Articles by: Stephanie Kaselis

Maintaining ACA Compliance for Employers

Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, the requirements continue to evolve from the original format. Several changes have been implemented since its enactment nearly 7 years ago. With 2016 behind us, one may think the growing pains associated with ACA compliance would be a thing of the past. However, 2016 was a significant year for the ACA, as it was the year in which the employer mandate was “fully implemented”. Despite the current uncertainty of the ACA's future, it is important for employers to plan to remain compliant in 2017 to avoid penalties.

Is your Organization Equipped to Comply?
The “full implementation” of the employer mandate made it a requirement for businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTE) to provide health insurance to at least 95% of their full-time employees and dependents up to age 26, or pay a fee.

For an organization to maintain ACA compliance, they must adhere to the following deadlines:

  • Jan. 31, 2017: Forms 1095-B and 1095-C due to employees (to be postmarked if mailed, or sent by e-mail if applicable conditions met).
  • Feb. 28, 2017: Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C due to IRS if filing on paper. *
  • March 31, 2017: Forms 1094-B, 1095-B, 1094-C and 1095-C due to IRS if filing electronically. *

The data required to file the forms mentioned above can be found in several different software systems that a company would use. Unfortunately, many organizations utilize HR systems that inconveniently piece together functions such as Payroll, Time & Attendance, Recruiting, Benefits, and more, which requires the compilation of required data from multiple sources. Using a unified system as a single source of truth for all reporting data will provide your organization with a simpler process for ACA compliance.

What Penalties are Applicable to Noncompliant Employers?
The penalties and fees can be costly for those that do not comply with the ACA. An organization can incur penalties for either not offering health insurance coverage that is affordable or not offering it at all. To help clarify these requirements, organizations can navigate through the Penalties for Employers Map created by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

  • The penalty for each month the employer fails to offer coverage is $2,260, divided by 12 times the number of full-time employees (minus up to 30).
  • The penalty for each month is $3,390 divided by 12, for each full-time employee receiving a premium tax credit that month (up to a maximum of $2,260 divided by 12, times the number of full-time employees (minus up to 30)).

What are other Employers Concerned about?
The recent election definitely raises the concern of employers for the future of the Affordable Care Act. Will it be repealed? Will it be replaced? Or, will it be modified at all? Only time will tell, but it is important for employers to maintain ACA compliance in the meantime and stay informed if and when changes are made.

According to a survey of 800 employers conducted by brokerage solution provider Aon, 28% responded that the employer mandate is their biggest concern for the new administration. Getting up to speed on the frequent revisions to the Affordable Care Act is a priority for many business leaders. However, the complexity of the ACA may make it difficult for the new administration to appeal in the near future.

While there are many concerns in regards to the future of the ACA, this Act is still mandated for 2017. It is critical for employers to ensure that they are equipped to comply with all ACA deadlines, to understand the penalties of noncompliance, and to stay up to date with provisions. That way, organizations will be on the road to success for ACA Compliance.

This DATIS Blog was written by Stephanie Kaselis, DATIS, on January 26th, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Are Annual Performance Appraisals Enough?

Every organization has its own views and opinions on performance appraisals, how frequently they should be performed, and if they’re even effective in today’s modern workplace. In the 2017 Workforce Management Trends report, 78% of executives surveyed said their organization still relies on annual feedback, but is an annual review frequent enough to be effective?

General Electric (GE) has become a trailblazer when it comes to steering away from performance appraisals. After more than 30 years, “the company decided to scrap formal annual reviews for its 300,000 employees entirely, replacing these evaluations with more frequent conversations”. Other prominent organizations, such as Microsoft and Adobe, have also chosen to conduct assessments that are more consistent, in hopes of improving employee engagement and satisfaction.

