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 as little as $35 per month. 

Small business endorsements for the Aug. 7 primary. Today on Business Next!

Today on Business Next, Michael Rogers talks with SBAM’s Director of Government Relations Dave Jessup about the association’s Small Biz PAC endorsements for the Aug. 7 primary election. Also on Friday’s show, reports live from the Crain’s Detroit Business Salute to Entrepreneurs event in Detroit: Michael interviews Manoj Bhargava, founder of 5- Hour Energy Drink, Yan Ness, CEO of Online Tech, about small businesses helping Ann Arbor bounce back from the impact of a huge firm leaving the area, and the small business benefits of cloud computing; Fred Beal, president of JC Beal Construction Inc., one of the winners in the Salute to Entrepreneurs program and Mike Callis, managing partner with Marketplace Homes, a finalist in the recognition program.

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.   

Garnishments will happen; be ready when they do

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

By George Brown

In difficult economic times, all employers are likely to handle employee garnishments at one time or another.  How timely and effectively you manage the garnishment is of vital importance.  A garnishment, which technically is a lawsuit against the employer, can lead to serious problems if not handled properly.

For a miniscule $6.00 payment, employers must process employee garnishments, calculate and withhold funds from an employee paycheck, and at times balance competing obligations. To top it off, employers need to understand that if they mishandle a garnishment, they can be held liable.

Time is of the essence. Once a creditor obtains a judgment against an employee, Michigan law permits that creditor to garnish employers. There are two types of garnishments: periodic and non-periodic.  Periodic garnishments are typically sent to employers. The clock starts ticking as soon as the employer is in receipt of the garnishment. The employer has seven days to provide the employee a copy of the garnishment. The employer has 14 days to file a garnishment disclosure with the court and send a copy of the disclosure to the creditor's attorney and to the employee.

Under Michigan law, if the employer does not file a disclosure with the court within the required period, the creditor may take a default judgment against the employer for the full amount of the debt owed by the employee.  As a result, employers who do not respond to a garnishment in a timely fashion may be surprised to receive a default judgment which the creditor has entered against them.

An employer must also handle a garnishment effectively.  Federal law limits the amount that creditors may garnish from employees.  Employers must correctly calculate the amount to withhold, and must make the deductions until the garnishment expires. Periodic garnishments last for 90 days; creditors may file another garnishment after the first one expires. Judgments in Michigan are valid for ten years, so creditors may file repeated garnishments against an employee until the judgment is finally paid.  Employers should understand that when they withhold and remit earnings in excess of legal limits, or on invalid claims, they may be held liable to the employee for the lost wage payment.

Sometimes when an employer receives a garnishment, the employee will tell the employer to ignore it because they are working it out with the creditor.  Employers should never stop withholding on a garnishment until receiving an order from the court releasing the garnishment.

Also know that federal law prohibits an employer from discharging an employee because of the garnishment of wages for any single indebtedness.

Knowing that a garnishment can happen at any time, employers should establish procedures to handle these claims. Such procedures should include these steps:

  • Determining as soon as possible the correct amount to be withheld
  • Determining if the person named in the order is an employee or a former employee or was never employed by the employer
  • Confirming that the court order or notice is valid under state law and all required documents were delivered
  • Verifying the amount of the claim to be paid under the notice
  • Determining whether the garnished amount is within the legal limits of federal and state laws
  • Ranking multiple garnishments for an employee according to priority
  • Completing all answers or interrogatories including answers for persons who are terminated or were never employed by the employer
  • Reconciling all documents received against those processed or responded to
For detailed information regarding garnishment

Train your young employees to provide great customer service. Wednesday on the free Business Next audio seminar!

On today's show: How to communicate with young employees and train them to provide great customer service to all customer age groups. Michael Rogers talks with business consultant Tom Borg. And, the challenges and rewards of being a small business person and owning an art gallery. Interview with Tiffany Klein, owner of the new La Fille Gallery in downtown Lansing. Also, Michael talks with Lance Hill and Byron Pettigrew, co-founders of a small and unique company in Traverse City called High Five Threads that sells locally sourced Michigan apparel.  

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.  

Keys to optimum productivity

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner AdvanceHR

How One Nurseryman Encouraged Employees

Dale Siems has been a "down-to-earth" employer. No newfangled theories and consultants for him -- just caring, communicating and a lot of hard work.

Siems has worked at the Sherman Nursery Co., in Charles City, IA, for more than 40 years -- 20 years as its president. Sherman Nursery is one of the largest wholesale nurseries in North America, owned by Bailey Nurseries, Inc., St. Paul, MN.

Siems said of Sherman Nursery: "We were old and well established, with the best land, best buildings, best tools and equipment, best products. But it's not any of those things that made us successful. It's because we had the best people. We got people who liked to come to work, enjoyed what they were doing, and were productive."

