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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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We’ve all heard the good news about the economy: that the recession is crawling to a resolution and things will slowly get back to normal. Most of the executives I know don’t believe it. Now that we have reduced our workforces, frozen salaries, eliminated bonuses and suspended 401(k) matches, the question remains: When the recovery does occur, is any of that going to change?

President Obama has signed legislation to extend until March 31 eligibility for the 65%, 15-month COBRA premium subsidy to individuals who have involuntarily lost their jobs. It's the second time the subsidy has been extended. Will it be the last?

Pittsburgh-based health insurance provider Highmark opened two new employee health centers in November and estimates the on-site facilities could save it several hundred thousand dollars the first year. Employees can visit an on-site doctor for primary care, vaccinations and physical therapy, and will be able to have prescriptions filled there as well.

With the IRS beginning a nationwide crackdown on employers that try to dodge payroll taxes, now’s the time to make sure your workers are properly classified. Starting in February, IRS auditors began poring over the records of thousands of employers to root out organizations that try to cheat the system by calling workers contractors when they’re actually employees.

Some employers foolishly worry that they may violate the ADA or the FMLA if they enforce a zero-tolerance policy that forbids employees to work under the influence of alcohol. The simple reality is that employers have every right to expect workers to show up sober in the morning. Furthermore, being an alcoholic is no excuse.

As a mother of three kids herself, Juli Spottiswood says “work and home balance is a core part of who we are” at employee incentive provider Parago. She should know—she’s president and co-founder of the firm. Parents with sick children are encouraged to stay home with them; the Lewisville, Texas, organization provides employees with the technology to access company files from home. Flexible schedules are a given.

Before you hunker down to fill out your 2009 tax return, be aware of all the changes on the Form 1040 this year. Here’s a summary:

Interim final regulations implementing the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 are now in effect for group health care insurers with plan years beginning on or after Dec. 7, 2009. If you offer group health coverage, that means you must understand and comply with GINA’s anti-discrimination provisions relating to genetic information.

More than 400,000 U.S. citizens retire or separate from the military every year—and most of them look for jobs when they do. Companies such as Union Pacific Railroad, GE and Home Depot actively recruit veterans. Your organization could probably benefit from hiring military veterans. To attract them, align your recruiting and employee benefits with their needs.

Ahead of this week's summit between the White House and Congressional Republicans and Democrats, President Obama has released his last-gasp proposal for reforming the nation’s health care system. Several elements of the new plan could affect HR—if the proposal ever becomes law.

You’d think it would have been easy for Miami Subway franchise owner Stuart Frankel to win everyone over to the $5 Footlong, right? Not so fast, my friends. Even though he was raking in the dough, Frankel had to work hard to convince the top brass at Subway that the $5 Footlong was the way to go. Here are five lessons for anyone who is trying to convince senior leadership to take a good idea and run with it.

Business and vacation travel may be down, but American Airlines says customer satisfaction is up—and is rewarding about 71,000 employees for making it happen. The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline awarded $10.6 million—about $150 per employee—to staffers who helped the organization achieve its fourth-quarter 2009 customer satisfaction goals.

New York’s Shared Work program, which allows companies to cut hours rather than lay off workers, saved 10,500 jobs in the first eight months of 2009, according to Gov. David Paterson.

These are tough economic times and lots of employers find themselves having to make difficult financial decisions. When those decisions include shutting down a store or branch location, employees who lose their jobs may be eligible for unemployment. But when former employees collect unemployment, unemployment insurance costs go up for employers. One way to cut your potential unemployment comp liability is to offer the employees a transfer to another location.

The best estimates are expected to show that Minnesota’s unemployment insurance fund spent about twice what it took in during 2009. With state unemployment running at about 7.6%, the state has paid out approximately $1.6 billion in benefits in 2009, but only taken in about $850 million.

Until recently, people employed in small businesses owned by their close relatives weren’t eligible for unemployment compensation. However, in late 2008, the Legislature changed the law to allow benefits if the relative had worked for the business for at least 16 quarters and earned more than $7,500 per quarter.

Q. One of our employees suffered a job-related injury. Now she’s trying to sue us in court for damages following mediation in which she settled her workers’ compensation petition by accepting permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. Can she do that?

Courts are cracking down on serial lawsuits, and the result is good news for employers. A former employee who sues and then loses his case can’t keep coming up with new claims to base new lawsuits on. If the new claims are based on the same set of facts—even if they involve an entirely different legal angle—courts are ruling the claims should have been brought together.

Two former employees of Trey Industries are suing the commercial construction company, claiming they were fired after complaining about racism they experienced while working at a Marathon Oil facility in Texas City.

The Supreme Court of California has ruled that employers are free to develop incentive payment plans that reward loyalty by requiring employees to stay for a period of time before earning the full benefit.

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