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. 

Use your email more productively. Today at 10 a.m. on Business Next.

Michael Rogers talks about email productivity with communications consultant Jack Pyle, the "Face to Face Maximizer." 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

Get Business Next audio seminars delivered three times a week automatically to your iPhone or other mobile device. Subscribe in iTunes using this URL.    

Steven Strauss: Self-Employment Part 2

Question: Hey Steve, I have a friend who has been unemployed for about two years. His unemployment insurance is about to run out and he has this kooky plan now to go the self-employment route. I have tried to explain to him that this is no time to start a business. He won’t listen to me. He likes your column – can you steer him on the right path. Thanks.

(Read Part 1 here)

Answer: I have a question for you: Let’s say that you have been out of work for almost 99 weeks and your unemployment benefits are about to expire and you have no real prospects of finding a job? What do you do? Or what if you are a single mom and need the flexibility of making your own hours but your boss doesn’t quite see things that way? Or what if you have simply have had it working for someone else and what you really long for is to be your own boss? What do you do?

You join the ranks of the self-employed, that’s what.

It is no secret that the nature of work is changing rapidly right now. Not only are more people working outside of an office, outside the traditional 9 to 5 job, and not only are companies finding that they can get by hiring freelancers instead of employees, but a whole new generation of workers are similarly discovering that they don’t need that job that they once thought was so indispensable.

It’s a revolution, a self-employment revolution.

There are many things that have coalesced to create this self-employment revolution, and not the least of which has been the challenging economy the past few years which has forced more than a few people to become entrepreneurs . . . whether they wanted to or not.

And fortunately, technology has made that doable. Not long ago, becoming self-employed may have seemed daunting – where would you find the work, how would you do the work, did you have the resources to do a good job?

All that has changed in the blink of an eye.

Today, it’s all possible.  Whether it’s computers and software, smartphones and apps, websites and searches, or what have you, the fact is, being successfully self-employed today is quite possible.

Indeed, more and more people are headed down this path. Consider: Time Magazine recently said that 2012 just might be “The Year of the Entrepreneur”-

Jobs are in scarce supply, and underemployment is at an all-time high. Things look bleak. But, truth be told, there has never been a better time for individuals to start new businesses. Taking up entrepreneurship is now an extremely doable means to overcome unemployment and underemployment, and perhaps even get rich . . .Whereas a traditional office or retail space was a necessity less than a decade ago, today, thanks to the rise of virtual office services and co-working spaces, working from home or Starbucks is the new norm.

But of course, all of this begs the question – how exactly do you do it? Because the fact is it is also true that when someone goes the self-employment route, they usually know a lot about the sort of business they may want to start (the gardener knows plants, the graphic artist knows how to design a website), they also usually do not know a lot about the other 2/3s of their business: How to get customers, advertising and marketing, law and taxes, how to buy their own health insurance, and on and on.

Fortunately again, there are some valuable resources out there to help. For instance, The SBA and its website SBA.gov are there to help, as is SCORE. And, if you would allow me a shameless plug, I would like to suggest that a new site that I have been working on for the past year is a worthy addition to this list:

TheSelfEmployed.com is a Web portal for all things self-employed. Working with some great corporate partners like EHealth

Legislature Sends Autism Mandate to Governor

On the last day before the Legislature was scheduled to adjourn for spring break, the House and Senate voted to send the controversial Autism Insurance Mandate legislation to the Governor.  Governor Snyder is expected to sign the legislation on April 2nd.   

SB 414 and SB 415 passed the House 91-19, and SB 981 passed 84-26. Immediate effect was ordered for all three. The no votes on SB 0981, which connects a $15 million dollar appropriation geared to help curb the costs of the mandate, were split between 21 Republicans and five Democrats.

The bills mandate coverage for autism in all insurance plans.  SBAM is generally supportive of measures that helps lower costs of care and allows increased access to treatment options for all health matters, including autism.  However, SBAM has long opposed any and all attempts to accomplish this through mandated benefits, as it foists the financial burden exclusively on small businesses and individuals through increased co-premiums, co-pays and deductibles.
 
