Viewing posts from: December 2016

January 1 Paycheck Transparency Implementation

Posted December 29, 2016 by Megan DiMartino

Male Hand Filling out Cheque on the TableAlthough the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (FPSW) final rule was barred for implementation by a federal district court judge in Texas, the paycheck transparency requirements of FPSW are still scheduled to become effective January 1, 2017. For federal contractors with new contracts of more than $500,000 issued after January 1, 2017, they will need to insert the paycheck transparency requirements in all subcontracts, except for those involving commercial off-the-shelf products.

What contractors and subcontractors should know

Contractors and subcontractors are required to maintain wage records under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA), or the Service Contract Act (SCA). Covered contractors, and all covered subcontracts, must provide pay-related information to all workers subject to the requirements regardless if they are classified as employees or independent contractors.

Covered employees are required to be provided the following information:
1. Wage statements that include hours worked and pay (which contractors and subcontractors are also required to provide a statement that lists the following:);

  • The total number of hours worked in the pay period;
  • The number of overtime hours worked in the pay period;
  • The rate of pay (such as hourly or per day);
  • Gross pay; and
  • An itemized listing of any additions to or deductions from gross pay
    • Reportable additions: bonuses, awards, and shift differentials
    • Reportable deductions: withholding for taxes and voluntary deductions by the
      employee

2. Notice of exemption from the FLSA’s overtime requirements; and

  • Contractor or subcontractor must either keep record of hours worked or notify
    employee that it considers them exempt

    • Notice to exempt employees can be an offer letter, employment contract, job
      description, or wage statement, and it needs to be provided only once either
      before they perform work or in the first wage statement

3. Notice to workers who will be considered independent contractors.

  • Notice must be provided in writing before workers begin work on each covered
    contract and must be provided separately from any independent contractor
    agreement

All three notices must be provided in English and in the language in which “significant portion(s) of the workforce is fluent.” Contractors will need to determine what a “significant portion” is as the Department of Labor (DOL) did not specify a specific amount. The notices can be provided electronically as well.

Contractors and subcontractors that currently comply with the wage statement requirements and that will be deemed to have fulfilled the paycheck transparency requirements are Alaska, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, New York, and Oregon.

Source: HR Hero | Paycheck transparency: Are you ready for January 1 implementation?

For more information contact info@crawfordadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

Christmas Trivia That May Stump You!

Posted December 23, 2016 by Megan DiMartino

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Spreading the gift of knowledge this holiday season! Putting you to the test one last time in 2016!

1. What gifts were presented on the following days in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas?”
Day 12
Day 10
Day 9
Day 6
Day 3

2. The 2016 PNC Christmas Price Index measures that the total cost of purchasing all the gifts from the “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is…
a. $57,254
b. $21,899
c. $34,363
d. $71,674

3. The fake snow in the movies The Wizard of Oz (1939) and White Christmas (1954) was made out of what?
a. Soap bubbles
b. Asbestos
c. Cotton
d. Glitter

4. Which one of the following was a normal Christmas card for Victorians back in the 19th century?
a. A picture of Queen Victoria
b. Santa in his sleigh being pulled by nine reindeer across the night sky
c. Scenes of the English countryside
d. An image of a dead robin with a jolly message

5. How much does the star adorning the Rockefeller Christmas tree in the heart of New York City weigh?
a. 25 lbs
b. 550 lbs
c. 700 lbs
d. 126 lbs

6. The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Christmas fundraising campaign started in what year?
a. 1891
b. 1954
c. 1865
d. 1921

Answers:

1. Day 12 – Drummers drumming
Day 10 – Lords a-leaping
Day 9 – Ladies dancing
Day 6 – Geese a-laying
Day 3 – French hens

2. c. $34,363 – PNC has been tracking the cost of the twelve gifts since 1984, which originally cost $12,623.10. The 2016 total cost of purchasing all 364 gifts given in the entire song, including the repeated verses, would be $156,507. Now that’s true love!
Source: The Fiscal Times | Here’s How Much the 12 Days of Christmas Will Cost This Year

