How Healthcare Reform Will Affect Your Wellness Program

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Healthcare reform is bringing several changes to how employers administer healthcare benefits as well as their wellness programs in 2013. Here are a couple key items you need to know about how healthcare reform affects your wellness program.

Larger wellness incentives

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates new incentives for employers to build wellness programs in their workplace and encourage healthier habits.

The Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Treasury Department released proposed rules for employer-based wellness program incentives, which apply to plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014.
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Skilled Manufacturing Salaries Gain Ground

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Despite multiple reports of optimism about Northeast Ohio’s manufacturing sector growth rate, the widely publicized quarterly economic indicator report published by Team NEO for the fourth quarter of 2012, further analysis offered by the report’s research team concedes that growth does not translate directly into job growth. The quarterly report cites data from Moody’s, placing the region above the national average for manufacturing sector growth rates. But, the researchers point out that increased production does not guarantee job creation at those same levels.

At least in the short term, manufacturing job growth here in Northeast Ohio does seem to be accompanied by slightly more competitive salaries when compared to national averages (2013 EAA National Wage & Salary Survey). Although the increases are small, only a few percentage points each year, skilled manufacturing positions such as welders and CNC machine center operators are among those that are consistently gaining ground and ultimately becoming more competitive when compared to national averages.
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Managing Workplace Romance...Or Not?

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Managing Workplace Romance...Or Not?

In the spirit of romance on this Valentine’s Day, now might be a good time for your organization to take a good hard look at your policy on “workplace romance”. Do you have a policy in place? How does it define the limits to relationships between employees? Has this issue come up recently among your employees? Should you consider implementing one?

With several surveys pointing towards a change in employee’s attitudes towards dating in the workplace and romance in the air this week, let’s take a look at how employees feel about this potentially charged issue and what that might mean for employers.
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An FMLA Update Every Employer Needs to Know

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In January-Febuary of 2013, there have been a number of important updates pertaining to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), some of which go into effect on March 8th, 2013. Here's what you need to know to stay compliant with FMLA.

New Guidance on Caring for an Adult Child

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently clarified factors that an employer must consider when an employee requests leave to care for an adult child, and mainly addressed two issues:

  1. In its guidance, the DOL says that the age of the onset of the disability is irrelevant to the determination of whether an individual is considered a "son or daughter" under FMLA. This means that employees whose children became disabled after the age of 18 are eligible to take FMLA-protected leave to care for them.
  2. The DOL clarified that employers should broadly define "disability" based on the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and that there is no minimum duration for an impairment to be considered a disability.
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3 Pay Problems Most Companies Face And How to Solve Them

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Pricing new and highly specialized jobs, salary discrepancies between sources, and making pay adjustments based on mixed rates of salary growth are three common compensation problems many companies are facing. Here's how to resolve them.

Pricing new and highly specialized jobs

New and "hybrid jobs" are increasingly being added to workforces and often include unique and highly specialized IT, marketing, and technical positions (i.e. Social Media Manager). Employers find that current compensation information sources may be limited because do not have specific pay data that directly match the job and are challenged in setting a competitive salary.
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5 Proven Ways to Attract Highly Skilled Talent

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Finding the best people – the most highly skilled and top performing talent – is usually a challenge for employers, but over the years, in researching how employers land great talent in our NorthCoast 99 program and various survey reports, we've learned some "tried and true" ways that they attract the best people.

1. Make a decision to hire only the best.

Many organizations accept poor fits and mediocre talent when they don't have to settle for anything less than the best. Whether it's a policy, philosophy, or just a general standard, you too, can make the decision to hire only highly skilled top performers.

Not only does a commitment to hiring only top talent focus your recruiting and hiring practices, more importantly, the best performers don’t want to work among average talent or poor performers, so hiring only the best people will generally help your organization retain more top performers and attract new ones. Chances are, your best people will also refer you more highly skilled top performers.
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Executive Pay: The Power of Indirect Incentives

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In a PricewaterhouseCoopers study of 1,106 individual executives across 43 countries, researchers found ample evidence to suggest that the effectiveness of executive pay hinges not only on a total dollar amount, but also on several key intangibles. Despite much focus on variable pay as a key element of executive total rewards packages, the PwC study reports that as a performance driver, variable pay is only a part of the story.

Instead, for this group of executives, their motivation to excel at work appears to stem from a combination of factors including, perceptions of fairness, job satisfaction, recognition and of course, to some degree, the final dollar figure. For example, when asked how much of a cut in pay they would be willing to take if offered their “ideal job”, on average, participants indicated that they would take a cut of up to 28% for the opportunity to pursue a more personally fulfilling job. However, it should be noted, that when asked the same question for someone beside themselves, their threshold for pay cuts was significantly higher in this less personal hypothetical scenario- with some breakouts as high as 70% and averaging at a 60% pay cut.
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Recap: Employment Law - The Year Ahead

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ERC's 2013 "Employment Law: The Year Ahead" program featured presentations from three attorneys at Buckingham, Doolittle, & Burroughs LLP which covered major topics in employment law related to the NLRB, Affordable Care Act, and expected regulations for 2013.

1. NLRB

Unconstitutional Board Appointments

Neil Bhagat led the program with an update on the NLRB. While the Federal Appeals Court invalidated decisions made by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) when it determined that President Obama acted unconstitutionally by making recess appointments to the Board, Bhagat explained that employers should use the Board's recent decisions as guidance until a decision is made on whether the Board's decisions are binding or not.
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Risk Aversion & Executive Pay

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In an economy where compensation is increasingly driven by “pay-for-performance” strategies, executive pay is no different. According to the 2012 EAA National Executive Compensation Survey, base salary accounts for approximately 75% of the total compensation package in Northeast Ohio. In theory, by focusing on variable pay, such as bonuses and other short term incentives, organizations are able to more closely tie executive pay to performance. However, a new international report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that for many of the executives surveyed, certain types of variable pay, namely those associated with high levels of uncertainty, may not be an ideal driver of performance.

In terms of bonuses, the study cites only 28% of participants opting for a riskier, but higher yield bonus structure over a potentially lower dollar base-pay figure of pre-determined value. Taking the inquiry to a more psychological level, the same study then presented participants with several other reward structures of increasing complexity. Once again, the results clearly point to a strong desire for certainty and clarity over total value. Sixty-six percent of participants expressed a preference for a rewards plan based on internally controllable measurements such as profit, over a plan utilizing external factors such as shareholder returns.
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OSHA Summary Must be Posted: February 1 - April 30

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As a reminder, OSHA rules require employers to post the OSHA 300 summary form of occupational injuries and illnesses occurring between January 1 and December 31, 2012 by no later than February 1. Employers, however, do not need to post the full log of workplace-related occupational injuries and illnesses.

Please note that the summary form needs to be completed even if no work-related injuries or illnesses were recorded and requires the certified signature of a company executive. Employers must keep the summary posted through April 30.

Employers can download these forms at the link below:
http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/RKforms.html