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. 

SBAM, GR Area Chamber launch Jobs Insight project in west Michigan

The Michigan Small Business Jobs Insight project, designed to tally and report the growing number of small business jobs being filled in regions and industries across the state, was launched in Grand Rapids at a business roundtable event with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and local west Michigan business owners today.

“Small business-centered job growth is having a dramatic positive impact on our state’s economic recovery,” said Rob Fowler, President and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM). “It’s vitally important to document how small businesses are contributing to an improving jobs picture in Michigan.  We are excited to have this new tool that does just that – highlighting real jobs and real success stories across west Michigan and the entire state.”

“The Grand Rapids Chamber has a strategic focus not only on creating jobs but helping employers retain talent that helps drive business growth,” said Rick Baker, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “The Michigan Jobs Insight tool aligns with our mission to highlight new jobs from one to 500, sprouting up from businesses, old and new.” 

Blues need information from customers to comply with reform law

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires that health insurance carriers annually report Medical Loss Ratio.

In order to do so for 2012, BCBSM and BCN must know the average number of employees that underwritten groups had in the 2011 calendar year. This count must include all active (non-retiree) employees, even their part-time and seasonal employees, regardless of their eligibility for benefits.

Beginning on May 18, BCBSM will be contacting approximately 25,000 customers to ask them for their total employee counts.  It’s very important that customers return the survey by June 15, 2012.  If your business participates in SBAM's sponsored BCBSM or BCN health care plans, watch the mail for this survey or click here to fill it out online.

It is vital that the most accurate numbers be reported. This information is critical in helping to determine whether BCBSM or BCN has met the minimum thresholds and if they must issue rebates to come into compliance. There are significant federal penalties for insurers and employers that do not comply with the law, including a penalty of $100 per responsible entity per day per violation per individual.

If you have any questions, please call SBAM Customer Service at (800) 362-5461 or contact your insurance agent.

How to get the people performance you need for small business success! Today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Business Next

Lisa Toenniges, CEO of Innovative Learning Group, talks with SBAM's Vice President Communications Michael Rogers about six questions to ask  to get the people performance you need (preview of her seminar for the May 16 Capital Quality and Innovation program at Michigan State University.)

Listen today 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.   

Understand employer duties regarding retirement plan expenses

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner AdvanceHR

A recent U.S. District Court ruling offers a timely reminder of the importance of maintaining proper procedures when administering qualified retirement plans. The consequences of acting inconsistently with stated policy, perhaps even with good intentions, can be costly indeed.

Much attention has been focused in recent years on investment management and recordkeeping fees paid by retirement plan participants -- that is, employees and retirees.  Specifically the focus has been on the level and the clarity, or lack of clarity, of those fees.

After some delays, these concerns led to new regulations from Department of Labor (DOL) that require plan service providers to furnish certain information by July 2012. This information, said  the DOL, will "enable pension plan fiduciaries to determine both the reasonableness of compensation paid to the service providers and any conflicts of interest that may impact a service provider's performance under a service contract or arrangement."

Some vendors have already been meeting the new requirements.  A related set of DOL regulations, which govern plan information provided by vendors to plan participants, will kick in by the end of August for most plans.

What Not to Do

How can employers get into trouble with respect to retirement plan costs -- with or without the benefit of the new fee disclosure regulations? The recently decided case of Tussey vs. ABB Inc.  (U.S. District Court for Western District of Missouri), offers a good illustration of what not to do.

Trustees of a retirement plan of ABB Inc., a manufacturing firm,  were found to have breached their fiduciary duty to protect the interests of plan participants. Among other things, the trustees failed to monitor the fees it was paying to its primary 401(k) vendor (Fidelity Management Trust Co.) The case was brought as a class-action suit on behalf of plan participants.

At the heart of the case is the plan trustees' failure to adhere to their own investment policy statement (IPS), which is the essential blueprint dictating how investment and related decisions are to be carried out.  The term "IPS"  cropped up more than 50 times in Judge Nanette K. Laughrey's 81-page ruling, indicating the critical importance of the document.

Eye on Fee Structure

In one fateful decision, the trustees accepted a change to the formula used to determine recordkeeping fees. Specifically, the plan switched  from simply paying a flat per-participant charge, to a system in which fees came out of asset management fees, and rose as plan assets grew. The result of the arrangement was recordkeeping charges rose by about 200 percent over time as plan assets rose, yet actual recordkeeping services provided did not grow with plan assets. In other words, the recordkeeper appears to have enjoyed a windfall at plan participants' expense.

Also, plan trustees never bothered, initially, to benchmark their plan costs -- further evidence of a lack of the prudent behavior required of plan trustees. They later hired a consultant to analyze their cost structure. The analysis indicated ABB's plan was paying abnormally high fees -- yet trustees failed to do anything about it.

Disregarding the Investment Policy Statement

Another failure to pay heed to the plan's IPS occurred when trustees dropped one investment manager and switched to a new one. The change was made without satisfying the IPS' detailed processes for evaluating the performance of the fund being dropped, and also without giving full consideration to more than one alternative fund manager.

Trustees also committed a fiduciary breach, the court con