3. b. Asbestos – Chrysotile asbestos was a popular material used for fake snow from the mid 1930s through the 1950s in movies, department stores and even private homes.
Source: Environmental Management Solutions | Asbestos in fake snow – Wizard of Oz (1939)

4. d. An image of a dead robin with a jolly message – Though some of the significance of these cards has been lost to history, it’s important to remember that Christmas wasn’t widely celebrated in the early 1800s. So cards with images of dead birds, murderous frogs, and dancing insects with happy quotes were more of a social message to remind people of real life such as poor children dying in the winter streets. Click the link below to view the cards!
Source: Hyperallergic | Have a Creepy Little Christmas with These Unsettling Victorian Cards

5. b. 550 lbs – The 550-pound Swarovski star is made of 25,000 crystals, 720 LED bulbs, 44 circuit boards, and 3,000 feet of wire. The star is estimated to be worth $1.5 million.
Source: Mental_Floss | 6 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Facts

6. a. 1891 – In 1891, a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco set up a crab pot and began collecting money for the poor for Christmas. Since then, the Red Kettle Campaign has become one of the longest-running fundraising efforts in the world with kettles even being seen in Japan, Korea, Chile and throughout Europe.
Source: The Salvation Army | Eight Things You Probably Don’t Know About the Salvation Army

Wishing you and your family a very merry and safe holiday!

For more information contact info@crawfordadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

4th Quarter Compliance Update

Posted December 22, 2016 by Megan DiMartino

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For more information contact info@crawfordadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

From Our Team to Yours – Happy Holidays!

Posted December 20, 2016 by Megan DiMartino

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Surviving the Office Holiday Party

Posted December 15, 2016 by Megan DiMartino

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It’s that time of year again…office holiday parties and the awkward situations that come with them! Well, they aren’t always awkward, but with alcohol, dancing and the late hours involved that’s usually how they end up.

Holiday parties are a way to unwind during the busy holiday season, get to know your coworkers better and revel in the fruits of your labor from the course of the year. So hopefully with some of these tips, you and your company can find themselves free of all HR issues that always seem to show up uninvited:

Limit the hours – If you’re hosting an after-hours event, it may be wise to start it right after work so employees aren’t tempted to “pre-game” before arriving. Also, try limiting the party to around three hours.

Provide rides – If you’re able to swing it, provide a car service or Ubers for your employees to make sure they arrive home safely if they’ve indulged maybe a little too much.

Create a “respect” memo – Remind employees, in writing, of the policies on harassment, dress code and how to conduct themselves when representing the company outside of your brick and mortar.

Send for the spouses – Some companies will extend the invite to employees’ “better halves” so that they may be the buffer to any bad instincts or inclinations of their mates.

Lose the mistletoe – Keep the party games P-G, or maybe even G-rated, to steer away from revealing personal secrets or information and that stay clear of any physical contact.

Limit alcoholic beverages – If alcohol is involved, it may be best to limit the amount of beverages to employees. Provide a ticket system so that each employee is cut off after two or three drinks. Manage your risks!

Do more than serve drinks – Having another activity instead of just eating and drinking will break up the time of individuals making their rounds to the bar. Conduct a gift exchange so that everyone is interacting and team building.

Monitor behaviors – Having HR monitor the entire party puts everyone on edge. So by advising management to be more cognizant of people’s behaviors, in case an incident needs to be brought to a halt, should put everyone more at ease.

And lastly…we got a good kick out of this list, but it was obviously made for a reason! Here’s a few reminders to provide to employees of what NOT to do:

  1. Dance provocatively
  2. Drink too much
  3. Kiss anyone on the lips
  4. Hug people they normally don’t hug
  5. Interrupt others who are talking to the boss or CEO so they can introduce themselves
  6. Aggressively pursue people in power for a conversation
  7. Ask a co-worker out on a date
  8. Engage in harassing behavior
  9. Tell someone they work with how hot they look
  10. Drive home if they have been drinking

But most importantly, provide a fun and safe environment for your employees to enjoy together!