SBAM applauds those who opposed the insurance mandate outlined SB 414 and SB 415.  Of the 19 voting against the measure in the House, all no votes came from Republicans.  SBAM members are encouraged to contact the following House members to thank them for standing with small businesses struggling to afford health insurance for their employees: Dave Agema (R-Grandville), Jeff Farrinton (R-Utica), Ray Franz (R-Onekama),  Bob Genetski (R-Saugatuck), Ken Goike (R-Ray), Joe Haveman (R-Holland), Matt Huuki (R-Atlantic Mine), Joel Johnson (R-Clare), Andrea LaFontaine (R-Richmond), Pete Lund (R-Shelby Township), Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills), Chuck Moss (R-Birmingham), Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton), Paul Opsommer (R-DeWitt), Earl Poleski (R-Jackson), Amanda Price (R-Holland), and Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake).  

As part of the debate, mental health advocates argued that the bill should be amended to include full mental health parity by mandating coverage for all neuropsychiatric disorders.  Amending it in that manner would have meant crushing cost increases in insurance premiums for small business owners.  Fortunately, those attempts were thwarted.  

Recognizing the tremendous impact the mandate would have on premiums, legislative leaders and the governor’s office included a structure whereby reimbursements could be made from the state for any autism-related claims and added a $50,000 cap on individual claims.  However, the appropriation that would reimburse claims is still in flux, as state leaders are still debating next year’s budget priorities. 

SBAM will continue to oppose any and all health insurance mandates due to the direct negative impact they have on a small business owner’s ability to provide his/her employees healthcare benefits.

New Guidance Issued on Health Care Reform: Auto Enrollment, Waiting Periods and Full-Time Employees

By Stephanie Hicks, courtesy of Clark Hill PLC, an SBAM Approved Partner
 
On Feb. 9, 2012, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury (the Departments) issued Technical Release No. 2012-01 (the Release). The Release provides information regarding PPACA provisions governing automatic enrollment, employer shared responsibility and the 90-day limitation on waiting periods. The Release also outlines various approaches that the Departments are considering proposing in future regulations or other guidance.
 
A.  Automatic Enrollment Compliance May be Delayed
PPACA requires an employer that has more than 200 full-time employees to automatically enroll new full-time employees in one of the employer's group health plans (subject to any waiting period authorized by law), and to continue the enrollment of current employees in a group health plan offered through the employer. In the Release, the DOL concluded that its automatic enrollment guidance will not be ready to take effect by 2014. It remains the DOL's view that, until final regulations regarding automatic enrollment are issued and become applicable, employers are not required to comply with the automatic enrollment provisions of PPACA.
 
B.  Determining Who is a Full-Time Employee
PPACA also enacted employer shared responsibility provisions. These provisions provide that an employer with 50 or more full-time employees could be subject to a penalty if the employer does not offer its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan. The employer also may face a penalty if the employer offers its full-time employees (and their dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored plan that either is unaffordable relative to an employee's household income or does not provide minimum value. For purposes of the employer shared responsibility provisions, a "full-time employee" is an employee who is employed on average at least 30 hours per week.
 
The Release states that upcoming guidance on the employer shared responsibility provisions is expected to provide that, at least for the first three months following an employee's date of hire, an employer that sponsors a group health plan will not, by reason of failing to offer coverage to the employee under its plan during that three-month period, be subject to the penalty payment. Additionally, the Release states the Department of Treasury and the IRS intend to issue proposed regulations or other guidance that would allow employers to use a "look-back/stability period safe harbor" method for purposes of determining whether an employee (other than a newly-hired employee) is a full-time employee. Accordingly, it is anticipated that the guidance will allow look-back and stability periods not exceeding 12 months. The Department of Treasury and the IRS also intend to issue proposed regulations or other guidance that will address how to determine whether a newly-hired employee is a full-time employee for purposes of the employer shared responsibility provisions. The guidance is expected to provide that, in certain circumstances, employers have six months to determine whether a newly-hired employee is a full-time employee for purposes of the employer shared responsibility provisions and will not be subject to the penalty payment during that six-month period with respect to that employee.
 
The Department of Treasury and the IRS intend to propose an approach under which the period of time that an employer will have to determine whether a newly-hired employee is a full-time employee will depend upon whether, base

Click here to listen! Exclusive SBAM audio seminar of the week (5:21)

Learn about a great new tool for securing college interns at your small business. Click on the play button below to listen to SBAM's Vice President Communications Michael Rogers talk with Wendy Pittman, executive director of the Intern in Michigan project. Hear more free Business Next audio seminars by going to sbam.org/radio. Like this interview? Suggestions for improvement? Leave a comment below.
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