What are Wellness Programs?
Wellness programs are intended to help employers manage health care costs and support healthier workplaces by offering participation incentives such as premium discounts, cash rewards, gym memberships, or preventative health screenings.
Hanging out together outside of work is a great opportunity for employees to get to know each other better, blow off steam and help employees feel like they belong. Activities that teach coworkers to rely on and trust each other in pursuit of a common goal is an important part of building a better workplace and boosting employee morale.
The XcelHR team in Buhl, Idaho, participates in a softball league each year. Founders Laura Spencer, Marilee Mink, and Debbie Bothof formed the team in 2010, along with their own children and few nieces, nephews and friends sprinkled in.
IRS Increases ACA's Affordability Percentages for 2015
Employer Mandate Adjustment
On July 24th, the IRS released new regulations (Revenue Procedure 2014-37) indexing affordability percentages for 2015 under the employer mandate or "play or pay" rules.
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking does not actually increase the amount (or quality) of work you will get done in a period of time.
A study by Michigan State tested this theory by interrupting participants with pop-ups while they were trying to take a computer test. Participants had to enter a four-digit code each time a pop-up appeared and then return to the test. The longer interruption lasted 4.4 seconds, the other 2.8 seconds. Errors on the computer test doubled with the 2. 8 second interruption and quadrupled with the 4.4 second interruption.
Less than three seconds. That’s all it takes to derail your train of thought.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) allow employees to put away pre-tax dollars for future medical costs.
FSAs can be used to pay for out-of-pocket healthcare costs, such as prescription medications, insulin, over-the-counter medications with a prescription, and medical equipment. FSAs can also be used to pay copays and deductibles, but not insurance premiums. Healthcare.gov provides a list of other qualified medical and dental expenses.
Beginning in 2013, there is a $2,500 annual maximum for individual contributions to a flexible spending account. Employees must decide at the beginning of each plan year the amount they will contribute to their FSA.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office, E-Verify is “an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm employment eligibility.”
In layman’s terms, E-Verify is an electronic system that allows employers to check whether new employees are legally able to work in the United States. The system allows employers to check new hires identification documents against government databases.
What documents does E-Verify check?
Donna Currie joins the XcelHR team to manage Northeast clients' human resources.
XcelHR welcomes new HR Manager Donna Currie to the team in Marlborough, Mass. Currie manages XcelHR’s clients in the Northeast Region, helping client companies stay current on employment laws and ensuring compliance. She brings more than 20 years human resources experience to the company.
Currie is responsible for resolving client and employee issues by providing advice and best practices in HR and legal research. With many different clients to manage, she welcomes the opportunity to work with business owners from a variety of industries to assist their growth and help them achieve strategic HR objectives.
Currie, a Massachusetts native, received her bachelor’s degree in Industrial Psychology and Human Resources Management from Nichols College in Dudley, Mass. She holds a Master’s Degree in HR Management from Framingham University and is certified as a senior professional in human resources by the Society of Human Resources Management.
The Affordable Care Act prohibits health care plans that set an annual or lifetime limit on essential health benefits. Limits can still be set for "non-essential" health benefits. Regulations also do not prevent a plan from excluding all benefits for a particular condition.
This regulation has been phasing in over the last few years. Plans that fall into the categories below cannot set annual dollar limits below:
Plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, cannot impose any annual or lifetime dollar limits.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers that offer group health plans to abide by certain notification requirements.
Annual notification requirements for new and existing employees include:
New rules regarding non-discrimination and "highly compensated" employees prohibit discrimination in favor of employees concerning their eligibility to participate or benefits provided. New regulations adhere to IRS Code Section 105(h). Self-insured plans are already subject to this section of regulations.*
Highly compensated employees include employees who are:
Problems could arise if provisions in group health plans discriminate between employees based on:
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