Benefits of Partnership Between Employers and Training Providers

The partnership between employers and training providers is important for both small businesses and massive corporations alike. Small business owners find this to be a frugal option, seeing as how they can’t afford to hire experts, which means that they are forced to train their own employees to become experts. As for the big companies, by having a solid collaboration with an RTO, they can customize the training program so that it fits the needs of their company. In other words, they’re not training niche experts, in general; instead, they’re training experts with a specific set of skills necessary for the position that they’re about to assume. Here are several benefits of this partnership that you should know about.

1. The choice of target skills

When it comes to traditional, formal education, its biggest downside is the fact that it gives an uniformed format of education, instead of specializing. This is where RTOs have a much greater advantage. Instead of training your entire staff to do a plethora of tasks around the office, you, as an employer, get to choose courses that benefit your brand the most. Needless to say, this makes your job of delegating tasks much simpler, as well, seeing as how you get to assign functions to your staff according to their skills and abilities. This can also help you avoid a lot about bias in choosing functions for team members.

2. Preparing for the future

The most important thing about the company’s future is the consistency of staff. Now, the problem in this lies in the fact that people leave your employ all the time. They go someplace else, start projects of their own, retire or even go on leave. The latter might not fall under the same category as the first three, yet, it still makes a team member unavailable. So, you need to have someone capable to take their place in order not to allow for an absence of a single team member to cause downtime. Moreover, you need to plan for the growth, which is why you need to start preparing your staff in time. By having assistance from VET professionals, you can easier anticipate these changes and get a better understanding of the process necessary to prepare your staff for this.

3. Setting objectives

Perhaps the biggest advantage, and the most underestimated one out there is your ability to set the objectives for the training. Namely, this training costs effort, time and resources. We’re not just talking about paying for the course but also providing your employees with materials like Compliant Learning Resources. So, you need to know that you’re getting your money’s worth from this deal. You need to know how the performance of the employee will improve after the training. Other than this, you need to know how this will affect your employee retention rate. The last thing you need is for someone to complete the training, under your tutelage and sponsorship only to leave you once a better offer arrives.

4. Including your employees

Keep in mind that while employee training is a positive thing, it’s not necessarily seen as such by an employee who sees it as mandatory and unnecessary. For instance, sending someone on a course that will prepare them to do a task that they don’t really care about might cause the employee to leave or, at very least, underperform. Instead, you need to allow your team members to become an active participant in the decision-making process. This can be much more efficient with the sufficient amount of collaboration with the training provider. In fact, putting in touch the employee in question and the training provider is the kind of networking that works to everyone’s benefit.

5. Internal vs. outsourced training

At the very end, it’s important to mention that there’s another form of employee training, one that’s much more common, yet, also the one that we’ve failed to mention so far. We’re talking about the internal or the in-house training. This either requires you to hire trainers or appoint some of your team members as mentors (start a mentoring program). Such a course of action will tailor your mentoring program to the needs of your company and generate materials to be reused in the future. Nonetheless, by teaming up with the right training provider and learning material supplier, you can achieve all of that with the addition of a much higher quality of training program. After all, we’re talking about specialized RTO.

In conclusion

At the very end, a partnership between employers and training providers is a business world occurrence that takes place virtually every single day. In other words, it’s something that deeply affects your business model and your business plans. Still, until you know all the benefits that you get to reap from this relationship, you won’t be able to tell just how cost-effective it is to invest your time and resources to make it all happen.

4 Ways to Improve the Quality of Work for Your Employees

While most employers are usually focused on how to increase the productivity of their employees, they usually fail to realize that their productivity level is closely tied to the quality of life they’re having in a company. Recent studies have shown that companies that provide a better quality of work to their employees have much better retention rates, while they also have an easier time hiring top people in their field. Studies have also shown that happier employees are less likely to take a sick leave, which basically means that happier workers are also healthier workers. Whether it’s a team activity outside of work or a fun zone at the office, there are many ways in which you can increase employee’s happiness.

