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Safe Harbor Deadline for Small Retirement Plan Contributions

Safe Harbor Deadline for Small Retirement Plan Contributions ERISA requires a retirement plan’s assets to be held in a trust in order to ensure that the assets are used solely to benefit the plan’s participants and beneficiaries. The employer sponsoring the retirement plan is responsible for timely depositing participants’ contributions into the plan’s trust. The Department of Labor (DOL) requires employers to make these deposits as soon as the amounts can reasonably be segregated from the employer’s general assets. In addition, the DOL has established a safe harbor deadline for employers to deposit participant contributions into small retirement plans. An employer that sponsors a small plan (one with fewer than 100 participants at the beginning of the plan year) has the option of using this safe harbor for meeting the deadline for depositing employee contributions into the plan. To take advantage of the safe harbor, employers must deposit employee contributions (including plan loan re

Benefits Breakdown Newsletter - May 2022

Cybercrime and Benefits Plans According to recent estimates from the University of Maryland, a cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds. Data breaches and cyberattacks are daily headlines—and employee benefits plans are no exception to that threat. In fact, employee benefits plans are even more vulnerable as the coronavirus pandemic continues; organizations and benefits providers are relying heavily on electronic access, ultimately creating new vulnerabilities. Some examples of cyberthreats include phishing, malware and ransomware attacks. Virtually any type of employee benefits plan is vulnerable to hackers. These plans can be exposed to risks relating to privacy, security and fraud. Sensitive information contained in benefits plans is valuable to cybercriminals. Lost or stolen mobile devices, laptops and flash drives that hold personal information are additional tangible threats to benefits plans. These situations are especially concerning now that more employees are working from home. Gi

5 Ways HR Can Support Employees’ Mental Health

An employee’s mental health includes how they think, feel and act, and includes their emotional and social well-being. While mental health includes mental illness, the two aren’t interchangeable. An employee can go through a period of poor mental health but not necessarily have a clear, diagnosable mental illness. Additionally, an employee’s mental health can change over time, depending on factors such as their workload, stress and work-life balance.  While 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness annually, a recent study by Deloitte revealed that less than half receive treatment. A study from the Mental Health in the Workplace Summit also found that mental illness is the leading cause of disability for U.S. adults aged 15 to 44 and that more workdays are lost to mental health-related absenteeism than any other injury or illness.  Given its prevalence, you can expect that employees at your organization are experiencing mental health challenges or mental illness. That’s why it’s so

ERISA Compliance FAQs: Fiduciary Responsibilities Pt. 2

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for employee benefit plans maintained by private-sector employers. ERISA includes requirements for both retirement plans (for example, 401(k) plans) and welfare benefit plans (for example, group health plans). ERISA has been amended many times over the years, expanding the protections available to ERISA benefit plan participants and beneficiaries. ERISA includes standards of conduct for those who manage employee benefit plans and their assets, who are called “fiduciaries”. This is a continuation of our Compliance Overview on frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help employers understand the basic fiduciary responsibilities applicable to plans under ERISA. How Do the Fiduciary Duty Rules Affect Plan Operation? Employee Contributions If a plan provides for salary reductions from employees’ paychecks for contribution to the plan or participants make payments directly, such as the payme

HR Toolkit - Employee Recognition

Employees want not only good pay and benefits, but also opportunities to contribute to their employer, customers and other stakeholders through their work, and feel valued and appreciated for their efforts in the workplace. Unfortunately, 65% of employees reported that it had been over one year since they received any form of recognition for their work, according to a Gallup poll. This HR Toolkit will further explain the significance of employee recognition , provide an overview of different types of workplace recognition programs and suggest a step-by-step process to implement an employee recognition program.  Download your copy today . For additional resources regarding best practices the remote workspace or more information about  employee benefits, our services and products , please contact HANYS Benefit Services by  email  or by calling (518) 431-7735. This HR Toolkit is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.  © 202

Benefits Breakdown Newsletter-April 2022

Personalizing Your Employee Benefits Offerings  Each workforce is comprised of unique individuals with diverse backgrounds and interests. So why opt for a one-size-fits-all benefits package? Instead, consider providing benefits options that are as unique as your employees. Doing so could be the attraction and retention tool that sets your workplace apart. In fact, 73% of employees said having customized benefits made them more loyal to their employers, according to a MetLife survey. Additionally, the survey found that 83% of employees would trade a small pay cut for better benefits options Benefits personalization will vary by organization, but here are some general tips you can consider when assessing your own strategy: Survey employees. One of the best ways to discover employees’ benefits desires is by asking them. Conduct focus groups. Similar to a survey, consider meeting with employees in groups to solicit benefits feedback. Maintain ongoing benefits conversations. As employees ag

