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Step Two: Cut Off Supplies to the Undead

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How will you survive the zombie apocalypse that is open enrollment? We all know that the undead don’t need braces, but could breaks in how you administer your benefits leave zombies on your company’s paid benefits? Research shows that the complexity of open enrollment is the top concern for employers and employees. Such intricacy can cause errors, additional costs, long processing time and an overall drain on your HR department. Don’t fall victim to this terrifying task; prepare yourself and your employees for survival.

One Company’s Horror Story

Zombies were feeding off health benefits at this Oklahoma City-based company – slowly overtaking the few remaining survivors in its HR department. The company unknowingly had failed to protect its resources when it began outsourcing some of its HR processes to an infected third party, causing numerous walkers to remain on company-paid benefits long after they were gone. The invasion ultimately cost the firm $160,000 in health benefits.

Failure to establish a protocol for reconciling monthly benefit plans could result in thousands of dollars lost or, in this case, a business being overrun by a hungry herd. Companies can’t live without clear and concise processes to ensure the reconciliation of benefits are done on time and accurately, nor can they let the fear of open-enrollment season catch them by surprise.

Planning for Attack

It’s coming! Not an all-out zombie attack like the aforementioned, but open-enrollment season, which to some HR professionals may feel the same. To prepare for both, you need a good plan.

First: Act quickly. When confronted by flesh-eating zombies, there’s no time to waste. Same goes when preparing for open enrollment. According to a survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Professionals, employers with less than 5,000 employees take three to seven months to prepare for enrollment. I’m sure Rick on The Walking Dead would love that kind of lead.

Second: Communication is key. Help your employees – or other survivors – make smart decisions regarding the benefits, or the options for survival, being offered. Ensure employees have access to carrier website links, policies, etc., and that you are educating them effectively on changes to their coverage as a result of health-care reform. Having a good communication plan will prevent an outbreak of misinformed employees – or further persons becoming infected.

Third: Don’t fall behind. We all know that wandering away from a group during an attack most likely results in death, which leads to becoming a flesh-eater. So why would you, as an HR professional, want to fall behind on reconciling enrollment, deductions and insurance billing? You don’t. Reconciliation reporting is an overwhelming task when so many steps exist and is stored in various places.

Find Your Sanctuary

Reduce your flight risk and stay alive by streamlining your benefits-administration process with an automated system. While many businesses have made the switch to online benefits administration and open enrollment, oftentimes the system utilized is not automated. Taking the single-database approach to benefits administration can reduce cycle time, cost per transaction and HR inquiries by 50 percent or more. It also will keep zombies from receiving benefits, keep the company in compliance and be the best resource for weathering the ol’ zombie apocalypse.

Original Artwork by: Tyler Kelting 

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Renee Wilson

by Renee Wilson


Author Bio:

Renee Wilson is an active leader at Paycom where she is in charge of marketing in industry specific niches. She specializes in helping businesses discover how a true single-application, human capital management solution helps organizations in all industries reach their full potential. Wilson has over 15 years marketing and PR experience working within various industries including banking, healthcare, nonprofit and manufacturing.

What Substance Abuse in the Workplace Costs Employers

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Of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs, 70% of them are employed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Therefore, odds are your company employs workers who fall into this group. The use of drugs or alcohol by employees inside or outside the office can be costly for a business, leading to:

  • increased turnover rate
  • workplace incidents
  • poor workplace morale

From a financial perspective, the National Institute on Drug Abuse found substance abusers cost employers twice as much in workers’ compensation and medical expenses. Additionally, substance abusers are five times more likely to file workers’ compensation claims.

Furthermore, employees with alcohol dependencies are nearly three times more likely to have injury-related absences, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. In 2015, that council reported that federal surveys indicate 24% of workers reported drinking on the job at least once in the past year.

Recognizing the signs

Knowing how to handle substance abuse in the workplace starts with recognizing the existence of a problem. Whether it is abuse of alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal substances, a number of visible signs can indicate an employee needs help:

  • change in appearance
  • frequent tardiness
  • decline in job performance
  • slurred speech and drowsiness
  • mood swings and irritability
  • scent of alcohol

None of these signs alone indicates a substance abuse issue, but intervening early with employees displaying a combination of these signs may be valuable to your business. Implementing a companywide policy, training managers to recognize signs of substance abuse, and setting expectations with employees through training can help safeguard your business and your workforce.

 Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

 

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Featured

Jason Hines

by Jason Hines


Author Bio:

Jason Hines is a Paycom compliance attorney. With more than five years’ experience in the legal field, he monitors developments in human resource laws, rules and regulations to ensure any changes are promptly updated in Paycom’s system for our clients. Previously, he was an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson. Hines earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and his juris doctor degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he graduated cum laude. A fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Hines also enjoys exploring the great outdoors with his wife and daughter.

