Feb 05 2019

Massachusetts Paid Family Leave Guide

As part of the Massachusetts “Grand Bargain,” paid family and medical leave (PFML) has been taking shape. The law will provide paid family and employee medical leave benefits for Massachusetts workers in 2021. Also, it will establish a Department and process for paid family leave of up to 12 weeks to care for a family member, and up to 20 weeks for an individual employee’s own ailment or disability.

The tax that will pay for these benefits will begin in July 2019, and paid leave benefits themselves will be available beginning in 2021. The initial contribution rate will be 0.63 percent of all wages (or other qualifying earnings or payments). This amount is anticipated to increase over time, however no set schedule for this has been communicated to employers.

Businesses that employ one or more individuals are subject to the PFML law and must submit contributions on behalf of workers and covered individuals. Employers with fewer than 25 employees must submit contributions on behalf of their employees to cover the portion of PFML contribution due from employees and covered individuals, however they are not required to pay the employer portion of the contributions for family and medical leave. The Department has stated that cities, towns, districts, and political subdivisions are exempt unless they decide to opt in.


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Jan 08 2019

State-by-State Minimum Wage Update 2019

The Federal minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009, but many states, counties, and cities have passed their own minimum wage laws. Employers must pay non-exempt employees at least minimum wage and if the mandated federal, state, or municipal rate differs, the highest rate must be paid.

18 states increased their minimum wage effective December 31, 2018 or January 1, 2019, and 3 more will increase their minimum wage later in 2019.

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Nov 29 2018

Massachusetts paid family and medical leave update

Massachusetts private employers and their HR teams are trying their best to obtain info and prepare, as MA joins a short (but growing), list of states providing employees with paid family and medical leave benefits on January 1, 2021. While this date may not seem to be looming around the corner, the effective date for the new payroll tax that will be funding these benefits is July 1st of 2019.

Without further clarity promised until the proposed regulations are released (no later than March 31, 2019), HR Pros and Business Owners are looking for all options and avenues available to illuminate this program and the responsibilities that must be met to comply.

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Nov 16 2018

Employees can put $50 more in health flexible spending accounts

Let your employees know: now is the time to take full advantage of employer health flexible spending arrangements (FSA) during 2019.

FSAs provide employees a way to use tax-free dollars to pay medical expenses not covered by other health plans. Because eligible employees need to decide how much to contribute through payroll deductions before the plan year begins, many employers are offering their employees the option to sign up for an FSA now for participation that begins in 2019.

Interested employees wishing to contribute during the new year must make this choice again for 2019, even if they contributed in 2018. Self-employed individuals are not eligible.

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Nov 14 2018

Year-end guide to third-party sick pay

As a business owner or Payroll/HR professional, there's a lot to review at this time of year in order to make sure you close out your 2018 payroll and tax data without errors or corrections. And a review of any Third-Party Sick Pay (abbreviated 3PSP) is probably (hopefully!) on your list.

Year-end deadlines are rapidly approaching - December 27 is the last day to post 2018 payroll data to meet filing deadlines. If any of your employees were issued sick pay by a third party (usually an insurance company) in 2018, take a look at these three steps to help you avoid last-minute payroll and tax adjustments.

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Nov 05 2018

Why you should perform background checks on job applicants

There are many good reasons to look into an applicant’s background. Before you decide to trust applicants with your business’ money, equipment and reputation, you should be sure that their history doesn’t indicate they’ll take advantage of that trust. Moreover, you make a substantial investment in a new worker’s training and compensation. As with any investment, you want to make sure you’re not wasting that investment.

Fact is, not everyone can be trusted. When polled by executive search firm Ward Howell International, 17 percent of 501 executives surveyed said their new hires had misrepresented job qualifications. What’s more, applicants with especially scary skeletons in their closets aren’t likely to tell you about them. Finally, state laws require you to perform background checks on applicants for certain positions, especially ones dealing with children or the elderly.

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Oct 01 2018

4 ways to make recruiting and hiring employees easier

According to glassdoor.com, the interview process for just one position now takes an average 22.9 days.

That’s nearly a month of preparation, sifting through resumes, and scheduling and conducting interviews by you and your hiring managers.

Is it surprising that HR professionals would be looking for ways to shorten this process and make it easier for all involved?

Whether you hire just a few employees per year or a few hundred, a recruiting and applicant tracking system to streamline the process can keep your hiring goals on track and organized.

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Sep 07 2018

Tax reform update: new draft form W-4 and new IRS site

One of the biggest political developments last year was the passage of Tax Reform. In addition to changes to credits, deductions, and business tax rates, the tax reform law changes the way employers calculate wage withholding for their employees.

For this reason, the IRS has released an “early release draft” of the 2019 IRS Form W-4, which incorporates a number of changes resulting from tax reform as well as the new withholding requirements. The agency has also updated their website with information on how tax reform effects taxpayers and businesses.

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Sep 04 2018

Are you an Applicable Large Employer (ALE) for 2018?

Are you an Applicable Large Employer (ALE) for 2018?

It's time to find out, because ACA filing is still a requirement for any employers meeting the law's Applicable Large Employer threshold.

The first step in the reporting process is to determine if you are an ALE. ALEs have 50 or more FTEs and are subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility mandate.

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Aug 20 2018

Massachusetts Grand Bargain: 3 major takeaways for employers

A recent compromise between the business community and advocacy groups in the Bay State has resulted in “Grand Bargain” compromise legislation that the Governor signed into law at the end of June.

There are three major items that significantly affect Massachusetts employers: an increase in the state minimum wage to $15.00 per hour, a sales tax compromise, and the creation of a new state paid family and medical leave program.

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