Show Trust Instead of Micromanaging Everything

Trust me, no one really enjoys doing a job where they’re told what to do all the time. While it’s perfectly fine for you to manage and supervise their work, micromanaging is something that rarely has a positive impact on your staff. Instead, try to build your relationship on trust – where you as an employer delegate tasks that require high responsibility, or at least make it seem that way. Let them make some decisions and all of the sudden you’ll have employers who are actually committed to what they’re doing.

Reward Good Work

Constant recognition is something that employers have found to be of vital importance when it comes to quality of work for your employees. Whether it’s a simple recognition, or a reward (a raise, bonus, or an additional day off), employees feel much better when their effort is noticed. Many employers avoid even complimenting their workers because they feel that they may ask for a raise if they do. But if a certain individual is doing more work than average, wouldn’t you say that they deserve to be paid for the extra work? This is also one of the reasons why more and more young people start freelancing – because they actually get paid for the work they do, not the time spent in an office.

Customizable Workspace

People love customizing their workspace, and when it comes to their desks there are almost no reasons to be opposed to it. While some people like having their favorite posters on the wall behind their monitor, other people might want to bring a plant from home. I’ve even seen people who prefer to work on a desktop while standing in order to improve posture. Some of the top performers I’ve seen love working in a messy environment, which required us to hire a commercial cleaning company at the end of each week.  Allowing your employees a certain amount of freedom when it comes to customizing their workspace will positively impact productivity, while they’ll also be happier to work for you.

Set Clear Goals

The best way to improve the efficiency of your employees is by setting up clear goals for them to aim for. Without clear goals, productivity will drop considerably, but also their overall happiness. This is why it’s important to give clear assignments and expected results to the people who work for you. Setting these goals should be taken seriously because if they’re unrealistic or generic they won’t have as much power. Probably the best way to approach this issue is to set individual goals for the people who work for you. If you employ a lot of people, delegate this task to supervisors and make it a part of their job. The more these goals are realistic and attainable the better results you’ll have and thus improve your employees’ loyalty.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing when it comes to improving quality of work is to have your employees feel like a part of the team. Having a company where everyone wants to progress to a certain point is completely different from having a company where people just work their shifts. If the end results don’t matter to you enough, they won’t matter to them at all. So try to set an example and be a driving force for your employees as you all push towards a single goal.

Affordable Care Act Reporting Software

The Biggest Challenges of Affordable Care Act Reporting

Written by Adam Miller, HR Compliance Manager, Passport Software, Inc.

Affordable Care Act

I’ve helped hundreds of Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) manage their Affordable Care Act requirements and file their 1094-C/1095-Cs. Though each had different reporting needs, the same question kept coming up…

How do I complete Part 2?

1095-C Part II
The original source: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1095c.pdf

Lines 14, 15, and 16 make up Part 2 of the 1095-C and provide details of an employer’s offer of coverage to a full-time employee. Knowing how to correctly complete this section is imperative for Affordable Care Act compliance and avoiding penalties.

Line 14—Use code 1E.

Choosing a line 14 code requires you to know three things:

  • Was coverage offered?
  • Did it meet minimum standards?
  • Was it available to the spouse and dependents?

Deciding on the best 1A-1K code to complete line 14 has one extra nuance, and it can save you hours of scrutiny: If a full-time employee is offered coverage and has the unconditional option to add their spouse and dependents to their plan, you may use the corresponding 1E code for all employees offered coverage—even those who are not married or do not have children. Since spouse or dependent coverage doesn’t need to meet any cost standards, there is little reason not to offer it.

With this allowance, most fully ACAcompliant companies will find they can use Line 14 code 1E for every 1095-C they submit, instead of 1B for single employees, 1C for single parents, and 1D for childless couples. Your life is already easier, isn’t it?

Line 15—Forget about Line 14.

This continues to be a very tough concept to nail down. The IRS wants to know: What is the monthly employee’s share of the least expensive, employee-only plan available to this person?

Let’s review each part of that statement.

  • Employee’s share—the employee’s remaining portion after the employer’s contribution.
  • Least expensive—the qualifying plan with the lowest monthly cost available, often referred to as bronze level. This is not what the employee is paying for a more comprehensive plan.
  • Employee only—One Person. Forget that on Line 14 you reported that the offer included the spouse/dependents. For the purposes of ACA reporting, it does not matter which plan an employee actually enrolls in, only what they could have chosen and what it would have cost them.