Siems called his work philosophy "O.P." -- for Optimum Productivity. The keys to O.P., according to Siems, are attitude, professionalism and teamwork.

"Good attitude makes the difference," said Siems. "Experience isn't that big a deal, but give me somebody with a good attitude."

Siems quoted a statistic from an employer survey he'd saved: "On a scale from one to five, employers hiring a new employee ranked the importance of good attitude 4.6, good communication 4.2, experience 4.0, and recommendation of previous employer 3.4."

Asked if good attitude is something you can hire, train or create, Siems answered, "We cared about our employees and they responded to it. If you treat people right, they'll treat you right."

What did he mean by professionalism? Siems replied, "We work with the soils. We get dirt under our fingernails and things like that, but we like to think we were professionals because we care. You know, anything worth doing is worth doing right."

Mediocrity has had no place at Sherman Nursery, according to Siems. But neither has burnout, "whip cracking" or intimidation. "I don't ask anybody for 100 percent... that's a workaholic. I just ask them to do their best," said Siems. Siems' employees know the value of teamwork -- particularly in the nursery's busy spring season. "They all pitch in and help get the work done, even it if is not their 'job,'" said Siems. "Without total commitment and teamwork by all our employees, we couldn't meet the spring demands," said Siems.

Each year in December, Siems has held one-on-one interviews with each employee "I get a lot of feedback from these interviews," said Siems, "and employees really look forward to it. There's something a little more special about sitting down with the president and just having a cup of coffee together."

In the interview, Siems said he reviews his notes from the previous year's interview and asks the employee, "How's it going? Are we doing things right?" Then he added: "I do a one-on-one interview myself with every employee even if I have 200. It's that important."

Siems encouraged communication and welcomed employee input, but he said the wrong kinds of communication were squelched quickly. For instance, if someone was spreading a rumor about layoffs or about another worker, he called in the employee who was behind the rumor and talked it over.

Rounding out Siem's O.P. philosophy are encouragement, motivation, praise, and optimism. "The biggest challenge of any employer is to motivate and encourage employees," said Siems. "Praise them in public, criticize in private. Spend some time with them. Be interested in their welfare."

He has encouraged and motivated employees by letting every employee know they were important and appreciated. "We need you," Siems would tell them. "Your job is just as important as the president's ... This is your company -- what happens to it affects your futu

Do your compliance efforts meet today’s needs?

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

By George Brown  

Your compliance department needs to manage the growing demands of more and more stakeholders, while positioning itself for the future.  A recent survey sets out to provide insight to support that goal.

Before 2002—or  what some refer to as “pre-SOX”–companies left compliance issues to the accounting department to handle after payroll, month-end and a laundry list of other chores. In 2002, when scandals cut into public confidence in the financial system, oversight became much more popular. It raised the expectations of companies that had a compliance officer. And it made a lot of other companies hire one.  

The "State of Compliance: 2012 Study," an effort between PwC US and Compliance Week, was recently released at the Compliance Week annual conference in Washington, D.C.  The study found that Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) want to be more efficient and effective as they confront a more complex regulatory world.

The data collected paints a basic picture of the state of compliance today, and how the compliance function can position itself for the future.  According to the data, the compliance team is involved to some degree in evaluating or overseeing virtually every risk or regulatory issue. These would include anti-trust, anti-corruption, ethics, import-export, supply chain, social media, and codes of conduct.

The data uncovered a number of challenges: fragmented IT systems, tight budgets, shifting and growing regulations, and always having to prove that the compliance program is effective.

"Few elements of corporate compliance are as elusive as the art of confirming that your ethics and compliance program is effective. Compliance officers today know that just tracking calls to the hotline isn't enough. The question is what is enough." said Bobby Kipp, partner in PwC's Assurance practice. "Compliance officers really need overall assurance that their program is effective. Getting that assurance requires a combination of multiple metrics and insights."

Nearly half (46%) of the CCOs surveyed say they plan to spend more money on compliance technology and tools in the coming 12 months.

Other key findings include:
  • Most companies now have a compliance committee (71%, up from 57% last year).
  • Seventy-eight percent of respondents anticipate more board and audit committee demands for evidence of effective compliance.
  • Only 35% are currently "very satisfied" with the most recent assessment of their compliance programs.
  • Budgets are moving in positive directions — 21% are reporting budgets of $3 million to $10 million (up from 14% in 2011).
  • Staffing levels are increasing — nearly 80% said their compliance departments grew at least modestly in the last year.
  • Reporting relationships are moving in the right direction – more compliance officers (32%) formally report to the board.  Reporting to the general counsel (GC) is also still quite prevalent (33% of respondents report formally to the GC).

SBAM has the information technology and human resources tools you need to get compliant.  Call us at (800) 362-5461 for more information.