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8 min read

September/October 2022 Newsletter

Horizon Newsletter Header 1 copy

With the leaves turning colors and falling from the trees, we all know that
autumn is upon us. This time of year also brings a few new challenges for
employers along with the cooler weather. In this month's newsletter, we will discuss some of the key changes happening in the world of payroll and HR.
We will cover Quiet Quitting, Unemployment Insurance Increases, Census
data info for health insurance - what you need to do as an employer to prep
for your renewal, what good nuggets we are pulling out of the hiring
handbook, Sign on bonuses – do they work? PTO and Vacation - what
employers are responsible for. We hope you find this information helpful!

Quiet Quitting. What is it, and Should You be Worried?

Employers still contending with the Great Resignation may be experiencing
the latest trend in a less than ideal work environment – quiet quitting.
Unlike the highly publicized and very public way that some disgruntled
employees have chosen to leave their jobs, quiet quitting is much more
subdued.


These employees who are working in shorthanded situations due to the
pandemic and mass resignations are quietly saying enough is enough and
are not going above and beyond at work. Yes, those star employees who
always went the extra mile and took on assignments outside their job
descriptions – they’re dwindling away. The employees who are left behind
are those who are just putting in their time, doing the bare minimum, and
might be waiting for their chance to leave as well.

So, what can you do to combat this new trend of quiet quitting? First, it’s
important to try to identify the root cause of the problem. If your employees
are unhappy with their workload, compensation, or benefits, then you need
to address those issues head-on. You may also want to consider
implementing a stay on bonus program or offering other incentives for
employees to stay with your company.

Finally, keep an eye out for the warning signs of quiet quitting, such as a
decrease in productivity or quality of work, more absences, and a negative
attitude. If you can nip the problem in the bud early, you’ll be in a much
better position to keep your best employees on board.

Unemployment Insurance Increases

  • In 2020, the unemployment rate hit a record high with 14.7%. While it was
    necessary for so many people to suddenly be out of work, it also put an
    undue burden on each state’s unemployment funding. As a result, there
    were several states that decided to increase their unemployment taxes
    starting in either 2021 or 2022.  

    Not only have the rates gone up due to qualified unemployment insurance
    claims, but there’s also been a big issue with unemployment fraud. For
    instance, Michigan saw three residents charged with defrauding
    unemployment in the amount of $1.6 million. Therefore, it’s also critical to
    ensure that you perform regular audits to keep your company from being
    scammed. 

    Of course, it’s important to remember that your company’s tax bills will
    become higher if you’ve got a large number of employees that took
    advantage of unemployment. This gives you yet another good reason to
    perform an unemployment audit.  

    According to Doug Adams, who is the Director of UI Solutions, employers
    can expect to see their replacement contribution rise from approximately
    $1.28 to around $2.04. There will also be the following new laws put in
    place.

  • Alaska – Wages that can be taxed go up to $43,100. A 0.3% solvency surcharge will be added to rates.
  • Arkansas – Taxable wages increased to $10,000.
  • Arizona – Positive rated employers will see their unemployment taxes shoot up from 0.08% to 10.30%. Negative rated employers will have an increase from 10.87% to 20.60%.
  • Connecticut – An increase is expected.
  • District of Columbia – An increase is expected.
  • Florida – The minimum tax rate was expanded to 0.29%.
  • Hawaii – The Aloha State actually intended to reduce their taxable wage to $47,400. This bill was put on hold, however.
  • Idaho – Increased the taxable wage base to $43,200
  • Illinois – Increase in taxes and the wage base.
  • Iowa – The taxable wage base was increased to $32,400.
  • Kansas – Scheduled tax increase.
  • Kentucky – Wage base and tax increase was instituted in 2022.
  • Maryland – Will experience a tax rate increase.
  • Massachusetts – A 60% tax rate hike will take place in 2023.
  • Michigan – Taxable base wage increased to $9,500.
  • Minnesota – Taxable base wage increased to $36,000.
  • Montana – Taxable base wage increased to $35,300.
  • Nevada – Taxable base wage increased to $33,400.
  • New Jersey – Scheduled increase for taxes and wage base.
  • New Mexico – Taxable wage base increased to $26,800.
  • New York – Taxable base wage increased to $11,800; tax rate increased.
  • North Carolina – Taxable base wage increased to $26,000.
  • North Dakota – Taxable base wage increased to $39,400.
  • Ohio – Planned tax increase.
  • Oklahoma – Wage base and tax increase scheduled.
  • Oregon – Wage base and tax increase scheduled.
  • Rhode Island – Unemployment tax increase scheduled.
  • Texas – Rate notices were delayed.
  • Utah – Wage base and tax increase scheduled.
  • Vermont – Wage base and tax increase scheduled.
  • Washington – Wage base increased to $56,500 (delayed until 2025)
  • Wyoming – Taxable base wage increased to $27,300.

 

Census Data Info for Health Insurance

If you’re in charge of securing health insurance for your company, then you’re probably well-aware of the insurance census. This includes the following details from each eligible employee: 

Name 
Date of Birth 
Number of Dependents 
Zip Code 
Once you’ve given an insurance provider all the necessary information, they’ll provide you with a price quote. This process works the same whether you’re signing up for insurance for the first time or simply trying to renew an existing policy for your co-workers.

 

Keep in mind that your insurer will not consider health, race, religion, sexual orientation, Social Security number or U.S. citizenship/immigration status. Once you’ve supplied the necessary information, you’ll be able to go over the rate they’re offering you and decide if it makes sense.

