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California and New York Set $15 Minimum Wage Precedent

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In 2014 SeaTac, Washington became the first city to enact the nation’s highest minimum wage of $15 per hour. Since then, other cities including Los Angeles have set courses to achieve the $15-per-hour standard. On the state front, however, things remained stagnant until California and New York both hiked their minimum wage to match SeaTac’s.

California’s law at a glance

On April 4th, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that will increase the state’s minimum wage requirement for employers of 26 or more employees to $15 per hour by Jan. 1, 2022. Employers with 25 or fewer employees will have to comply a year later, by Jan. 1, 2023.

Currently, California’s minimum wage is $10 per hour regardless of the size of a company’s workforce. For employers with 26 or more employees, for the next two years, a 50-cent increase will occur annually with $10.50 and $11.00 being the standard in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Each January 1 thereafter the increase will happen in $1 increments until 2022 when the $15.00 benchmark will be achieved.

For companies employing 25 or fewer employees, the requirement will occur in the same increments but with a one-year delay. The first increase to $10.50 will not occur until January 1, 2018, with $11.00 becoming the standard on January 1, 2019. From there, each January 1 will bring a $1.00 per hour increase until January 1, 2023 when the $15.00 benchmark will be met.

Under the legislation, the governor has the discretion to pause the increases, depending on economic or budgetary conditions.

New York’s law at a glance

Also on April 4th, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a statewide bill, gradually raising the minimum wage from $9 to $15 over the course of a couple years and endorsing a 12-week paid family leave program. New York’s new minimum wage law sets varying minimum wage standards according to geographical location within the state.

Minimum wage increase:

  • For large businesses in New York City employing 11 or more employees, the minimum wage requirement will increase to $11.00 beginning December 31, 2016, with subsequent $2.00 increases occurring each year until the $15 standard is met on December 31, 2018.
  • For small businesses in New York City employing 10 or fewer employees, the minimum wage will rise to $10.50 on December 31, 2016, with subsequent $1.50 increases annually until the $15.00 level is achieved on December 31, 2019.
  • For businesses located in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, the minimum wage requirement will increase to $10 on December 31, 2016 with annual $1 increases until the $15 level is achieved on December 31, 2021.
  • For businesses in other areas of the state, the minimum wage requirement will be set at $9.70 on December 31, 2016, and $0.70 annual increases will occur until a level of $12.50 is reached on December 31, 2020. After 2020 the minimum wage will be increased to a level of $15 per hour according to a schedule set at that time by the Division of Budget and the state Department of Labor.

12-week paid family leave

Once fully enacted, New York’s 12-week paid family leave policy will be the most comprehensive program on a state level in the nation. Essentially, employees will qualify for 12 weeks of paid family leave when:

    • caring for an infant,
    • looking after a family member who has a serious health condition, or
    • taking care of family matters because someone was called to active military service.

The benefit schedule will occur incrementally, with employees becoming eligible for up to eight weeks of benefits of 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage in 2018. Benefits will increase according to a set schedule to a level of 12 weeks of paid family leave at 67% of their average weekly wage in 2021.

To pay for this, New York will begin withholding a tax from employee wages to fund this increase on January 1, 2018, so there will be no cost to the employer.

Response from other states

With major states on both coasts now setting the state minimum wage bar at $15 per hour, the obvious question is: Will other states follow?

The gradual increase toward $15 thus far has eluded other states, but this week’s news creates a tremendous momentum for other states to follow. It bears noting that some states have increased their minimum wage, although not on a scale quite as aggressive.

What the increase means for employers

Employers in states or cities with minimum wage surges must pay employees according to the new laws. Increases happening on a gradual basis will need special attention, so remain diligent in keeping aware of these ever-changing requirements.

Author Bio: Barclay has over 20 years of experience working as a consultant. He has worked in the consulting practices of accounting firms Ernst & Young and Causey Demgen & Moore. Barclay joined Paycom in 2011 and is currently a Tax Research Analyst. Robbie is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.


