The Benefits of a 125 Cafeteria Plan

Would you like to customize your benefits and save money doing so? A 125 Cafeteria Plan (also called a Section 125 Plan) is a cost-effective way to offer employee benefits, with tax advantages for both employers and employees.

This plan enables employers to:

  • Enhance benefit programs.
  • Reduce the employer’s share of FICA and FUTA taxes.
  • Increase employer savings as participation rates increase.
  • Give employees funds to cover out-of-pocket medical, dental and vision expenses, dependent care, and health insurance premiums.

Sponsor up to four pre-tax options for employees

  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
  • Limited Purpose FSA for dental and vision expenses
  • Dependent Care Assistance Plan
  • Premium Only Plan

Other qualified pretax benefits—and who qualifies

Employees, their spouses, and dependents may access a 125 Plan for:

  • HSAs
  • Group health
  • Accident and disability coverage
  • Adoption assistance
  • Group term life insurance

Contact CHR to get started

Contact us to discuss how a 125 Cafeteria Plan may benefit your company and your team, and for assistance implementing one in your workplace.

Introducing Kelcey Castro, Human Resources Manager

Kelcey Castro Profile Picture

It is our pleasure to extend a warm welcome to Kelcey Castro, who joins us as our Human Resources Manager. Kelcey brings with her a wealth of experience and an unwavering dedication to fostering inclusive and supportive workplace environments.

With a robust background in HR, Kelcey excels in policy development, handbook creation, employee recruitment, and fostering positive workplace cultures. Her expertise extends to conducting internal investigations and implementing training programs focused on harassment prevention, ensuring that our organization maintains a safe and respectful atmosphere for all team members.

As we welcome Kelcey to our team, we eagerly anticipate the contributions she will make in elevating our HR practices and fostering a workplace culture that celebrates diversity, teamwork, and mutual respect. Join us in extending a heartfelt welcome to Kelcey Castro as our new Human Resources Manager, as we embark on this journey of growth and success together.

HR Chronicles: Unveiling Insights & Lessons

What Would You Do? A Potential Drug and Alcohol Issue

HR Chronicles is a periodic look at real-life situations for which our HR experts have provided client guidance.

Workplace Compliance and Purpose

A Company’s objective is to maintain a drug and alcohol-free work environment that is safe and productive for Employees and others doing business with the Company. The use, possession, purchase, sale, distribution, or being under the influence of any narcotic substance and/or the misuse of legal drugs while on Company or client premises or while performing services for the Company is strictly prohibited and violates Workplace Safety standards.

achohol and pills

Companies also prohibit employees from reporting to work or performing services under the influence of alcohol or consuming alcohol while on duty or during work hours. Companies prohibit off-premises abuse of alcohol and controlled substances, as well as the possession, use, or sale of narcotic substances, when these activities adversely affect job performance, job safety, or the any Company reputation in the community.

What is Reasonable Suspicion?

The concept of the term Reasonable Suspicion is a belief or hunch, that an Employee is under the influence of drugs and alcohol and is adversely affecting job performance.

The Employee poses a threat to themselves, others, or the Company. This evidence might come from observations made by co-workers, and information shared during meetings or training sessions.

Potential Scenario

A 45-year-old nurse has worked for the Hospital for three years, but you have been a supervisor for only six weeks. This morning, as you are making your “rounds”, you noticed the Employee was not walking straight and was muttering. You checked the patients’ records and you noticed the Employee is behind schedule.

You approached the Employee and asked how it is going. The Employee’s complexion was flushed, eyes were red and tearing.

When you asked the Employee again if there are any problems, the Employee looked at you and seemed unfocused. The Employee was distant and mumbled an incoherent response.

Ask the Employee to accompany you to your office or other private area. Ask if the Employee is okay; solicit a coherent verbal response. Identify and confront the Employee with your observations. Explain that a Reasonable Suspicion test will be conducted.

  • flushed complexion
  • red, watery eyes
  • unresponsive to verbal greeting
  • unfocused, distracted eye contact
  • incoherent, mumbled speech

Reasonable Suspicion testing might be necessary. Both an alcohol and drug test maybe warranted since signs and symptoms are consistent with either drug or alcohol use.

If your company is experiencing similar issues, contact us for a confidential consultation. All employee-related matters will be help in the strictest confidence. 

Women in HR

CHR Spotlight: The Women Who Make Our HR Department Tick

Karen Roche, our executive vice president of human resources and general counsel, leads the all-female HR department at CHR. With a client-centric focus and attention that goes above and beyond daily HR activities, Karen and her team—Kelcey Castro, HR manager, and Ivonne Wareka, HR coordinator—ensure each client who engages with them always feels strongly supported.

Engagements with CHR cover an array of human resource activities, from administrative to advisory, tailored to each employer’s needs. These include reviewing employee handbooks and policies, drawing up contracts and agreements, handling disciplinary actions, customized coaching, and conducting employee training on different types of workplace situations. Regardless of the level of engagement, the team’s mantra is to always take care of the client in a highly personal way, which clients truly appreciate.

“Depending on what each client needs, we can be a resource for their in-house HR team or function as their outsourced HR department,” says Karen, who joined CHR in December 2022 after many years as an in-house labor attorney for private and public employers, and in private practice.

Customized engagements, client-first approach

“Our HR team’s approach is deep into soft skills that put the ‘human’ in human resources,” says CEO Brian Boffa. “We’ve had clients contract with us for HR support because they’ve heard from colleagues about the high level of attention Karen, Kelcey, and Ivonne provide.”

In addition to Karen’s employer-first mindset which infuses her team, clients also appreciate that they always have access to her expertise and guidance. “Everything that falls under employment law, I am here to help,” she says.

Karen assures all new clients that she is available as their labor counsel. She makes sure employment policies are in place and always adhered to, that employers are compliant with all state and federal regulations, and that they receive full support when a workplace situation arises. This support is provided on the phone, by email, or at their office. And when clients call CHR and Karen is not available, Kelcey responds to their needs. “Our level of accessibility and responsiveness sets us apart from other firms,” according to Karen.

Kelcey says one reason why she joined CHR in December 2023 is the team’s hands-on, client-centric approach, “As HR professionals, we believe you have to deal with the law but also show understanding, empathy, and patience with clients who are looking to us for assistance.”” As soon as we get details from a client, we always thoroughly research the issue to ensure the client remains compliant, fair, and consistent with regulations and the client’s standards and policies”.

Ivonne, who has been with CHR for 19 years, originally worked as a payroll specialist at CHR. She moved to the HR department and still works with some of the firm’s legacy clients she has helped for many years. Today, she coordinates all the documentation and client workflow, oversees daily operations, handles background checks, helps with application walk-throughs and system software, and trains employers and employees to use the onboarding portal.

“Clients tell me how much they appreciate Ivonne’s experience and knowledge as well as her ‘hand holding’ through their transactions,” says Karen. “Long-term clients are delighted to be able to continue working with her in this capacity.”

Bilingual in Spanish, Ivonne provided a Spanish translation of the firm’s sexual harassment training video and sometimes leads the training live in Spanish at clients’ offices. She also provides translation services if an employee needs it during an employer-employee situation.

HR team as the hub

Ivonne notes that “the HR team is the hub that can connect clients to other CHR areas we cover. We love to connect them with whatever they need to support their operation.”

If your organization could use some white glove treatment and personal attention to your HR matters, contact us for a free consultation.

HR Chronicles: Unveiling Insights & Lessons

Work-Place Safety & Hostile Work Environments

HR Chronicles is a periodic look at real-life situations for which our HR experts have provided client guidance.

The Situation

An Employer had two Employees who started arguing aggressively and yelling in front of the other Employees in the workplace.

One of the Employees felt uncomfortable and physically threatened. The Manager was called and informed of the situation.

There are steps the Manager could take in a situation like this – some are more appropriate than others. The Manager can:

  • Investigate and collect all information and details of the situation. This would include interviewing both individuals and collecting witness statements. Then review all information and determine the type of disciplinary action to implement.
  • Terminate both Employees without an investigation.
  • Continue with normal operations and ignore the situation.
  • Suspend both Employees, pending an investigation.

