HR

Boxed in by Box 12 on the W-2

Another update from the HR jungle….
image013Maryann handles payroll questions for her employer. She and her coworkers have been scrambling for a couple of years to ensure they comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Last year was all about finding a software program that would allow the company to track the hours of its temporary employees.

This year, Maryann is looking at box 12 on the W-2. That’s the box where employers need to plug in the cost of the medical plan for the employee. Filling in this information is mandatory only for employers who filed at least 250 W-2’s in the previous tax year, meaning in 2013. Maryann’s company filed 170 W-2’s in 2013, so they aren’t required to complete box 12 for the 2014 tax year.

She knows that this January her company will issue 200 W-2’s covering the 2014 tax year. She thinks that number will rise to 250 during 2015. Maryann wants to get a head start on figuring out box 12 after some of the past fiascos in trying to comply with the ACA.

What should Maryann consider?

  1. Maryann knows that the “cost” or “value” of health coverage refers to the premium paid for medical coverage in the health plan, known as “major medical”. She needs to verify what other costs, such as FSA contributions and dental and vision premiums, may need to be included.
  2. Maryann can consult her company’s CPA firm for assistance on completing box 12.
  3. Maryann can do some research in the ACA section of the IRS website during her spare time.

Need help with HR issues? Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff when the policies are implemented.

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

Time & Money

Another update from the HR jungle….

image007

Back in December, Sue, the HR director, decided she needed to review the employee handbook to ensure that all the information is still accurate. Now that her rum hangover from her cruise is gone, she’s focusing on this project.

Sue revised individual sections of the employee handbook over the past two years as the laws changed. For example, she changed the definition of employees eligible for health insurance. Under the old criteria, employees had to work at least 32 hours a week to be eligible. But under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employees who average 30 hours per week are eligible for health coverage.

Of course, this piecemeal approach means that she may have missed something. She also knows that her company added employees since the handbook was last updated and she thinks that the increased number of employees means that additional employment laws now apply to the company. As she surveys the scope of the project, Sue worries about how she’ll manage to review and update the handbook while still keeping up with her regular duties.

What are Sue’s options?

  1. She can research federal and state government websites to collect information about employment laws and regulations that apply to employers with the number of employees that her company has.
  2. She can attend a seminar for HR professionals to learn about recent changes to federal and state employment laws, although the update won’t include existing laws that haven’t been revised and that may apply to her company.
  3. She can convince her employer that it is a better use of her time and their money to outsource this project to a subject matter expert.

Need help with HR issues? Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff when the policies are implemented.

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

 

Can a Screw Up be Fixed?

Another update from the HR jungle….

mistakeBob recently bought a business that has one small retail location. He spent weeks fixing up the store to make it more visually appealing. He also researched the store’s records to identify former customers and then contacted them to introduce himself as the new owner.

While he will sell products to anyone with money, he really wants to build sales to other businesses since that will generate more revenue in the long run. So when he’s not behind the counter, he’s at a business networking event. Since he can’t afford to hire an assistant yet, a retired friend babysits the store while he’s at an event or running errands.

Two weeks ago, Bob invited another business owner that he met at one of the B2B networking groups to stop by the store so they could get better acquainted. Today, the other business owner showed up at the appointed time and was greeted by Bob’s friend. When Bob returned to the store hours later he realized he’d screwed up; he forgot the appointment.

What options are available to Bob?

  1. He can wait for the other guy to contact him, but that’s not really fair since Bob’s the one who forgot the appointment.
  2. He can ignore the screw up leaving a bad first impression on the other business owner who may think all sorts of evil thoughts about Bob’s business acumen.
  3. He can immediately call the other business owner, apologize for screwing up, and ask if it’s possible to reschedule the appointment.

What does this sort of screw up have to do with HR? Imagine how Bob’s employees (when he can afford to hire them) will feel if he blows off obligations that are important to them while holding them to a high standard of performance.

Need help with HR issues? Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff when the policies are implemented.

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

 

Happy New Year!

Another update from the HR jungle….
image031Sue, our trusted HR director, is back from her cruise with a nice tan and a bit of a hangover from the rum. She’ll put in a couple of days at the office during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day after blowing all her paid leave on the cruise.

At her company, not much happens between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The only people working are the ones who blew all their paid leave earlier in the year or those who want to impress the bosses with their dedication to the job.

Sue plans to spend her time working on her goals for next year. She thought about these goals while on her cruise. First, she’ll start compiling the list of proposed updates to the company’s HR policies. This will take some time since she needs to estimate the cost to complete each project.

Then she’ll research the admittance requirements at the local college where she hopes to enroll in the spring. Getting a formal degree to confirm what she’s learned on the job is a big step in her career.

Whatever your work situation, have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Happy New Year!

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

Happy Holidays!

Another update from the HR jungle….

image027

Sue, our trusted HR director, is still enjoying her cruise in the sun with the rum. It took her a week to stop thinking about the office, but she’s finally in full vacation mode. Her tan is coming along nicely and the cruise staff supplies never-ending refills of rum and fruit.

Sue will celebrate Christmas on the ship, far from irritations like some of her co-workers and (dare we say it) some of her extended family. She hasn’t had it this good in years.

Most of us won’t be able to take a holiday cruise or avoid (dare we say it) certain members of our extended families. Have an extra glass of eggnog or wassail and remember it is a once-a-year ritual. Mixed in with the annoyances are so many people we want to spend time with and many special seasonal events.

