Office Management & HR

Learn more about the resources available for Office & HR.

  • Workplace Smoking Rules in New York

    Employers in New York must comply with these state rules regulating smoking in the workplace.

  • What is COBRA? What Employers Need to Know

    Understand COBRA, who must provide it and an employer's COBRA duties.

  • Policies to Handle Employee Insubordination

    The proper response to employee insubordination can range from disciplinary action to termination. A succinct policy can assist employers in appropriately dealing with insubordination issues.

  • Sound Business Principles, Communication Are Keys to Downsizing

    'Sound Business Principles, Communication Are Keys to Downsizing' reports on the issues to consider when adopting a reduction in force.

  • New Employees Forms After Hiring An Employee

    When you hire a new employee, your next step is to complete the required forms, including Form W-4 and Form I-9.

  • Health Care Insurance Plan Options for Employee Benefits

    There are several health care insurance options to choose from if an employer decides to offer health care benefits to employees. Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs) are the most common types of health care plans offered.

  • Should You Offer Employees Health Care Benefits?

    Health care benefits are optional for most smaller employers, but of critical importance to most employees. Employers of all sizes should be aware of the pros and cons of offering health benefits to their employees.

  • Employee Fringe Benefits Increase Job Satisfaction

    Fringe benefits are property and services whose benefit to employees often outweighs the cost to the employer. Generally, fringe benefits are part of your employees' taxable wages, but there are certain fringe benefits that are excepted from this rule and you can still take a business deduction for their cost. Nontaxable fringe benefits include no-additional-cost services, qualified employee discounts, working condition fringe benefits, very minimal fringe benefits and qualified transportation fringe benefits.

  • Keoghs Are a Flexible Retirement Plan Choice for the Self-Employed

    Keogh plans are retirement plans available to businesses that operate as sole proprietorships, partnerships or LLCs. Keogh plans are very popular with self-employed individuals who want to set up a retirement plan with business advantages.

  • SEPs Are the Easiest Way to Provide Employees With Retirement Benefits

    Simplified employee pension plans, as their name implies, allow employers to offer employees retirement benefits with ease in the setting-up process as well as participation and administration. SARSEPs, a form of SEPs, are no longer available but may be maintained if already in existence.

  • Why 401(k)s Are the Most Popular Employee Retirement Plan Benefit and How They Work

    401(k) retirement plans are a popular employee benefit because employees can use the plans to put pre-tax compensation towards their retirement, maximizing their contributions. Employers may also match the funds employees contribute, further enhancing the advantages of a 401(k) plan.

  • Understanding Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans

    Retirement plans fall into two basic broad categories: defined benefit plans or defined contribution plans. The difference between the two is substantial and it's important to understand the characteristics of both categories in order to make the right retirement plan benefit choices.

  • The Pros and Cons of Offering Employees Retirement Benefits

    Retirement plans are a valuable benefit that impacts the present and future lives of employees. Because offering retirement benefits can be complicated, the best approach is understanding the pros and cons of offering retirement plan benefits, the types of retirement plan choices and the goals you want to accomplish as an employer offering retirement benefits, for your employees, your business and yourself.

  • End of Daylight Saving Time May Require Payroll Adjustment

    Turning back the clocks during the first weekend of November may affect wages and overtime pay for employees working overnight hours.

  • Update: No Penalty for Failure to Provide Employees With Insurance Exchange Notice

    As a result of health care reform, health care coverage for certain individuals and employees will be available through health insurance exchanges or marketplaces beginning in 2014. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers to provide employees and new hires with written notice of the existence of the exchanges and information about health care coverage through them. The Department of Labor has issued guidance for employers regarding the content of the notice, which is required effective October 1, 2013. The Department also revised its model COBRA continuation coverage election notice to include health care exchange information.

  • When is a Minimal Fringe Benefit Not So Minimal?

    An Internal Revenue Service ruling--revoking a prior decision that clothing and accessories provided by an employer to employees constituted de minimis fringe benefits--highlights the fuzzy lines regarding the definition of such benefits.

  • Update: Are Your Company's Criminal Background Checks Against the Law?

    Hiring employees requires employers to use various qualifications and screening to determine which applicants are best-suited for the positions being filled. Recent scrutiny of employers’ criminal background policies for discriminatory practices by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission make it clear that employers must examine their own practices to avoid claims based on disparate impact. Update: District Court dismisses EEOC suit alleging disparate impact.

  • Your LLC and Spring Cleaning: Which Records to Keep or Toss?

  • Let Your Business Do the Hiring and Protect Yourself from Liability

    Establishing a formal entity structure for your business makes it possible to have the company do the employee hiring, protecting you from the legal liabilities that can arise during the hiring process.

