4 Practical Tips To Maximize The Impact Of Sexual Harassment Training

4 Practical Tips To Maximize The Impact Of Sexual Harassment Training

Sexual harassment compliance training is generally not HR professionals’ favorite thing. There is a lot of gray area in terms of what constitutes harassment. This gray area makes it difficult to distinguish whether something is sexual harassment or not, and creates a challenge for bystanders who have witnessed an iffy situation to know if they should or should not report of the situation.

There is a high chance that your employees have or will encounter an iffy situation. Providing them with clear and thorough training will help them to better distinguish a sexual harassment scenario and will increase their knowledge on how to correctly respond.
To maximize the impact of your company’s sexual harassment training, consider these 4 tips:

1. Make It Mandatory

From new hires to company executives, ensure each employee completes a thorough sexual harassment compliance training program. Mandatory training sends a message that all employees, despite their titles, are expected to represent themselves and their company in a way that is considerate and respectable. A lack of support from company leaders sets a poor example and generates a negative impact on the importance of training for the rest of the office. When factoring in schedules and company budget, utilize different training methods. Smaller group training sessions help employees to feel more comfortable asking questions and are more willing to participate in group discussions. Virtual training is another alternative but should have an interactive component like instructor-led live training sessions.

2. Keep It Recent and Relatable

You cannot expect your employees to read and memorize the company’s sexual harassment policies. Create an ongoing and interactive training experience with customized character-driven situations that resonate with your workplace. Show your employees workplace scenarios similar to what they’ve been dealing with in their workplace. Employees will start to see what could really happen to them personally as well as what may have happened to the company from a legal position. Discuss real-world topics such as hugs, jokes, dating in the workplace, alcohol at work-related events, and off-site and after-hours activities.

3. Check Your Culture

Do you allow inappropriate comments? Do you allow cursing? On-site drinking? Allowing this behavior creates an inappropriate environment. An inappropriate environment is usually what sparks sexual harassment. Harassment can range from extreme forms such as violence, threats, or physical touching to less obvious actions like teasing, mocking, or repeatedly bothering coworkers or refusing to talk to them. It can be based on a person’s race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Establish an Open-Door Policy for your employees to anonymously ask questions, get answers, and share experiences through a hotline, specific human resource person or email address, or outside party.

4. Safety Checks

Don’t limit sexual harassment training to a one-time event. It is important to have awareness campaigns periodically throughout the year. Provide tools like relevant brochures, helpful websites and blog links, videos and webinars to help employees identify and report improper behavior in the future. Hang anti-sexual harassment posters on notice boards in common work areas and send out emails reinforcing what was taught during training. Give employees a clear and concise outline your sexual harassment policy, reporting and investigation process, and penalties for non-compliance. When your company does health and safety surveys, collect data about sexual harassment and abuse. Analyze the data and reevaluate your training methods for the next time you have a sexual harassment training. Periodically conduct workplace audits to monitor any incidences of sexual harassment.

We need to shift away from explaining what sexual harassment is and drift towards creating a culture of respect and civility. We need to shift away from explaining how to avoid situations in which harassment can be questioned and towards ways to encourage trust. For more information on how Highflyer HR can provide effective sexual harassment training solutions, Contact us at (844) 398-7800 or getstarted@highflyerhr.com.

Can you prove your ACA compliance?

Can you prove your ACA compliance?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandates and deadlines are putting plenty of fear, worry and doubt into those who must comply with reporting requirements.  Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) should be especially aware of their ACA obligations to employees and the IRS.

Enforcement

Since the ACA became a law, the IRS has managed over 40 provisions regarding implementation of ACA.

Perhaps the most pressing from an employer’s viewpoint is play or pay.  Large employers (50+ FTEs) who do not offer coverage for all of their full-time employees, offer unaffordable minimum essential coverage or offer plans with high out-of-pocket costs could face tax penalties.

The employer would also be subject to a tax penalty if there is at least one full-time employee certified as having purchased health insurance through an exchange and was eligible for a tax credit or subsidy.

Fines

Employer fines imposed for ACA noncompliance are referred to as employer shared responsibility paymentsThe full details of who will have to pay, how much to pay and under what circumstances is pretty complicated, but rest assured those fines can be substantial. The IRS official Q&A about this contained 56 entries when it was updated as of May 20, 2015.

Data

ALEs should have been recording and compiling detailed, monthly information as of January 1, 2015, in order to meet filing requirements. Some required data includes:

  • Federal Employer Identification Numbers (FEIN) within a controlled group
  • Total employees
  • Total full-time employees
  • Total months covered
  • Validation that minimum essential coverage was offered, affordable and met the minimum value requirements
  • Personal information, including Social Security Number and birth date

Forms

Required reporting will be done via four IRS forms:

  • 1094-B (Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns)
  • 1094-C (Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns)
  • 1095-B (Health Coverage)
  • 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage).

ALEs will file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C, while the coverage provider or self-insured plan sponsor has the legal obligation to furnish forms 1094-B and 1095-B to the plan participants.

Deadlines

Full-time equivalent (FTE) employees must receive their completed forms by February 1, 2016 (due to January 31 falling on Sunday). The paper reporting forms filed with the IRS must be sent in by February 29 (due to leap year) or March 31 for electronic filing.  Employers should already be implementing a solution that can manage ACA data and report compliance.

