Survey Results on The Affordable Care Act

Survey Results on the Affordable Care Act

Following a survey conducted during the first quarter of 2015 by Equifax Workforce Solution and Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), it appeared that most employers had no idea on how challenging Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting will be.

This has led many employers to consider an outsourced solution. The survey gathered information from 480 employers of different sizes from 36 different industries across America. The overall results indicate that the new ACA reporting requirement is confusing to most employers, and many had not yet decided on how they will comply. For example, only 10% of employers were reported to have outsourced or had an in-house solution in place.

 

Survey Results On Affordable Care Act

ACA reporting readiness

From the survey, only a small fraction of employers had already implemented ACA reporting solution while most were still considering or had not begun considerations. About 20% of small employers are considering an outsourcing solution, and the number grows as the size of employer increase. About 30% of medium –sized employers are considering outsourcing and closer to 37% of large employers had already committed to vendors. In the addition, 35% of large employers plan to outsource solution from vendors dedicated to ACA compliance.

Data accuracy and aggregation

65 percent of employers’ respondents indicated that data quality and complexity in reporting was a concern. Many employers use different systems for benefits payroll administration, HR information systems, and leave absence system considering that some of the data may be held by third parties. Aggregating all of this data every month for reporting can be challenging, especially due to the degree of scrutiny of IRS forms 1094 and 1095. These call employers to make a business decision on how to collect necessary data and create an on-going process for future years.

 

 

Responding to exchange notices

Employers can expect to receive exchange notices when employees apply for subsidized insurance, which can trigger penalties on the employer. The employer may validate or challenge employee eligibility for subsidy on receiving the notice, thus mitigating the risk of penalties. Related to reporting issue, the survey indicates that 43% of participants were concerned with responding to exchange notices.

Specifically, the multi-state employers with many work-sites and employees, response to exchange notices on a timely basis may proof to be a challenge since state exchanges may vary in their response procedure and notices. Timely response to notices is crucial, considering that there is no way to predict the volume of these notices. High level of notices and others inquiries from IRS create challenges. More than 61% of survey respondents with more than 20,000 employees were concerned to exchange notices respond.

Department responsible

Employers are required to identify their employee for ACA reporting, and this may call them to review their independent contractor population. About 60% of respondent reported that the human resource department is responsible for determining if individuals are treated as independent contractors. 14% of respondent rely on the legal departments for this determination, while 12% did not know who would be responsible for this determination.

Type of Vendor

Employer requirement varies on the type of vendors they intend to or have already outsourced, about 48% of smaller employers intend to use their payroll vendors while closer to 35% intended to use dedicated ACA compliance vendor. 18% of mid-sized employers were still in the process of determining their out-sourcer and 44% of the respondents who had more than 30% part-time/variable hour intended to use a dedicated ACA compliance vendor.

 

ACA Reporting Forms

Delivery of forms

Many employers also had not decided on how they are going to deliver necessary forms to employees, 24% of participating employer plan to perform this in-house and 30% plan to use a vendor. 53% of employers with more than 30% variable hour/part-time employees were undecided on how to deliver the necessary forms to employees and IRS. Besides, companies with large variable hour/ part-time employees may experience a challenge associated with reaching out to employees and have them elect electronic forms on an on-going process since workers have a high level of turnover.

Hour tracking

Most employers have already begun tracking employees’ hour of service with the aim of determining full-time employee status. With large variable hour/part-time workforce, the retail and consumer industry has to track employees’ hours to determine the medical plan eligibility for longer periods of time.

 

ACA Employer concerns

Employers concerns

Employers have numerous concerns with ACA reporting and employer mandate. The most pressing concern for most small employers has been to understand the various ACA reporting options, whereas most large and mid-sized employers are concerned about data quality.

For all respondents, concerns include administrative burden in terms of time and workload, complexity and access to data, tracking variable/part-time employees, establishing company-wide policies and procedures, and distribution and production of reporting.

In summary, employers are likely to face many challenges related to ACA reporting and thus the need to make important business decision on whether to implement in-house or outsource reporting requirement.

 

Article provided by NECHES FCU, with convenient locations in Beaumont, Lumberton and Bridge City.

Neches FCU is a Texas Credit Union with an attentive team of professionals ready to serve their 45,000+ members.
Every day, at their service centers, the core objective of “Ultimate Member Satisfaction” becomes the imperative for every representative.
They are known for a dynamic and fast-paced work environment, delivering a memorable service experience, and where clients are known by their name.