  • Three Big Reasons You Are Not Getting Enough Job Applicants

    Viewing your job posting as an advertisment in order to sell prospects on your company, matching your expectations to the market and increasing your posting's visibility are three ways to attract highly qualified canditions, according to Ian Siegel, the CEO and co-founder of ZipRecruiter.

  • Giving Employees Vacation Time Off

    Planning for your employees' vacations can minimize disruptions to your business.

  • A Look Ahead: It’s Almost Time for Year-End Employee Reviews

    The end of the year is fast approaching, and if you’re an employer, it’s almost time for annual reviews for your employees. It’s critical that you take time out of your busy schedule to let your employees know how they’re doing, get their feedback and award the appropriate raises.

  • Employers May Continue to Use E-Verify

    The federal E-Verify program, used by employers to confirm the identity and eligibility of employees to work in the United States, is extended through September 30, 2015.

  • Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst: Planning for Disaster

    September is National Preparedness Month, and the month when natural disasters of various types often strike. Every business should have some type of plan in place to deal with what Mother Nature might bring, as well as other crises and smaller emergencies that can cause big disruptions.

  • Furthering Your Employees' Education is Good for Business

    Picking up the tab for your employees’ education offers a unique opportunity to provide an employee benefit that can add real value to your business with the added bonus of tax breaks for both you and your employees.

  • Simple Cafeteria Benefit Plan Option in Health Care Act Makes Offering Employee Benefits Easier

    The Supreme Court decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act affirmed the creation of simple cafeteria plans for small employers. This option gives qualifying small businesses the advantages of offering employee benefits through a plan traditionally used by larger employers.

  • What You Need to Know About Workers' Compensation Laws

    Every state has laws that require employers of a certain size to provide employees with workers' compensation benefits. Whether you are subject to workers' compensation laws or choose to voluntarily maintain coverage, you should be aware of what benefits are payable for and the proper steps to take when a workplace accident occurs. You should also understand the tax implications of benefits and the interaction of other benefit payments with workers' compensation.

  • Health Insurance Coverage Laws by State

    State mandates require insurers to offer certain health care coverage.

  • Workers' Compensation Laws by State

    In many states, employers who have one employee are covered by workers' compensation laws.

  • Options for Paying Employees

    Once you set up a a payroll system and calculate your employees' pay, you're ready to actually pay them. You may choose to pay them through direct deposit, but whatever method you choose you will likely be required by state law to provide some information with pay. If you decide to distribute employees' pay, there are certain rules you should follow to avoid legal and morale issues. Finally, special rules may apply when you are paying terminated employees.

  • Observed Holidays by State

    Employers may choose to give employees time-off for official state holidays.

  • Navigating the Complex Rules Governing Employee Termination

    Although the employment-at-will doctrine allows most employers to fire employees at their discretion, this does not mean that you can fire anyone, anytime just because you feel like it. To the contrary, various federal and state laws as well as public policy put serious limitations on employee terminations. On the other hand, employers should be aware that under certain circumstances the failure to fire an employee can result in legal ramifications.

  • Calculating an Employee's Hours Worked

    The process of paying an employee requires that you determine the compensable work an employee has done. Some activities are not considered compensable, but rather incidental. Deductions may be made from employees' pay under certain circumstances, but the rules differ for exempt and nonexempt employees. The treatment of meals and breaks for the purpose of calculating hours worked is subject to both federal and state laws. Finally, it's important to have an accurate method of tracking your employees' hours worked.

  • Steps to Take to Set Up Your Payroll System Correctly

    To accomplish the end goal of getting your employees their money, you'll have to set up a payroll system. Setting up a payroll system requires that you get federal and sometimes state and local identification numbers, employee Social Security numbers and Form W-4s and that you establish a pay period.

  • Wage and Hour Recordkeeping Requirements

    Federal and state wage and hour laws may subject you to recordkeeping requirements. If you or your employees are covered, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the required information that must be kept, how long it must be kept and if a specific method of retention is required for compliance.

  • State Laws Regulate Smoking in the Majority of Workplaces

    Most states have laws that limit or prohibit smoking in the workplace. Even in the absence of law, employers often institute a policy or rule about smoking that prohibits smoking in the workplace or limits it to certain areas.

  • Balancing Requirements and Restrictions When Providing Employment References

    Providing employment references are a requirement in some states where employers must provide them to prospective employers under specific circumstances. However, it's important to follow certain guidelines and limit the amount of information you provide to avoid the risk of being sued for defamation, as well as other legal claims.

  • Nursing in the Workplace Laws by State

    Federal law requires certain employers to provide unpaid nursing breaks to nonexempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. State laws may also address breaks for nursing mothers either through specific rules for the workplace or through more general rules that encompass the workplace.