Podcasts

5 Podcasts That Every HR Professional Should Download

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Podcasts provide the opportunity to sit like a fly on the wall and listen to some of the most brilliant minds in the world converse about today’s biggest trends and challenges.

According to a study by Triton Digital, nearly one quarter of Americans listen to a podcast at least once a month. Education is a popular subject, with 40% of podcast listeners tuning in to that type. If you’re an HR professional or business leader looking to broaden your knowledge of HR and HR technology this year, I highly recommend filling your ears and brains with these five podcasts throughout ’18.

1. HBR IdeaCast

From Harvard Business Review, the weekly HBR IdeaCast features leading thinkers in business and management discussing a variety of key topics in the work world.

It is an excellent resource for insights on a wide array of subjects including, but not limited to, HR. The discussions apply directly to organizations nationwide. The podcast reminds me of NPR’s Fresh Air, but with an emphasis on business leaders.

Recommended episodes:

2. HR Happy Hour

Since 2009, HR Happy Hour has featured thought leaders, workplace and technology experts, academics and more to take on important aspects impacting HR, technology and the workplace.

The podcast is so long-running that it has episodes dedicated to just about every HR topic under the sun. The charming hosts Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane make trending topics fun and informative.

Recommended episodes:

3. CIPD

From the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the monthly CIPD podcast covers everything from talent acquisition to workplace training and cybersecurity.

CIPD’s international perspective brings fresh eyes to subjects that resonate with many American HR professionals. With a backlog of more than seven years’ worth of episodes available, it’s easy to recommend.

Recommended episodes:

4. Workology Podcast

Covering the science and art of the workplace, Jessica Miller-Merrell’s Workology Podcast offers insights and actionable tips on HR and recruiting. Each 45-minute episode promises an in-depth look at every company’s most valuable asset: the employee.

In asking sharp, pointed questions about the latest HR trends, Miller-Merrell does an excellent job as host, bringing a unique and often unexpected take on familiar subject matter.

Recommended episodes:

5. HR Break Room

The official podcast of Paycom, HR Break Room brings you quick conversations on hot topics in HR and HR technology. Co-host Chelsea Justice and I talk with guest experts about the challenges faced by the everyday workplace, as well as their solutions.

To be a bit self-indulgent, I love doing this podcast because it gives me the opportunity to talk with some of the most brilliant minds in the industry. In our first year, our esteemed guests have included New York Times best-selling author Cy Wakeman, millennial expert Adam Smiley Poswolsky, HR Bartender’s Sharlyn Lauby, futurist Jacob Morgan, author and Harvard professor Mihir Desai and of course, motivational speaker and leadership expert, Mark Sanborn.

Recommended episodes:

You can learn more about goings-on within the HR sphere by subscribing to HR Break Room podcast. Here’s to a year full of professional growth through podcasts!

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Posted in Blog, Featured, HR Management, Leadership

caleb.masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio:

Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

Deadline Extended

Employer Deadline Extended for Furnishing 2017 ACA Forms

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Distribution of 2017 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Forms 1095-B or -C to your employees has been extended.

As issued in Notice 2018-06, the IRS has extended the deadline from Jan. 31 to March 2. (However, the deadline to provide Forms W-2 and 1099 to employees and contract workers remains as Jan. 31.)

Filing deadlines unchanged

While the deadline to furnish forms was extended, the filing deadlines remain the same: Feb. 28 for paper forms, and April 2 for electronic forms.

IRS Notice 2018-06 emphasizes that employers who do not comply with the due dates for furnishing or filing are subject to penalties under sections 6722 or 6721.

Good-faith transition relief extended

The IRS also announced the extension of good-faith transition relief. This may allow an employer to avoid some penalties if it can show that it made good-faith efforts to comply with the information reporting requirements for 2017.

This relief applies only to incorrect and incomplete information reported on the ACA forms, and not to a failure to file or furnish the forms in a timely manner. Additionally, the IRS stated it does not anticipate extending either the good-faith transition relief or the furnishing deadline in future years.

Contact a trusted tax professional if you have questions on how this may affect your business specifically.

Click here to read more about how the ACA is affect by the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

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Posted in ACA, Blog, Compliance, Featured

Erin Maxwell

by Erin Maxwell


Author Bio:

As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Erin Maxwell monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, focusing on health and employee benefits laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. She previously served as assistant general counsel at Asset Servicing Group in Oklahoma City. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Outside of work, Maxwell enjoys politics, historical mysteries and spending time with her family.

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