Depending on the severity of the altercation the Employer may choose to suspend both Employees (to be fair to both) pending investigation and investigate and collect all information/ details. The Manager should interview both individual’s and collect witness statements, then review all information and determine the type of disciplinary action to take.

In this case, the investigation determined:

  • On several occasions, Employee #2 has made offensive racists remarks and inappropriate jokes towards Employee #1. In addition, Employee #2 frequently block’s Employee #1 movements around the workplace. Employee #1 has asked Employee #2 to stop this behavior; this behavior occurs in front of numerous coworkers.

A hostile work environment is one where the words and actions of a supervisor, manager or coworker negatively or severely impacts another employee’s ability to complete their work. Any employee can be responsible for creating a hostile work environment. Hostile words and actions include:

  • Repeated offensive remarks
  • Inappropriate jokes
  • Racists remarks
  • Discrimination of any kind
  • Obstruction of someone’s movements, such as blocking them from any movement throughout the workplace.
  • The intended victims of the harasser.
  • Bystanders, co-workers and/or vendors who witness the offensive conduct.

Important to note: The intended victim should make it clear to the harasser that the behavior is unwelcome and should stop.

If your company is experiencing similar issues, contact us for a confidential consultation. All employee-related matters will be help in the strictest confidence. 

Introducing Karen Ehrenberg, Our New Director of HRIS & Operations

Please join us in welcoming Karen Ehrenberg as our Director of HRIS & Operations. In this role she will play a key behind-the-scenes role overseeing our HRIS and Payroll functions.

Karen comes to CHR with considerable experience in the payroll and tax fields. She has developed and implemented payroll systems for small to large-scale enterprises. She has also earned and maintained the CPP credential from the American Payroll Association since 2018, demonstrating her proficiency and knowledge in payroll practices and regulations.

Most recently, she led the payroll department at NEMR Total HR, a PEO services provider. There, she collaborated cross-departmentally to establish SOPs for payroll processes, oversaw both payroll and HRIS teams, and implemented payroll systems for new clients.

“I’m happy to be part of the CHR team! My mission is to leverage my payroll expertise and leadership skills to help our clients optimize their payroll operations and achieve their financial goals,” says Karen.

QuickBooks Integration

Unlock Effortless Payroll with Consolidated HR’s New QuickBooks Online Integration!

We are thrilled to announce QuickBooks Online integration is now available for CHR’s payroll platform.

Our new API integration syncs your payroll with QuickBooks Online, the most popular small business accounting software. The integration reduces manual tasks while ensuring a direct, error-free transfer of your payroll data into your QBO General Ledger (GL), all in real time.

We Make It Super-Simple for You

Minimal Client Involvement

CHR spearheads the entire integration process. You’ll only need about two minutes to link access. Then we’ll have a quick 10 minute call to review the setup and customization for your business.

Rapid Deployment

The process is simple and takes CHR about 72 hours on average, depending on your GL complexity and customization.

Real-Time Data Push

Enjoy the convenience of seamless and automated payroll data updates to QuickBooks Online, with no need for manual journal entries or extra steps to process your GL files.

Features That Make a Difference

API Connectivity

Say goodbye to time-consuming manual tasks. Our pure API to API connectivity offers you a clutter-free and efficient process.

Full Automation

Our built-in scheduler ensures your GL data is posted without any human intervention, maintaining accuracy and consistency.

Advanced Tools

Our reporting tools are designed to debug and proactively identify any GL setup errors.

Ready to Get Started?

The QBO integration is not just a feature – it’s a strategic tool that liberates your time and resources, empowering you to drive sales and grow your business effectively.

If you’re ready for it, we’re here to make it happen. Grab a spot on my calendar to get started.

Are You Compliant with Remote Employee Posting Requirements?

Avoid Hefty Fines and Lawsuits with Our Labor Law

ePoster Service


Employers are legally obligated to make mandatory labor law notices available to their entire workforce and this obligation extends to remote employees. Finally, there is a comprehensive compliance solution engineered specifically for remote employees and non- traditional worksites.

Here Are Just a Few of the Features:

  • Digital Service Accessed thru Online Platform
  • White Labeled with Your Logo (Optional)
  • Pay As You Go Subscription
  • Federal, State, County and City Notices plus Updates
  • Backed by a $25,000 ‘We Pay the Fine’ Guarantee
  • Certificate of Acknowledgment Feature Included (eSignatures)

Electronic postings do not replace paper posting requirements; you must still display physical copies of labor law notices applicable to your business in locations where all employees can easily see them.

Activate Your ePoster Service Upgrade Now!

Your Labor Law Poster Compliance Service from CHR now includes access to ePosterService for remote employees at no additional cost to you.

Scan the QR code to get started

Hire the Right Talent Faster with CHR’s Applicant Tracking System

Let’s streamline your talent acquisition process

Busy HR professionals know that recruiting and hiring the best talent takes time and money. CHR’s Applicant Tracking System is designed to streamline the entire talent recruiting process with:

  • Automated job posting to your career portal plus 18+ job boards and social networks
  • Candidate communications via automated emails and text messages
  • Custom screening questions to help you score and rank candidates more effectively
  • Tag & keyword matching to automatically review and filter resumes

Get our helpful ATS Guide!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Annual OSHA Form 300A Posting Begins February 1, Expanded Electronic Reporting Due March 2

Form 300A Workplace Posting Begins February 1

Covered employers who had 11 or more employees at any point in 2023 are required to post Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injury and Illnesses, from February 1 through April 30 unless they qualify as an exempt low-risk industry.

Employers are required to post Form 300A even if they didn’t have any recordable incidents in 2023. OSHA Form 300A must be certified by a company executive and posted in a conspicuous location where notices to employees are customarily posted.Annual OSHA Form 300A Posting Begins February 1

Employee count is based on the number of employees in the entire company, not per establishment. A full list of exempt low-risk industries, ordered by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes, can be found here.

Form 300A Electronic Submission Required by March 2

Covered establishments that had 250 or more employees in the prior calendar year, or 20–249 employees if they’re in certain high-risk industries, must submit their 2023 Form 300A data electronically, using OSHA’s online Injury Tracking Application (ITA). The deadline to submit the report is March 2, 2024. These requirements are based on the size of the establishment (how many employees there are at the physical location), not how many employees are in the entire company.

Employers who are covered by a State Plan that has not yet adopted its own state rule must also use the ITA to send data electronically.

Employers who meet any of the following criteria DO NOT have to send Form 300A information to OSHA:

  • Employers that are exempt from OSHA’s routine recordkeeping requirements, as mentioned above.
  • Employers that never had 20 or more employees during the previous calendar year, regardless of industry.
  • Employers that had between 20 and 249 employees at some point during the previous calendar year but are NOT on this list of high-risk industries.

Additional information, FAQs, and the Injury Tracking Application can be found on OSHA’s ITA page.

New Requirements: Form 300 and Form 301 Electronic Submission Required by March 2

Covered establishments in designated high-hazard industries that had 100 or more employees in the prior calendar year will need to electronically submit information from their Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, and Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report, through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA). This is in addition to submitting information from their Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.

Establishments covered by federal OSHA can use the ITA Coverage Application to determine if they’re required to electronically submit their injury and illness information to OSHA. Establishments covered by an OSHA-approved State Plan should contact their State Plan directly to determine reporting requirements.

Take Note! Q2-Q3 2024 Holiday Dates

These upcoming April through September 2024 holidays may affect your payroll processing:

  • Memorial Day, May 27 – CHR and Federal Reserve/banks closed
  • Juneteenth, June 19 – Federal Reserve/banks closed
  • Independence Day, July 4 – CHR and Federal Reserve/banks closed
  • Labor Day, September 2 – CHR and Federal Reserve/banks closed

Stay up to date on all holidays and CHR closings. Download the 2024 Payroll Calendar.

Maximize Your Company’s Human Capital: Integrating Talent Development and Outplacement Coaching for Organizational Growth

As a business owner or executive, you face the challenge of attracting, retaining, and developing a skilled workforce in a complex, competitive business landscape. To thrive, your organization needs to adopt a holistic approach to talent management.

Why Embrace a Holistic Approach?