Line 16—What happened after Line 14?

It isn’t difficult to find that code 2C applies to employees who accept an offer of coverage, or that 2B is used for a part-time employee. Things start to get murky with code 2D. Code 2D refers to the variable-hour[i] employee who is in their Initial Measurement Period, also known as the Look-Back Method.

People start to panic when it comes to employees who were offered insurance but declined. In their 1095-C Instructions, the IRS wrote 1181 words describing all the Series 2 Codes in use. Nowhere does it say “Use code __ if the employee declined coverage.” In cases where you have made an a fully qualified offer which an employee has turned down, use whichever of 2F/2G/2H matches your method for calculating their income and ensuring affordability:

  • Use 2F if you look at W-2 Wages
  • Use 2G if you use the Federal Poverty Level
  • Use 2F if you look at the employee’s Rate of Pay

Congratulations…

Not only have you completed Part 2, but unless your company self-insures, you can bypass Part 3 completely!

What’s the next step?

Knowing how to correctly use the codes and contribution fields is fundamental, but organized tracking of ACA-related information throughout the year is equally important to save time and avoid penalties. A good, regularly maintained spreadsheet is a serviceable option for smaller ALEs with straightforward ACA reporting. For larger employers, or more complicated reporting, a specially designed software solution or service will reduce the compliance workload and help avoid penalties. A good one will help you accurately manage changing and editing data and even create the 1094-C/1095-C forms or electronic files.

Passport Software’s ACA Software and Services range from on-premise software to full year-round compliance management services. Our friendly service is fast and accurate, and our customers have given us great reviews. Our software is IRS-certified and we are IRS-approved to file on behalf of our clients.

Dealing with past years reporting troubles? We can help there, too.

Learn more about Passport Software’s ACA Software and Services, or call us at 800-969-7900.

[i] variable-hour refers to cases where it is unclear whether the employee will be comfortably above or below the 130 hour per month full-time threshold.

Form 1095-C
The original source: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1095c.pdf

About the Author:

Adam Miller

Adam Miller is the HR Compliance Manager at Passport Software, Inc. He designed their ACA Software and, as a support tech, he has helped hundreds of people with Affordable Care Act compliance and reporting.  Adam has a background in engineering, the service industry, and print, which makes him a technically proficient and friendly communicator for Passport Software.

Passport Software, Inc.

181 North Waukegan Rd, #200

Northfield, IL 60093

800-969-7900

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A man at the glass-desk with laptop. An image from kaboompics.com.

5 Ways Outsourcing Your Payroll Can Improve Work-Life Balance

Written by Jan Van Mol, Head of Global Alliances at SD Worx.

Outsourcing Payroll

There are plenty of reasons why outsourcing payroll strategies can be hugely beneficial to your company. Typically, it is the financial arguments that are used, not the emotional ones. However, there are many ways in which outsourcing your payroll can improve the wellbeing of your employees and can restore their work-life balance.

It’s well known that happier employees are much more likely to commit themselves fully whilst at work, bringing increased employee retention rates. Yet, many employers don’t realise that changing your payroll strategy can have an incredibly positive effect on the happiness of your employees. Here’s five reasons why:

1. Reduced workload

If your team is overworked and understaffed, an outsourced payroll strategy is the perfect way to get things back on track. An outsourced payroll strategy takes away the need to recruit and train an additional team member, and can dramatically reduce the workload of your staff much more quickly than getting a new member of staff.

Reducing this workload will make your employees instantly happier as the amount of potential overtime required will fall. Working fewer extra hours will allow employees to improve their work-life balance and will free up time for them to do the things they really love outside of work.

2. Reassuring the workforce

Payroll duties are sometimes given to members of staff who already have packed schedules with their own duties and responsibilities, which can lead to an anxious workforce.

Some employees may also feel concerned about other staff members having full access to their salary details. Moreover, relying on an over-tasked employee to process payroll can create tension for employees who expect to be paid accurately and on time each month.

By outsourcing payroll, an impartial person has access to salary details, which will eliminate any personal tensions surrounding payroll. Knowing that an outside specialist has sole responsibility will also reassure employees that their payroll matters are being taken care of, leading to a more relaxed workforce, a better work-life balance, and a better company culture.

