Tuesday, April 13, 2021

 

Each quarter, the Attraction and Retention newsletter offers statistics about the employment market, suggestions on securing top talent and insight to attract and retain workers.

The 2nd Quarter 2021 Attraction and Retention newsletter focuses on balancing employee heath when returning to work, provides recruiting strategies amid COVID-19 and offers tips for reducing burnout. Download your copy today.


For more information on healthcare and employee benefits changes, contact HANYS Benefit Services by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Alcohol Awareness Month During the COVID-19 Pandemic


Observed every April, Alcohol Awareness Month is meant to raise awareness about alcohol use and break the stigma by discussing how alcohol-use disorders affect individuals, families and communities. This year is especially critical as COVID-19 restrictions and stress can increase your susceptibility to substance misuse, addiction and relapse. In fact, alcohol sales in the United States have grown nearly 30% in the last year.

Alcohol abuse can affect both your personal and professional life. Prolonged drinking puts you at risk for developing serious health complications—such as high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease and stroke—and can trigger other life-threatening consequences.

Know the Warning Signs

Alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate or severe, based on the number of symptoms you experience. Keep in mind that symptoms often occur at the same time.

Download the Live Well Work Well April Newsletter to learn the common physical and behavioral signs and symptoms of alcohol misuse and for more healthy lifestyle tips.

If you or a loved one are concerned about alcohol use, talk to a doctor or use the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Helpline by calling 800-662-HELP (4357). For more information on healthcare and employee benefits changes, contact HANYS Benefit Services by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.


Monday, March 29, 2021

Overview of Employment Leave Laws

Employers may provide their employees with various types of paid or unpaid leave as part of their overall compensation package, including vacation time, personal leave and sick leave. Employers have some flexibility when it comes to establishing or negotiating employee leave policies. However, federal laws (for example, the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA) require covered employers to provide employees with leave in certain situations.

In addition to federal leave laws, New York has laws regarding:
  • Family leave;
  • Paid sick leave;
  • Civic duty leave;
  • Voting leave;
  • Military and military spouse leave;
  • Bone marrow and blood donation leave;
  • Adoptive parents leave;
  • Bereavement leave;
  • Domestic violence leave; and
  • Emergency responder leave.
Read this Employment Law Summary for a chart that provides a high-level overview of New York’s employee leave laws and suggested compliance steps for employers. For more information contact HANYS Benefit Services by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

This Compliance Bulletin is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice. ©2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

COBRA Subsidy Provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act



The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law March 11, 2021, provides a 100% subsidy of premiums for employer-sponsored group health insurance continued under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA) and similar state continuation of coverage (mini-COBRA) programs.

ARPA subsidies cover the full cost of COBRA or mini-COBRA premiums from April 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2021, for employees (and their qualifying family members), if the employee lost or loses group health insurance due to an involuntary job loss or reduction in work hours. The subsidy applies to people who are still within their original COBRA or mini-COBRA coverage period, for the length of that coverage period, even if they declined or dropped COBRA or mini-COBRA coverage earlier.

Friday, March 19, 2021

The American Rescue Plan Act — Pension Relief

On March 11, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act. This $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes provisions for much-needed aid for single employer and multiemployer defined benefit plans.

For single employer DB plans, the total value of all participants’ accrued benefits as of the beginning of the year is known as the plan’s “funding target.” The value of the increase in the funding target from the beginning of the year to the end of the year is the “target normal cost.” The excess of the funding target over the total amount of the plan’s assets is considered a “funding shortfall.”  

To ease the burden of funding shortfalls for single employer DB plans, plan sponsors were permitted to amortize (spread) contributions needed to make up for these shortfalls over seven years. The American Rescue Plan Act allows plan sponsors to extend this period to 15 years.  Since the required contribution a plan sponsor must make equals the target normal cost plus the shortfall amortization, this bill is expected to bring welcome assistance to plan sponsors suffering financial hardship due to the pandemic.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Benefits and Marketplace Trends Through the Lens of COVID-19

 

Even the most optimistic person will concede that the world won’t be returning to exactly how it was before the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the uncertainties, employers have an opportunity to assess the current benefits landscape and take stock of improvement areas. In other words, what’s changing and how might that impact the marketplace down the road?
  • Cost Increases
  • Expansion of Virtual Health Care
  • Changes to HSA Marketplace
This article will examine how drastically these things and more have shifted during the coronavirus pandemic and what shake-ups to expect in the future.