Traditionally, talent management focused on recruitment, onboarding, and periodic performance reviews. Today, however, you need a more comprehensive strategy if you want your company to grow.
Integrating Talent Development and Outplacement Coaching for Organizational Growth
You need to start by recognizing your workforce is a valuable asset that requires continuous investment and development. When you take such a holistic approach, you foster a culture that values employee growth through all stages, from talent attraction, hiring, ongoing development, and support during transitions such as outplacement. Then coaching can become your “secret sauce” to developing a resilient and adaptive workforce, contributing significantly to your organization’s growth.

A Metrix Global study reveals that coaching offers a 788% return on investment (ROI), due to factors like increased productivity and employee retention.

Nurture Growth Within through Talent Development

Talent development is about identifying and harnessing the potential within your current workforce, fostering continuous learning and improvement. By prioritizing talent development, you acknowledge your employees’ value to your organization. Investing in their growth not only boosts individual performance but also creates a pool of skilled and adaptable professionals. This leads to enhanced productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall success.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) reports significant improvements due to coaching: a 70% increase in individual performance (goal attainment, clearer communication, higher satisfaction), 50% in team performance (better communication, improved collaboration, enhanced work performance), and 48% in organizational performance (increased revenue, increase in employee retention).

Professional coaches can assist your employees in areas such as onboarding, career planning, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. They also offer support for well-being, guiding them in work-life balance, effective remote working, change management, resilience building, self-care, and emotional wellness.

Guide Through Transitions with Outplacement Coaching

Outplacement coaching provides targeted support during transitional phases like layoffs or restructuring. It includes professional guidance, resources, and emotional support, aimed at easing the challenges associated with change and empowering your employees to find new opportunities that align with their skills and aspirations.

Outplacement coaching demonstrates your organization’s empathy and commitment to employee well-being during challenging times. It facilitates a smooth transition, protecting your employer brand and maintaining positive relationships with departing employees, which is an investment in their future as well as in the long-term reputation of your organization.

Drive Long-Term Growth in Your Organization

The combination of talent development and outplacement coaching is a powerful tool for driving long-term growth for your organization. Access to coaching for ongoing development and support during career transitions enables your employees to become more resilient and motivated.

A skilled, adaptable, and motivated workforce becomes a strategic asset, leading to increased productivity, higher employee satisfaction, and reduced turnover rates. What’s more, the positive impact on morale fosters a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

Ready to Learn More?

Embracing a holistic approach to talent management through coaching enables you, as the business leader, to unlock the full potential of your organization’s human capital. To see how this can work for your organization, reach out to us at CHR. We collaborate with REA Coaching for Well-being, a global coaching firm that specializes in empowering individuals in their careers and lives.

You can also discover more about the transformative power of coaching with REA’s free recorded webinar, “Advancing Your Career in a Remote Work World,” presented by an REA Professional Career Coach. It offers strategies and insights for thriving in the evolving landscape of remote work.

Exemption from 2023 Federal Tax Withholding Certificate Expires February 17, 2024

If you wish to claim an “Exempt” withholding status for Federal tax purposes in 2024, you must file an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-4. This applies whether you claimed “Exempt” withholding status in 2023 or not.
Exemption from 2023 Federal Tax Withholding Certificate Expires February 17, 2024

The IRS Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, is used to designate how much tax is to be withheld and remitted to the IRS as advance tax payments throughout the year.

If you claimed “Exempt” in 2023, and the CHR Payroll Team does not receive a new signed IRS form W-4 by February 15, 2024, the Federal Income Tax withholding status will be changed to “Single/No Exemption” PPE March 9, 2024.

The CHR Payroll Team cannot apply retroactive withholding adjustments if the Form W-4 claiming “EXEMPT” status is submitted late. Per IRS guidance, if the form is received after the deadline the exempt status is applied to future wages only.

Why Your Company Needs Employment Practices Liability Insurance

Any privately held company that hires and fires people exposes itself to potential liabilities. That’s why every business with employees should carry employment practices liability (EPL) insurance.
Why Your Company Needs Employment Practices Liability Insurance
An EPL policy is a risk management tool that protects your business against a range of claims made by current and former employees, independent contractors, and job applicants as well as vendors, customers, and others who interact with the business.

In short, this additional insurance mitigates risk by shielding the business against harmful litigation in the event of claims of:

  • sexual harassment
  • wage and hour violations
  • wrongful termination or improper evaluations
  • workplace violence or hostile work environment
  • breach of contract
  • employment discrimination
  • Family Medical Leave Act violations

What ELP policies cover

We all know we are living in litigious times. Employers are well advised to get coverage against employment-related claims (including the growing trend of retaliation claims) and the expensive damages that may ensue. The wrongful acts that can be claimed can originate from among a broad spectrum of individuals, from part-time and seasonal employees to board members to volunteers or interns. The damages that are covered are also diverse; qualified damages may be settlement amounts, compensatory damages, and diversity and sensitivity training costs.

The bottom line is that whatever employment practices liability policy you get, you want to be sure your concerns about these matters are addressed—and company assets are protected.

Let’s talk business (and potential liability)

CHR offers all types of business insurance and we stand ready to review your ELP coverage and other business policies. Learn more at Contact your CHR account manager or use our Contact Form to discuss your needs.

2024 ACA Affordability Threshold Decreased to 8.39%

The IRS just announced a significantly lower ACA affordability percentage for 2024 (8.39%) than for 2023 (9.12%). Applying the 2023 federal poverty guidelines, this means that the maximum monthly premium which will satisfy the ACA federal poverty level safe harbor in 2024 is $101.93 (down from $103.28 in 2023).

Depending on the circumstances, premiums that were affordable in 2023 might not be affordable in 2024.

Since employers don’t know their employees’ household incomes, the following three safe harbors were put in place by the ACA to be used in lieu of household income:

Form W-2 Wages Safe Harbor

The employee’s W-2 wages, as reported in Box 1, as of the first day of the plan year.

Example: Under the W-2 Wages Safe Harbor, in 2024, if an employee’s Box 1 wages are $30,000 then that employee’s required monthly contribution for the lowest individual coverage that meets minimum value can be no more than $209.75 ($30,000 X .0839 divided by 12) for the offer to be considered “affordable”. This calculation assumes the employee was employed with the company for the entire year and offered coverage for all 12 months.

Note: If an employee is not employed for the entire year or there is a waiting period, an adjustment is made to the W-2 wages to account for this as follows: W-2 wages X (calendar months offered coverage / months of employment).

Rate of Pay Safe Harbor

The employee’s hourly rate of pay x 130 hours, as of the first day of the plan year, regardless of how many hours the employee actually worked.

Example: Under the Rate of Pay Safe Harbor, in 2024, if an hourly employee earns $15 an hour then that employee’s required monthly contribution for the lowest individual coverage that meets minimum value can be no more than $163.61 ($15 X 130 X .0839) for the offer to be considered “affordable”.

Federal Poverty Level Safe Harbor

Since the individual Federal Poverty Level (FPL) isn’t officially published until January, employers can use the FPL in effect six months prior to the beginning of the plan year.

Example: Under the Federal Poverty Level Safe Harbor, for January 2024, the maximum monthly employee contribution for the lowest individual coverage offered that meets minimum value can be no more than $101.93 to be considered “affordable” ($14.580 (2024 FPL) X .0839 divided by 12).

Currently, meeting affordability applies only to applicable large employers (ALE’s) under the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions of the ACA.

If you have any questions regarding this, please contact us

Discover the Benefits of Electronic Payroll Onboarding with CHR

Welcome to the digital age of human resources and payroll management! At CHR, we’ve seen firsthand the benefits of electronic payroll onboarding for both employers and new employees. Here are the major benefits from electronic onboarding  you can expect when you work with us for payroll administration:

Streamlined Processes: Efficiency at Its Best

One of the most significant advantages of electronic payroll onboarding is the streamlined process it offers. Gone are the days of manual data entry, endless paperwork, and the associated errors. With digital onboarding, we’ve witnessed a dramatic reduction in administrative burdens. This efficiency not only saves time but also minimizes the risk of errors, ensuring a smooth transition for new hires.

Enhanced Security: Safeguarding Sensitive Information

Electronic payroll onboarding provides an added layer of protection for sensitive employee information. With advanced encryption and secure data storage, both employers and employees can rest assured that personal details are safe from unauthorized access.