3. No delays

Internal payroll managers are subject to the same demands on their time as everyone else in your company. If a company is going through a busy period where everybody’s help is required to solve an urgent issue or meet an external deadline, those members of your team responsible for payroll are no exception to this.

By outsourcing your payroll to specialist company, you hand over a big responsibility that would require lots of time, money and pressure on payroll employees. The payroll process becomes the outsourcing company’s top priority, so the internal team can focus on other tasks. There are few things which disgruntle an employee more than delayed pay, so offer your employees guaranteed on time payment by using an outsourcing partner to handle your payroll.

4. Lifting the pressure

Managing payroll is a huge responsibility, since you are personally responsible for the livelihoods of everyone in the company, many of which will be close personal friends and colleagues. This can put a lot of moral burden on an employee.

Outsourcing your payroll removes the personal element, as the person making sure that everybody is paid each month won’t individually know the people whom they are paying. Taking this emotional burden away from one of the members of your staff will relieve them of a huge weight, meaning that they are less likely to have to put in long hours to get the payroll sorted in time and will be able to regain a much better work-life balance.

5. Lead by example

Making a positive action such as changing the way you run your payroll will have a trickle-down effect throughout the business. Firstly, it will show employees that their payroll is an essential part of the business, and will lead the way for other changes in different areas and departments.

Many workplaces suffer by not adapting their strategies as the business grows and develops. Outsourcing your payroll strategy is a great example to show your teams of how to be proactive about making changes for the better that will set the business up well for its next phase. You’ll be amazed at how influential such a decision can be, and how large an impact it can have on the mindset of your workers.


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Future of Work Trends, Part 2: A Boom in Skilled Professions

Future of Work Trends, Part 2: A Boom in Skilled Professions

Robot Process Automation

If you missed our first part in the series we call the Future of Work Trends, check it out here. We discussed the first trend in Part 1 where we spoke about freelancing which is growing at a rapid rate. Where freelancing is creating multiple job opportunities for people across the U.S., U.K. and other parts of the world who are looking for flexible work options, on the other hand, there is also a rise in demand for skilled professionals from the field of information technology, data science and other skilled trades. As a need for freedom and balance appears in talent, the organisations are learning to cater and adopt the same.

Skilled professional positions will continue to grow rapidly as we know, so first up is IT. As per job site CareerBuilder & labour market data provider Emsi, the jobs in information technology field have grown rapidly since 2012 paying the most at an average of $40.82 an hour. With great advancement in the field of information & technology, the demand for more IT professionals has increased. These demands will have a major impact on the overall job market. People are becoming more and more tech savvy, and are likely to incline towards the technology jobs. Information technology has seen a variety of new job roles with the introduction of new technologies like big data, IoT (Internet of Things), augmented reality, etc. in the last few years. With more technologies and inventions happening in IT every day, more demand for IT jobs is expected in the coming time.

Just like information technology demand for skilled trades people like electricians, A/C technicians, plumbers, etc. have also increased. Sales related jobs are also on the boost with a greater amount of salaries offered. With rapid growth in construction and infrastructure related fields taking place around the globe, a demand for these skilled technicians has been at an all-time high.

Employers are offering various facilities like medical insurance, bonuses and incentives to attract more of the skilled professionals both in permanent and contingent capacity.

Data science is another field which is seeing the tremendous transformation with rapid demand for its professionals like the data scientist, ICU nurses, analysts etc. These professions are turning out to be the hottest jobs of the year. These professionals are earning handsome salaries which have increased faster in the last few years. Apart from the Skilled Professions rising, the market is also seeing a growing trend of a new form of job marketplace which is happening over the social media related skills. In the third part, of the series, we will focus on the jobs demands created through social media networking and growth of the socially connected world.

To read more or follow our series explore our blogs; to speak with us about employer’s hubs and how we can help transform your contractor talent management by bringing efficiencies through our simple cloud platform, get in touch. We are a free platform for project based skilled interims with thousands of jobs refreshed daily, join us today.


