(Post written by Rick Dacri on October 16, 2013)
Just taped a radio show on the Affordable Care Act. One of the other guests was a small employer. He is grappling with the issue of whether to offer his new employees health insurance or not because he is concerned with the cost and whether that cost will increase to an unaffordable rate next year. These candidates are saying they cannot accept the job without health insurance.
This is the classic dilemma faced by many employers. From a strategy standpoint, employers must balance costs against the ability to attract and retain good employees. He can keep his costs down by not offering insurance, but lose good employees, or he can potentially increase his costs by hiring and retaining quality employees.
While there are many nuances to this issue, all employers are faced with this balance—whether it is with health insurance or any benefit, or wages, or frankly the cost of materials.
With employees, hiring and retaining stars is critical. Productivity increases, customer service improves and profits usually follow. For this business owner, he needs to decide if that’s worth it by offering health insurance.
What would you do? Let us know in the comment section.
To learn how Rick Dacri can advise you, click Dacri & Associates.
(Posted by Rick Dacri on August 28, 2013)
The summer is nearly over and now it’s time to look forward to the fall. I wanted to check in with you and suggest a check-up on your operation. The economy continues to heat up and there’s a lot happening, so I wanted to take a moment to provide you a brief list of important items you should be focusing on to help you make managing your business a bit easier:
1. Turnover is Increasing: With an improving market, there is strong evidence that employees are feeling more confident and many, particularly coveted star performers, are beginning to look to make job changes. That’s not good for you.
Advice: Make sure your managers and supervisors are focused on employee retention. Implement a progressive retention program and initiate an annual employee satisfaction survey to take a pulse of your organization.
2. ACA Deadlines: Deadlines for the Affordable Care Act are upon us.
My Advice: Make sure your plan meets all the new requirements and plan to provide employee education programs. You may also want to change your new enrollments dates and your benefit eligibility requirements. Update your classifications for full-time and part-time employees and evaluate whether it makes sense to restructure your staffing to address “pay or play” thresholds.
3. Evaluate Your Hiring: As the economy expands, you may find the need to add staff. With an improving economy, finding good people is proving more difficult.
My Advice: Continue reading
(Written by Rick Dacri & published in the York County Coast Star, August 22, 2013)
It’s decision time. The deadlines for implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are fast approaching. Delay, in hopes that Congress will suddenly derail it, is a mistake.
Most employers have moved beyond a wait and see approach and are taking steps to deal with the new rules and regulations. The Act is complex and employers should quickly meet with their health insurance brokers to get their advice and counsel. The focus must be on developing the correct tactics to handle the vast implications of the Affordable Care Act.
The news has been filled with stories of companies opting to drop their existing health insurance coverage, fire workers to fall below the 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) threshold for mandatory coverage or reduce employee hours below 30 to avoid offering coverage. The reality is very different. What I hear from my clients is that they definitely plan to continue providing coverage and this trend is affirmed by a recent International Foundation of Employee Benefits survey. 69% of participants indicated they would definitely continue coverage and another 25% said they are likely to do so. Only 4% said they are likely or leaning toward dropping coverage.
Employers who currently do not offer health insurance must now decide whether to continue that practice or not. Under the “play or pay” rules, Continue reading
Post Written by Rick Dacri, July 8, 2013
CEOs consistently tell me that the challenges of the business fill their plate and the ongoing people issues just make it worse. The last few weeks the Courts and government agencies have simply overwhelmed them. Let’s take a look at what has happened:
- DOMA: The Supreme Courts overturning the Defense of Marriage Act now extends to same sex couples, who were married and reside in the 12 states and the District of Columbia that recognize same sex marriage, all the federal benefits offered to heterosexual couples. That means employers must now make the changes to policies, benefits, and payroll taxes to comply with the changes. While this brings a consistency to the compliance between state and federal law, it leaves the question of what happens in the other 38 states.
- Independent Contractors: Both the federal and state government agencies (IRS and Labor) have both redefined their definition of an Independent Contractor and begin strict enforcement of the new standards forcing employers to change how they manage their workforce and quickly bring their company into compliance or face huge fines. For many companies, this will be s tremendous burden.
- Interns: Two high profile class-action lawsuits against NBC Universal and Fox Searchlight point to the perils of not paying summer interns. In both cases, the Court determined these companies violated the Fair Labor Standards Act for not paying their “workers” forcing employers nationally to rethink how they employ and compensate interns. These rulings will hurt valuable college internship programs.
- Affordable Care Act: The Obama administration gave small employers a welcome reprieve by extending the compliance deadline to 2014 for implementing the mandate for employers with 50 or more employees to provide insurance coverage. While on the surface this is good news, it brings further confusion to an already difficult implementation schedule.
- Immigration: As Congress wrestles with immigration reform, CEOs suffer with the inability to recruit badly needed skilled and unskilled foreign workers. With a growing skills gap and an aging workforce, foreign workers could fill the void. Without Congressional relief, CEOs must operate without essential workers.
- New Definition of Supervisor: The Supreme Court has clarified its definition of a “supervisor” and in doing so, provided employers with a bit of clarity in defending itself against claims of harassment. While this is a helpful decision, it still requires policy changes and education of managers to ensure compliance.
Running a business is always a challenge. The Courts and government made it a whole lot more complicated. Regardless, CEOs must begin to address the changes, make the adjustments to their policies and practices, and quickly get into full compliance, while continuing to lead their business.
If you want to know how I can help you with this, click Dacri & Associates.
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Other posts you may want to read:
- DOMA Overturned Means Changes for Business
- Independent Contractors in Labor’s Cross Hairs
- Interns: Employers Obligation to Pay or Not?
- Affordable Care Act: What Employers Need To Know
- Immigration: Tear Down Those Walls
- Harassment Claims: Courts New Definition of Supervisor
(Post was written by James McCarthy, Mainebiz)
Rick Dacri, owner of a Kennebunkport-based consulting firm that advises businesses on work force issues, says his client list ranges from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofits employing fewer than 10 people. Whatever their size, he says, health care benefits and their costs have long been a front-burner issue for Maine employers.
Yet, when asked about the 5–4 Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, Dacri carefully sidesteps the political controversy that preceded the June 28 ruling and continues in its aftermath. He prefers to focus more on the practical steps employers need to take now that the law has been ruled constitutional.
“I don’t think it’s as big a deal as is being portrayed,” Dacri says, noting that most of his Maine clients, even the smaller companies, already provide health insurance to their employees. For them, he says, it’s an essential way to attract and keep quality employees. Continue reading