all or part of your commute to work. Aim for a minimum 15 minute walk each way. If you take public transportation, try walking to a further stop before boarding, or getting off a stop early and walking the rest of the distance to work. If your commute is too long, make it a Walk to Lunch Day. Invite your co-workers to join with you for Walk to Work Day, or join you in a Walk to Lunch.

The Goal – Add Healthy Steps to Your Day:

Walking for 30-60 minutes a day greatly reduces your risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. By finding a way to make walking part of each day, you are giving yourself proven health benefits far beyond any promised by herbs, vitamins, or prescription drugs.

Walking for 30 minutes a day as part of your work commute or lunch puts you into the “Moderate Physical Activity” category and greatly lowers your health risks.

Dressing for Walking:

Your walking shoes should be comfortable for walking for 15-30 minutes at a stretch. If your work shoes don’t work for walking, wear athletic shoes and carry along your work shoes to change into. For April, dress for the weather with a jacket (water-resistant, with hood in rainy climates). Carry your necessary papers, purse, etc. in a small backpack.

Use a Pedometer and Stop Weight Gain: 

A pedometer can motivate you to log more steps each day. Experts say if we all added 2000 more steps to our day, we wouldn’t gain another pound.

To read the full article, click here.

As we’ve mentioned before, HR Strategies’ internal employees are wearing pedometers for the HumanaVitality health and wellness program! How can you help your office become a healthier place?

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