Eco-Friendly: Embracing a Greener Workplace

Transitioning to an electronic system significantly reduces paper usage, contributing to a more eco-friendly workplace. This not only aligns with our company’s sustainability goals but also resonates with environmentally conscious employees who value green initiatives.

Accessibility: Information at Your Fingertips

Employees can complete necessary forms and access important information from anywhere, at any time. This flexibility is particularly beneficial in today’s remote and mobile workforce. In addition, our PRISM platform allows employers to track an employee’s progress in adding their information to the system.

Employee Experience: Starting Off on the Right Foot

A smooth onboarding process sets the tone for a positive employee experience. Electronic payroll onboarding is user-friendly, guiding new hires through each step with ease. This approach can significantly enhance employee satisfaction from day one, laying the foundation for long-term engagement and retention.

Compliance: Keeping Up with Regulations

Staying compliant with evolving labor laws and tax regulations is a challenge for any organization. Labor and tax laws are complex, and even minor violations can result in hefty fines because the Department of Labor and the IRS do not take non-compliance with leniency.  Electronic payroll systems are designed to stay updated with the latest legal and tax requirements, ensuring that both the employer and employee remain compliant. 

Cost-Effective: A Smart Investment

While there is an initial investment in setting up an electronic payroll system, the long-term cost savings are substantial. Reduced paper costs, time savings, and decreased error rates all contribute to a healthier bottom line.

Payroll Services Made Easy

Electronic payroll onboarding is a win-win for both employers and new employees, offering efficiency, security, and a host of other benefits. CHR can assist you in setting up electronic payroll onboarding in our PRISM platform. Plus, you’ll always have a dedicated payroll rep on-call to assist you. Contact us today to get started. 

Putting the ‘Human’ Back into Human Resources

At CHR, we deeply appreciate genuine human connection. We’re not just another automated system; we’re a team of knowledgeable and dedicated individuals here to deliver personalized HR support tailored to your organization’s needs. We know our clients are looking for practical solutions to streamline payroll and HR processes, reduce errors, ensure compliance, and save time and resources. We know our clients want peace of mind that their payroll and human resource tasks are being handled by experts.

Our attention to detail and dedication to your business’s success ensure you can concentrate on what matters – the growth and prosperity of your organization – without ever feeling lost in HR processes.

Watch what some of our clients had to say about working with us!

Payroll Year End Checklist

Follow this handy checklist at the end of each year to assist you in closing out your organization’s payroll. CHR payroll clients will receive a year-end questionnaire to ensure W2s, bonuses, and other year-end transactions are processed accurately and efficiently.

Year End has two phases:

  1. BEFORE your LAST PAYROLL of the calendar year
  2. AFTER your LAST PAYROLL but BEFORE your FIRST PAYROLL of the NEW calendar year

BEFORE your LAST PAYROLL of the calendar year

In addition to your normal verification process:

  1. Check employee and employer characteristic data:
    1. Verify employer and employer data used in processing your quarterly tax reports and W2s.
    2. Confirm employee names and SSN are in correct formats (IRS may impose penalties for W2 forms with a missing or incorrect name and/or social)
    3. Ensure all deceased employees are coded properly
  2. Check wage, tax, and benefit data:
    1. Confirm deferred compensation plans type are accurate as well as contribution amounts
    2. Check GTL adjustments have been updated and submitted
    3. Ensure other special tax items have been updated and submitted (Third Party Sick Pay, fringe benefits)
    4. Verify employer state unemployment insurance rates and taxable wage limits for each state
  3. Check for special procedures/processes:
    1. Schedule your bonus payrolls for the current year (fill out and send back YE Questionnaire)
    2. Request any special reports
    3. Remind employees to fill out any new W4 documents for updated situations
    4. Confirm all manual checks written during the year have been accounted for
    5. Determine all voided or reversed paychecks have been accounted for


Take these steps:

  1. Check employer and employee characteristic data:
    1. Review discrepancies such as missing addresses, and missing or invalid SSNs
    2. Ensure terminated employees have zero balances for loans, garnishments, vacation, and sick time
  2. Check wage, tax, and benefit data:
    1. Verify employers new State unemployment insurance rate and taxable wage limit
    2. Test tenability of SS/MEDI tax withholding (employee and employer)
    3. Compare payroll registers to W3 totals
    4. Compare W2 forms to State and local reports
    5. Compare total wages reported for each tax; reconcile if incorrect
    6. Does reported taxes from W3 equal tax deposits?
    7. Check contributions to cafeteria section125 plans
    8. Check for excess contributions to 401k, IRA and 403B plans
    9. Ensure that any employee tax and/or taxable blocks have been removed if not needed for upcoming year
    10. Verify deduction amounts for upcoming year have been applied
  3. Check for special procedures
    1. Schedule any bonus payrolls
    2. Confirm new year schedule for payroll

Payroll services made easy

Tired of manual, time-consuming payroll processes and being On Hold with the big payroll processors to get your questions answered? Then it’s time to talk to CHR. We balance personalized support with best practice technology to ensure your payroll is always scalable, accurate, and efficient. And there’s always a dedicated payroll rep on-call to assist you. No call‐centers here. Contact us today.

2024 Payroll Calendar Now Available

Download your copy of  CHR’s free Payroll Calendar for 2024 here.

Some useful facts about 2024:

  • It is a Leap Year.
  • There will be 262 working days and 52 work weeks in the year. 
  • March, May, August and November are 5-week months.
  • Employees on a biweekly pay schedule will receive 26 paychecks.
  • The years 1940, 1968 and 1996 had the same calendar as 2024.

If you need assistance with administering your company’s payroll, contact us today!

Department of Homeland Security Provides Certainty For I-9 Employment Verification

Department of Homeland Security Provides Certainty For I-9 Employment Verification

On July 21, 2023, the USCIS gave employers a new option for verifying employment eligibility. Effective August 1, 2023, employers have an alternative procedure by which qualifying employers may inspect employees’ Form I-9 documentation virtually as opposed to performing a physical verification. This physical examination was required for all new hires until the COVID-19 exception was created in March 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic employers were temporarily permitted virtual, remote verification for remote employees. This option was initially supposed to end July 31,2023.

This important update advances DHS’s mission of safeguarding the integrity of the employment eligibility verification process, while recognizing the realities of the post-COVID economic recovery in which more Americans are working remotely than ever.

What is E-Verify?

E-Verify is a free, easy-to-use web-based system operated by DHS in partnership with the Social Security Administration. The system enables participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees. Current regulations for the Form I-9 require that, within three business days after the first day of employment, employers must physically examine the Form I-9 documentation presented by new employees to ensure that the documentation appears to be genuine and related to the individual who presents it.

This alternative virtual verification procedure is available only to qualified employers.

Such employers are:

  • In good standing in the E-Verify program;
  • Enrolled in E-Verify for all hiring sites in the United States, for which they seek to use the alternative procedure;
  • Have complied with all E-Verify requirements, including verifying the employment eligibility of newly hired employees in the United States; and
  • Have completed an E-Verify tutorial/training concerning fraud awareness and anti-discrimination. 

To utilize the alternative virtual verification, qualified employers must:

  • Examine remotely the front and back of their employees’ identity and employment authorization documentation or acceptable receipt to determine that the documentation reasonably appears genuine;
  • Conduct a live interaction with the employee presenting the same documentation discussed above to ensure the documentation reasonably appears to be genuine and relate to the employee;
  • Indicate on Form I-9, by completing the corresponding box, that an alternative procedure was used to examine documentation to complete Section 2 or for reverification, as applicable;
  • Retain clear and legible copies (front and back) of all documents presented by employees; and
  • In the event of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) I-9 audit or relevant federal government agency investigation, make available clear and legible copies of documentation presented by the employee for document examination in connection with the employment eligibility verification process.

It is important to note that those employers that are qualified have a choice to use the alternative virtual verification or not. Also, this procedure only applies to remote employees; it does not apply to employees who work onsite or have a hybrid arrangement. Further, employers must maintain a non-discriminatory basis for its decision-making.

Employers who are not currently participating in E-Verify

These employers may enroll in E-Verify, take the tutorial-course as mentioned above, and begin to utilize the alternative virtual verification procedure after August 1, 2023.

