Business Continuity Management – An Integrated Approach to Disaster Recovery

July 20, 2017 | Leave a Comment

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Business interruptions can have serious consequences. One of every four businesses forced to close because of a disaster never reopen.

We can’t control natural or man-made disasters – but we can control how we prepare for and respond to them.

Business continuity management, or the combination of business interruption insurance and business continuity planning, is the only way to prevent a disaster from having a detrimental impact on your business.

Business interruption insurance is a financial assistance to help get a company back on its feet quickly following a business interruption. Originally designed for the manufacturing industry, business interruption insurance transfers risks and provides resources that aid in recovery in all industries and get your business back up to speed as soon as possible.

To protect your business, use business continuity planning toolkits to identify vulnerabilities and create a plan to minimize their impact. Combined with business interruption insurance, your business will be protected and your team will know how to recover quickly in the event a disaster does occur.

For more information on business continuity management, view this webinar, hosted by Cornerstone’s Loss Control Consultant Tom Scherrer.

Posted in Blog, Commercial, Risk management, Safety | Tagged  , , ,

OSHA’s Electronic Reporting Rule Postponed

July 10, 2017 | Leave a Comment

OSHA Postpone

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s electronic reporting rule was set to go into place July 1, 2017.  However, according to OSHA, the organization is not ready to accept electronic reporting of injuries and illnesses.

OSHA has proposed Dec. 1, 2017, as the new deadline.

For more information, visit the OSHA website

Posted in Blog, Commercial, OSHA | Tagged  

STL Minimum Wage Scaling Back to $7.70

July 03, 2017 | Leave a Comment

STL Minimum Wage Scaling Back to $7.70

Missouri Governor Greitens announced Friday that he will allow a bill to become a law that reverts St. Louis minimum wage to the state minimum wage of $7.70.

The law, which will go into effect August 28 of this year, will ban local minimum wages, requiring St. Louis to stick to the standardized minimum wage requirement for Missouri.

For more information, see the full article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Posted in Blog, Legislative Alerts

Preparing for Crisis

June 22, 2017 | Leave a Comment

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We believe protecting businesses helps build a strong community. Because when disaster hits a business, its effect is devastating and long-lasting for employees and their families. Without a plan for protection and recovery from an unexpected and dangerous event, the livelihood of an organization will be at stake.

Taking steps to prepare for the worst is the only way to minimize the impact of an incident and shorten the recovery time.

Disasters come in a variety of packages: terrorist attacks, natural disaster, criminal activity. While it’s easy to fall into the mindset that one or all of these will never impact your business, it’s imperative to start planning for recovery before they occur.

Download our Business Continuity Toolkit to begin preparing your plan today.

Posted in Benefits, Blog, Risk management, Safety

National Safety Month

June 02, 2017 | Leave a Comment

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To promote safety at work, at home, and on the road, the National Safety Council has declared June as National Safety Month.

Implementing safety measures at work is something that every business owner and team leader can take part in. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the latest census of fatal occupational injuries show that 13 people die while doing their jobs per day. With statistics that high, we all need to drive awareness and prevent on-the-job injuries for our workforce.

Establish Culture of Safety

Establishing a workplace culture that values safety is essential to keeping workers injury free and reducing workers’ compensation claims.

While creating a culture of safety that reaches every level of your organization will not happen overnight, there are steps you can take during National Safety Month to help promote the wellbeing of your employees.

  1. Begin with an employee perception survey:
    Sending out a survey to your employees will allow you to find out how effective your current safety policies are, signal areas of your safety program that need improvement, and increase employee engagement by identifying ways the safety program can be better suited to their needs.
  2. Request a Safety Audit:
    Contact a loss control professional to determine what steps can be taken around your worksite to reduce the risk of injury or fatality. Take every recommendation into consideration and fix as much as possible. Share the findings of the audit with your employees so they understand how to prevent dangerous circumstances in the future.
  3. Update Your Safety Policy:
    When is the last time you updated your safety policy? With the introduction of new technologies and more frequent cell phone use by employees, policies may need to be updated. Remind your employees not to use their mobile phones while driving company vehicles by implementing a distracted driving policy.

It’s never too late to begin adjusting your company’s culture to focus on safety.

Call us during National Safety Month or any other time of the year for more information.

