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DOL: Employees May Use FMLA Leave for IEP Meetings

Opinion Issued in Case with Doctor’s Certification Employees may take leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to attend their child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings, according to a recent opinion letter from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Although DOL opinion letters are specific to the facts presented, employers can look to them for guidance on the DOL’s interpretation of the law. In the letter, the DOL said the parent’s attendance at a school IEP meeting to address the educational and special medical needs of her children with serious medical conditions (as certified by a health care provider)...

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Open Enrollment Season – A Checklist for Employers

Here at SIMA we offer a comprehensive set of tools and support materials to ensure your employees remain engaged, educated, and, most of all, enrolled in a plan that helps them make better decisions for a healthy physical and financial future. Here are just a few things to do before, during, and after the enrollment period. Pre-Enrollment:  4-10 weeks before Open Enrollment Plan kickoff event around enrollment Send a letter, email, or text message about upcoming enrollment period Print flyers or order materials to hand out at enrollment event Open Enrollment:  1-2 weeks before and during Open Enrollment Send reminders about...

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HSA and Retirement: How to Use Your Health Savings Account

When you get ready to retire, there’s a good chance one of your biggest expenses will be health care. Luckily, there are tools you can use to help make the most of your money. If you qualify, you might be able to use a health savings account (HSA) as a sort of “retirement account” to help you continue to grow your wealth. “An HSA isn’t actually a retirement account; it’s completely different,” said Tom Vipond, emerging products consultant at TD Ameritrade. “However, it is a tax-advantaged savings account that can be used as part of your retirement strategy.” Here’s what you need...

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Your 2019 – 2020 Tax Planning Guide

As we face the last quarter of 2019, SIMA continues its commitment of informing our clients of new and existing laws that are relevant to them. Further, we strive to be proactive in reducing your business and personal tax liabilities. The planning guide below is designed to support our clients and assist you with the many potential questions you may have as it relates to your business and your family. Click the link to download your copy.  As always, please call us if you have any questions about how anything in this document applies to you or your business. We...

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Medicare Part D – Creditable Coverage Disclosure Notice to Individuals

Employers must send Medicare Part D Creditable Coverage Disclosure Notices to individuals each year by October 14th and at additional specified times during the year. All employers that provide prescription drug coverage to individuals who are eligible for Medicare Part D are required to notify those individuals whether or not the coverage that is provided is creditable, as part of the Medicare Part D creditable coverage requirements. Notices must be provided to Medicare-eligible active working individuals and their dependents, Medicare-eligible COBRA individuals and their dependents, Medicare-eligible disabled individuals covered under the prescription drug plan, and any retirees and their dependents who...

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Automatic Features to Help Boost Participation and Savings Rates

The use of auto features in 401(k) plans has continued to climb in popularity over the past decade. In fact, auto features such as automatic enrollment and auto escalation are considered best practices in 401(k) plan design as ways to help boost participation and employee savings rates.1 Many large 401(k) retirement plans offer auto features. However, small business plan sponsors have been slower to adopt them as part of their 401(k) plan design. If your company’s 401(k) plan design doesn’t currently include auto features, and/or if you’re thinking about implementing them, then keep reading. Small Plans Playing Catch-up The majority of retirement plans...

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Are we headed toward recession?

Last week the yield on 2-year Treasurys eclipsed the yield on 10-year Treasurys for the first time since 2007. This ‘inversion’ of the yield curve is widely-followed because it has preceded every recession post-WWII. That’s not to say that it causes recessions, but it is considered a harbinger of slower growth. (recessions are shaded in gray) Lots of ink was spilled last week debating whether a yield curve inversion is as relevant today as it once was in light of the Federal Reserve’s policy over the last decade. That debate is not important. What’s important is to remember that everything is cyclical, including the...

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Retirement Plans: The Employee Perspective

Qualified employer-sponsored retirement plans can provide a number of tax and nontax benefits to employees. The employee perspective on these plans should certainly consider the obvious tax deferral and retirement savings benefits. Additionally, however, employees should consider various strategies to optimize their benefits. For example, employees will approach their retirement plans most effectively when they take full advantage of employer-matched savings and by remaining with a particular company at least until vesting has occurred. In some cases, moreover, the advantages and disadvantages of borrowing from employer-sponsored plans should be evaluated. How are employer-sponsored retirement plans categorized? Employer-sponsored retirement plans may be categorized...

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CBO Report Looks at Effect of Raising the Federal Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage (FMW), currently $7.25 per hour, hasn't increased since 2009—the longest stretch with no federal increases since 1938, when the minimum wage was created. Several presidential candidates as well as proposed House Bill H.R. 582, Raise the Wage Act, would raise the FMW. What effect would a wage increase have on wage earners, families, employers, and the economy? The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new report that examined the impact of raising the federal minimum wage to $10, $12, or $15 per hour by 2025 and how this would affect employment and family income. According to the CBO,...

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