The alternative virtual verification procedure may be used instead of physical examination of an employee’s Form I-9 only if they:

  • Enrolled in E-Verify at the time of remote examination of the employee’s Form I-9 while using the COVID-19 flexibilities,
  • Created an E-Verify case for that employee (unless for reverification); and
  • Performed remote inspection between March 20, 2020 and July 31, 2023.

Employers who do not participate in E-Verify

Employers who do not participate in E-Verify have until August 30, 2023, as previously announced, to perform all required physical examination of identity and employment authorization documents for those individuals hired on or after March 20, 2020, and who have received only a virtual or remote examination under the COVID-19 temporary flexibilities.

A new one-page version of Form I-9 will be issued on August 1,2023 to encourage the transition to permanent virtual verification.

Employers will be able to continue using the current Form I-9 until October 31, 2023, after which the new form becomes mandatory.

It is important to note

If an employer is otherwise compliant with the law and regulation – and had followed the COVID-19 flexibility guidance – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will generally not focus its limited enforcement resources on Form I-9 verification violations for failing to complete physical document examination by August 30, 2023, particularly where the employer can show that it has taken timely steps to complete physical document examination within a reasonable period of time.

Have questions about E-Verify or your company’s I-9 verification process? Contact us for expert assistance.

Dodge the fines with a FREE workplace OSHA Safety Check

Dodge the fines with a FREE workplace OSHA Safety Check – CHR’s latest offering

At CHR, we know managing environmental health and safety requirements can be overwhelming for large and small companies alike. Plus, OSHA’s maximum penalties have increased almost 8% over previous years, which doesn’t help your bottom line if your facility is fined. That’s why we are partnering with Whitman Engineering to offer our clients a free OSHA Safety Check.

Helping You Stay Ahead of OSHA

Whitman’s Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Division is dedicated to assisting businesses in creating a safe work environment. With their knowledge of OSHA safety requirements and industry best practices, they will examine your facility, work processes, and safety policies to identify areas for improvement, and ensure compliance with regulations.

Identifying Potential Hazards

Safety hazards can exist in unexpected corners of a workplace, endangering employees, and hindering productivity. With this free safety check, Whitman Engineering will assess your workplace environment to identify and evaluate any potential hazards that may pose a risk to your employees’ health and safety. Whitman engineers know what OSHA is looking for during an inspection and can spot potential EH&S issues before they become reportable.

Receive a Detailed Report

Upon completion of the safety audit, Whitman engineers will provide you with a detailed report outlining their findings and recommendations. This report will serve as a valuable tool to enhance your safety protocols and implement necessary changes.

If you need help implementing the recommendations, Whitman can arrange consulting support and employee training on a project or retainer basis. Their engineers can also assist you when OSHA comes to inspect.

By proactively addressing potential risks, you can create a safer and more secure work environment that fosters productivity and employee well-being.

Request Your Free Safety Check

Investing in workplace safety is not only a legal obligation but also a strategic decision that leads to increased employee morale, reduced accidents, and improved business outcomes. With Whitman Engineering’s free safety check, you can proactively identify potential hazards, improve safety protocols, and safeguard your most valuable asset—your employees.

Take the first step towards safety excellence today by scheduling your complimentary safety audit. Contact us today!

Federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Due This Month

Federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Due This Month

Federal employment law is about to give birth to some long-overdue requirements. As of June 27, 2023, employers with 15 or more employees must provide pregnancy-related accommodations to employees and applicants under the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). Below we will refer to employees and applicants collectively as “employees.”

Pregnancy Related Accommodations

Under the PWFA, employees are entitled to accommodations for a condition related to or affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. The condition can be physical or mental. Pregnancy-related conditions include, among others, morning sickness, gestational diabetes, post-partum depression, and lactation.

This law expands employer obligations beyond what is already required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in that being entitled to a pregnancy-related accommodation does not require that the employee’s condition rise to the level of disability. Also, employees are entitled to accommodations even if they cannot perform their essential job functions on a temporary basis.

Possible accommodations include but are not limited to:

  • Providing more frequent or longer breaks
  • Modifying a food or drink policy
  • Providing seating or allowing the employee to sit more frequently if their job requires standing
  • Observing limits on lifting
  • Providing job restructuring, light duty, or a modified work schedule

Employers cannot require an employee to take leave if a reasonable on-the-job accommodation is available. Like the ADA, the employer and employee should engage in the interactive process to determine what reasonable accommodations can be provided. However, if the employer is willing to grant the employee’s request, the interactive process is not required.

Note that many states have already implemented pregnancy accommodation laws, some of which may be more generous than the PWFA. Employers need to apply the law—or the aspect of each law—that is most favorable to employees.

Undue Hardship Exception

Employers do not have to provide an accommodation if doing so would cause an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business. Undue hardship is defined as “an action requiring significant difficulty or expense,” the same as under the ADA. This is a high standard for employers to meet.

Tips from CHR

  • Add a pregnancy accommodations policy to your handbook if you do not already have one. Contact the HR compliance team at CHR if you need help devising this policy.
  • If you are subject to a state law that provides similar accommodations, make sure your policy captures the most employee-friendly aspects of the applicable laws
  • Ensure that managers are aware of the law and types of accommodations that may be required.
Direct Deposit Scams: A Growing Phishing Threat to Businesses

Direct Deposit Scams: A Growing Phishing Threat to Businesses

Online and email scams are not new, but the ways in which bad actors perpetrate cybersecurity breaches are continually evolving. There are several types of fraudulent activity that affect payroll departments: deliberate worker misclassification by employers, pay rate alteration by malicious insiders, creation of “ghost” employee profiles, and direct deposit scams, which we focus on in this article.

What is a direct deposit scam?

A direct deposit scam, also called a payroll diversion scam, involves phishing emails that target a company’s HR functions—including HR and payroll managers—and is costing companies a lot of money and time.

This scam is rendered via a fraudulent email that is generated to look like a typical direct deposit bank change request. It appears to come from an employee to the human resources or payroll department, requesting a bank change for their paycheck direct deposit. The more sophisticated direct deposit scams address the correct person at the company directly as well.

How direct deposit or payroll diversion scams are implemented

The spoofers establish an email address using the real employee’s name and display name in the messages. At a glance, the email looks “real.” The cyberthief may ask for a company’s direct deposit change form or may include a completed form with the email, having located it online. The unwitting person in charge of direct deposits changes the bank routing number according to the request, which sends the affected paychecks to the scammer’s account. The employee is not paid timely and the employer is out the stolen money, which it must replace.

Payroll diversion emails usually have a sense of urgency about them (“must be done before …” “need this in time for …”) as well as something that personalizes the phishing email further. They are designed to invite the HR manager or payroll manager to help the employee as promptly as possible.

Increased working from home increases the threat

More employees working from home (WFH) means they are conducting more business over email rather than walking down the hall at the office. This increased WFH environment is making it easier for scammers to execute this cybersecurity threat. After all, human resource managers get many legitimate requests by email from employees, such as arranging paid time off or vacations. A bogus change request for their direct-deposit paycheck can be easily overlooked—especially as spoofing capabilities improve all the time.

Who is doing the payroll phishing?
Bad actors who engage in this payroll phishing scam may be a former employee who knows the inner workings and personnel of your company. The phishing may come from an external party through a data breach of your computing network. Or it could be someone who takes the time to research your organization and figures out who handles payroll and processes the direct deposit change requests. Creating the fake email is the easy part!

How to combat direct deposit scams

  • Training: The importance of employee training cannot be overstated. There are training programs to help your team more readily identify email phishing scams of all kinds, from executive spoofing to payroll scams. These trainings should be part of your standard operating procedures to keep up with savvy cybercriminals. Also, remind employees that they should remain vigilant and not respond to any suspicious emails; nor should they ever send sensitive, confidential information by email to anyone.
  • Policies and processes: Make sure to include a cyber policy and processes in your employee handbook. Your staff should be aware of and follow them in case of a breach, including what notices need to be given. Review these periodically to ensure they are current with evolving threats and update them as needed.
  • Proactive measures: Be wary of any requests coming to you through email. Always check the sender’s email address and verify this is someone who works for your company, with an established and exact email address you have on file.
  • If you aren’t certain the direct deposit bank change request is legitimate, call the employee on a known phone number to check it out.
  • Notify your HR or payroll manager and/or payroll provider if the request is not legitimate.

