Human Resources

Social Security reform takes one step forward

The Treasury is studying reform methods to make the Social Security system sound.

Increased financial hiring expected in fourth quarter

Financial executives polled for the Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index expect hiring in accounting and finance to accelerate during the fourth quarter of 2007. Nine percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed said they plan to add full-time employees and 3 percent expect staff reductions. The net 6 percent increase is up three points from the third-quarter projection.The national report is based on interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.
Tax

Food and beverage employers should note rule changes for 45B credit

The IRS has issued an announcement to employers that they should be aware of two changes to the credit for the portion of employer Social Security paid with respect to employee cash tips known as the 45B Credit. These changes are the result of recently enacted legislation.The law now requires employers to determine their credit using the minimum wage in effect on January 1, 2007, even if the minimum wage increases.

It's National Payroll Week: Get more from your paycheck

Labor Day is a perfect time for employees to bulk up their bank accounts. Flexible spending accounts and other free services available through company payroll departments can save workers up to 35 percent on things like medical, dental, even dependent care costs. September 3-7 is National Payroll Week and there's no better time for workers to "flex" their paycheck.One savings tool, flexible spending accounts, can save employees up to 35 percent on qualified medical and dependent care expenses because of the tax advantage of the accounts.
Practice

Women at work: AICPA guide addresses off-ramping issues

Over the past few years, it has become clear that organizations in the financial services, accounting, and consulting industries need to focus their energies on the attraction and retention of women professionals. The talent of these individuals is essential to the success of any professional services firm, and as the below statistics will reveal, this talent pool is experiencing tremendous change.
Education & Careers

Killer cover letters - how to get noticed

As you sit down to write your cover letter, do you ever stop and think, “Who the heck is going to read this?” You may believe that just because employers get hundreds of resumes per job posting that they tend to skip the cover letter part. That is simply not true.One Size Doesn’t Fit AllYou’ve written this awesome cover letter and it’s taken you quite a long time to create your masterpiece. You’re tired and spent from all your hard work.
Tax

New deferred-compensation rules will not affect teachers until 2008

Moving to clear up confusion about a recent tax law change, the Internal Revenue Service today reassured teachers and other school employees that new deferred-compensation rules will not affect the way their pay is taxed during the upcoming school year.Recently, the IRS has received inquiries from teachers who had been told that they had to make certain decisions about their pay, this month, or risk severe penalties. At issue is a 2004 law change that applies to people who decide to defer compensation from one year to a future year.
Tax

Treasury, IRS issue new proposed cafeteria plan regulations

The Treasury Department and the IRS have issued new proposed regulations for employee benefit plans under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code. The plans, called "cafeteria plans," allow employees to make a choice between receiving taxable cash compensation or tax-free employee benefits, such as health care, dependent care, and other fringe benefits. The new proposed regulations generally preserve the rules of the existing proposed regulations, while adding clarifications relating to statutory changes and administrative guidance changes since the previous regulations were published.
A&A

Offering benefits reduces employee turnover in small businesses

A survey by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration reports that while job tenure is longer at larger firms, offering benefits reduces the probability of employees leaving jobs at any firm in a given year by 26.2 percent, and increases the probability that an employee will stay an additional year by 13.9 percent. In addition, the study found that for every year the employee remains on the job, the likelihood of turnover is reduced by 81 percent.

Good friends are good for business productivity

Being surrounded by friends might just be the ticket to a more productive day at the office, according to recent research performed by the California-based temp agency, Accountemps. One hundred fifty senior executives from within the ranks of the Fortune 1000 as well as 519 full- or part-time workers were surveyed. Sixty-three percent of employees and 57 percent of executives agreed that becoming friends with co-workers has a positive effect on productivity.

Today's diverse workforce brings dramatic change to HR

For the first time in history, America's workforce is composed of four distinct generations - just one of many trends propelling the benefits industry towards consumer choice and driving the growth in voluntary employee benefits, according to a report just released by benefits leader Unum in conjunction with LIMRA International. HR Trends and Challenges: The Changing U.S. Demographic, Economic and Social Landscape of the Workplace provides a comprehensive review of studies from Unum, LIMRA, Society of Human Resource Management and other trade, business and government research.

