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Employee Benefits Program

A strong employee benefits program – including low-cost employee incentives, employee recognition programs, and employee appreciation programs – can help you improve morale and retention.

We provide employee appreciation day ideas, help you with employee retention strategies and employee benefits management

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In today’s litigious society it’s best for employers to set some ground rules on office romance. Adopt an anti-fraternization policy that bans relationships between employees who hold a boss/subordinate relationship. But take note: Employees who aren’t involved in an affair with the boss won’t necessarily win a sex discrimination lawsuit if they don’t get the perks their co-worker got.

In today’s economic climate, you might be tempted to forgo hiring a temp to fill in for an employee who’s out on FMLA leave. Especially if you initially believe the employee won’t be gone long, what’s the harm? But what will you do if the employee returns to a huge pile of work left undone during her absence? Think twice before you tell her to catch up or else.

President Obama in late March announced the recess appointments of attorneys Craig Becker and Mark Gaston Pearce to fill two vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board. That broke a more than two-year-old NLRB logjam—and reignited worries that the board will now tilt heavily in favor of unions.
Home improvement giant Lowe’s is offering free health screenings to its employees. Lowe’s partnerships with health care providers mean employees will be able to get free checks of their blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, waist size, hip size, weight, height, body fat percentage and body-mass index.

On April 15, President Obama signed into law amendments that extend eligibility for the 65% COBRA subsidy through May 31. The amendments buy time for Congress to consider additional legislation that could keep the subsidy alive until the end of the year.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration has converted to a total electronic system for online filing of the Form 5500 and the new Form 5500-SF. Filers must submit the annual form electronically through the so-called EFAST2 system at www.efast.dol.gov.

The new health care law means new obligations for insurance companies, plus new responsibilities for employers. Here are the specifics:

Since the convenience store chain Sheetz started its “connect sessions” last year, 1,000 of its 13,000 employees in six states have met with store executives to ask questions, make suggestions and complain. The 57-year-old, family-owned organization has made changes as a result.

Although the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) primarily has been applied to sexual harassment claims involving employers and employees, a new decision by a New Jersey appellate court recognizes that the LAD can also apply to a refusal to engage in business transactions if it is based upon the refusal to comply with requests for sex.

As part of a wider crackdown on companies that violate worker protection laws, California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. filed a lawsuit alleging that a Los Angeles car wash, Auto Spa Express, failed to pay minimum wage and overtime to its employees and denied them workers’ compensation benefits.

Q. We have several employees that have been laid off and are receiving unemployment benefits. They have asked whether they are required to pay taxes on their unemployment benefits.

If you discharge an employee after she exhausts time off available through the FMLA, sick leave and other benefits, she may still be eligible for unemployment compensation. That’s true even if her absenteeism violated a company attendance policy.

You may be naturally disinclined to rehire a former employee who was off work for years because of an on-the-job injury. But that could be a big legal mistake, especially since he is now disabled.

Three health care-related firms and the American operation of a luxury car manufacturer comprise the four New Jersey firms named to Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires employees to notify their employers if they are injured at work. North Carolina courts have spelled out why this requirement is important:

We’ve all heard the good news: The recession is crawling to a resolution and the economy will slowly get back to normal. Most of the executives I know don’t believe it. Employee-focused HR folks are hoping we’ll get back to business as usual on the comp and benefits front. But you might want to run that by your chief financial officer.

We’ve seen it with Haiti. We saw it on the Gulf Coast with Hurricane Katrina, and when floods and wildfires have ravaged other parts of the country. When employees see an organization taking the initiative to help victims of natural disasters or support charities in their own communities, it sends an important message: This is a good place to work because it’s about more than just making a buck.

Although many of the biggest changes in the new health care law won’t take effect until 2014, others kick in this year. These changes mostly affect insurers and the benefits they must offer. It’ll be up to you to understand (and explain) these changes to employees. Among the health insurance changes to expect in 2010:

Question:  “I work for a boss who is physically abusive. He’s never touched me, but I’ve seen him snap other female employees with rubber bands, leaving a bruise. He likes to punch the male employees and hit them in the head. He says he’s just “playing around.” “Barbara,” the owner of our small company, works closely with this man and relies on him a lot. However, she has no idea about his abusive behavior. I’ve started documenting his actions, but I don’t know how to tell Barbara. — Fearful
It’s no wonder that some provisions of the recently enacted health care reform law flew under the media radar. After all, it's more than 2,000 pages long. But HR pros need to know about new requirements concerning reporting of employer-provided health benefits, breastfeeding at work and background checks for health care workers.
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