How CHR helps avoid direct deposit scams

CHR works very hard to protect clients. We can help your team draft cyber policies and procedures to protect your organization against nefarious phishing scams and leverage the power of our third-party partners to assist on the cybersecurity side for you.

We also encourage our clients to have their employees use our secure employee portal which encrypts emails. Your staff can manage and make direct deposit change requests there, providing a layer of protection for all parties. CHR uses multi-factor authentication to verify registered users’ identities and our technology meets the most stringent cybersecurity standards to prevent email spoofing scams from occurring. In short, our protocols are designed to mitigate the risk of cyber threats for our clients.

If one of our clients falls prey to the direct deposit change request scam, we will notify the bank(s) about this fraud and create a paper trail detailing efforts. We may also work with government or state agencies depending on the amount of money involved. Our services are used by 80,000 organizations and we handle $2 billion in payroll wages annually—so we’re always integrating new technologies to safeguard those payroll dollars and the companies we serve.

Contact CHR USA and keep out the scammers

We’re here to help your team avoid direct deposit and other email and payroll scams that will cost your organization precious money and time or incur legal action. Reach out to your account specialist or for more information.

Important Payroll Tax Compliance Dates

Payroll tax filings and tax payments are an important part of every employer’s fiscal responsibilities to their employees, federal, state and local agencies. From FICA to FUTA (federal unemployment tax) to local taxes, our clients never have to worry about filings, payroll taxes, and deadline dates. Our payroll team handles it all for you, timely and efficiently. And if you receive any notice from a state or federal agency, including rate change notices, all you need to do is send it to us for review and response.

We are sharing the dates below for your information and planning purposes.

General calendar notes

For monthly depositors, the payroll tax payment deadline is the 15th of every month (or the first Monday following that date) for the previous month. Funds are paid via electronic transfer to the IRS.

Upcoming 2023 payroll tax payment due dates

The monthly payroll tax payments must include federal income tax withheld and both employer and employee FICA (Social Security and Medicare taxes).

  • May 15, 2023
  • June 15, 2023
  • July 17, 2023
  • August 15, 2023
  • September 15, 2023
  • October 16, 2023
  • November 15, 2023
  • December 15, 2023

Quarterly payroll tax filings, FUTA deposits

These filings, using Form 941, report federal income tax withholding amounts, FICA from employee paychecks, and employer payments for those items for the previous quarter.

If you are required to make quarterly FUTA tax deposits on the following dates (paid for the previous quarter), we use Form 940. FUTA tax payments exceeding $500 for the calendar year require at least one quarterly payment.

  • July 31, 2023
  • October 31, 2023

With CHR USA on your team, you never have to worry about meeting these deadlines and remaining in compliance. Contact your CHR USA account specialist with any questions about IRS and state treasury requirements or notices.

Workplace Harassment: Who Is Affected?

Workplace Harassment: Who Is Affected?

Workplace harassment or discrimination is not limited to employees or direct victims of the act. Other people who can be affected by verbal, physical, or other harassment include anyone in the work environment who perceives the behavior as hostile. These may be co-workers who are sitting nearby and are bothered by it or a visitor to the office, such as a vendor or business partner, who is the object of or witness to an act of harassment.

Clearly denote harassing behaviors: what and where

Discriminatory harassment is covered under federal civil rights law. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines harassment as a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).  According to the EEOC, examples of workplace harassment include offensive or derogatory jokes, racial or ethnic slurs, pressure for dates or sexual favors, unwelcome comments about a person’s religion or religious garments, or offensive graffiti, and cartoons or pictures.

In addition, instances of workplace harassment need not always occur on work premises. For example, being repeatedly pressured or bullied about any of the above-mentioned categories at an off-site work conference or on social media may constitute harassment that is reportable.

Make sure your employee handbook outlines all of this for everyone’s protection. 

Define who is a potential victim—and a bully

As we noted in a prior post, the section of your employee handbook that deals with workplace harassment should clearly define who is a potential victim (direct or indirect). The target may not even consider the behavior as harassment or bullying; however, others in the environment who do feel the behavior is hostile or feel they are being bullied have the right to complain to supervisors, human resources, or other contacts within the organization without fear of retaliation.

By the way, the harasser does not need to be an employee. The bully can be an outside salesperson, customer/client, or anyone with whom your company does business and has access to your team. That person’s behavior can also cause a hostile work environment and company leadership cannot allow that to continue once a complaint is made or the behavior is observed.

Know who is protected from discrimination

It is incumbent upon leadership to maintain an environment free of discrimination, especially when it comes to protected classes of individuals. Although sexual harassment is often the type of bullying that is top of mind in today’s #MeToo world, discrimination and bullying behavior can show up around a person’s gender identity or gender expression, sexual orientation, nationality or heritage, race, age, creed, religion, marital status, medical status, military service history, or disability. These protected classes are defined by state, federal, and local laws.

Examples of people affected by workplace harassment and discrimination

  1. Pregnancy/family status
    • Sarah is a great employee and is now five months pregnant. Despite positive performance reviews, her employer took adverse action against her because of her pregnancy. The actions are an unwanted work schedule reduction, denial of overtime, and penalizing Sarah for taking lawful sick leave due to a pregnancy-related condition.
  2. Religion
    • Kareem, who is Muslim, prays five times daily according to his religious observance; two of those prayer sessions are during regular work hours. He has requested that his break times coincide with his prayer times; his supervisor has repeatedly refused to consider the request, even though these would not interfere with Kareem’s work, cause harm or expense to the employer, or negatively impact his coworkers.
  3. Sexual harassment
    • Carrie is a hostess at a popular restaurant. The general manager has talked about her physique directly to her and around other staff members, touched her several times in inappropriate ways without her permission, and he talks openly about her in a racy context. Carrie isn’t bothered by this behavior but other female staff members are offended and report this to the restaurant owner.

Workplace harassment and discrimination show up in numerous ways and can affect anyone associated with your company, directly or indirectly. If it’s time to review your company policies and expand your employee handbook to make sure your organization is prepared to prevent a hostile work environment that may result in harassment complaints and liability, contact Karen Roche at for guidance.

Workplace Harassment: Who Is Affected?

What is Workplace Bullying?

Sad to say, many people are victims or witnesses to workplace bullying. As defined by SHRM, workplace bullying is “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more people by one or more perpetrators.” This persistent, pervasive, inappropriate behavior—direct or indirect—falls into several categories.

What is workplace bullying behavior?

  • Threats, intimidation, or humiliation
  • Verbal abuse such as slander, ridicule, or maligning a coworker or coworker’s family; sabotaging another’s work
  • Gaslighting (psychological trickery that distorts reality, to cause self-doubt or confusion in the other person)
  • Social or physical exclusion from workplace activities
  • Nonverbal, menacing gestures
  • Physical assault (pushing, kicking, shoving, tripping), sexual assault or harassment, or damage to the person’s property or workspace
  • Misleading an employee about a project deadline
  • Refusing or making it difficult for time off/vacation requests
  • Mistreatment during performance reviews
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Work sabotage – others taking credit for victim’s work.

Most employers do not realize the potential cost surrounding a hostile work environment where discrimination, workplace bullying or harassment persist. 

Financial impact:

  • Creation of psychological and mental torment for victims
  • Overall cost to employer:
    • Lower productivity
    • Loss of sales
    • Lower morale
    • Reputation damage
    • Employee turnover
    • Rehiring and training costs
  • Health care costs:
    • Sick leave and insurance costs:
      • High stress situations impact health of employees which result in medical issues such as high blood pressure, depression, migraines, anxiety.
      • Higher costs for retraining the Bully: rehabilitation, counseling fees, anger management training, leadership training, sensitivity training.

Legal ramifications:

  • Employer liability for hostile work environment resulting in increased workers’ compensation claims.
  • Employers who do nothing risk being sued and paying significant damages!
  • Employers should take a stance on workplace bullying which can help retain top talent, improve morale, and increase productivity.

Employer best practices regarding workplace bullying

1 – Create a detailed anti-bullying policy

Employers are responsible, ultimately, for creating a non-hostile work environment free of discrimination or harassment of any kind. Therefore, companies are strongly advised to put a policy in place against discrimination, workplace bullying and harassment. Include it in the employee handbook under the umbrella of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rules.