Four Ways to Make Your Employees Want to Come to Work

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How to Make Your Employees Want to Come to Work

Disengaged employees don’t feel motivated to work. A 2015 survey by Gallup revealed that 50.8 percent of American workers were not engaged in their jobs. Consequently, disengaged employees may arrive to work late, miss deadlines, submit poor-quality work, alienate themselves from co-workers or seek employment elsewhere.

While the employee could be solely responsible for his or her lack of motivation, in some cases, disengaged employees have a need that’s not being met by their employer. By recognizing and fulfilling this need, you can inspire them to arrive and perform up to standard. Here are four ways to accomplish this.

1. Offer challenging work that makes use of employees’ talents

According to a 2015 global survey by Right Management, 25 percent of employees reported that their top motivation for job change is to experience a different work culture with more challenging assignments. Stimulating projects make the work process more interesting,and push employees to keep learning and unlock hidden potential.

2. Provide transparent opportunities for advancement

High performers want to know that their career is progressing and that they will be given a fair chance at promotions. In a 2015 survey by Mercer, 26 percent of employees said their company does not make it easy to understand advancement opportunities within the company. 78 percent would stay longer with their current employer if their career path with the organization was clearly understood. To retain A-list workers, it’s important to develop and communicate advancement policies clearly.

3. Recognize and reward your employees

Near the top of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is esteem, which precedes only self-actualization.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

In the workplace, esteem deals with employees’ beliefs that they’re doing great work and that they should be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. Employees who are not compensated fairly or recognized for their hard work tend to move to greener pastures. According to a 2015 PayScale report, 65 percent of workers are quitting for more money. Studies also show that companies with strategic recognition programs have a lower turnover rate than those without a recognition program.

4. Get to know your staff

Getting to know your employees on a professional and personal level indicates that you value them not only as workers but also as individuals. The payoff is an employee-manager rapport that lends deeper insight into your employees’ motivations. You might learn:

  • Whether they like working for the company
  • Their personal likes and dislikes
  • How they feel about their manager and coworkers
  • Whether they enjoy their work
  • What projects they’re most suited for
  • Whether they’re satisfied with the equipment or technology they’re using
  • What resources they need to improve their performance
  • Their preferred working style, such as independently or in a team
  • Whether their personal life is interfering with their work
  • What exactly is demotivating them at work
  • What you can do to help


Disengaged employees are prone to being “no-shows,” which means someone else has to pick up the slack. A flight risk, they’re not above jumping ship without warning, which stunts organizational growth. While employees should be self-motivated, employers should also do their part by providing meaningful work, competitive pay, recognition, chances for advancement and a healthy work environment that fosters positive relationships.


Author Bio: A writer, speaker and young business leader, Jason has been the communications pulse for a number of organizations, including Paycom. A featured writer on human capital management technology, leadership and the Affordable Care Act, Jason launched Paycom’s blog and social media channels, helping empower organizations around the nation. Jason is attuned to the needs of businesses and recently helped develop a tool to aid organizations in their pursuit to comply with the ACA; one of the largest changes in healthcare the country has seen. While working in athletics for ESPN and FoxSports, Jason learned the importance of hard work and branding. In his free time he enjoys adventuring with his family, reading and exploring new areas to strengthen his business acumen.

2017 Social Security Wage Base Increases to $127,200.

2017 Social Security Wage Base Increases

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The Social Security Wage Base increases to $127,200

With the largest hike in U.S. history set to take effect on January 1, 2017, the new Social Security wage base will increase from $118,500 to $127,200. This $8,700 increase marks the first wage base increase in two years and the highest percentage increase since 1983. Employees with wages equal to or larger than $127,200 will notice an additional $539.40 allocated toward Social Security on their 2017 tax returns.

The maximum Social Security tax any employee will pay is $7,886.40. Employers still are responsible for the remaining $7,886.40.

FICA Tax Rate Remains Unchanged

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA tax) for 2017, which is the combined total of the Social Security tax rate of 6.2 percent and the Medicare tax rate of 1.45 percent, will remain at 7.65 percent. The FICA tax is applied to all wages earned. An additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax will continue to be applied to all wages paid in excess of $200,000. As in 2016, paying the additional 0.9 percent Medicare tax will remain the responsibility of the employer on behalf of the wage earner.