ERISA Compliance FAQs: Fiduciary Responsibilities pt. 1

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for employee benefit plans maintained by private-sector employers. ERISA includes requirements for both retirement plans (for example, 401(k) plans) and welfare benefit plans (for example, group health plans). ERISA has been amended many times over the years, expanding the protections available to ERISA benefit plan participants and beneficiaries. ERISA includes standards of conduct for those who manage employee benefit plans and their assets, who are called “fiduciaries”. This Compliance Overview is part 1 of a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help employers understand the basic fiduciary responsibilities applicable to plans under ERISA. Who is a Fiduciary? Many of the actions involved in operating an employee benefit plan make the person or entity performing them a fiduciary. Using discretion in administering and managing a plan or controlling the plan’s assets makes th

HR Toolkit - Employee Engagement

Since high engagement can lead to success, while low engagement can harm productivity, this statistic should be alarming to employers.  Engaged employees are more than just satisfied with their jobs, they are committed to the company and its goals. They have passion, pride and energy for their work and their organization, and are willing to go the extra mile on a regular basis. Employees who are truly engaged stay because they enjoy their work and support the company.  This HR Toolkit will further explain the significance of employee engagement, show how it is being successfully cultivated in the workplace and suggest engagement improvement strategies.  Download your copy today . For additional resources regarding best practices the remote workspace or more information about  employee benefits, our services and products , please contact HANYS Benefit Services by  email  or by calling (518) 431-7735. This HR Toolkit is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions

HR Toolkit - Employee Communication

Effective employee communication can have a positive impact on all aspects of a company. Likewise, poor employee communication can lead to workplace inefficiencies and create challenges for successfully engaging and retaining employees.  This HR Toolkit will provide an overview of employee communication, discuss the importance of employee communication and suggest a step-by-step process for developing or updating a communication strategy. Since employee communication can be both formal and informal, this toolkit will address formal communication strategies and informal communication tactics or initiatives. In addition, the Appendix offers supplementary resources, including an employee survey, infographic, planning checklist and more. Download your copy today . For additional resources regarding best practices the remote workspace or more information about employee benefits, our services and products , please contact HANYS Benefit Services by email  or by calling (518) 431-7735. This HR

Considering a Hybrid Work Model

The pandemic has resulted in thousands of employees working from their kitchen tables or living rooms rather than the office or other workplaces. However, as more Americans receive a COVID-19 vaccination and organizations develop or update their return-to-work plans, some employees may still be eager to continue working remotely, even if just for a few days each week. This article provides an overview of hybrid workplaces, the work model’s advantages and challenges, and tips for accommodating distributed employees. Overview of Hybrid Workplaces Work flexibility is consistently cited as a post-pandemic trend and some employers are already introducing hybrid work models in their reopening plans. In fact, a Mercer survey found that 73% of employers plan to implement a hybrid work environment. By definition, a hybrid workplace is a flexible model designed to support a distributed workforce of both on-site and remote employees. In some form, a majority of organizations are opting fo

Remote Work - HR Insights

As many organizations are adapting to newly remote teams, leaders are challenged with addressing the challenges of the remote environment. Many managers find themselves tasked with effectively leading remote employees and helping their teams adapt to the virtual workplace.  This HR Insights document features the top remote work HR Insights articles, all in one place exploring topics such as: adapting to the remote environment; empowering success; motivating and supporting remote employees; company culture; and legal considerations. Download the guide today . For additional resources regarding best practices the remote workspace or more information about employee benefits, our services and products , please contact HANYS Benefit Services by  email  or by calling (518) 431-7735. This HR Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.  © 2022 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.  

Boosting Self-motivation for Remote Employees

Many organizations are expanding remote work options to more employees than ever before. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has led to many employers expediting use of this practice—sometimes out of business necessity. Before expanding remote work options, employers often first address obstacles such as establishing expectations and ensuring all employees have the technology they need. Once initial challenges are addressed, employers have an opportunity to plan for best use of the remote workplace—including how to boost self-motivation for remote employees. Challenges of Managing Remote Employees Remote employees face unique challenges. While numerous studies show that remote employees can achieve levels of productivity that are the same as or higher than their non-remote peers, this isn’t without obstacles. According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, remote employees were less motivated than employees who work in an office, while employees who did