2 – Have a code of ethics and behavior expectations

Have a corporate code of ethics declaring the company’s commitment to diversity and creating a safe workplace for all. Be very clear about the expectation that all employees will be treated with dignity and respect, and that there will be repercussions to anyone who violates this anti-bullying policy.

3 – Make reporting procedures and harassment consequences clear to all

Implement a reporting procedure for victims or witnesses of bullying or harassing behaviors. This includes to whom they report, a statement of confidentiality, and assurance there will be no retaliation for coming forward. Inform employees that the company will fully investigate the complaint (the EEOC has issued approved investigation review questions to use), and the actions to be taken to investigate and combat any kind of workplace harassment and discrimination. Be sure employees understand the corrective actions the company will take and the disciplinary repercussions to them if found to be engaging in bullying behavior at work.

4 – Conduct employee training

Hold in-house training sessions periodically as a further step toward clearly defining workplace bullying. These can be via video or live sessions. Make sure managers recognize the various aspects of what constitutes harassment and the prohibited behaviors so they can be responsible representatives of your company.

DID YOU KNOW?  A supervisor can be disciplined for not reporting prohibited behavior or acting on it; this can include termination of the supervisor’s employment.

5 – Get employee signatures

Have employees sign off on all documents related to your workplace bullying policy. The signed document, noting the employee has read and understands the policy, should go into each worker’s personnel file.

This will provide a form of defense if an employee makes an allegation or an EEOC complaint is filed. It shows employees have been instructed and trained regarding your anti-harassment policy and demonstrates the company’s commitment to foster a non-hostile work environment. The perpetrator will be unable to claim “I didn’t know it was against company policy.” Plus, by all employees adhering to the Company’s well-established policies and practices of preventing harassment and bullying, fewer complaints will be filed with the EEOC for relief.  

DID YOU KNOW? The employer could be liable for instances of bullying and/or harassment arising from anyone coming onto the premises such as vendors, sales people, clients, customers, etc.  Employers must not ignore incidents of bullying or harassment by anyone on the premises.

Digital workplace bullying

Today’s workplace often includes digital media activity, from group chats to company pages to text messages. Although this depends on specific situations, you may want to create a policy against defaming, harassing, or manipulating coworkers on digital media anytime, to avoid workplace-related hostility and harassing behaviors.

Contact CHR

Workplace bullying is serious and can harm not only your employees but your company. If you need guidance to update your policy and procedures associated with this hostile behavior, contact us to discuss this critical HR compliance matter.

PTO requests

Managing PTO requests

Paid Time Off is an important benefit for employees and job seekers. If a generous PTO program helps you attract talent, you need to make sure employees can actually use it once they are hired. A confusing PTO process, or a culture that discourages vacations can lower morale and contribute to burnout. This decreases productivity, drives turnover and makes your company less desirable to job seekers.

PTO management starts with transparency 

How do world-class companies manage time off requests? Number one, they have a transparent, equitable policy and communicate it to their workforce. Number two, they make it easy for employees to monitor their accruals and request PTO. Number three, they train their managers to approve requests where possible, treat everyone fairly, and refrain from contacting their team members when off work. Number four, leadership and managers set a good example by taking vacations and encouraging all employees to do the same.

Automation makes it easy

An automated PTO system is essential for managing leave effectively. They are most powerful when integrated with employee timekeeping and scheduling.

How does a PTO system work?

  • Employees can see available PTO in the timekeeping system–including amount available for any future date
  • Employees submit a request in their timekeeping portal–just like an email but easier
  • Managers receive requests in the system
    • All requests are in the same place
    • Schedulers can easily review requests in light of shift schedules
    • Each request is time stamped
  • Approved PTO is automatically registered in the timekeeping system
  • The software updates pending or approved accruals in real time
  • Employees can check their balance on a mobile device 24/7, including forecasted balance for any future date

How does it benefit employees?

PTO systems provide a transparent, standardized procedure which makes it easier for employees to plan for and use time off. A cloud-based system allows employees to plan vacations at their convenience outside of work hours. With 24/7 online employee self-service, they can do it all without the hassle, delays and risk of paper-based processes.

Not everyone is comfortable asking their manager for time off in a face-to-face conversation. An automated system makes it easy for less-assertive employees to ask for time off. A PTO system with a mobile app lets employees request time off from the comfort and familiarity of their smartphone. Mobile-friendly access creates an intuitive, employee-centric work culture.

Mitigate payroll errors 

An automated system also ensures that PTO use doesn’t cause payroll errors. Companies with pay check problems can expect frustrated employees to look for work elsewhere.

Mismanaged PTO is a common friction point for small business teams. Consider the following scenario:

In March, team member Kevin asks manager Natalie for the first week off in June to go to his sister’s wedding. Natalie tells Kevin, “I’m sure that will be okay, but I will confirm after looking at the schedule and reviewing the June workload.”

Natalie makes a mental note to write down Kevin’s desired dates in the Google calendar where she keeps PTO requests. Unfortunately, Natalie is pulled away before she makes it back to her office and forgets to write down Kevin’s request. A few weeks later, since Natalie hasn’t denied the request, Kevin assumes he can take the time off,

Meanwhile… in April, team member Kelly asks Natalie for the same week off in June to go on a cruise with friends she hasn’t seen since college. This time, Natalie remembers to make a note of Kelly’s request but doesn’t remember that Kevin had asked for the same week off. During a meeting a week before the time off, Kevin says he needs to discuss who will handle his accounts while he is away for his sister’s wedding. Kelly is surprised because she had planned to be away for the same week. Since it’s a small team, both employees can’t be gone at the same time.

What can Natalie do? What if she doesn’t remember when Kevin asked for the time off? How does she prioritize the requests? While a wedding is an important event, Kelly’s friends have taken time off and the group has put a sizable deposit for the price of the cruise. There is no way Natalie can solve this problem without disappointing either Kevin or Kelly.

Certainly, this type of PTO mix-up can cause resentment and frustration for hard-working employees that want to use a valued benefit.

How can a manager successfully manage time off? The solution is good PTO tracking software and a formal leave policy.

PTO workflows

When creating a paid leave process, consider the following:

  1. Define the method employees use to request leave: email, paper form, or automated system
  2. Determine whether unused PTO will roll over into the new year or ‘use it or lose it’
  3. How managers will handle overlapping requests
  4. How far in advance employees need to submit requests
  5. Blackout periods when nobody can take time off

Let the system do the work

With automated PTO tracking, you don’t need to waste time calculating PTO balances for future vacation requests. Instead, balances calculate in real time as employees build a time off request. Employees and managers can rest assured that time off requested is available. Balance calculations include accrual method and rate, PTO already used and pending time off already approved.

Keep moving forward 

Innovative small businesses use an automated PTO system integrated with timekeeping, scheduling and payroll. This creates efficiencies managers and employees expect while contributing to a positive work culture.

  • See clearly how time off impacts shifts
  • Alerts make managers aware of each pending request in shift context and who else is on leave
  • No more short staffing or missing skill sets due to lack of PTO visibility
  • Approved PTO instantly appears on schedules, whether published or still being built.
  • Schedulers have all the information needed to adjust schedules for full shift coverage while employees use leave
  • Timecards reflect PTO, ensuring accurate payroll processing

Effective PTO management improves productivity and engagement while lowering turnover.

Ready to learn more? Book a time with our CEO Brian Boffa


woman on smartphone working remotely

Managing mobile employees on-the-go

Millions of small businesses rely on mobile employees. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the number of mobile workers in the U.S. will reach 93.5 million by 2024 and will account for 60% of the total workforce. It’s no wonder mobile access to online information has become a top priority in nearly every industry.

In particular, home health, field service, and direct sales are examples of businesses with mobile workers. In addition, many organizations have employees that float between multiple retail establishments, restaurants, schools, or healthcare clinics. And there is a new breed of app-based business that serves customers on-demand with a 100% mobile team. Consequently, the need for mobile employees, contractors, and freelancers has exploded and will continue to grow. They are an essential part of the workforce and managing them effectively will help mobile small businesses continue to drive economic growth.

In this article, we are focusing mainly on client-facing mobile job roles:

  • Delivery drivers
  • Field service reps
  • Home health aides
  • Traveling salespeople
  • Employees that float between locations

(As we discuss mobile employees, keep in mind that we are not including those that work from home or a fixed remote location–though our solutions are ideal for these environments as well.)

