January 2016

HR Advantage wishes each of you a happy and bright 2016! This is the time of year where many of us set goals for the upcoming year - improving processes at our current job, creating a better work environment for our employees, or even obtaining a new job.  HRA can assist with many of these objectives for the new year and would be happy to help!

HR Advantage continues to have various job opportunities so please review our current openings to the right.  

Please check out our Employer Advice for January in the column to the right to learn more about The Importance of Documentation!

For regular and timely updates and information on HR related news, please follow us on  LinkedIn and Twitter

Hiring Expected to Increase in 2016

A slew of recently released surveys forecast strong hiring in the first half of 2016.  A survey of 598 hiring managers and recruiters found that 61% are planning to do more hiring in the first half of 2016, as compared to the second half of 2015. Nearly one-fifth (17%) of companies surveyed plan to hire at least 30 % more professionals in the first six months of 2016, up five percentage points as compared to when asked in early 2015.

According to technology job board Dice's latest hiring survey, 71% of companies are looking to bolster their technology teams by 11% or more in the first six months of 2016. Just over three-fourths (78 percent) of 397 hiring managers anticipate adding technology professionals in the first half of 2016, compared to the second half of 2015.

According to ManpowerGroup's first employment outlook survey for 2016, U.S. employers reported the strongest first-quarter hiring plans since 2007. The survey of over 11,000 U.S. employers found that one-fifth plan to increase staff in the first quarter, 6 percent plan to decrease staff and the majority expect no change. That results in a net employment outlook of 17%, holding steady with Manpower's fourth-quarter 2015 employment outlook.
Employers in all industry sectors reported a net positive outlook, with the highest forecast coming from leisure and hospitality (30%), transportation and utilities (23%), wholesale and retail trade (22%), and professional and business services (18%).
Recruiting Difficulty
The recruiting environment for certain highly skilled professionals is the tightest seen in nearly a decade.  Almost half of respondents (45%) to the survey said that the time to fill open positions has lengthened since 2014. The primary reason cited is the inability to find qualified professionals (53%), followed by hiring managers saying they're waiting for the perfect match (29%).

Nearly half (49%) of hiring managers responding to the Dice survey said the time to fill open tech positions has also lengthened since last year. "The environment for a talent crisis in tech has been growing over the past few years and as the level of interest in technology professionals rises, it doesn't appear the challenging recruitment market will lighten any time soon," said Bob Melk, president of Dice.
More than a third (37%) of respondents to the survey reported seeing more candidates receiving counteroffers from their current employers. About half (47%) said positions are going unfilled due to unmet salary requirements. In response, a majority of hiring managers (56%) foresee higher salaries for new hires in 2016.

In addition to bulking up budgets to pay desired candidates, companies have to consider ongoing sourcing and identifying professionals ahead of the creation of a specific job opening. Recruitment has to be more about relationship building today than ever before.
How Long to keep Company Records? 
file cabinet      
Maintaining personnel records used to be a whole lot simpler. In fact, any HR department that wanted to be absolutely safe on the subject simply issued a "keep everything" policy.  But now, that same "keep everything" strategy can cost you as much as a lawsuit.  That's because the Federal Trade Commission's "disposal rule" says you have to purge certain data on job applicants' records within a timetable.

That's why it's important to inventory your records,draw up a company retention schedule, and know what you have and how long to keep it-legally and for your own business purposes-before you can establish an efficient records management system.

Timetable Tips:
  • Don't be a "just in case" hoarder; store records only for legal, operational or archival reasons.
  • Retain and destroy documents systematically.
  • Segment records according to a retention timetable.
  • Don't retain unscheduled temporary materials, such as drafts, reminder notes, work sheets or extra copies.
  • Don't hang onto documents just for their sentimental or public relations value. Information must earn its keep, like any other asset. A comprehensive record of the past that fosters a "company memory" can be an asset, but be sure to minimize your legal liability while doing so.
When No Requirements Exist ...

What can you do if a law does not state a specific retention period?  This is not uncommon. Statutes and regulations often contain a phrase, "The following records shall be maintained ...," but they fail to tell you the retention period. Usually the phrase is interpreted as meaning "permanently" because there's no permission given for destruction of the records.  How do you deal with this quandary?

Adopt a 3-Year Policy

Under the Uniform Preservation of Private Business Records Act (UPPBRA), whenever a law does not specify a retention period, businesses should keep their records for three years. If you destroy them sooner, you risk subjecting your organization to legal problems. However, only eight states have adopted this act or something equivalent.  Courts could certainly require you to hold records long enough to permit the state to monitor compliance with its regulations-a "reasonable" period of time. Based on federal records and the UPPBRA, a three-year retention period should be sufficient.