Hiring Book Nuggets: What You Need to Focus On

In our 13-page hiring book, we highlight five specific things to focus on. Although we can’t provide the same amount of space in this newsletter, we can call attention to what the five items are and how they’ll help you hire the best people. 

Finding Quality Candidates – To increase your odds of finding quality candidates, you’ll want to craft a job title using only one to three keywords. Be sure to list the benefits you include at the top of the job description. Speaking of which, your job description shouldn’t exceed 2,000 characters. Finally, include compensation, job location, and any high-value propositions. 
Engaging with Candidates – You need to speed up your response time to get the best of the best. Don’t be afraid to use text messaging as a communication tool. You’ll also want to send an interview reminder. One of the ways you can ensure your company hires good candidates is by being flexible with scheduling. Additionally, always remain alert to verbal and nonverbal clues during the interview process.
Onboarding – Don’t skimp when it comes to onboarding. You’ll want to provide your new hire with everything they need to know to succeed at your company. If your new hire is eligible, you’ll also want to take the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for onboarding people who have significant barriers that stand between them and a job. 
Retention – Always make sure you care about your company’s culture. Recognize what each person brings to the job and use special motivation techniques. For instance, you can provide recognition and an incentive for a job well done. 
Stay Compliant – It’s in your company’s best interests for you to use technology that’ll prevent errors on paperwork. You should also keep track of all due dates, along with the required ACA forms. Performing a self-audit of all I-9 forms will also help ensure you remain complaint.    
If you follow each step listed above, you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by well-qualified employees. Just remember that employee retention is every bit as important as finding employees in the first place.

 

Sign on Bonuses - Do They Work?

You may have noticed that more and more companies are starting to offer sign-on bonuses. But do they actually work? At face value, sign-on bonuses can be a great way to attract top talent. After all, most people are always on the lookout for ways to earn a little extra money.

On the other hand, there is really no easy answer for whether hiring bonuses are worth offering or taking. It depends on how much the bonus is, what you’ll get paid as your salary, and what other benefits you’ll get if you sign on for the job.


From the employee's perspective, it’s usually a good idea to take the bonus if you’re getting paid less than what you would at another company. That being said, potential hires are pickier these days and many of them may wonder why your place of business is so bad that you need to bribe someone to work there. Therefore, it's a good idea to make sure that your reputation is sound if you are thinking about offering hiring incentives.


The value of the bonus is also going to depend on how much the bonus is and the taxes that are taken out of it, with some states getting more of that pie than others. 


Also, employers shouldn’t offer a sign-on bonus to just anyone. You should only offer them to people who you think will be a good fit for your company and who you think will stick around for the long haul. After all, what you don’t want to do is just hire someone that is only there for the bonus, right?

Remember, hiring bonuses may get might people in the door, but it won’t make them want to stay. Even worse, you may be encouraging people to take a position with your company and then move onto another opportunity that offers them another sign-on bonus. This solution then results in a continued loop of staffing challenges.

So, to sum this section up, it’s best not to rely on incentives like hiring bonuses alone to solve your labor crisis. You have to offer them with other attractive benefits and incentives.

PTO: What are Employers Responsible For?

The U.S. is the only advanced country in the world that doesn’t have a law on the books regarding paid time off. However, 76% of private employers provide it, and it’s no wonder – 80% of employees want more paid time off. 

PTO policies can actually help reduce the administrative burden that’s often placed on managers and HR leaders. After all, putting your time off under the heading of PTO means that there’s no reason to track sick days vs. personal days. 

The typical policy for most employers is to provide 10 days for vacation, eight sick days, and two personal days, which adds up to a total of 20 days that employees may take off throughout the year. But since PTO isn’t legally required, this number can vary greatly.  A normal company also provides bereavement, medical leave, and paternal leave. They do not typically include any of these things in their PTO time, though. 

Switching to a PTO policy will give employees flexibility, make it easier for your HR team to manage, and reduce absenteeism. On the opposite side, PTO can also cause some employees to hoard their sick leave, it’s possible you’ll end up paying more, and PTO can often mean your employees will get less leave. 

Rely on PTO's best policies to make them more effective. For instance, you should outline your PTO policy inside your employee handbook. You’ll also want all members of management to buy into the program. 


As far as laws and compliance go, no federal law mandates PTO. It is different at a state level, though. In fact, several states have a requirement on their books for an employer to provide sick time. Your specific state’s law will also determine whether you’re legally required to pay employees for not using all their PTO. Therefore, be certain to check your state’s laws very carefully. Failure to follow the applicable laws could result in fines or even prison time.  

The Takeaways

PTO and vacation policies are always a hot topic, with no clear answer on what is the best way to handle them. However, as an employer, it is important to be aware of your state's laws and make sure you are in compliance. Offering a sign-on bonus can be a great way to attract top talent, but make sure you are doing so strategically and that you have a good company reputation. Lastly, census data info for health insurance is something that all employers need to be aware of and prepare for.


This concludes the September newsletter article for Horizon Payroll Solutions. We hope you enjoyed this latest newsletter and found it informative. Be sure to check in with us in October where we'll discuss how to help students understand their first paychecks and the latest news in the payroll solution world. If you have any questions or would simply like to touch base with us, please reach out to us at support@horizonpayroll.com. We would be happy to help!

Sincerely,
The Horizon Payroll Solutions Team

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