Source: SHRM | How to Survive Your Office Holiday Party

For more information contact info@crawfordadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

People 55+ Projected to be Largest Working Class Come 2024

Posted December 7, 2016 by Megan DiMartino

older-working-classIt is projected that by 2024 the working class of people aged 55+ will be the largest among all age groups at 24.8%. Compare that to 1994’s statistics where they were the smallest among all age groups at 11.9%

A couple reasons for this trend: first, the baby boomers population is aging so those born between 1946-1964 are now in the older age group. By 2024, the youngest will be 59 years old. Secondly, the increase of labor force participation rates among older workers. One study shows that about 60% of older workers that have a “career job” retire and more to a “bridge job” (short term and/or part-time). Another study shows that about half of retirees are not fully leaving the labor force permanently.

So why are older workers choosing to continue working?

Longer and more healthful lives

  • Older workers wish to remain healthy and active. People have longer life expectancies and they need the income to live to higher ages.
  • In 2014, Americans at age 65 could expect to live an additional 19.3 years according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or until about age 84. That’s up almost 3 years since 1980.

Changes to retirement plans

  • There are few private industry employers that offer defined benefit (traditional) retirement plans to employees, and those that do offer defined benefit plans have been declining. More private industries have been offering defined contribution plans.
  • Defined contribution plans are funded by the employee and how much they choose to invest. So there is more uncertainty with defined contribution plans versus traditional defined plans, which consist of lifetime periodic payments to the retiree or their spouse.

Increase in Social Security retirement age

  • The age to receive full Social Security benefits was raised in 1983, grows higher according to year of birth, and is currently 67 years of age for those born in 1960 or after. Benefits are even higher if one waits until 70 to retire. So if one retires earlier, then they receive a reduced benefit rather than if they wait until age 67 and receive full benefits.
  • The Social Security earnings test was eliminated in 2000 for workers who have reached their full retirement age. This means that if a worker is at their full retirement age, their Social Security benefits are not reduced if they earn wages.

To keep employer-based health coverage

  • The percentage of businesses offering health care coverage in retirement has decreased. A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that the percentage of large firms (200+ employees) offering retiree health benefits to active workers was 24% in 2016, compared to 66% in 1998.
  • Workers are not eligible for Medicare until age 65, so they may choose to continue to work to have health coverage from their employer.

Distribution of the labor force between 1994 and projected 2024.

Year/Age 16-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+
1994 16.5% 26.2% 26.9% 18.6% 11.9%
Projected 2024 11.3% 22.5% 22.0% 19.4% 24.8%

Source:
U.S. Department of Labor Blog | Why More People Ages 55+ are Working

For more information contact info@crawfordadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

Crawford Advisors Webinar Series | Your Most Challenging 2017 Benefits & Compliance Questions Answered Live

Posted December 2, 2016 by Megan DiMartino

a man wearing a suit sitting in a desk holding a signboard with a question mark

Join Crawford Advisors’ General Counsel and VP of Compliance, Patrick Haynes, for this complimentary webinar as he reviews your submitted questions regarding today’s most pertinent benefits topics.

Click the link below to submit your questions! All submissions will be collected and combined as best possible to ensure we provide a full, clear and precise answer to all your benefits related inquiries.

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All questions must be submitted by:
TODAY! Thursday, December 8, 4:30pm EST

Topic ideas for your questions:

  • Wellness Programs
  • EEOC Final Regulations
  • IRS Tax Guidance
  • 2017 Updates & Changes Affecting Your Renewal
  • HSA Updates
  • HIPAA Privacy & Security
  • Federal Mandates for All Group Health Plans
  • Marketplace Notices & Appeals
  • Form 5500
  • Just to name a few!

Webinar Details:

  • Wednesday, December 14, 2016
  • 1:00 – 2:00pm EST
  • No Cost to Attend
  • This webinar is open to all HR and Finance Professionals – but not to brokers, agents, TPAs and PEOs.
  • This webinar is NOT applicable for HRCI/SHRM credits

Register Now - CA Blue

For more information contact info@crawfordadvisors.com. The information contained in this post, and any attachments, is not intended and should not be misconstrued as legal advice. You should contact your employment, benefits or ERISA attorney for legal direction.

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