For more information on healthcare and employee benefits changes, read this edition of Benefits Insights and contact HANYS Benefit Services by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.


This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Making Every Bite Count

 

The foods and beverages you consume have a significant impact on your health. In fact, 60% of adults have one or more diet-related chronic diseases.

The newly released Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020-2025) offers science-based nutrition advice to develop healthy eating habits and reduce chronic disease risk. The latest guidance provides four overarching guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns and recognize that individuals will need to make shifts in their food and beverage choices to achieve a healthy pattern. Make every bite count and consider the following:
  1. Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage.
  2. Customize your foods and beverages to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions and budgets. 
  3. Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages, while staying within calorie limits. 
  4. Limit foods and beverages high in added sugars, saturated fats and sodium. 
Everyone can benefit from a healthy eating pattern, so start simple with modest changes each day. For healthy recipes or to learn more about the current guidelines, visit MyPlate.gov. Also download the Live Well Work Well March Newsletter for more information on healthy eating patterns, and tips on prioritizing your sleep.

For more information on healthcare and employee benefits changes, contact HANYS Benefit Services by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

How HR Can Support Working Parents

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, working parents have been forced to contend with their children’s changing school routines. Unfortunately, these routines vary by school, with little universal guidance. On top of that, many schools continue to go back and forth between virtual and in-person learning. The uncertainty surrounding school routines and their impact on working parents will undoubtedly continue to have ripple effects in the workplace.

Accommodation Considerations for Employers

Although the specifics will vary, consider the following methods for accommodating working parents:
  • Expanded remote work opportunities
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Generous time off policies
  • Robust EAP offerings
  • Transparent and frequent communication
Download the HR Edge Q1 2021 Newsletter for detailed guidance related to working parents and additional features on the Impact of Employer Branding and Understanding Generation Z.

For more human resources trends, industry insights and proactive strategies to maintain a competitive edge in today’s workplace, contact HANYS Benefit Services by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

HBS Q4 Market Recap: 2020 in review

In 2020, we struggled through the worse pandemic in more than 100 years, causing the greatest turbulence in the global economy and financial markets since 1945. U.S. policymakers swiftly countered the economic aspects of the crisis with the most aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus on record. The technology sector fast-tracked new digital and communication solutions, and the pharmaceutical and biotech industries created scientific solutions with unprecedented speed.

In the final months of 2020, we witnessed the emergence of new market trends.

Read the Q4 Market Recap to learn the emerging market trends in Q4 2020 and preview the market indicators at the start of 2021. Also included is the feature article, Volatility and risk: Are they the same and why does it matter?

If you have any questions, or would like to begin talking to a retirement plan advisor, please get in touch by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Volatility and risk: Are they the same and why does it matter?

HANYS Benefit Services does not believe there is a single definition or statistic that appropriately defines risk for investors, especially when it comes to the nuances of investing for retirement. Instead, we focus on both the art and the science of evaluating risk, and how both approaches can help investors make informed decisions. Statistical measures (the science) primarily focus on an investment’s historical price movement, which can shed light on the predictability, or lack thereof, of an investment’s returns. Understanding one’s own circumstances (the art) can be a great complement to the science in deciding what risks an investor should take on as they prepare for retirement.

What is volatility?

A popular interpretation of risk is a statistical measure called standard deviation, which measures how wide an investment moves around its average price; or said differently, the dispersion of its returns. Lower standard deviation percentages indicate that the majority of the returns in a data set are close to the average, while a high standard deviation means that the returns are more spread out from the average. Standard deviation is commonly referred to as volatility, and many view it as a reliable measure of risk since it can help gauge an investment’s return predictability.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

3 Ways to Boost Your Heart Health

 

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. In fact, 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease.

Heart disease refers to several different types of heart conditions. Coronary artery disease—caused by plaque buildup in the walls of the heart’s arteries—is the most common. Other forms of heart disease include heart attack, heart failure, arrhythmia and congenital heart defects.

The symptoms of heart disease can vary, and some people may not even know they have a heart condition until they have a heart attack. Red flags include shortness of breath, chest discomfort, difficulty with speech, heart palpitations and sudden loss of responsiveness.