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Future of Work Trends in a Complete Series by InteriMarket: Part 1 — Freelancing Growth | The HR Tech Weekly®

Future of Work Trends in a Complete Series by InteriMarket: Part 1 — Freelancing Growth

For years we have seen a variety of different work trends which have created various opportunities for both employer and employees. Last few years have seen various changing trends in the employment sector. From full-time 9-6 job to part-time and now freelancing, the changing trends in the workplace have continued to improve the job market. These trends have benefited both job seekers & employees in many ways like increased wages & incentives for employees, work from home options, contract employment, etc.

Freelance

The demand for more flexible work environment has increased in the recent times giving a boost to the freelancing sector. Freelancing now makes up around 35% of U.S. workers and have collectively earned around $1 trillion in the past year. Just like freelancing is on the boom, there are various other work trends on the boom.

Following work trends will have a major impact on the coming years, some of the trends are already very visible:

1) The Freelancing (Supertemp/Contingent) sector

2) Skilled Professionals, especially as self-employed as much as their need for permanent commitment, also increases (information technology, skilled trades and data science)

3) Social Media Networking will create a lot more job opportunities

4) Considerable growth in more online employee training & workshops related careers

5) And significant growth in more online human resources functions including data management or data analytics which is increasingly becoming a huge part of HR

The above trends are changing the employment sector for good; we will try to analyse each of these trends in a complete series of InteriMarket work trends over the coming weeks where we will try to focus on each of these growing trends. As we explore the first trend here are some stats: Freelancing is at an all-time high. In U.S. alone, among the young workers in the age group of 18-24, 47% are working as freelancers on a part-time or full-time basis. The freelance workforce has grown from 53 million in 2014 to 55 million in 2016 which represent around 35% of the entire U.S. workforce. And by 2020, it is expected to increase by 5% reaching around 60 million. The total freelance workforce earned a whopping $1 trillion in the past year, representing a significant share of the U.S. economy.

Freelancer

Freelancing is increasingly becoming popular with the majority of people choosing to freelance by choice over necessity. Freelancers think having a diverse portfolio of clients is more valuable than having one employer.

With rapid advancement in technology, freelancing is becoming easier and freelancers can now easily find new freelancing work. The amount of work is also increased in this category with different types of segments of flexible workers within the fast growing “Gig Economy”.

There are freelancers who prefer to work offshore, or provide services globally sitting from the comfort of their own homes/offices, then there are temps who are almost loaned from company to company by managed service providers, and increasingly there is a growth in the “super temps” categorically mid-senior level of interim/contract/consulting talent who work on more stable longer-term projects which is ever more increasing with the likes of highly skilled millennials joining the group of talent.

All these different categories of contingent workers now prefer it more and wouldn’t want to go back to the traditional job as it provides a better work-life balance. With such amount of progress in the freelancing sector, freelancers still feel the best is yet to come. We are very hopeful to see a growing trend of freelancing in the future too and estimate it will open up new horizons and opportunities. With the ease of setting up on your own, it’s no surprise millennials are starting to make the most of this trend.

We shall continue with the next trend in the second part of the series where we will focus on the booming skilled professional sector. To read more or follow our series explore our blogs; to speak with us about employer’s hubs and how we can help transform your contractor talent management by bringing efficiencies through our simple cloud platform, get in touch.


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5 Ways Businesses Can Cultivate a Data-Driven Culture | The HR Tech Weekly®

5 Ways Businesses Can Cultivate a Data-Driven Culture

The pressure on organizations to make accurate and timely business decisions has turned data into an important strategic asset for businesses.

In today’s dynamic marketplace, a business’s ability to use data to identify challenges, spot opportunities, and adapt to change with agility is critical to its survival and long-term success. Therefore, it has become an absolute necessity for businesses to establish an objective, data-driven culture that empowers employees with the capabilities and skills they need to analyse data and use the insights extracted from it to facilitate a faster, more accurate decision-making process.

Contrary to what many people think, cultivating a data-driven culture is not just a one-time transformation. Instead, it’s more like a journey that requires efforts from employees and direction from both managers and executives. In this article, I am sharing five different ways businesses can accelerate their transformation into a data-driven enterprise.