Backward-Looking Performance Appraisal Processes
Organizations that continue to utilize yearly performance reviews must consider that as the workplace continues to evolve at a rapid pace, an annual performance appraisal cycle will become outdated. Today’s workplace does not run on an annual cycle anymore. The VP of HR for Adobe referred to annual appraisals as “a process that looks in the rear-view mirror, that’s focused on what you’ve done a year ago. That just isn’t current with how I think we’re working and how many of the employees that we’re looking to attract have been raised.”

It’s essential for management to consider its current and future employees when it comes to feedback regarding their work ethic. If department heads and managers are discussing an employee’s performance historically over the past year, it may be too late for an employee to receive relevant, constructive criticism or positive feedback that can help them grow into their position. By that time, the employee may have begun considering other employment options. For example, if you received criticism or compliments for events taking place last year, would that be helpful for you in your position? This question alone should cause executives to consider a different performance appraisal technique.

Forward Looking Performance Appraisals 
It’s important for employees to be aware of what’s expected of them over the course of the next month or quarter, and what they can expect from their managers. To streamline the performance appraisal process, Goal and Performance Management Software has been created to define objectives, monitor employee progress, and ensure everyone is on the page in terms of how their goals and objectives roll up to the mission of the organization overall.

It is important to note that effective performance appraisal techniques will vary between organizations. The optimal frequency, importance, and magnitude of a performance appraisal will depend on the people, process, and systems in place. However, the overall messaging remains the same: It is essential for employees to understand, in a timely manner, how they are performing, what is expected of them, what steps they can take to excel and grow in their position, and what they can expect in return from the organization.

This DATIS Blog was written by Stephanie Kaselis, DATIS, on March 9th, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.

Internship Programs: Finding Top Talent

The summer months are upon us, and this is an ideal time for organizations to bring in new talent through internship programs. With an extra set of hands, fresh set of eyes, and another mind full of creative ideas, interns with impact can bring life and energy to any department.

For many organizations, the employees responsible for successfully interviewing and the interns experience just as much stress and pressure as the students applying. Here are a few steps to take to attract top quality interns with impact and implement a strong internship program:

Transparency and Tracking Down Talent
The nature of the internship post and channel in which it is placed are key factors to finding quality interns. It’s important that an internship’s description accurately reflects what the position entails. Simply uploading an old intern description onto a new job post may cause misconceptions about the position. For some organizations, intern responsibilities may change after every quarter, or in a student’s case, every semester. To avoid this conflict, make sure to update your post and advertise your internship as accurately as possible. If this is done on the employer’s end, the organization will attract interns that understand the work that is expected and can positively contribute during the duration of their internship.

Placement of the internship posting should be easy for applicants to find. There are several sites that many motivated students are familiar with. Attracting top talent is seamless with Recruitment Management Software that streamlines posts to popular job boards such as CareerBuilder, Monster, and Indeed.

Prioritizing Their Program
It's no surprise that interns want to feel a sense of importance and appreciation throughout their internship experience. For an organization to have a strong intern program, they must have a “give to get” mentality. Giving interns meaningful work that will meet their learning objectives will in turn give your organization the effort it needs to achieve its goals and mission. When employees use interns for “grunt work,” they are essentially taking away from their overall experience with the company. This will not attract future top interns.

One way to ensure that an internship program thrives is to assign an internship coordinator.  Often times, countless members of an organization utilize interns, which makes prioritizing given tasks confusing and hard to manage. For a more effective internship, employees can outline, with the intern coordinator, the tasks that they need assistance with prior to the start of the program.

The Ultimate Takeaway
To make an internship beneficial for both the intern and the organization, there has to be a collective, positive takeaway from the experience. The ultimate goal of hiring an intern is that the organization can eventually hire from within the intern class instead of hiring externally, where candidates are untrained or unaligned with the company culture. Mutually beneficial internships are a key component of many successful organizations and can result in a more knowledgeable future workforce.

This DATIS Blog was written by Stephanie Kaselis, DATIS, on April 20th, 2017 and may not be re-posted without permission.