Category: HR Solutions

A Small Business Guide to Open Enrollment

  • Open enrollment is a few week period at the end of the year when employees can choose, drop or change their employer-sponsored health care coverage.
  • Small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees aren’t necessarily required to pay into group health insurance premiums.
  • Small businesses that do offer plans through the Small Business Health Options Program enjoy the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.

As far as fall rituals go, the health insurance “open enrollment” period is right up there with raking wet leaves and paying property taxes. If this isn’t your first time around the block as a business, you already know that earlier is better when it’s time to get the word out and meet what always turns out to be a rocket speed-approaching deadline.

Here are the basics for 2019 and what small business owner’s need to know.

Do small businesses have to offer health coverage?

Not always. If you’re a business with fewer than 50 full-time employees, you aren’t required to pay a percentage of group health insurance premiums – but many small organizations opt to do it to stay competitive.

Things have changed with the Affordable Care Act: A mandate fining individuals without health insurance was removed in 2019. But the ACA still requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health insurance coverage. Regardless, it’s still a good idea to offer a plan given the tough climate for finding and retaining good workers.

An added bonus to offering coverage is that small companies who sign up for plans through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), can take advantage of the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. If all criteria are met, this tax credit is worth up to 50% of the costs a company pays for employee premiums, according


8 HR Compliance Challenges Small Businesses Face

There are many regulations imposed on small businesses. Once you start hiring employees, you will need to abide by these ever-changing laws. Not only do you have to keep your finger on the pulse of federal agencies’ requirements, but you must also track changes at the state and local levels. Keep reading to learn about eight evolving employment and HR compliance regulations you’ll need to monitor.

1. Paying your employees at least minimum wage

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. If you pay your workers less than that, you could be responsible for back wages and steep penalties.

Although the rate has been stagnant for over 10 years, there is a nationwide movement to increase it to $15 per hour. In fact, more than half the states and several localities have set their minimum wages higher than the Department of Labor’s standard.

If your state’s minimum wage differs from the federal limit, you will usually need to pay your workers the higher of the two. To find out how much you’re required to pay your team members, contact your state’s DOL branch.

2. Knowing when to pay overtime

A worker is exempt from overtime if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • They are paid on a salary basis.
  • They make at least $23,660 per year or $455 per week.
  • They perform exempt job duties, such as supervising two or more people.

For all others, you will likely need to pay at least 1.5 times their hourly rate for any time worked over 40 hours in a single workweek. Recently, the DOL increased the salary threshold to $35,568 per year or $684 per week. This rule will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. If any of your employees are exempt from overtime but earn less


Why SMBs Should Use PEOs When Expanding Overseas

  • Professional employer organizations (PEOs) are professional recruitment agencies through which you can outsource your staffing needs.
  • PEOs don’t just act as the regulatory umbrella for your staff members; they can also offer additional benefits to your overseas employees.
  • If you’re looking to expand your business abroad using a lower-cost, lower-risk model, engage the services of a PEO.

As a successful business owner, it’s only a matter of time before you start mapping out a plan for your expansion. As part of your market-entry strategy, you’ll likely be weighing the pros and cons of establishing a branch or subsidiary overseas or incorporating your company in another country. With these options comes the hefty task of understanding and complying with local legal and commercial regulations, and likely, your obligations as an employer.

Thankfully, there’s an easier solution for businesses that are looking to dip their toes in a new market without overwhelming themselves with major investments and a raft of foreign compliance requirements. If you’re looking to expand overseas using a lower-cost, lower-risk business model, engage with a professional employer organization (PEO).

Editor’s note: Looking for the right PEO service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.


Expansion demands

Depending on the country you’re targeting, there’ll be a number of different legal entities (business structures) for you to choose from when expanding. Many of these will likely come with minimum capital investment requirements, along with legal, accounting and other obligations that your headquarters and senior staff overseas will need to keep on top of.

Businesses can be left quite vulnerable during expansion as they’re heavily reliant on local experts to fully understand and meet their obligations in the new country. On top of this, it’s a crucial period for establishing a


How to Design an Office Space to Support Innovation

  • Multipurpose spaces foster a sense of inclusion, which increases worker happiness, which is shown by research to boost productivity.
  • Offices without doors and with clear walls can improve the feelings among workers that their leaders are transparent and accessible.
  • Demand is rising for greater workspace flexibility, especially among younger workers such as millennials.
  • Planning flexible, multipurpose office spaces can save money and help a business’s space evolve along with its needs.

Through many decades of office design concepts, plenty of trends have come and gone, but one thing is undeniably certain: The space itself is critical to the workforce’s happiness and ultimately to the company’s success. A workspace serves as a foundation to inspire creativity, spur productivity, foster innovation, and support well-being – all of which sets the stage for a strong, vibrant culture.

At Varidesk, for example, we took great care in our office design, customizing the space to create a variety of zones where people can focus privately or collaborate collectively. It’s our belief that these open, multipurpose spaces foster a sense of inclusion and transparency. Everyone feels much more accessible and connected, from reception to C-suite. Those feelings of safety and cohesion lead to increased happiness, which studies have shown to improve the productivity of a workforce by up to 12%.

The power of transparency

This isn’t to say we got everything right from the start. Our executive conference room sits in the middle of the office, surrounded in frosted glass – that is, until someone mentioned the perception that exclusive conversations were happening “behind closed doors.” Now that the frosted glass has been replaced with clear panes, our staff can see the senior leadership team, read our body language, and discern our facial expressions, which reduces some of the stress and watercooler chatter that can


Choosing a Paystub Generator

If you run a small business and don’t partner with a payroll processing company, you have to process payroll manually. This means understanding your state’s laws, finding your employer identification number, calculating employee hours and handling deductions. It’s also crucial that you provide paystubs to your employees. Paystubs allow your employees to track important financial information, like taxes paid, and help you keep payroll records.

Generating paystubs can be time-consuming, especially if you have a lot of employees. Paystubs are a necessary part of payroll, so it’s important to develop a system to quickly churn them out. Spending all your time calculating paystubs and running payroll defeats the purpose of running a small business – you should be focused on business decisions, not administrative work.

Luckily, there are many options for paystub generators. There are free versions where you can easily input your company data and get a usable, respectable paystub. There are also some paid sites where, for a few dollars per month, you can get quality paystubs with some added features. The right solution for you depends mainly on your business’s size. If you’re only paying two employees, a free version probably makes the most sense. If you run a dynamic small business with 10 or 20 workers, you need a reliable system to produce paystubs for your workers.

Below is a breakdown of both free and paid paystub generators, how they work, and why you should consider using them. The main difference between free and paid paystub generators is that the paid generators help you with the calculations. The free ones require you to do the calculations on your own and input your results into a paystub template.


Editor’s note: Looking for information on payroll systems? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you