Financial executives indicate plans to shift healthcare costs to employees

Ninety-nine percent of financial executives polled at a professional conference are concerned about rising employee healthcare costs. Eighty one percent of the respondents said their employee healthcare costs have risen in the past year, from as little as 5 percent to more than 20 percent.While most of the executives said their organizations do not plan to reduce benefits, nearly a quarter indicated that employees would have to shoulder increased costs. Other tactics include offering high-deductible consumer driven plans and changing healthcare providers.
A&A

Minimum wage set to increase today

The federal minimum wage will rise from $5.15 to $5.85 per hour on Tuesday, July 24, 2007, the first of three increases that will take place over the next two years. Over the next two years, the federal minimum wage will rise from to $7.25 per hour in three steps. The federal minimum wage will increase to: $5.85 per hour on July 24, 2007 $6.55 per hour on July 24, 2008 $7.25 per hour on July 24, 2009 Employees last saw an increase in the federal minimum wage in 1997.

Women's advancement slowed by gender stereotyping, study shows

Gender stereotyping, one of the key barriers to women's advancement in corporate leadership, leaves women with limited, conflicting, and often unfavorable options no matter how they choose to lead, according to The Double-Bind Dilemma for Women in Leadership: Damned if You Do, Doomed if You Don't, a study released by Catalyst, a non-profit organization working to advance opportunities for women and business.

10 Signs that your job may be on the line

Everyone gets fired at least once in their career, it seems, but how do you know if you're next?Consider these 10 signs that the end may be near:You hear the phrase knowledge transfer. If you're asked to train a new employee with a job description that sounds familiar (like your own), consider it a red flag, said Robert Graber, founder of WallStJobs.com, a recruitment resource for financial professionals, in MarketWatch.You're a senior executive and your company hires a new CEO from outside the company.
A&A

Top five hiring mistakes small businesses make

Gevity, which serves as a full-service human resources department for small and mid-sized businesses, has released its list of the top five hiring mistakes made by small businesses when recruiting and hiring employees. Developed from Cornell University/Gevity research and surveys of small business owners, the list is a handy tip sheet for recruiting and hiring top talent. Here are the top five hiring mistakes -- and how to avoid them:Offering candidates uncompetitive compensation.
Technology

Automating retirement programs can increase savings, retention

Enhancing 401(k) programs with automatic features can generate a double-barreled investment success, enabling employees to save more for retirement and employers to better recruit and retain those employees.That key finding is in a new AARP-commissioned report, "Enhancing 401(k) Value and Participation: Taking the Automatic Approach," released this week by AARP and prepared by global professional services firm Towers Perrin."AARP believes workers should have access to effective retirement plans, and automatic retirement programs are a double-barreled investment success," noted Jon Dauphi

HMOs propose highest rate increases in four years

An analysis from Hewitt Associates, a global human resources services company, indicates that initial HMO premium rates(1) will increase by approximately 14.1 percent in 2008 - the highest rate increase in four years. Despite the rise in rates, companies will focus more on improving employee health, less on employee cost shifting.As U.S.
A&A

2007 Best small and medium companies to work for in America

A joint endeavor of the Great Place to Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management provides an opportunity for small-sized companies (50-250 employees) and medium-sized companies (251-999 employees) to compete for the honor of being named one of the "Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America."Competing companies win marks for low turnover, providing employee training programs, and work/life flexibility. Surveys are filled out anonymously by employees. Companies can nominate themselves for the award and they pay a fee to be included in the competition.
Tax

7 Steps for complying with deferred compensation plan rules

New rules for nonqualified deferred compensation plans under Internal Revenue Code Sec. 409A went into effect on Jan. 1, 2005. Recently, the IRS issued final regulations to provide guidance on the rules. Grant Thornton LLP has developed a Quick Reference Guide to Complying with the Sec. 409A Deferred Compensation Plan Rules that provides seven suggested steps to help companies comply with the rules.

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