Decem ber 2015

As 2015 comes to a close, this is always a good time to review your current HR practices and policies to make sure you are compliant and current.  HR Advantage is happy to assist by means of an HR audit to help with this process.

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

Please check out our Employer Advice for December in the column to the right to learn more about Keeping Harassment Out!

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Tips for Workplace Holiday Parties

Be afraid -- be very afraid. Holiday office parties are back.

The holiday season is upon us, and the magic is in the air. Employees are eager with anticipation for a chance to let loose at the upcoming holiday party for your workplace, while managers, including HR, are anxiety-ridden. While employees plot spiking the eggnog, managers are drowning their sorrows in liquid antacid to mitigate the impending ulcer the company holiday party brings.

Managers, especially your human resources department, walk on eggshells anticipating the next employee investigation, sexual harassment claim or termination that comes with the annual office soiree.

From inappropriate touching and sexual harassment complaints to the holiday punch being spiked, holiday parties can lead to an HR minefield. 

Avoid the post-party workplace holiday drama, an unwelcome trip to HR, and even getting fired by following these workplace holiday party golden rules:

Two Drink Maximum
Exert self-control and opt to limit yourself to two alcoholic beverages at your holiday workplace event. With alcohol inhibitions vanish. Keep from saying or doing something you will regret come Monday.

Choose Your Date Wisely
While on the surface your workplace holiday party might look like a social event, it is a political and networking opportunity that revolves around work and your career. Opt to bring a responsible friend or your spouse, who can help you work the room, elevate your personal brand and keep you in check. Prep them on the politics and game plan before the holiday party begins.

Dress Should Be Professional
Remember, all the world is a stage. Just because an event is after- hours, it is still work-related. Conservative evening attire is best.

Exit Early
In this context, nothing good ever happens after midnight. Know your limit and excuse yourself before the inevitable gaffes come from someone else. Make an appearance, keep it professional, and get out. 

If successfully navigating the company holiday party sounds like a job, it's because that's exactly what it is. It's your career, and we want to keep working. Give your boss something good to remember you by as the company's fiscal year comes to a close. Don't become a January termination statistic as a result of your actions at the office holiday party.

DOL sets tentative deadline to changes to final Overtime Rules

Department of Labor targeting late 2016
In the  DOL's fall 2015 regulatory agenda, the agency published on November 30th that it's targeting late 2016 for the release of the final rules. The deadline isn't set in stone, but it does provide clues as to where the DOL's at with the rules.

Bottom line: Employers are most likely looking at the new rules being released prior to the 2016 election.

60 days
While a late-2016 release date is welcome news to businesses that have a lot of work to do in order to make sure they're ready to comply with the rules, they won't have much time to maneuver once the final rules are published.

Once the final rules are published, employers will have just 60 days to comply.

That means employers shouldn't wait until the final rules are issued to come up with a compliance strategy. There simply won't be enough time, at least for a lot of companies, to start from scratch once the rules do come out.

And while employers don't know for sure what the final rules will look like, they do know a few things upon which they can start building their compliance strategies.

For starters:
  • The minimum salary threshold will rise ... significantly. The current threshold a worker must hit to be overtime-exempt is $23,660. The proposed rules seek an increase to $50,440. And while it may not climb quite that high, it will climb - likely to at least $40,000 or so.
  • The threshold will automatically increase. For the first time ever, the salary threshold will be tied to an automatic-escalator, so it can keep pace with inflation - and so major legislative changes aren't needed every time lawmakers want it to increase.
  • The highly compensated employee threshold will climb. It has been proposed that the total annual compensation threshold that must be hit to exempt highly compensated employees would climb to $122,148 from $100,000. While those numbers could change in the final rules. Employers can expect a higher threshold.
  • The DOL is looking at making changes to the duties tests. The DOL hasn't suggested changing the executive, administrative, professional, computer or outside sales duties tests (see them here) yet. But the agency did specifically ask for comments on whether the tests should be changed and whether they're working to screen out employees who are not bona fide white collar exempt employees.

Fantasy Football at Work:
Lost Productivity vs. TeamBuilding

Fantasy football costs more than $16 billion a season in lost productivity, according to outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, but it also has fans who say it can be a camaraderie-builder at work. That is, as long as it's legal, which for now most experts say it is. Tighter regulation in the future, however, is likely.
According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), the voice of the fantasy sports industry, approximately 56.8 million Americans and Canadians will participate in fantasy sports this year. That is up significantly from approximately 12.6 million who participated in 2005. And, notably, 37.5 million of these participants are employed full time.

The $16 billion in lost productivity represents just one hour of unproductive work time a week per employed fantasy football player during the 17 weeks of the National Football League preseason and regular season. According to the FSTA, the average player spends three hours per week managing his or her team and up to nine hours per week reading or watching something about fantasy sports.

If done in moderation, the downtime that employees may spend playing fantasy football at work can have an upside for employers, such as fostering a common, harmless subject for co-workers to talk about around the water cooler.

It may seem counterintuitive, but these short periods of being unproductive help workers be more productive in the long run. They also help boost morale, lower turnover and keep our creative juices flowing. For these reasons, employers may not only want to avoid clamping down on fantasy football, but may want to encourage it within the office.

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:
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.
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HRA's Employer Advice 
Dece mber 2015
Click here.... 
Keeping Harassment Out!


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