Take Control of Your Heart Health

There are certain uncontrollable factors that increase your risk of heart disease, including age, sex and family history. However, other factors that increase your risk for heart disease—such as stress, inactivity, obesity, diabetes, smoking and a poor diet—are controllable.

A healthy diet and lifestyle are your best methods to fight heart disease, so consider incorporating these three kinds of exercise into your routine to improve your heart health:
  1. Aerobic exercise 
  2. Resistance training 
  3. Flexibility workouts
Keep in mind that it’s the overall pattern of your life choices that determines your heart health. Contact your doctor to find out your risk for heart disease, or for more information, and download the Live Well Work Well February Newsletter for additional tips and healthy habits.

For more information on healthcare and employee benefits changes, contact HANYS Benefit Services by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

For Your Benefit video series: Episode 3-Guiding Your Retirement Plan Into 2021

 


Thank you for joining for another episode in our video series: For Your Benefit with HANYS Benefit Services.

It's the start of a new year and in this episode, we're introducing our 2021 Retirement Services Compliance Calendar. To ensure plan fiduciaries begin the year with their best foot forward, we're also providing a summary of fiduciary best practices.


Tune in to each episode as we discuss regulations, investments, compliance and all things benefits. Hear from leading experts as we share insight on the employee benefit topics and trends that matter most.

If you have any questions on content from our video or would like to begin talking to a retirement plan advisor, please get in touch by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Tips to retain a happy workforce: Attraction & Retention Newsletter


Each quarter, the Attraction and Retention newsletter offers statistics about the employment market, suggestions on securing top talent and insight to attract and retain workers.

The 1st Quarter 2021 Attraction and Retention newsletter looks at employment trends to watch in the new year, discusses why skills can be more valuable than experience and offers tips for crafting job postings. Download your copy today.

For more information on healthcare and employee benefits changes, contact HANYS Benefit Services by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2020 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 15, 2021

2021 Retirement Services Compliance Calendar

HANYS Benefit Services wants to help you stay compliant with the 2021 Retirement Services Compliance Calendar.

We created this document to remind plan administrators of important compliance deadlines for the new year. The compliance calendar is applicable to calendar-year plans.


While there are not many changes to the compliance calendar from year to year, it’s important for plan fiduciaries to remain mindful of these deadlines. Required minimum distributions were suspended in 2020 and are back into play for 2021. Additionally, some 403(b) plan sponsors who restated their plan documents in 2020 may have to provide participants a new Summary Plan Description or Summary of Materials Modification in 2021.

If you have any questions, or would like to begin talking to a retirement plan advisor, please get in touch by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

Monday, January 11, 2021

5 Ways to Start Your Year Off Right


Like many other people, you may be thinking about what you would like to accomplish in 2021 or what life changes you could make. Common New Year’s resolutions include losing weight, exercising, getting organized, learning new skills and saving money.

To achieve your resolutions, try the following strategies:
  • Set a goal that motivates you.
  • Set a goal that is specific.
  • Set a goal that is manageable or attainable.
  • Write down your goals to establish intention.
  • Share your goals with others to increase accountability.
This is a good time to make positive life changes and strive for an overall healthier self. Consider the following five tips to start the new year off right:
  1. Check in on your mental health. 
  2. Be social. 
  3. Get regular checkups. 
  4. Drink more water. 
  5. Count nutrients, not calories. 
Download the Live Well Work Well January Newsletter to dig deeper into these five tips and learn more healthy habits for starting your year off right.

For more information on healthcare and employee benefits changes, contact HANYS Benefit Services by email or by calling (800) 388-1963.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. © 2020 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Understanding the $900B Stimulus Package

On Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law an emergency stimulus package designed to deliver approximately $900 billion in COVID-19-related aid. This bill was passed by Congress after months of negotiation, and was attached to a $1.4 trillion spending package that will keep the government open for the fiscal year.

Notably, this bill provides funding for unemployment benefits, small businesses, direct economic payments to individuals, vaccine distribution and rental assistance. This article provides an overview of what is included within the emergency relief bill.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FUNDING AND EXTENSION

The bill includes funding for unemployment benefits for out-of-work Americans. Specifically, this bill allows unemployed Americans to receive $300 per week in federal funding in addition to the existing unemployment aid they may be collecting from their state, if those state-level benefits have not already run out. The additional unemployment benefits and extensions included within this bill would provide aid for 11 weeks from their expiration at the end of December 2020 through at least March 14, 2021.

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