HRS Fast News, January 2016


The information specialists at HRS dedicate to delivering exactly what you need to know... and nothing you don't need. HRS eNews is released 4-6 times annually, delivering mandatory legal compliance and top informational updates; a concise "must know" compilation for busy C-suite and HR/OD leaders.

CEO Must-Knows About Employing People in 2016

Our CEO, Jessica Ollenburg, sits down to deliver a CEO to CEO list of points that every organization needs to consider at the highest executive office as we head into the new year. Written for the IBAW January magazine, we are happy to bring this piece to our audience, as well. You can find a reprint of the article here in our blog.

Cadillac Tax Delay and Other Provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 

Employers everywhere – take a breath; that ACA excise tax you were stressing over can be pushed to the backburner. In fact, it’s been delayed a full two years, which may even result in the death of the tax altogether pending the next administration’s agenda. Furthermore, if/when the tax does take effect, it would now be fully tax deductible. This move was made as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which was part of the much larger spending and tax package approved for the federal government for 2016. In addition to the Cadillac Tax delay, the Act also increased the 2016 monthly maximum tax exclusion for employer-provided mass-transit passes. More details can be found in the Act itself, here.

So Where Does That Leave the ACA?

It’s 2016, and the Affordable Care Act should be upon us…but the delay of the Cadillac Tax (in addition to the below mentioned delays) has the Affordable Care Act on, dare we say, uncertain terms going into an election year. Delivery of 1095-C forms to affected employees has been pushed back to March 31st, 2016, and the filing date has been extended, as well (May 31st for paper filing; June 30th for electronic filing). All of this after all of the alarms that promised to you that you needed to have things prepared by year end. While we’ve been conveying to our audience for a long time that such delays can be expected as we work through the ACA for the first time, employers should expect that these 2016 deadlines are likely final. Stay tuned with more ACA updates at our recap page.

"Hey HR! Cut the Costs...and the Crap!"

This worldwide company was told to cut its HR costs by 30% within two years. They accomplished that and substantially improved their efficiency. Here's how. We’ve talked about the benefits of outsourcing and technology to your HR team, and this is a positive case study supporting these findings. As always, HRS firmly believes that different companies require unique solutions, but we hope that this article offers a helpful guide to creating your own optimal structure and wisely choosing your third-party partners.

How to Keep Your Workplace From Being Contagious

Work ethic has long been a virtue for American businesses, and there’s great respect given to those who “soldier through” and show up for work even when they’re ill. At what point, however, does that mentality become a detriment? How do you embrace work ethic while still promoting a healthy, illness-free workplace? Is your workplace at optimum efficiency when contagious viruses are spreading through your staff? Here’s a hint: telecommuting has sure made things easier.

It's Time to Get These Three Policies Out of Your Handbook 

The employer community is constantly waiting on case precedent rulings to determine the true fate of specific handbook provisions. In the case of Hyundia Am. Shipping Agency vs. NLRB, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed NLRB bans on these three handbook policies, rendering them illegal for all employers. Due to this case law, employers can no longer: 1) prohibit employees discussing matters under company investigation, except to protect against interference with the review itself; 2) limit disclosing information maintained on the company’s electronic systems, unless the information is lawfully deemed confidential and/or set off as intellectual property or trade secret; and 3) prohibit non-work activities during work hours, unless work hours are specifically defined to exclude breaks, as you cannot prohibit employees from engaging in "organizing" activities during breaks. Do any of these policies sound like your handbook? Contact us for help with revisions!

How to Catch a Predator...and Save a Life

Back in 2011, Swedish telecom giant Ericsson purchased and installed security scanning software to monitor and alert the legal team of any suspicious and illicit activity. Ericsson is not the only company to make such a move, but they are one of the few to discuss the results of their efforts (you can read more about that here from the Naples Daily News). Over the past four years, Ericsson’s Chief Legal Officer has been notified monthly of searches flagged for sexual abuse of children – which is quite alarming. While Ericsson has taken a large step in policing and reporting such activities to law enforcement, several other similar topics are currently on the docket. A hot topic of the recent political debates has been whether or not social media (and other tech giants) should be enlisted/required to sweep and report for dangerous behavior in their own systems. While political opinion continues to be shaped, each company must ask themselves, “Is it my right/responsibility to be a part of this effort, and should I also take the step”. HRS can help you make the difficult choice!

Fed Rules Pre-Employment Drug Tests Aren’t Medical Exams…But Is It The End?

In a rare ruling that promotes freedom of use for the employer community, pre-employment drug tests that screen for illegal drug use were determined not to be considered medical examinations under the ADA (SHRM article). What this means for employers is that ADA protection is not necessarily required for candidates who have been offered conditional employment. Be careful, however, as testing on legal drug use can still be considered protected on other merit. Employers should remain on the lookout for further changes, as medical definitions of addiction as a genetic condition and/or protected disease continue to be shaped. As there is a current window of distinction on this topic, contact us for more information and decision tools.

Are You Receiving Your 2016 Updated Labor Law Postings?

Several states have issued mandatory changes to their labor law postings. Click here for a list of all the changes and the most recent update for each state, and then make sure that you are getting updated copies for your workplace! Unsure about where to get them, or unhappy with solicitations from your current provider? Ask us for the best sources!