2015 HR-related Legislation

2015 was a year full of  HR-relevant legislative, regulatory, and judicial  developments.  Below is a summary of those that may impact you operating you your day-to-day HR world:

Ban the Box Laws (Criminal Conviction Question on Application)
Currently 19 states require private employers to remove the conviction history question on a job application and delay the background check inquiry until later in the hiring process:
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Rhode Island
Washington, D.C.
*There are more than 100 cities and counties that have adopted the practice of "ban the box."  Reference:

Quickie election rule: The NLRB passed regulations to allow unions to force a vote much faster than before. Work with your legal counsel to make sure you are fully compliant with all regulations surrounding union organizing campaigns, as  penalties can be severe-up to and including establishing a union regardless of the vote. 
Using workplace email to organize a union: NLRB ruled that employees who are allowed access to email during non-work time may use email to organize. This is a significant change requiring policy review for employers.
"Cadillac Tax" implementation: Some wondered if this would ever happen, but ACA regulations are starting to come out regarding so-called "Cadillac" employer health plans with premiums above a certain threshold. It's all very tricky so work closely with legal counsel and health insurance providers to make sure you're in compliance.
Workplace retirement plan fiduciary responsibilities: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this summer that you must watch the performance of mutual funds in your workplace retirement plans and replace poor performers, or you can be held liable. (Also, fees in your retirement plans must be reasonable-this has long been the case but Canada has seen cases in their courts this year so be sure you're watching this too). The good news is you don't have to be an expert yourself-you just need to engage someone who is: your plan provider should already be providing advisory services including benchmarking performance and fees; some will even provide a warranty for these items. If you haven't heard from your plan advisor lately on these items, call them. You should have a yearly review with the provider on these points, and document that you did so.
Unemployment claims environment:  It seems MO unemployment referees are asking for more documentation regarding the reason an employee quits, in order to determine whether it might be "constructive discharge" (employee felt they had to either quit or get fired, or environment was in some way hostile to continued employment-either of which would likely result in the employer losing the hearing. On the other hand, we're hearing even more stories about referees coming down on the side of employers in cases where they might not have in recent years. Our takeaway is that you should never assume an outcome, but prepare thoroughly with plenty of documentation in both resignations and involuntary terminations.
Exempt employee salary threshold: We have reported on this in past newsletters, but the DOL has proposed doubling the minimum rate of pay required to designate an employee as "exempt" (exempt from overtime rules). The new rule is under review but will likely be implemented. This will be an enormous change for many employers, so keep watching this.
Right-To-Work: O nce again the Missouri Congress failed to pass any legislation to prevent unions from requiring dues even from non-members; however they seem to get closer and closer every year to doing so, and if/when they have a Republican governor sympathetic to this effort, it will likely pass as it has done in many other states. Keep an eye on this, as it may directly affect your collective bargaining policies in your workplace

Social Media: In 2015, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Montana, Tennessee and Virginia became the latest states to enact legislation banning employer access to workers' social media accounts. These laws prohibit an employer from requiring an employee or applicant to proved them with a username and passwords to access a personal online account.  At least 17 states passed similar years-AR, CA, CO, IL, LA, MA, MI, NE, NH, NJ, NM, OK, OR, RI, WA and WI.
Specializing in Human Resource services
 "customized" to your business needs
Lynette Weatherford, President                                         Crystal Viefhaus
MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP                                                         HR Advisor                          
Andrea Turner, MBA                                                    Candida Arvizu, HR Advisor
       HR Advisor                                                                 MS, PHR, SHRM-CP                         

                                                     Katy Lukens
                                              Administrative Services

Current Career Opportunities

HRA is currently recruiting for the following positions:

HR Manager  Competitive 
Salary "based on experience" + full benefits
Seeking a seasoned Human Resource Manager/Director with a
background in hospitality (i.e. hotel, restaurant, etc.). This position will be based out of the  corporate office in Springfield, MO. However, there will be travel to company locations within  
the region (Ok, AR, TX, KS, etc.). The incumbent will be responsible for establishing the HR  process, setting standards/compliance uniformly at all locations, establishing employee 
 elations protocol, developing policies and procedures, and working with leadership in  meeting business objectives. Prefer Bachelor's Degree in HR or related work experience.
SHRM/HRCI certifications a plus. 
Staff Accountant:
Position entails preparation of compiled financial statements, perform detailed review, analysis and reconciliation of general ledger accounts, provide tax compliance and consulting services to individuals, partnerships, estates, trusts and corporations in a variety of industries, demonstrates the ability to efficiently research tax topics of intermediate complexity and help develop, build and manage client relationships. Prefer Accounting/Bookkeeping experience.  Must be proficient in QuickBooks and/or Sage Accounting (Peachtree).  Prefer prior experience in preparing business tax returns and ability to work independently.
Accountant / Tax Supervisor:
We are looking for a CPA with a minimum of 3 years of public accounting experience to primarily manage, supervise, review and complete tax related client engagements and perform some attest and accounting engagements. Must have current CPA and assisting companies with taxes, preparation and review of federal and state income taxes for individuals and closely held business, preparation of various written correspondence with clients and various tax authorities, preparation of compiled financial statements for closely held business, provide accounting & QuickBooks consulting to closely held business, manage multiple clients, develop new client relationships and train, review and evaluate other staff's work.  Must have public accounting experience and CPA.
Submit resume to:


HRA's Employer Advice 
January 2016
Click here.... 


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