1. Establish a Clear Vision

Establishing a clear vision is essential for putting data into the DNA of an organization. An executive, preferably the CIO or CDO, should present the vision to the workforce and provide the rationale for this shift in culture and in benefits. This, in turn, will set stage for the work ahead and provide an opportunity to clear misconceptions.

 2. Ensure Easy and Secure Access to Data

Data can be truly considered an asset when its accuracy is trusted, its provenance is well established, and its complete security is ensured. On the other hand, optimal utilization of data requires governance and openness. To ensure this, you should consider a layered approach to make data available in a manner for which its security, governance and confidentiality is not compromised.

3. Keep Your Data Clean and Up-to-Date

It’s very hard to analyze and extract something valuable from poorly organized, inaccurate, dated information. Therefore, you should develop clear mechanisms regarding the collection, storage, and analysis of data. Make sure all your data inputs are centralized in a single location for easy integration and regular updates. This way, your employees can gather the most recent information from a single place and make more accurate decisions.

4. Create Agile Multi-Disciplinary Teams

People, not tools drive the culture of a company. Therefore, in order to create a fact-driven work environment, businesses should invest in the skills of their people. Make sure that each team contains at least one member who’s well-skilled and experienced at data analytics.

5. Develop Reward Mechanisms

Sharing data successes is important to inspire others and develop a healthy, competitive, data-driven culture. To share the results achieved by a team or an individual, you can use different communication tools, such as videos and blogs, organize special gatherings, or share the results on your company portal. Make sure that you choose initiatives that are in line with your company’s long-term strategy. For example, if your objective is to penetrate new markets or gather more information about your target customers, you should acknowledge and reward the initiatives that help you make progress towards these strategic goals.

Unless communicated across an organization, data remains worthless. To extract the right information and insights from structured and unstructured data, it is important that you focus your efforts on cultivating a data-driven culture that empowers employees with the resources and skills they need to leverage data and obtain the right information at the right time to make more accurate decisions.

About the Author:

Ronald van Loon is Advisory Board Member and Big Data & Analytics course advisor for Simplilearn. He will contribute his expertise towards the rapid growth of Simplilearn’s popular Big Data & Analytics category.

If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of Big Data and IoT, please click “Follow” and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.

This article was originally posted on Simplilearn

Source: 5 Ways Businesses Can Cultivate a Data-Driven Culture | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

Unemployment in Changing Times – Are Seasonal Workers Protected?

Written by Jackie Edwards, specially for The HR Tech Weekly® ▸

Unemployment in Changing Times - Are Seasonal Workers Protected?

In many industries, there is an ever shrinking demarcation of the traditional working day. The fact is, we live in a 24/7 consumer society, and those demands are cascaded through to businesses throughout the value chain. This is particularly the case in the tech industry, where the growing trend in flexible and remote workers means the boundary between home and work balance is becoming ever more blurred. When it comes down to it, the 9-5 working day and 35 hour week with time off for good behavior that was the norm for our parents and grandparents is actually quite a rarity today.

But flexible working practices do not just mean fitting hours to suit personal and business needs, and seeking that holy grail of 21st century existence, the mythical work life balance. Seasonal work is also becoming more common in industries outside the traditional farming and recreational sectors, and is starting to be seen in everything from retail to back office to academia. Here, we take a look at how employment law applies to workers falling into this ever widening category.

Claiming Unemployment Benefit

Even for those who have been in regular employment within the HR tech industry, the rules might seem complex due to variations between states, but the underlying principles are simple enough. If the worker has been laid off through no fault of his or her own, and meets the requirements for the amount of time he or she was in work, then benefits are available.

For seasonal workers, the same principles are in play, but they are a little more complicated to navigate. Specifically, the lack of work at certain times is an understood and acknowledged part of the deal. As such, workers are not actually unemployed, and so many states will not subsidize them during this “lull” period.

States that have a more generous attitude towards seasonal workers, typically those with a significant tourist sector and therefore a larger proportion of people falling into this category, calculate the amount payable on the basis of what was earned during the base period, just as they would for someone who had been in full time employment.

How about Contractors?

