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Straight From The Source Blog by Higginbotham Insurance

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January HR News Worth Review

January 17 , 2019

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Top Four HR Trends to Monitor in 2019

1. Opioids, Marijuana and the Workplace
Beyond their deadly risks, opioids also cause absenteeism and performance issues in the workplace. Opioids are difficult to detect in a drug test and even harder to perceive without one. Knowing this, it's critical to modernize your drug policy to address opioids and offer resources for alternative pain management strategies. Legal marijuana is also complicating drug policies. Similar to opioids, marijuana is increasingly difficult to detect, with the growing popularity of oils and edibles. Moreover, the drug is legal for medical use in 30 states, making testing legally tricky. You may find it easiest to adjust your drug policy to focus on workplace performance. Adopting a zero-tolerance policy may backfire with state laws, so be sure to have legal counsel review your policy before enforcing it.

2. Leave-related Issues
Multistate businesses must contend with different state laws, but even smaller employers can find themselves juggling laws between localities. Without proper guidance, handling common requests like family leave, sick time and reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act can be a nightmare. The first thing employers must do is determine which leave laws apply to them, remembering that certain localities might have different rules. Other aspects, like which leaves can be used concurrently and proper leave documentation should come next. And, of course, employee communication is a must—not just putting policies in a handbook, but posting leave notices as well.

3. Wage and Hour Concerns
With overtime changes looming in the first quarter of 2019, you may think it’s easier to hire more workers at lower salaries. But, depending on your situation, that may not be true. Many states are primed to raise their respective minimum wages in 2019. What’s more, the majority of those rates are already higher than the federal minimum. If you're considering hiring more workers, check to make sure you know how much you will have to pay them in your state. The same goes for federal contractors. As for salaried employees, it looks like we won't know anything about the overtime rule until at least March 2019. This leaves the current overtime threshold at $23,660. Experts expect that number to increase to between $32,000 and $35,000—far lower than the $47,476 rate initially proposed in 2016.

4. Upskilling Employees
If you have a new task that requires added skills, do you hire a new employee for the job? The current trend says no—you upskill current workers. Upskilling is the process of training current employees in new skills and responsibilities. According to a McKinsey study, 62 percent of executives think automation will require them to retrain or replace more than a quarter of their workforce. Obviously, replacing employees is less cost-effective than offering more skills training, but is it easy? That depends on how you go about it. Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) is making training easier and more personalized for employees. AI can provide real-time feedback, recognize the areas in which employees need help and adapt to individual learning styles. While advanced training software may be pricey, it’s certainly less than the cost of replacing a quarter of your workforce.

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Tags: Compliance


Updating your insurance needs for the New Year

January 16 , 2019

GettyImages-2019 New YearA lot happens over the course of a year. You can have life changes – some great, some small and some relate directly to your insurance. Do you know when you should call your insurance agent and let him or her know that a fill-in-the-blank-life-change has happened?

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Tags: Home & Auto


January 2019 Retirement Times

January 10 , 2019

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Six Easy Steps to Keep Your Plan Assets Safe

Joel Shapiro, JD, LLM, Senior Vice President, ERISA Compliance

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Tags: Retirement Plans


Is the individual mandate dead?

January 09 , 2019

GettyImages-Stethescope PulseAs of 2019, individuals will no longer be charged a penalty for failing to carry health insurance. This has led many to declare the individual mandate dead. Here’s what it means for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and health insurance, and why it might not be quite as dead as some think. 

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Tags: Compliance


Take control of employee benefits costs by targeting these 10 conditions

December 27 , 2018

GettyImages-Doctors CT ScanWant to take control of employee benefit plan costs? One way is to target the health problems that drive up costs. IFEPB’s Workplace Wellness Trends 2017 Survey identified the health conditions that cost employers the most. Here’s a look at what they are and how to target them.

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Tags: Employee Benefits


10 questions contractors should ask before purchasing business interruption insurance

December 19 , 2018

GettyImages-Construction Workers Reading BlueprintJack is a busy contractor with a thriving business. One night there was a major fire at his office/warehouse, and some essential equipment was destroyed. Like most contractors, Jack had property insurance as part of his construction insurance package. He ordered replacement equipment right away, only to discover that the equipment was backordered. Without this crucial equipment, he couldn't complete his pending projects. Needless to say, this scenario created a major crunch in cash flow.

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Tags: Business Insurance


Texas Judge Rules ACA Unconstitutional but Law Remains in Effect

December 17 , 2018

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Tags: Compliance


Make home security your top priority

December 12 , 2018

Home security blog 

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Tags: Home & Auto


December HR News Worth Review

December 11 , 2018

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Furnishing Deadline Delayed for 2018 ACA Reporting

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has again determined that some employers, insurers and other providers of minimum essential coverage (MEC) need additional time to gather and analyze the information and prepare 2018 Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to be furnished to individuals.

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Tags: Compliance


Company party protocol: 8 tips for incident-free events

December 05 , 2018

GettyImages-Employee Christmas PartyWith the holiday season in full swing, it’s company party time and a great opportunity to celebrate with your team. As you plan this year’s event, be cognizant of what you hope to achieve and what you hope to avoid. We’ve all heard the stories about those who drink too much, say too much or do too much at company parties. Today, in the age of social media, employees can instantly share their colleagues’ bad judgement through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, placing your company’s reputation at risk. And then there are more serious exposures such as sexual harassment, food poisoning and driving under the influence. These risks can quickly turn your festive event into a costly regret. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Some careful planning can ensure that your company party goes off without a hitch – and without a hit to your bottom line. 

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Tags: Risk Management


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