Effectively Leading Remote Teams

Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, more employees are working remotely than ever before. As management is challenged with leading effective remote teams, organizations may consider internal best practices and question whether any adjustments would help these teams succeed. By addressing the unique needs of employees in the remote workplace, employers can set the stage for effective and productive teams. While the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an all-time high of employees telecommuting, remote work had previously been growing steadily, and likely will continue to expand in the coming years. While many of the same principles of leading effective teams remain in place, organizations can take steps to ensure that remote teams are performing at a high level and employees are feeling engaged in their remote roles. Challenges of Leading Remote Teams Managers should be prepared to face a set of challenges that are unique to remote teams. According to the Harvard Busi

Family-oriented Perks That Matter to Employees

Currently, many workers juggle work and caregiving responsibilities, thanks largely to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, according to a survey from Boston Consulting Group, 60% of U.S. parents report that they’ve had no outside help with child care during the pandemic. With that in mind, it’s safe to assume there are employee caretakers within virtually every workplace. Thus, employers may want to consider expanding employee offerings that can assist these working families. Here are some methods that can help: Encourage employees to request flexible work arrangements that allow them to balance work and personal responsibilities. Reassign job duties that employees are unable to perform because of caregiving responsibilities. Post employee schedules as early as possible for positions with changing work schedules. Balancing work and caregiving responsibilities can be difficult and contribute to decreased productivity, poor mental health and increased stress among employees. But, with meanin

Benefits Offerings to Avoid the Great Resignation

Employees are walking away from their employers in record numbers; some are calling it the “Great Resignation.” A Prudential survey conducted toward the end of 2021 found that 46% of workers were actively seeking or considering finding a new job, and labor statistics backed those findings. According to the U.S. Labor Department, approximately 4.5 million workers quit their jobs in November 2021, setting a new record. This might appear like welcome news for employers looking to hire—greater unemployment means more potential job candidates. However, confoundingly, there were still around 1.5 available jobs for each unemployed person near the end of 2021, according to USA Today. And, for the last six months of the year, job openings posted by employers topped 10 million, according to the U.S. Labor Department. This information helps illustrate the key problem employers face right now: Workers are willing to quit jobs—and turn down open positions—that don’t satisfy their needs. Expanding e

HBS Q4 Market Recap: A robust close to a strong year

As the second year of the pandemic came to a close, the looming threat of COVID19 continued to drive volatility across global markets. Despite the dual economic headwinds of the omicron variant and inflationary pressure, U.S. markets saw a strong fourth quarter to end a headline-centric, but robust 2021.  As investors look forward to 2022, there appears to be more uncertainty compared to the vaccine optimism felt just a year ago. As the omicron variant’s effect on global markets becomes more apparent, investors who have ridden previous waves have been rewarded with seemingly irrepressible markets. However, this may be tested in early 2022. Read the  Retirement Market Recap  to learn more about the Q4 market performance. If you have any questions about  retirement plan services , or would like to begin talking to a retirement plan advisor, please get in touch by  email  or by calling (800) 388-1963.

Attracting Top Remote Talent

By 2025, almost 23% of the U.S. workforce is expected to work fully remote, according to Upwork. That’s nearly double the percentage of people who were working remotely full time prior to the pandemic. As more organizations embrace long-term remote or hybrid workplace models, employers will continue to compete for their industry’s top candidates. Remote work is quickly becoming one of the most desirable benefits an employer can offer in today’s tight labor market. This article discusses unique qualities of strong remote workers and best practices for attracting and recruiting them. Qualities of Successful Remote Workers Employers want to appeal to remote workers, but that doesn’t just mean any remote worker. Employers, especially those cash-strapped by the COVID-19 pandemic, cannot afford to hire just any applicant, so it’s important to be able to spot the best performing remote workers. In addition to industry- or role-specific skills and competencies, there are some qualities unique

HR Toolkit: Virtual Interviewing

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affecting workplaces, many employers are adopting remote and virtual practices—including interviewing. While the process of virtual interviewing is an appropriate action for many employers in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will remain a consideration for an increasing number of employers even post-coronavirus. Virtually interviewing and hiring a new employee can be a daunting process, as it comes with its own unique set of challenges, but it offers benefits to both employers and job seekers. As employers adapt to stronger technology capabilities than ever before, virtual interviewing offers an opportunity for employers to become more adaptable, while staying up to date with growing trends. Many job seekers frequently use job websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed and Handshake, and the expanded use of technology is challenging recruiting and hiring norms—leading to virtual interviews becoming a strong consideration for employers. In addition, v