What is a Mobile Time and Attendance system?

A mobile time and attendance system is also called a mobile time and labor system or simply mobile workforce management. It’s a cloud-based software platform that managers, employees and administrators access with a mobile device. Employees use company-provided or personal mobile devices to perform timekeeping and other HR tasks in the system.

When employees can use their personal devices, it ensures quick and universal user adoption for any mobile system. After all, your employees are comfortable using their smartphones and tablets to manage their personal lives, so it’s natural for them to use the same devices at work for timekeeping and HR.

Pew Research Center estimates that 99% of Americans ages 18-64 own a smartphone. The ubiquity of mobile devices creates a win-win situation when it comes to workforce management. Employees prefer a familiar and frictionless experience and employers save time and money on training and hardware costs. In fact, Cisco estimates that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies generate an average of $350 of value per employee annually. Mobile Time Tracking

Now, let’s discuss how a mobile timekeeping system works. The first thing to understand is that it automates and integrates time and attendance, employee scheduling, PTO management, shift-swapping and job code tracking. This is transformative for small businesses that have been using manual processes or disparate systems. In addition, the software syncs with your payroll service which eliminates manual data entry and ensures employees are paid accurately in accordance with workplace laws.

Clock-in and clock-out are at the heart of mobile time and labor management. As mentioned, employees can punch in and out for shifts with a mobile device. This is not only more convenient; it is more sanitary than clocking in with a shared time clock or kiosk.

Since you can’t operate without paying your employees, you want to track time correctly. And you can only do that if the employee can punch at any geographic location where their shift begins and ends. This keeps you from overpaying and going over your labor budget or underpaying and risking a compliance violation. Plus, if you invoice employee time per job, you need a way to track that. Similarly, if your contractors do the same, it makes expense tracking easy for them as well.

GPS-Enabled Mobile Location Management

GPS-enabled mobile location management is a feature of mobile time and labor systems. GPS brings accountability to mobile punching. It confirms that the employee is where they say they are when they clock in. (Note that the employee’s device must have location tracking turned on.) It can help you avoid expensive buddy-punching and ensure you have the right labor resources at the right location.

Geofencing is a key feature of mobile location management that strengthens accountability and oversight. With geofencing, a manager can designate an authorized worksite on a map, then assign one or more employees to the location. If an employee clocks in outside of the fence, the system sends the manager an alert.

How Mobile Time and Labor Helps Managers

Let’s discuss benefits to managers in more detail. Frontline managers have considerable influence because of their broad range of responsibilities. Above all, managers need to know what’s going on with their teams. This is more difficult when employees aren’t in one physical location. With a mobile time and labor solution, supervisors can see at a glance who is on duty and where they are located.

Centralize Communication with Mobile Access

Communication and mobile productivity go hand in hand. Managers and employees communicate about schedules, timecards, time off, and shift swapping bidirectionally through the system. When everyone can see changes in real time, it ends the back-and-forth texting so common in small businesses.

Scheduling is one of a manager’s critical tasks and can take up a lot of time. Though spreadsheet scheduling is a step up from pen and paper, it is slow and tedious, and it doesn’t allow managers to respond to changes. A mobile time and labor solution allows managers to build schedules quickly and staff shifts with a 360-degree perspective. A virtual trade board allows employees and managers to work together to keep shifts staffed. This keeps both managers and employees happy. With the board, employees can swap shifts–subject to manager approval, if needed. Managers can choose their level of oversight, but the system handles the heavy lifting.

Simplify Approvals for Managers on the go

Let’s discuss another ongoing managerial responsibility–approvals. Managers must approve timecards, PTO requests and, as mentioned previously, shift changes. If your organization is still doing approvals manually, you have a great opportunity to increase efficiency. It’s time to put modern mobile tech to work for your business!

Let’s discuss timecards, for example. A mobile solution creates timecards as employees punch in and out. The system tallies the hours for each shift and pay period as well as overtime and PTO accruals. The software doesn’t make arithmetic mistakes, so the manager doesn’t need to double check. They also don’t need to decipher sloppy writing or investigate missed punches.

Good PTO management is essential for employee retention and a positive corporate culture. A mobile system helps you administer PTO so employees can take time off without impacting business operations. Employees request time off in the system and managers can see all requests in a centralized location. Importantly, managers can see PTO when building schedules. This ensures adequate shift coverage when employees are on leave. Simplified approvals are a compelling reason to use a mobile solution.

Alerts and Threshold Warnings

Alerts and threshold warnings are additional features that make a manager’s job a lot easier. In effect, they allow a manager to outsource their memory, schedule policing and compliance tracking. Managers can set alerts for no-shows, impending overtime, employee double-booking, missed punches and early punch-in for mandated breaks. When a mobile system automates timekeeping, scheduling and PTO, managers have more time to help their teams be productive and engaged.

How Mobile Time and Labor Helps Employees

The advantages for employees are just as significant. First off, mobile time and labor solutions provide employee self-service HR. This lets your team members track their own time and attendance, see their pay stubs, access benefits information, request time off and trade shifts.

Secondly, a mobile system pushes notifications to employees’ phones. This includes an alert when a schedule is posted or if there are changes to an existing schedule. Plus, the system will send a notification if an employee forgets to punch in or out, receives approval for PTO or can proceed with a shift swap. Consider that the average American checks their phone every 5 minutes ( Is there a better place for work notifications? Would schedule adherence improve at your company if your employees could check their schedule anytime, anywhere 24/7?

We have seen dramatic improvements in communication, employee satisfaction and labor dollar ROI when our small business clients adopt mobile workforce management. As an example, let’s discuss a field service business.

Case Study: Field Service Company

For 30 years, the company had required employees to clock in at the headquarters before they began their service calls. This meant that an employee who lived within a few miles of their first appointment had to drive to the office (which may have been across town from their residence) to clock in before they began their shift. At the end of the day, they had to repeat the process. When the company adopted a mobile workforce solution, they not only saved on fuel, the time savings allowed their reps to serve more clients. That’s just one example of how a mobile time and labor solution impacts day-to-day operations.

Is your business tracking time the same way you did ten years ago? If so, upgrading to a mobile solution is the low-hanging fruit when it comes to improved efficiency and cost savings.

How Mobile Time and Labor Helps Your Company Stay Compliant

It’s critical that small business owners understand regulations and create a culture of compliance. Accurate payroll is the foundation for compliance. If you don’t get timekeeping right, it can put you on shaky legal ground with the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service.

With a mobile time and attendance solution, compliance is a whole lot easier. A mobile system helps you:

  • Track all time for mobile employees, prevent off-the-clock work, and use geofencing for location confirmation
  • Calculate and pay overtime to non-exempt employees
  • Track FMLA and PTO separately and accurately
  • Follow all state and local shift scheduling laws (predictive scheduling, fair work week, stable scheduling, etc.)
  • Comply with rules for final paycheck and unused PTO
  • Classify employees and contractors correctly


You could do all the things mentioned previously and still fail this one if you don’t keep good records. When in doubt, don’t throw it out.

  • Keep payroll records for 3 years
  • Keep timesheets, piecework records, wage rate tables, work schedules, and record of additions to or deductions from paychecks for 2 years

A mobile workforce management system has tools to help with all of these!

How Mobile Time and Labor Helps Your Company Grow

Automating mobile workforce management will save money and time that would be better spent on things that generate revenue and help you expand your business. Unlocking value from mobile workforce management isn’t just about time and money, though. With the right solution, employers can also reduce their compliance risk and boost employee retention–both of which are essential for growth.

To recap, here are some specific ways mobile time and labor can help your business grow:

  1. Reduce administrative costs
  2. Lower the risk of a compliance violation that could set you back financially and tarnish your reputation
  3. Improve employee scheduling which elevates customer service, increases customer loyalty and boosts word-of-mouth advertising
  4. Avoid overtime and hours fraud (buddy punching, timecard manipulation)
  5. Establish trust between employees and management
  6. Generate labor data for better business decisions

Ready to grow your business with the only mobile time and labor solution designed for the mission critical needs of your small business? Schedule a meeting with our CEO Brian Boffa to get started.

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