Eradicating Absenteeism From Your Workplace

Making Absenteeism Absent From the Workplace

Absent workers

Ongoing and/or a great amount of employees not coming to work is a big problem at work. It is one of the most prevalent and frustrating issues that employers have to deal with. All employers know that sometimes employees cannot avoid missing work, bad attendance can create a lot of problems on the job. These problems include: low productivity, bad quality of work, low morale, low customer service rates, and low customer satisfaction. Most importantly, a high rate of employee absences has a big effect on the commitment between employees and their employers. The commitment that says employers pay employees in exchange for the work that they do.

Guilty or Not Guilty?

First of all, it is necessary to determine between the two key types of absences. In regards to the law, they can handle it in different ways.

1) At-Fault Absenteeism

This type of missing work takes place when an employee does not have a good reason for not being at work. Examples of this are when an employee does not get up when their alarm clock goes off or they call in sick and are not sick.

2) Innocent Absenteeism

This type of absence happens when an employee misses work for reasons that are out of their control. An example of this type of absence is when an employee cannot do their tasks at work due to being hurt or sick.

When an employer has to deal with at-fault absences, the proper action is discipline that gets worse with each step. The proper disciplinary response is based on certain circumstances. The circumstances include the employee’s overall employment record and how long they have worked for the company. They also include the nature and severity of the incidents and how situations like it in the past have been handled.

The most common type of absenteeism employers have to control is innocent absenteeism. Since the absence is not the fault of an employee, being disciplined is not the right course of action. Also, if the employee is missing work because of a disability, the employer has to follow the regulations under the human rights laws. They cannot discriminate against them and must do all they can to accommodate the employee’s disability.

Being in Charge

Being in Charge of Innocent Absenteeism

To properly control innocent absenteeism on the job, employers need to have an attendance policy in place. Even though non-union and union regulations are different, these things should be a part of any attendance plan:

1) Announce Attendance Expectations

Even it may appear to be obvious, a clear and consistent message about coming to work on a regular and being on time for work is very important. These job requirements are essential to putting a stop to and controlling absenteeism.

2) Ask Appropriate Questions

All employees should be asked for information to explain why they missed work. If they missed work because of illness or injury, the employee should have to provide documentation from a doctor that shows their need to miss work. An employer can only ask for certain medical information under the law but the documentation should at least include:

– The information that proves a person cannot work due to medical reasons
– A possible date when the employee may go back to work (if possible,) and
– The accommodations an employee may need when the employee comes back to work.

Dont Ignore

3) Don’t Ignore the Dilemma

In a busy work environment, it can be easy to avoid problems with absences. It is important to ask for information from all employees to back up why they missed work. Doing this, tells employees that good attendance is expected and is essential. These requests also supply the employer with the information they need to determine the proper course of action.

4) Accommodate Any Affliction

Under the human rights law, an employer has to accommodate an employee’s disability, including disability-related absences up up to the point of undue hardship. The accommodation will be dependent on the information supplied by the employee’s doctor. The information may consist of:

– Temporarily or permanently waiving or modifying attendance expectations, or
– Modifying job duties or functions, or having the employee only working part-time

5) Is The Employee Indulging in Absences?

If it looks like the employee has a lot of absences, compare their attendance to a reasonable attendance standard. What is reasonable is based on the employee’s position and the workplace. For example, it could be the average attendance of others who work in the same position or like positions. Also, vacations or absences covered by contracts or legislation should be included.

Meet with the Employee

6) Meet with the Employee

If the employee has excessive absences, the employer should have a meeting with them. They should discuss what they expect from them regarding attendance and tell them about the consequences that may happen if they do not meet the expectations in the future. These consequences can include the employee losing their job.

7) Consider if Termination is The Right Thing

If an employee continues to be absent after they have been warned and accommodations have been made for them, it may be time for the employer to think about letting the employee go. The employer does need to consider if the employee can file a wrongful dismissal claim and/or a discrimination complaint. An employee should only be let go if the employee has no reasonable prospect of regular attendance in the future. Also, after the employer has determined that reasonable accommodations will not improve an employee’s future attendance.

To sum it all up, properly controlling absences and improving attendance in the workplace requires consistency, patience, and carefully thinking about the necessary legal framework. The benefits of meeting the challenge of better productivity, morale, and lowering legal risks, are worth all of the work that is part of it.