 

 

 

Posted in Blog, Commercial, Risk management, Safety | Tagged  , , , ,

IRS Announces Raises to HSA/HDHP Dollar Limits for 2018

May 17, 2017 | Leave a Comment

IRS Announces Raises to HSA/HDHP Dollar Limits for 2018

Dollar limits for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) will be increased for plan years beginning after Jan. 1, 2018, to account for inflation, as announced by the Internal Revenue Service this month.

The following chart outlines the changes in contribution limits to occur in 2018:

Changes to 2018 HSA and HDHP Limits

HSA Contribution Changes

The HSA contribution limit will increase $50 for self-only plans and $150 for family plans, to a total limit of $3,450 and $6,900 respectively. HSA catch-up contributions for people age 55 and older are not subject to increases to account for inflation and will remain the same.

HDHP Eligibility Changes

To qualify as an HDHP in 2018, a plan will require a minimum deductible of $1,350 for self-only plans, up $50 from the 2017 minimum. The minimum deductible for family HDHP plans will increase $100 from 2017 to $2,700 in 2018.

Out-of-pocket maximums have also increased for the 2018 plan year. Maximum expenses for HDHP plans will be $6,650 for self-only and $13,300 for family, up $100 and $200 from 2017 respectively.

Next Steps

Employers sponsoring HDHPs may need to make changes to plan designs for 2018 and update any enrollment materials to reflect these new HSA limits.

Please contact your Cornerstone Consultant with any questions about the IRS’ announcement to raise HSA/HDHP dollar limits for 2018.

Posted in Benefits, Blog, Legislative Alerts | Tagged  , ,

Updates on Replace and Repeal of the ACA: American Health Care Act Sent to the Senate

May 10, 2017 | Leave a Comment

AHCA sent to senate

On May 4, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act and replace it with the American Health Care Act. The new bill is now being deliberated by the Senate.

Although there is much media coverage surrounding the bill, all ACA requirements will remain in effect until the AHCA is passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump.

As the Senate considers the AHCA as it has been passed by the House of Representatives, it may pass or dismiss the bill in its entirety – or it could change the legislation so much that it passes a drastically different bill.

If the House and the Senate do pass separate versions of the bill, a committee will be formed to compromise and draft a hybrid of both bills. If a committee produces a hybrid bill, the Constitution requires that both the House and the Senate pass identical versions of the bill before it can be signed into law by President Trump.

This process may take weeks or months.

If it was signed into law as it stands now, the AHCA would make the following revisions to the ACA:

How will this affect your employer health plan?

  • Employer shared responsibility rules—

The ACA’s employer shared responsibility rules require applicable large employers (employers with 50 or more full-time employees) to offer an acceptable minimum level of health coverage to full-time employees and their dependents – or pay a penalty. Under the new bill, this provision will be canceled. However, Form 1094 & 1095 reporting requirements will remain.

  • Federal subsidies for small businesses—

In 2020, the ACHA will repeal the ACA’s small business tax credit.

  • Relief from Cadillac tax—

The start date of the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans will be pushed back, so the tax will begin after Dec. 31, 2025.

How will this affect your employees?

  • Increases in HSA contribution limits—

The ACHA will increase the maximum Health Savings Account contribution limit beginning in 2018. Where the maximum out-of-pocket limit allowed by law is currently $3,400 for self-only and $6,750 for family coverage, the ACHA will increase those maximums to $6,550 and $13,1000 respectively.

  • HSAs covering prior expenses—

Under the new bill, HSA funds will be able to pay for health care expenses incurred prior to the start date of the HSA (at least for funds occurring after the start date of a high deductible health plan, given the HSA is opened within 60 days from the start date of the HDHP).

  • OTC medications—

Tax-advantaged HSAs will be able to be used for a wider variety of over-the-counter health purchases.

  • FSA limits—

The ACHA will repeal the ACA’s clause imposing a limit to the funds an individual can contribute annually to a health Flexible Spending Account.

How will this affect the health care exchange?

  • Individual mandate—

The ACA requires most individuals to obtain acceptable health insurance coverage for themselves and dependents or pay a penalty. Under the AHCA, this mandate will be repealed. Instead, the ACHA will impose a 30 percent penalty onto the premiums of small groups and individuals that have lapses in coverage.

  • Federal subsidies for individuals—

The ACA currently offers tax credits to low-income individuals who purchase health care coverage through the exchange. The AHCA will repeal these credits in 2020 and replace them with a monthly tax credit for all individuals.