Happy Holidays!

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

One for Them, One for Me…

Another update from the HR jungle….
image023Sue, the HR director, is finally on her cruise after a couple of weeks of clearing her desk. She’s sitting on the cruise ship deck sipping a rum drink and thinking about the office. She’s having trouble shutting off the part of her brain that thinks about work, as we all do when we finally get away.

As Sue works on her tan and sips her rum, she thinks about the company’s expansion and what it means for her career. As the company grows, its HR policies will need to grow too. That’s why she’s already decided to revise the employee handbook.

Sue also thinks about what she wants for herself. Sue got her job in HR years ago when the company’s owner decided he didn’t want to deal with employee problems. Sue’s had no special training for her HR duties; she learned on the job. She worries that as the company grows, they will look for someone with more formal education to replace her.

Suddenly, a scathingly brilliant answer to her problems presents itself. The rum helps, of course. What is Sue’s brilliant plan?

  1. Sue will present her boss with a list of the HR policies that she believes need to be updated to ensure the company’s continued growth is smooth. Her list will include the estimated time and cost for each project and compare those costs to the past costs incurred when the boss waited until there was a problem. She believes he will agree to take a proactive approach and invest in upgrading the HR policies.
  2. Sue wants to attend a local community college that offers a 2 year degree in human resources administration. A degree increases her chances of getting a pay raise and being the inside candidate for promotion as the HR department grows with the company.

As you come to the end of this year, think about your goals for your company and for yourself.

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

Before the R&R…

Another update from the HR jungle….
image021Sue is the HR director for her company and last week she was working on her year-end checklist. Sue is trying to knock out all the items on her checklist before she checks out for a two week cruise in the Caribbean. Last week’s checklist covered last minute items related to the Affordable Care Act.

This week’s checklist is a general review of her HR domain. It’s good to be in charge, even if she has no minions to obey her every whim. First, she talks with the payroll service to ensure that they have all the information they will need to issue W-2’s in January 2105. This task went on her checklist after a “miscommunication” earlier in the year meant a new hire didn’t get paid on time. Now Sue obsessively re-checks everything.

Sue’s decided to postpone her second checklist item until after her vacation because it will be tedious and time consuming. She needs to review the employee handbook to ensure that all the information is still accurate. She revised a few sections of the handbook over the past two years as the growing workforce meant additional employment laws applied to her company. Now it’s time to do a general cleanup. Sue knows she needs some R&R (rum and more rum) before tackling this task.

Sue’s final checklist item is to complete a status review of the HR department when she returns to the office in January. Now she just needs to deal with any last minute crises before leaving for her well-deserved date with rum and the sea.

Do you have a year-end checklist to keep your HR duties on track? We can’t promise you a Caribbean cruise with (lots of) alcohol, but we’ve love to hear from you.

 

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

 

 

Are you ready for 2015?

Another update from the HR jungle…

image015

Sue is the human resources director for her company (because she’s the only HR department employee). She is frantically working her way through her year-end checklist so that she can take a two week, rum-infused holiday cruise in late December. Today she’s working on checklist items related to the group health plan.

First on her checklist is a note to update the on-line information about the company’s group health plan to show the new out-of-pocket limits for 2015. Her company has a high deductible health plan (HDHP) with a health savings account (HSA). In 2015, HSA contributions are limited to $3,350 for individuals and $6,650 for families. The maximum out-of-pocket limits are $6,450 for individuals and $12,900 for families. If she posts the information on-line, some employees may actually read it rather than calling her with their questions.

Second on her checklist is to confirm that the new ACA-compliant software is properly tracking the hours of employees. Sue was impressed by the software vendor’s ability to customize the software to track her company’s high turnover employees. Sue’s company is not subject to the employer penalty in 2015 because they met the transitional relief for employers with 50 – 99 employees. But Sue still worries about last minute glitches when new software programs are implemented.

Does your ACA-compliance checklist look like Sue’s? Can you think of any items on your checklist that Sue has forgotten?

Sue’s already dreaming about the rum and fruit drinks she’ll be enjoying on her cruise, but she’ll continue working on her checklist items in next week’s column.

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/

Be Kind, Not Nice.

Another update from the HR jungle….

image012

“Be kind, not nice” is a favorite saying of one of my friends. Consider what that means for employers and their employees.

Leslie’s company has less than 50 employees, so the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not apply to her company. This fact became important yesterday when Beth revealed that she has breast cancer and needs extended leave while she undergoes treatment. Beth also says that she wants to return to work full-time after completing her initial treatment.

Leslie counts Beth as a personal friend as well as an employee and wants to help. Beth was one of the first employees she hired and has always been a stellar performer. But Leslie knows that if Beth is granted extended leave, other employees will demand the same treatment later. She also worries that her staff is too small to cover for an employee who is absent for an extended period of time.

Leslie considers her situation and how she can be kind, but not nice to Beth. What options are available to Leslie?

  1. She can be kind to Beth by offering support as a friend and accommodating Beth’s treatment schedule as much as reasonably possible without disrupting the company’s work flow.
  2. She can protect her company by documenting the business reasons for making an exception to the leave policy for Beth. For example, Beth’s work performance and length of service could justify making an exception to the leave policy.

Distinguishing kind from nice may not be easy particularly when creating HR policies. Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you separate kind from nice in your employee practices with HR policies that are appropriate for your company.

Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter!

Visit us: http://www.complianceriskadvisor.com/