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Article provided by Neches FCU, an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.
Neches FCU is one of the top Texas credit unions and has a superior team of professionals ready to provide services to all members. When its doors open at any of the 9 locations, the core goal of “Ultimate Member Satisfaction” becomes the imperative for every representative. They are respected for a personal, dynamic and positive work atmosphere, delivering a memorable service experience, and where all clients are known by name. Neches FCU has approx. $438 Million in assets with over 45,000 members. Neches is acknowledged by members and the business community as one of the top credit unions in Texas and an actively involved partner, helping our Family, Friends and Community!

 

6 Growth Barriers Most Entrepreneur Startups Don’t See Coming

6 Growth Barriers Most Entrepreneur Startups Don’t See Coming

 

Unseen Barriers

Running a successful business requires the input of a creative and committed mind. New businesses meet many challenges that either strengthens the way they operate or make them crumble. While there are inevitable obstacles that you cannot evade, there are some barriers that many startups fail to see coming.

You must fully prepare yourself for any challenge that comes your way and tackle the problem well to avoid bringing down your business. Your start-up may be doing well today, but tomorrow things may change and find you struggling against continuous losses. A lot of big companies that looked unshakable have gone down due to lack of proper preparedness to the unseen challenges.

Some of the barriers that many start-ups do not see coming are:

1. Early desire to reach more markets

 

Reach more markets

Although extending your business to cover more geographical area is good for business to maximize on profit, it may lead to crumbling of your business venture. Expanding your new business will require capital, financing, manpower and a lot of planning. Managing the business will become difficult, and expenses will increase. It’s good to give time for the business to sprout and establish a stable customer base before thinking of extending your firm to cover a larger geographical area. You will experience challenges of managing a bigger team, recruiting more workers and developing talents.

2. Business management gets more expensive

 

Business management

Your start-up venture will be doing just fine until you start experiencing management pressure. If it’s a sole proprietorship, you will find it difficult to run the business all by yourself. When the business is taking its course, your initial team could handle customer support more effectively. However, an expanding business will require professional and highly experienced staff. The need for more staff, managers, and business partners will make you spend more money. The pace of the business will be slowed down by the new challenges and coordinating remote offices will become more problematic. Satisfying an increasing customer base that has great experience will need more time and commitment.

3. Stiff business Competition

 

Stiff business Competition

As the business gains momentum, other providers who offer similar service and goods start coming up. While this may not be seen while starting your business venture, it’s something that you need to be prepared for. Other people will envy the success of your business and begin to offer competing services. Your customer base may go down slowing down the pace of your business. There is plenty of capital available to start a business for entrepreneurs and the entry is quite low. You will also incur frequent and expensive marketing when competitors increase in the market.

4. Price reduction

 

Price reduction

Your revenue will start reducing once your loyal customers start caring about price. The reduction will also be fueled by competitors who offer lower prices hence dragging your customers from your into their side. You may find your business making losses continuously when prices reduce while expenses and legal issues escalate. If you can manage to get a niche market and strategically set your business unique, you can easily overcome price reduction that may be fueled by unhealthy competition. A good number of customers will care more about quality than price.

5. Keeping up with changing market needs

 

Changing market needs

Many businesses have gone low after failing to keep up with new trends and fulfilling new customer expectations. It requires creativity and embracing of new technologies to keep your business refined. New start-ups have to remain relevant by offering not only that which is up to date but also discover a new trend in the business world. A lot of successful and bigwig businesses have been knocked by small industrial changes and trends. You will find yourself facing new problems of customer satisfaction, and if you cannot satisfy your market, you will find your customers to other providers.

6. Problem-solving skills

 

Problem-solving skills

As your business is growing into new levels, critical issues will pop more often requiring you to make professional problem-solving skills. Legal issues, media, public relations and internal issues will come up as your business is growing and you will be expected to make serious decisions that will define the future of the business venture. Start-up businesses will try to solve many problems and, therefore, bringing many solutions instead of directing towards one particular issue. This results to a start-up that has lost focus and a blurred business image.

You must seek new opportunities and innovative ideas to shape your business towards the right path. Relaxing after your entrepreneurial venture establishes reasonable revenue and customer base is suicidal for your business and career. A good entrepreneur knows better that the key to a long-term company growth is by keeping the firm scaling high all the time through the establishment of a continuous inventive practice.

Thanks for reading this week’s post.

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