Things that will not be changed by the ACHA include that coverage will still be allowed for children up to the age of 26 and there will be guaranteed availability and renewability of coverage.

Click here to read the American Health Care Act.

Posted in Benefits, Blog, Health Care Reform Info, Legislative Alerts | Tagged  , ,

St. Louis City Minimum Wage Increase to Go Into Effect Friday, May 5

May 04, 2017 | Leave a Comment

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On May 4, 2017, St. Louis City announced the minimum wage increase will go into effect on Friday, May 5.

The minimum wage increase has a zero-day grace period and employers are expected to comply with the new regulations, which increase the city’s minimum wage to $10 per hour and $5 and hour for tipped employees.

The mayor’s office issued a statement indicating that failure to comply with the new law is “subject to prosecution in Municipal Court, and also may be subject to revocation of business licenses and occupancy permit.”

Per the city’s official website, the Department of Human Services has established a complaint center for employees to notify them of employer non-compliance and all complaints will be investigated within a 45 day period. The contact information for the city is minimumwage@stlouis-mo.gov or 314-589-6735.

The minimum wage will increase to $11.00 an hour on January 1, 2018.

Posted in Benefits, Legislative Alerts | Tagged  , ,

Guidelines for Accurate Job Descriptions

May 03, 2017 | Leave a Comment

accurate job descriptions

As a job description is often the introduction of prospective employees to your company, it is an essential piece of the hiring process. A well-written job description starts the employer-employee relationship off on the right foot.

If your descriptions haven’t been updated in a while, revisit them to check for accuracy and to determine if there is information that is omitted that may be preventing qualified candidates from applying to work for your organization.

What should be included?

An effective job description should provide two pieces of info: what the person is supposed to do and how they are supposed to do it.

The description itself should be broken out into four different sections:

  • Position overview: Always include is a brief description of the position. Think of what you would tell people about the job and your organization when you’re describing the position at a cocktail party. A quick overview will be enough to pique the interest of ideal candidates. Not including any information about the position may be a deterrent for those candidates to apply.
  • Essential functions of the job: This section covers what the person applying for the position is required to do day-in and day-out. Will the person be required to maintain regular attendance, communicate with people regularly, or speak in front of large audiences? As an employer, this listing the essential functions of the job can help protect you throughout the hiring process.

    For employers who are unsure if the job description meets the necessary duties, because other tasks may come up or it is a new position, placing “Other duties may be assigned” is perfectly acceptable.

  • Qualifications: Qualifications include education and experience required for the position, as well as any technical skills or certifications. This section should also let your applicants know if they need to pass a background test or a drug test as a part of your hiring process. If this job requires driving, note that a valid driver’s license and a reliable vehicle will be necessary.

    While most employers consider qualifications sections to include experience in the industry and other achievements, this section is also a place to list soft skills necessary for the job. “Works well in a team environment” and “able to work with a diverse group of people” may be necessary depending on your company’s culture.

  • Physical requirements: Do applicants need to bend, stoop, stand, or lift 20 pounds? This information is important to applicants when they apply to the job. Physical requirements may also include sitting at a desk for long periods of time in office environments. Some companies opt to keep this information in a separate file, accessible to applicants who reach out to the HR department.

There are several other sections that, while not required for an effective job description, may increase the potential candidates reaching out to apply.  These sections include: salary and FLSA status. These bonus sections may help qualified potential candidates through the application process.

Posted in Blog, Human Resources

Upcoming Circuit Court Decision to Determine St. Louis City Minimum Wage Increase

April 27, 2017 | Leave a Comment

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On April 26, the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed St. Louis City’s 2015 minimum wage increase, which has been on hold since October 2015 due to a Circuit Court injunction.

The Missouri Supreme Court declined to reconsider its February 2017 ruling, which essentially allows the wage increase to move forward.  This decision leaves only the Circuit Court’s injunction as the last remaining barrier, and the City expects the Circuit Court to lift its injunction within the next week. Once this occurs, the minimum wage increase will take effect immediately.

The increase will raise the minimum wage hourly rate for city employees from $7.70 to $10 immediately and raise it again to $11 effective January 1, 2018.  The tipped employee rate will also increase to $5 per hour and then raise again to $5.50 on January 1.

We recommend that, if you have not yet done so, you prepare for this increase as it will affect all employees conducting work within the St. Louis City limits.

Posted in Benefits, Blog, Human Resources, Legislative Alerts