Almost three quarters of employers use contractors to provide tech support at one time or another, so how is this sector affected? Only an employee can claim benefits, and in the vast majority of cases, contractors are considered to be self employed, and are therefore ineligible. Even more complex is where the contractor hires seasonal assistance. In this case, however, the key word is “hires” – the assistant is not considered an employee any more than the contractor is, and therefore is not generally going to be able to claim unemployment.

If in doubt, ask

The above all suggests that where unemployment benefits are concerned, the deck is clearly stacked in favor of full time workers, and it could be argued that seasonal employees are not as fairly treated as they could be. Ultimately, though, it is important to remember that rules can vary significantly, so if you are unsure regarding an individual’s eligibility to claim, it always makes sense to check with your state unemployment office to get specific advice.


Not everyone fits the traditional, eight-to-five, year-round job scenario. Seasonal employees work for defined, often short periods of time during specific times of the year. This phenomenon is created by variations in certain industries that are affected by seasonal shifts in demand or weather-related impediments.

Click here to learn more: Unemployment Rules for Seasonal Workers | AboutUnemployment.org

How to Protect HR from Ransomware | Featured Image

How to Protect HR from Ransomware

How to Protect HR from Ransomware | Main Image

Companies have HR departments that are responsible for storing confidential information such as an individual’s social security number, payroll information, health information as well as employment history.

Because of enormous amount of sensitive data collected on individuals, HR departments opt to store data in a digital format, thus, making it susceptible to cyber-threats. Furthermore, since HR departments receive more email that any other department in a company, they are even more vulnerable to such threats. One of the most challenging form of cyber-attacks that HR departments face today is ransomware.

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data and restricts access to a computer system. Often malware is sent through an email in the disguise of a resume or cover letter. When the email is opened, then the malware infects the computer and the entire network. The next time a user tries to gain access to the computer system, he or she is required to pay a monetary ransom in the form of Bitcoin to remove the restriction. WannaCry is one commonly known name for the recent ransomware attack that affected many companies.

Ransomware not only steals an individual’s personal information, but it damages a company’s reputation and financial status as well. The good news is that there are steps that HR departments can take to prevent ransomware attacks.

Basic Security Measures

It is imperative that HR departments work closely with the IT department to implement strong web filters and spam controls as a basic security measure. Next, the IT department should have Endpoint analytical tools to immediately detect, quarantine and shut down ransomware invasions.

Finally, always have a working data backup plan that is not connected to the company’s network so data cannot be infected.

Latest Operating and Software System

The IT department should make sure that the company’s operating system and software is up-to-date. It is extremely important that security updates are installed on all machines as they are released to protect all computers on the network.

If the company uses Microsoft Office software, it is recommended that macros are turned off. In addition, remove plugins if using Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Java or Silverlight since these plugins can run a risk of having embedded malware attached to them upon installation.

Employee Training

It is essential for companies to train employees on their information security policies. Employees must understand that technology alone is not enough to protect sensitive data and that there are cybersecurity threats that can bombard them.

Employees need regular training sessions in learning how to use technology as well have an understanding that technology is not always foolproof. There should be employees training in the do’s and don’ts of data protection. Since HR employees receive numerous emails daily, they need to know what types of files are safe to open.

Finally, employees need to know how to respond, and to whom they should report a cyber threat if the unthinkable happens.

Network Segmentation and Separate Work Stations

The IT department needs to ensure that the company’s most sensitive data is not stored all on one network. This is done through network and database segmentation. A restriction should be in place where only certain authorized individuals can access sensitive information. For example, make one person the administrator for the system.

The administrator should only log into the system as absolutely deemed necessary and use a regular account for everyday use. Furthermore, the IT department should assign dedicated workstations to employees responsible for reviewing resumes and monitor workstation usage.

Outside Testing

To ensure the validity of the company’s security, it is a good idea to hire an outside firm to test the vulnerability of its IT security. By hiring an outside firm, the company can understand where hackers can possibly penetrate the system, and take necessary steps to make data more secure.

To conclude, HR departments have access to massive amounts of sensitive data and the employees are typically not very well educated in knowing how to protect themselves from data breaches. Therefore, they are an easy and lucrative target for hackers.