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)... 

For 2016, 401(k) Contribution Limits and Social Security Payroll Tax Threshold Remain Unchanged

HRS Holiday Party Study Findings

While all participants received timely response of our 2015 holiday study, we're pleased to offer our findings retroactively to our entire audience.

SEC Issues Final Ruling on CEO Pay-Ratio Rule

The SEC's new Pay-Ratio rule has targeted the discrepancy in compensation between CEOs and their employees for publicly traded companies. Nat'l Law Review Article.

77% of HR Departments Now Paperless

SHRM study.

Summary: Which States Require, Prohibit, and Permit Background Checks




Seeking a Past Year Recap?

Visit our eNews archive for past issues, linked by subject title.


And... News About HRS...

HRS Payroll Administration Operations Soar in Popularity!

Delivering extraordinary knowledge in legal compliance, HRIS and holistic payroll solutions, HRS payroll administration services are getting rave reviews! While certain competition is dropping the ball with incessant errors, delays and inconvenience, our programs shine with accuracy, compliance risk management, reliability, consistency of assigned contacts and so much more!

Developing Exceptional Leaders, from the Newly Promoted to the C-Suite 

Today's best assessments profile individual leadership styles, while stretching beyond to measure implementation effectiveness through in-basket technique and role play. Leaders enjoy lifelong learning through our client site workshops, deploying kinesthetic hands-on learning and precision custom curriculum. Assessment is ongoing through training exercises to benchmark progress and to pinpoint learning needs. Veracity by HRS programs are so widely applauded by employers and learning participants alike, even our Anti-Harassment workshops are consistently reinforced as meaningful and engaging. 

HRS Dubbed "The Pioneers of HR Management and Research" in Fortune, Money and Businessweek Showcase

Due to our historic, current and predicted future success in local, national and global arenas, HRS enjoys a feature profile in these top magazines. You can find the feature here in case you missed it. We send heartfelt thanks to our treasured clients and supporters who grant us the opportunity to deliver positive impact! 


Compliance Audits and Policy Communications... Time for Another Review

Employers are relying upon external experts more than ever before. Reasonable care requires annual review, and the courts are looking for it! Changes to federal and state employment laws make updating more critical, yet legal advice from attorneys is not enough to craft effective holistic solutions. More employers are recognizing the problems with appropriating another company's handbook and the pitfalls of boilerplate compliance solutions. Today's best policies and practices deliver not only up-to-the-minute legal compliance, but also employer reasonable care in education, pro-active communication, culture shaping, performance management, employee engagement and cost cutting through operations efficiency. 

Veracity Corporate Education Programs Deliver Extraordinary Outcomes

Adding to a recent tour of CEO groups, HR professional organizations, media briefs, radio talk shows, employers of choice and top ranked universities, today's most popular programs include Anti-Harassment,  Legal Compliance Balancing Talent Engagement, Performance Management, Getting More Out of Meetings, Organizational Change Management,  Organizational Communications and More. Our flagship programs remain private employer-site workshops including group roundtables or Individual Learning Sessions (ILS).  

Angel Wings Enjoys New Publicity 

Fueled by HRS, HRS Gives Back and community support, extraordinary solutions are delivered via "Angel Wings" subsidy to employers who deliver extraordinary impact. Such employers include start-up and non-profit organizations whose missions and methodology promise positive economic, community and/or charitable impact. 

Subscription Bundles!

Subscription bundles for turnkey solution delivery are enjoying immense popularity! In response to evolving legal, talent management and reasonable care demands, these bundles mix and match education, compliance, assessment and/or third-party operations in cost-cutting packages. Check out the eStore

Thought Leadership Blog Enjoys Wildly Popular Syndication

Highlights of recent and popular articles...

  • The Annual Performance Review: Post Mortem?
  • What I've Learned through Successful Nonprofit Leadership: A “Distinguished Service Award” Winner’s Perspective
  • Unlimited PTO: Friend or Foe?
  • Savvy Employers in Action: Neroli Postures on Education and Employee Trust
  • 5 Key Rules to Crafting Leader Learning
  • Do Happy Workers Have a Reason to Excel?
  • The Skills Gap, Pt. II: Addressing Education
  • HR Advice from Nonprofit Associations Can Be Lethal!
  • Old School Meets New School with "Social HR"
  • Is The Talent Gap Overstated?        
  • Building a Rock-Star Employer Brand with Glimmering Engagement Tactics
  • Can Employee Engagement Techniques Conceal Intrinsic Demotivation?
  • A "No References" Policy is a "Welcome" Sign for Employee Bad Behavior
  • Is Balance Between Gen Y and Baby Boomers Key to Skills Gap Solution?
  • FCRA Compliance Blueprint for Employer Background Checks
  • Catch Someone Doing Something Right
  • “If I’m a Self-Starter, Why Aren’t You?”... Team Members High in Initiative are Challenged as Coaches
  • P3 Compliance and Constructing Policies That Hold Up in Court

  • The information and operation specialists at HRS are available to assist with each and every topic mentioned herein. Please consider us for your HR/OD and legal compliance needs.  Time, human capital planning, cost containment, risk management and talent engagement are more important than ever before. Please keep us on your radar for any Requests for Proposal!


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