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It may be time for your company to create a strategic IT plan

Many companies take an ad hoc approach to technology. If you’re among them, it’s understandable; you probably had to automate some tasks before others, your tech needs have likely evolved over time, and technology itself is always changing. Unfortunately, all of your different hardware and software may not communicate so well. What’s worse, lack of integration can leave you more vulnerable to security risks. For these reasons, some businesses reach a point where they decide to implement a strategic IT plan. Setting objectives The objective of a strategic IT plan is to — over a stated period — roll out consistent, integrated, and...

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Could stronger governance benefit your business?

Portrait of three technicians standing in a server room

Every company has at least one owner. And, in many cases, there exists leadership down through the organizational chart. But not every business has strong governance. In a nutshell, governance is the set of rules, practices and processes by which a company is directed and controlled. Strengthening it can help ensure productivity, reduce legal risks and, when the time comes, ease ownership transitions. Looking at business structure Good governance starts with the initial organization (or reorganization) of a business. Corporations, for example, are required by law to have a board of directors and officers and to observe certain other formalities. So this entity...

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Internships Most Often Considered “Employment” by DOL

Employers planning to hire interns this summer should keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has stated that private sector internships are most often considered "employment" subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime rules. The Test for Unpaid Interns There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in for-profit private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances. The DOL uses the following six criteria which must be applied when...

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Enhance benefits’ perceived value with strong communication

Providing a strong package of benefits is a competitive imperative in today’s business world. Like many employers, you’ve probably worked hard to put together a solid menu of offerings to your staff. Unfortunately, many employees don’t perceive the full value of the benefits they receive. Why is this important? An underwhelming perception of value could cause good employees to move on to “greener” pastures. It could also inhibit better job candidates from seeking employment at your company. Perhaps worst of all, if employees don’t fully value their benefits, they might not fully use them — which means you’re wasting dollars and...

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Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions Under the Affordable Care Act

The IRS has updated its existing Q&As on the Affordable Care Act's employer shared responsibility ("pay or play") requirements to reflect adjustments to the pay or play penalty and affordability amounts. Those adjustments are as follows: For calendar year 2017, the applicable per-employee dollar penalties of $2,000 and $3,000 are adjusted to $2,260 and $3,390, respectively. For plan years beginning in 2017, the affordability threshold for purposes of both the pay or play affordability safe harbors and the premium tax credit provisions is 9.69%. The Q&As also address what counts as an "offer of coverage" for purposes of pay or play compliance. Click...

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UPDATE: American Health Care Act

May 4th the House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA.) This chart (courtesy of NAHU.org) displays the content of the legislation. The bill will now be sent to the U.S. Senate where a number of changes are expected to be made. Until this bill is passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law, all ACA requirements remain in effect, including penalties for noncompliance. Read more about the AHCA.   ...

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HSA Contribution Limits and Minimum Deductibles Announced for 2018

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the 2018 inflation-adjusted amounts for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) as determined under the Internal Revenue Code. Annual Contribution Limitation For calendar year 2018, the annual limitation on HSA deductions for an individual with self-only coverage under a high deductible health plan is $3,450 (up from $3,400 for 2017). The annual limitation on HSA deductions for an individual with family coverage under a high deductible health plan is $6,900 (up from $6,750 for 2017). High Deductible Health Plan Amounts For calendar year 2018, a "high deductible health plan" is defined as a health plan with an annual deductible...

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3 hot spots to look for your successor

Picking someone to lead your company after you step down is probably among the hardest aspects of retiring (or otherwise moving on). Sure, there are some business owners who have a ready-made successor waiting in the wings at a moment’s notice. But many have a few viable candidates to consider — others have too few. When looking for a successor, for best results, keep an open mind. Don’t assume you have to pick any one person — look everywhere. Here are three hot spots to consider. 1. Your family. If yours is a family-owned business, this is a natural place to first...

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How to Appeal a Marketplace Notice

Appeals Due Within 90 Days Health Insurance Marketplaces are now sending letters to notify certain employers that one or more of their employees has been determined eligible for advance premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions and has enrolled in a Marketplace plan. Because these events may trigger penalties under the Affordable Care Act's "pay or play" provisions for applicable large employers (generally those with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalents), such employers may seek to appeal an employee's eligibility determination. Employer Appeals Process Employers have 90 days from the date stated on the Marketplace notice to file an appeal. In the...

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