Make sure your payroll provider has accounted for the 2017 withholdings increase and consider the best way to share this federal tax update with your employees.

What this Means for the Self-Employed

The 2017 social security wage base for self-employed individuals will also be $127,200 and the maximum social security tax for a self-employed individual will be $15,772.80. The combined social security tax rate of 12.4 percent and Medicare tax rate of 2.9 percent brings the self-employment tax rate total to 15.3 percent, but it is important to remember there is no Medicare tax limit on self-employment income.


by Amy Double

Author Bio: Amy, a tenured professional in sales and marketing with over 10 years of experience, is dedicated to creating content focused on helping organizations achieve their business goals. As an experienced writer, Amy is committed to researching and blogging about topics that affect businesses across multiple industries, including manufacturing, hospitality and more. Outside of work, Amy enjoys reading, entertaining and spending time with family.


How to Train your Workforce Using 1 Item in Your Pocket

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Everyone needs training, whether it’s basic, new-hire, how-to-get-started training or professional development. Training employees provides your company with a competitive edge in business for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that you end up with knowledgeable, capable employees who are as invested in the company as you are with them.

And guess what? You’re already training your employees, whether or not you realize it. From employee orientation on day one to continuing education, you’re training your business on the essentials. The thing is, you could be training in a simpler way.

Streamlining your company’s training and learning program doesn’t have to be time-consuming or intimidating. Take Paycom Learning, for instance. If you have a camera-equipped phone or a PowerPoint slideshow, you have the materials you need to create a training! In a couple of easy steps, you can save your company time and money by creating easy, everyday trainings.

Record Your Training

Nearly two-thirds of Americans have smartphones. Simply take that phone out of your pocket and record a video (or an audio message) of the training. For example, one of the first things a new hire needs to learn is how to utilize the features of his or her desk phone. You also may want to train your restaurant hosts on how to properly welcome guests. A two-minute video with a rundown of various details is an easy way to knock out basic getting-started tasks.

Upload Training to Paycom Learning

When you are finished recording, just upload the file to Paycom Learning and assign it to employees. They’ll be able to access the training via Employee Self-Service, from wherever there is an internet connection. Employees love easily accessible information; 75 percent of millennial workers are eager to utilize online learning. Podcasts are an easy way for employees to access training at their convenience, such as on their daily commute to work.

Measure Results

If you want to ensure your employees are retaining the information, considering adding a quiz. You also can monitor who has completed assigned training and easily review results.

Four Ways to Utilize Training

If you’re wondering how training applies to your company, here are four ways companies can utilize training:

  1. Practical, on-the-job training: Who is the expert in certain areas of your business? Record him or her demonstrating how to work the company alarm system, emergency procedures, email set-up and other trainings that otherwise would happen in person.
  2. Compliance training: What training is needed to comply with industry regulations? For example, how to properly wash your hands for food service or the procedures for reporting an on-site accident. Ensure that all employees are correctly and consistently trained.
  3. New-hire training: How many new hires do you have annually and how much time does it take to train them on the same standard tasks? Cut down on the time it takes to get them up-to-speed by simply recording one training and uploading it to Paycom Learning.
  4. Communicating important messages: How do you track who has seen an important companywide memo? Instead of mass-emailing employees, record important messages such as quarterly financial updates or the company’s vision statement, and post them to Paycom Learning. You then can generate reports on who has or hasn’t viewed the message.

When it comes to training, you’re already doing it, but don’t overcomplicate it. Training is easy when you use Paycom Learning.

Holly Faurot

by Holly Faurot

Author Bio: Faurot, vice president of client relations, has served in a number of roles during her tenure at Paycom, including regional vice president, sales training manager and sales consultant. A born leader and a 2012 honoree in Oklahoma’s 30 Under 30 awards, she has helped a number of individuals and clients achieve success through her energetic spirit. The product of a dairy farm in Kenefic, Okla., Faurot was taught at a young age the importance of working hard, being honest and having a desire to help others.

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