So whats coming next from DC?
Following the federal government’s policy changes lately feels a lot like being on a roller coaster or perhaps more accurately, like being in a blender set to frappe. There are a lot of changes coming out, and they’re coming out at a dizzying pace. Some are actual regulations, some are just hints of legislation still to come. Some are clear and concrete, some are speculative. But a lot of them will affect your business.
Let me get this out of the way right now: when it comes to Donald Trump, there are plenty of people with very strong feelings on both sides of the aisle. I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers, and I’m certainly not going to predict what President Trump will do next. But I am going to give a quick overview of two big changes he has set into motion that will definitely affect your business, being the future of Obamacare and the promise of tax reform.
Obamacare: staying, going or changing?
No one knows for sure what’s going to happen to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the near- to mid-term. But what we do know right now is that the 2017 compliance changes are still in effect, and employers still need to follow them. That includes the Shared Responsibility Rules, which state that qualifying employers will have to pay steep fines if they don’t provide compliant coverage to employees and their dependents.
President Trump’s executive order instructing executive agencies to take action to reduce the burdens of ACA hints at big changes ahead, including his intention to repeal the troubled law. However, it also states:
In the meantime, pending such repeal, it is imperative for the executive branch to ensure that the law is being efficiently implemented, take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.
Also, you may have heard that President Trump has suggested that the federal government won’t enforce the mandate or penalty in 2017, but even en if this comes to pass, it only applies to the individual mandate employers would still be on the hook. So even as Washington talks about reforming, repairing, repealing or just plain junking the ACA, it’s important that business owners stick to the old compliance plan for now. In any event, paring back the requirements will likely make it more attractive for employers to hire and give more hours to employees that that already have.
What’s up with tax reform?
Tax reform is another signature issue that’s currently taking shape. While the details are still in flux and will require far more congressional cooperation than the near-term ACA changes the broad strokes have been fairly consistent since it was first introduced early in the presidential campaign season.
Individuals would see a more streamlined tax code, fewer brackets and perhaps fewer deductions. The bigger news, however, is the proposed slashing of the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent and eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax. For pass-through businesses, such as S-corporations, this 15 percent rate may and I stress MAY apply to pass-through income as well, instead of the prevailing personal income tax rate as it currently does. For many business owners, particularly smaller ones, this would be a huge windfall. It will all depend on the final wording of the bill and how it makes its way through congress. Whatever its final form, it seems likely that tax reform will be a net boon for businesses, making it easier to invest, grow and hire.
Hold on to your hat
I think we all knew on November 8th that we were in for a crazy ride, and our new president has not disappointed us in that prediction. We are in uncharted territory of policy and economics and the best advice anyone can give is to keep your eyes and ears open and hold on to your hat.
A blog by Global CEO and Co-Founder Kurt Schmitke
IS IT A PERK OR A BENEFIT?
One of the most challenging aspects to building a modern workplace that attracts and retains top talent is coming up with a personalized mix of benefits that really speaks to employees. As we’ve written before, a balanced culture of benefits is important, particularly when catering to today’s workforce.
The trick lies in realizing that it’s not just about how lavish they are, but in how well they demonstrate your understanding of and support for the things in life that matter most to your employees…..but just how many variables should you consider?
Individualized benefits convey extra value that can’t be measured strictly in dollars. Here are a few examples of what I mean
New healthcare options that reflect the new shape of families. Partner coverage is the alternative take on spousal coverage, reflecting the changing profile of modern domestic arrangements. Most healthcare insurance providers offer multiple options that you can extend to your employees. While the idea of partner coverage is not new, it’s gained a lot of traction in recent years and is often more noteworthy in its absence than in its presence.
Shifting the 401(k) to pay off your B.A. Young employees greatest financial burden is student debt. The result is that in the critical early years of employment, student loan payments steal away income that could and should be moved into 401(k) plans.
Some progressive companies now offer to put some or all matching funds against the employee’s student debt, letting the employee fund their retirement with their own contributions. According to Peanut Butter, a firm specializing in running such programs, 85 percent of Millennials would accept a job where such a benefit is offered.