  • Military Leave Laws for Employees

    Employers are required to provide military leave to employees. Federal and state laws set the rules for pay, notice and reinstatement for time-off for military service.

  • Employee Time-Off Benefits Required by Law

    Employers may be required to provide certain time-off benefits to their employees, including time off to vote, jury duty leave, family and medical leave, pregnancy leave and military leave.

  • Preventing and Dealing With Violence in the Workplace Issues

    Employers have a variety of legally required rules they must follow as well as policies and procedures they can implement to prevent and deal with violence in the workplace.

  • Tipped Employee Minimum Wage Laws by State

    Special rules apply to the minimum wage that must be paid to tipped employees. Many states allow employers take a tip credit towards the hourly minimum wage rate.

  • Are You Subject to Child Labor Laws?

    Federal and state laws place various restrictions on the hours and types of occupations for employing minors. Different rules may apply to workers under 18 and workers under 16. In addition, if you employ minors you will most likely need to obtain your state's version of an age or employment certificate in order to comply with state child labor laws.

  • Overtime Pay Laws for Employers

    Federal overtime pay laws require employers to pay nonexempt employees overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. The overtime rate is one and one-half times the employee's regular rate, except in a few very limited situations. Exceptions exist to the general overtime pay rule for certain occupations. Many states have laws relating to overtime, and if your state's law is more demanding than federal overtime law, you must follow the state law.

  • Tips for Hiring Your First Employee

    Hiring your first employee can be a challenge, but thinking through the process in advance can ensure a good experience.

  • Tests to Consider for Job Applicants

    The various tests you can administer to job applicants include achievement tests, physical ability tests and aptitude tests. Drug testing, medical exams, and perhaps lie detector testing may be prudent or even mandatory.

  • Paying Tipped Employees

    The federal minimum wage rate may affect the amount you have to pay your tipped employees

  • Minimum Wage Law Requirements for Employers

    You have an obligation as an employer to pay certain employees a minimum wage per hour. Federal and state laws may apply to the amount an employee must be paid per hour, and employers in some states must pay a higher hourly rate than under federal law. Special federal and state rules apply to tipped employees.

  • Understanding Your Legal Liability as an Employer

    Your liability as an employer under various employment laws, including wage and hour law, payroll taxes, and anti-discrimination laws depends on various factors including whether your workers are classified as employees and the number of employees you have working for you.

  • Setting Up Employee Records and Personnel Files

    Once you've hired an employee, you'll need to set up records and personnel files for certain employee information. Federal and state laws require employers to maintain certain records. State law governs access to employee personnel files.

  • How the Unemployment System Works -- Part 2

    'How the Unemployment System Works -- Part 2' reports on the ins and outs of the unemployment compensation system, including which factors can make one of your employees disqualified for benefits

  • How the Unemployment System Works -- Part 1

    'How the Unemployment System Works -- Part 1' reports on the ins and outs of the unemployment compensation system, including how your tax rate is assessed and the eligibility requirements for employees.

  • Measuring Employee Productivity

    'Measuring Employee Productivity' reports on different methods to measure your employees' output and ways to improve the results.

  • Lesser-Known Parts of the FLSA

    "'Lesser-Known Parts of the FLSA' reports on some of the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act that you might not be aware of."

  • A Look at Severance Payments

    'A Look at Severance Payments' reports on the ins and outs of offering severance payments, and how they can protect you from future claims.

  • Conducting Criminal Record Checks on Prospective Hires

    Whether an employer is permitted to check a job applicant's criminal record depends on various factors. Federal and state laws protect applicants from inquiries into criminal records, including convictions, and usually prohibit arrest record checks altogether. Also, while checks may be permitted, the results may not necessarily be a bar to employment. Employers are required to conduct criminal record checks on applicants in certain professions. Employers who don't do proper checking could face negligent hiring legal claims.

  • Home Office vs. Leased Office Space -- Reasons to Get Out of the House

    'Home Office vs. Leased Office Space -- Reasons to Get Out of the House' reviews the challenges of working from home and the reasons many businesses need to have separate office space.

  • Good Faith ADA Effort Protects Employers

    'Good Faith ADA Effort Protects Employers' reports on the process by which business owner's can comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and protect themselves from employment-related lawsuits.

  • Zoning for Home Occupations

    'Zoning for Home Occupations' recaps the common issues of concern for home-based businesses and how best to craft zoning laws that protect the neighborhood as well as the businesses in it.

  • At-Will Employment -- Part 1

    'At-Will Employment -- Part 1' reports on the typical employment relationship and how to avoid running afoul of state and federal wrongful discharge employment laws.

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