HR & Compliance

Add SBAM offers a full spectrum of human resources services to keep you compliant and help your business run more efficiently and profitably....

Human Resources Solutions

ASE LogoLooking for help with tough HR issues? 

SBAM partner ASE has the answers about hiring, firing, FMLA, ADA and more! Get access to a FREE HR hotline, affordable and cost-effective research consultation services, discounted employee handbooks and workplace posters, and more.

Section 125 Plan, FSA, HSA & HRA Administration


KUSHNER & COMPANY LogoLooking for ways to contain health care costs?
With the cost of health insurance continuing to rise, most employers require their employees to contribute to the cost of health insurance premiums. SBAM partner Kushner & Co. can help you put a tax-favored, consumer-directed plan in place that benefits you and your employees.


COBRA Administration

Personalized, affordable administration for your business. 

If you have 20 or more employees, your company is required by federal law to offer continued health insurance coverage via COBRA and will face huge fines if it's not administered correctly.  Let SBAM help you stay compliant for only $30 per month. 

Insurance Exchange Arguments & Timeline

Over the last several weeks, we have had many questions from agents and members regarding the status of a health exchange for Michigan.  Provided below is  a timeline for the Exchange,  as well as definitions and brief arguments for and against the Exchange that are taking place here in Lansing.  With a joint hearing scheduled for Wednesday, July 25th, we may know more on the direction Michigan will take.  If anything comes from this meeting of the House Health Policy and House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), we will report that tomorrow.  

Starting with a very brief review of the arguments for and against the Exchange:

Argument for the Exchange:  
  • Unless or until something changes in federal law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the law of the land and the ACA requires each state to establish an American Health Benefits Exchange for individuals and families and a Small Business Health Options Program.  The ACA  offers several grants available to the states to develop the Exchanges; these grants, worth roughly $9 million, require that legislation be passed and signed into law by Governor Snyder before the money can be accepted.  Delaying legislative action puts Michigan “behind the eight ball” in the software development and linkages to various legacy information systems and could result in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services establishing and operating the Exchange here in Michigan.  
Argument against the Exchange:
  • The first argument is one of control over the Exchange and Medicaid.  According to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), all state health insurance exchanges must be approved by the federal government, and the federal government, not the state, will have authority and oversight over the exchanges. The law gives the federal government full authority to commandeer any exchange that does not meet all federal requirements.  Second, if Mitt Romney defeats Barak Obama in this fall’s election and Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate, the ACA could be overturned.  Mitt Romney has vowed to throw it out soon after taking office and because the Supreme Court has ruled the individual mandate as a tax, a simple majority in the Senate is all that is required to pass legislation overturning the ACA.  
In addition to the option of Michigan developing our own American Health Benefits Exchange and the Small Business Health Options Program, there are a couple of other options that State legislature could decide upon.  The first is a hybrid of sorts called a State Partnership Exchange where Michigan could manage the health plans on the Exchange and the federal government could manage, for example, the Medicaid eligibility and subsidies of the Exchange.  A second option is that Michigan could simply refuse to cooperate and turn all functions of the Exchange over to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and let HHS develop and manage a Federally-Facilitated Exchange. 

SBAM believes both of these final two options would be a mistake and that Michigan should take control of our own destiny when it comes to issues of the Exchange.

Mobile technology is a small business powerhouse in Michigan. Details Monday on the Business Next audio seminar!

Michael Rogers talks with Linda Daichendt of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan and Carlo Longino of the Wireless Industry Partnership about the July 30-31 Mobile Moves Michigan conference in Detroit. Also on Monday's show, more interviews with small business owners who exhibited at the  July 19 Farmers Market at the Capitol event at the State Capitol in Lansing.

Listen Monday at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 
Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page.   

How entrepreneurs find success selling at farm markets. Today on the free Business Next audio seminar

SBAM’s Vice President Communications Michael Rogers has interviews from the Farmers Market at the Capitol, July 19 at the State Capitol in Lansing. He talks with Emily Beautle, communications manager for the Michigan Farmers Market Association, and Julie Darnton, vice president of the board of the Association; Margo Roth, owner of JEM Fruit; Tracey Sferlazza-Macioce, owner of Tracina’s Gourmet Specialties;  Brian Droscha, owner of Droscha Sugarbush; Will Branch, co-owner of Corridor Sausage Company and Randall Fogelman, president of Detroit Spice Company.

Listen Friday at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page.  

FMLA and paid sick policies can restrict travel during leaves

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

By Michael J. Burns

Employees who take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act may think they can also hop off for a recuperative vacation during their approved leaves. Is this permissible? It depends on whether your policy addresses the subject or not.

A California federal court looked at the case of Denise Pellegrino. Ms. Pellegrino was employed by one of the largest unions in the country, the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The CWA’s own FMLA and sick leave policies included these two requirements, among others:

  • Employees on paid sick leave must “remain in the immediate vicinity of their home during the period of such a leave,” unless they obtain prior written permission to travel.
  • Employees on FMLA leave must use their paid sick leave concurrently until it runs out
The latter requirement is a common policy that federal law has deemed OK.

Management advocates might—but should not—find it ironic that a union would construct such a well-tailored and restrictive policy for its own employees.

In any case, Ms. Pellegrino spent the last two weeks of her FMLA-approved leave in Cancun, Mexico. When she returned the CWA terminated her employment for violation of its leave policy. Knowing her rights, Ms. Pellegrino then sued the CWA for interfering with her FMLA leave rights.

The lower court ruled that the CWA had not abused Ms. Pellegrino’s FMLA rights, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. The Appeals Court stated that because Ms. Pellegrino was on both FMLA and the CWA’s sick leave, she was bound by the rules of the sick leave policy which restricted travel while out on such leave.

There were three keys that swung the case in favor of the CWA:
  • It was able to prove it had provided Pellegrino with a DOL-approved form explaining her FMLA rights.
  • It produced an email it had sent to Pellegrino that explained its sick leave policy.
  • The sick leave policy was enforced consistently across the organization.

It is important for employers to review their policies to ensure that they state all the requirements and restrictions that the organization my find necessary for its fair administration. It is equally important that they administer the programs according to those rules, consistently, across the organization. Courts have consistently ruled in favor of employers that have well documented leave policies.

ASE can help with employee handbook policy review and development. ASE also offers training for HR professionals and others on handbook review and development.  SBAM members receive special discounts - find out more.

Is propane in your fleet's future? Details on Wednesday's Business Next!

Business Next host Michael Rogers talks with Kalamazoo small business owner David Rhoa, owner of Lake Michigan Mailers, about his decision to convert his truck fleet to dual propane/gasoline. Also on today's show, Michael talks with Chris Holman, chairman of the National Small Business Association, about SBAM’s latest Barometer economic survey results. And, presentations from “Entre-Slam”, a public competition in Ann Arbor that gives small business owners a venue to talk about their small business successes and challenges

Listen Wednesday at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 
Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page