Paid paternal leave to help make sure they come back. A vast body of research shows that paid paternal leave is great for families and particularly children. But another benefit is that the time spent away from the job is less stressful and the return is much easier a real advantage when you consider how common it is for a new mothers and fathers to re-evaluate their career paths.
While larger employers can easily manage multiple benefit offerings, one of the biggest challenges to offering the perfect mix of personalized benefits is the administrative overhead it requires. Obviously, it takes more work to manage six health insurance plans than two and it takes specific technology to run a standout personalized benefits program technology small businesses generally don’t have, and don’t have time to run.
Rather than assume the responsibility and cost on your own, HR partners like Emphas!sHR are equipped, staffed and experienced to help you
offer the right mix to employees, without the cost and time of running it all yourself. After all, you still have a business to run.
ABOUT GLOBAL GROUP
Global Group has always been on the leading edge of insurance brokerage and technology. As the industry’s quintessential Evolved Broker, our hybrid approach delivers the white-glove customer service you’d expect from a boutique firm, with state-of-the-art administration services for benefits enrollment.
Global Group’s expert negotiators consistently outperform the marketplace, empowering you to offer the best benefits to your employees at the best possible cost. It’s all about keeping you cutting-edge and competitive. Outsourcing your benefits administration to Global Group improves accuracy and saves you time by helping you keep all employee data in one place.
WHAT’S THE BENEFIT IN GETTING PERSONAL?
Everyone loves those morning news segments about some company’s incredibly lavish workplace culture.. You’ve seen them usually highly-capitalized startups and tech firms sporting basketball hoops in the break room, on-premises puppy daycare, full-time masseuses and foosball tables where conference tables usually are.
These extreme examples show how far some companies will go to retain employees and attract top talent. They’re spectacular to behold, until you remember that those companies and their culture are your competition for good people.
It becomes a classic David vs. Goliath battle for talent. Matching a better-funded company’s salary may not be enough. Can you successfully market your more intimate, more personalized company culture against on-demand frozen yogurt and a personal concierge?
Make company culture part of your business plan
The fact is that, outrageous or not, employee perks and benefits in short, what a lot of employees consider your company culture should be a line item in your business plan. And like any other item, it has to be planned and managed in order to keep its costs and benefits in line with each other. It’s a tough addition to an already over-extended CEO’s to-do list, but doing it right can be critical to your long-term success.
I know from personal experience that the first impulse is to offer as much love as you can, as often as you can Friday cocktail hours, after-work get-togethers, and so forth. But I found that the law of diminishing returns kicks in pretty quickly. I eventually found the right balance between frequency, cost and impact I actively manage our culture to yield the best return.
Focus your attention where it matters most
For small and mid-sized businesses, the market advantage lies in your ability to do more with less. And yes, that means more focus on the work and less on the play. But even so, addressing, top cultural factors that employees care about most only incurs minimal time and cost. Managing culture in this way offers the best return on your investment, because it mostly requires only your time and thought.
ABOUT GLOBAL GROUP
Global Group has always been on the leading edge of insurance brokerage and technology. As the industry’s quintessential Evolved Broker, our hybrid approach delivers the white-glove customer service you’d expect from a boutique firm, with state-of-the-art administration services for benefits enrollment. Considered early movers on this evolved broker concept more than 13 years ago, Global Group re-branded in 2003 to reflect our leadership position.
Global Group’s expert negotiators consistently outperform the marketplace, empowering you to offer the best benefits to your employees at the best possible cost. It’s all about keeping you cutting-edge and competitive. Outsourcing your benefits administration to Global Group improves accuracy and saves you time by helping you keep all employee data in one place. It also provides standardized-processes that you can adopt, giving your organization more structure than you may have previously enjoyed. Because the data is centralized, there is no need to duplicate the data in order to use it for multiple tasks. Our solution standardizes many HR administrative processes, including: adding a new hire; promoting, disciplining, transferring, or terminating an employee; tracking Family and Medical Leave and Leave of Absence; assigning or changing benefits; changing salary or grade of an employee; safety reporting.