It is easy to see why HR departments are prone to such cyber-attacks. However, when the HR staff works more closely with the IT department, preventive steps can be taken to reduce ransomware attacks. Precautionary steps such as implementing basic security measures, installing the latest operating system and software, setting up network segmentations and dedicated workstations, training employees and having outside testing to check for security breaches can save a company’s reputation and financial status.

About the Author:

Josh McAllister

Josh McAllister is a freelance technology journalist with years of experience in the IT sector, and independent business consultant. He is passionate about helping small business owners understand how technology can save them time and money. 

Josh is a contributor of a number of digital outlets, and well published including DZone, IoT World News, and Rabid Office Monkey.


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SD Worx Research Survey Infographic | Excerpt

The Great Salary Swindle: 44% of European employees have been paid late

-        79% of employees who were paid incorrectly identified the issue themselves

-        Of those that were paid late, 88% perceived their employer negatively

-        Around half (44%) of all respondents would consider leaving their job after being paid late

Today SD Worx, the global HR and payroll service provider, revealed that out of 4,000 employees surveyed, 44% had been paid late by their employers and 48% of those that had been paid late had also been paid incorrectly. The survey also revealed that 79% of employees that had been paid incorrectly identified the issue themselves and, on average, 44% respondents would consider leaving their jobs (41% in the UK) after been paid incorrectly, with 55% of German respondents considering leaving, and only 30% of French.

SD Worx conducted an independent online survey amongst employees in six different European countries, the UK, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany, to measure their opinions and experiences of receiving delayed and incorrect payment. The survey targeted employees working in organisations sized between 10 to 10,000 employees who had experienced a delay in payment from their employer, finding that employees in the Netherlands were most likely to be paid late (55%), followed by Germany (46%).

The delay in payment caused a predominately negative perception of employers from the employees that SD Worx surveyed. The majority (varying from 80% in Netherlands to 93% in Switzerland) of employees who experienced payment delays felt their perception of their employer had a ‘slight negative’ to ‘highly negative’ impact. In addition, surveyed employees thought that the reason for their late payment was predominately down to poor management (61% of UK respondents) or financially unstable employers (on average 33% in all countries).

Jan Van Mol, Head of Global Alliance at SD Worx, commented: “The results of this survey are shocking in regards to the impact that payroll error has on employee engagement. An increasing number of employees are becoming actively disengaged in their workplace due to late or incorrect payments, something that employers need to fix to ensure that their employees are have high morale and trust in the workplace”.

Alongside whether employees were paid late, SD Worx also asked whether employees had been paid incorrectly. The survey found that of the 44% that had been paid late, a total of 48% had also been paid incorrectly. Among those respondents, the UK is most likely to be paid incorrectly at 61%, with the Netherlands in second at 55%. Of the respondents that were paid late, over 80% of all employees (other than Austria) found the issue and notified their employer themselves.

The reasons for delayed payment varied for each country, with the main two reasons being “Late third-party payments impacting cash-flow” and “System error or outage”, combining for around three-in-five (57%) employees in all countries. In Austria, late third party payment was the cause of delayed payment for 50% of employees.

On average, employees experiencing a delay in payment were delayed between one-and-a-half and two weeks in all countries, except in Austria where the average delay was around three weeks. Payroll and HR is often overlooked as an essential aspect of an organisation, but SD Worx’s survey results emphasise the importance of ensuring that employers are paying their employees correctly.

SD Worx Research Survey Infographic

SD Worx Research Survey Infographic

About SD Worx

As a leading European payroll and HR services provider, SD Worx provides a wide range of solutions to customers worldwide including payroll and HR, legal support, training, automation, consulting and outsourcing. Today, more than 63,000 large and small organisations across the globe rely on the more than 70 years of expertise that SD Worx has acquired.

SD Worx’s 3,900 employees operate in ten countries made up of Belgium (HQ), Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. SD Worx calculates salaries for about 4.25 million employees and recorded in 2016 a turnover of €397 million. SD Worx is the co-founder of the Payroll Services Alliance, a global strategic network of leading payroll companies whose members jointly handle 32 million salary calculations.

More information: www.sdworx.com

Media enquiries:

Leah Jones, The CommsCo, ljones@thecommsco.com, 07876117760

Cindy Berichon, SD Worx, cindy.berichon@sdworx.com, 07767004356