Be prepared

The challenges of ACA compliance can be met with the right solution that manages employee data, time and attendance, HR, payroll, and benefits so an employer is able to quickly review data. If you use outside assistance, make sure they provide a defined project plan to ensure your compliance.

Action plan

  • Know exactly what should be done
  • Define a process
  • Manage and compile data
  • Understand the forms and instructions
  • Meet the deadlines

The bottom line?  Be ready – you have to comply!

How’s your company’s vision?

How’s your company’s vision?

Can you see what’s coming for employee health care reporting?  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is burdensome and complex with changes to many different laws or sections of our tax code.   With nearly 100 provisions since its enactment, it seems to continually impact employer responsibilities and reporting.

Determining if your company is an applicable large employer (ALE) is just one of the ACA requirements.  An employer with more than 50 full-time (or an equivalent combination of full-time and part-time) employees is an ALE.  An ALE must offer affordable health plans that provide at least a minimum level of coverage to their full-time employees (and their dependents), or possibly be subject to the employer shared responsibility penalty.  Though no employer shared responsibility payments were assessed for 2014, employers must use their 2014 workforce information (e.g., number of employees, hours of service) to determine their criteria for 2015, since the number of employees is a calculated value of full-time and part-time employees over the last 12 months.

The ACA also amended the tax code, adding sections 6055 and 6056. ALEs are required to file information returns with the IRS and provide statements to their full-time employees about health insurance coverage offered by the employer.

Section 6055 Section 6056
Insurers and self-funded plans Applicable large employers
Enforce the individual mandate Enforce the employer mandate
Show all individuals who are covered Show who has been offered coverage
Form 1094 B transmittal to the IRS Form 1094 C; ALE’s transmittal to the IRS
Form 1095 B notice to the individual Form 1095 C;  ALE’s notice to the employee

As you can see, it’s critical that all your workforce data is in one location, making it easy to track critical employee and dependent data needed for required ACA reporting:

  • Required identifying information
  • Availability of required coverage
  • Waivers of available coverage
  • Affordability of plans

Highflyer HR’s Human Capital Management (HCM) technology that helps you determine your ALE status and maximum waiting periods for medical enrollments, in addition to running applicable self-funded or fully insured reports.  Highflyer HR also provides appropriate filing for companies that fall under the exception reporting for this year.  And if you’re curious about potential penalties due to the non-affordability of offered plans, Highflyer HR can show you proactive estimates.

Highflyer HR makes adhering to ACA requirements easier and more efficient. With expert support from our staff, iSolved makes sure you have all of the necessary data collection, forms and procedures so you don’t lose sight of vital compliance issues.

Contact us at 844.398.7800 for more about Highflyer HR and health care reporting compliance.

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FLSA Lawsuits Are On The Rise

FLSA Lawsuits Are On The Rise

Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits numbered over 7,000 in 2012 alone.  Companies such as Walmart, Staples, Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase, Oracle, CVS, Tyson Foods, Lowe’s and AT&T have been subject to significant FLSA penalties.

FLSA lawsuits don’t target specific types of companies; every company could be faced with this challenge and the ensuing penalties.

Determining violations

In order to determine violations, investigators generally look at the following five areas.

Earnings codes

Your company’s earnings codes may be the easiest way to identify compensation being improperly excluded from the regular rate. In an FLSA lawsuit investigation, investigators tend to first look at safety, incentive, bonus, auto allowance, operator incentive and per diem.

Deduction codes

Looking at your list of deductions codes can also reveal existing issues such as appropriate deductions or if the deductions reduce wages below minimum wage.  Investigators will pay special attention to advances, laundry, safety glasses, tools, uniform fees and shoes and union dues.

It’s important to remember to document anything that requires employee authorization and to avoid deductions that cause pay to go below minimum wage.

Your time system

Your time and attendance rules and the resulting employee time punches can be one wage and hour issue, but there are several causes:

  • Rounding rules – make sure rounding is fair
  • Automatic meal period deductions – single largest reason for litigation; if you require employees to punch out/in rather than auto deduct, you have proof of meal periods
  • Time clock rules treat clocking in early or late the same for everyone
  • Shift hours overlaps work weeks; this may cause underpay one week and overpay the next week

Time card dangers

There are a few areas which investigators focus on as possible clues to inappropriate time clock management.

  • Identical in/out and meal period times for almost every day – is the employee actually punching?
  • No out/in and meal time punches – hard to prove if nothing is documented
  • Exact time punches when shift begins
  • Employee time punches are almost the same exact time – possibly buddy punching

Pay stub issues

  • Paid for fewer hours than shown on time record
  • Deductions for work required equipment (e.g., uniforms, tools)
  • Employee was paid a shift differential or bonus instead of overtime pay

Avoiding difficult, expensive and time-consuming business problems are now a part of our reality with FLSA lawsuits.  Proper record keeping and documentation is vital, along with a time and attendance system that integrates with payroll and other business functions.

Your systems should have consistent rules across the board, maintain documentation, have easy data management and reports to prove your compliance.