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Heidi McLean

Cyber security - payreel

Cybersecurity—protecting company and customer information

Cybersecurity—protecting company and customer information 5760 3840 Heidi McLean

As children, we learn to keep our valuables under close watch when we are in public. In the cyberworld, it’s harder to keep our most valuable assets protected. Unlike a wallet, our identity, data, and customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) are not tangible items that we can keep in our sight, knowing that as long as it’s in our hands, it’s not in someone else’s. Cybersecurity then, requires a different approach.

It seems every week, a major company, city, or hospital experiences an alarming security breach. The breaches may compromise privacy (hacked laptop/phone cameras, for example), data, or PII. Credit monitoring companies, phones, hospitals, and even entire cities have been compromised or even taken hostage. Last week, it was Zoom, which left cameras vulnerable to being activated without permission (more about that problem as well as the fix here). This NPR piece offers a terrifying read on the fifth domain (after land, air, water, and space) of the cyberworld.

Businesses and consumers increasingly rely on apps and software to get their everyday work done. For companies, this comes with a responsibility to protect customers, employees and sometimes patient information. So what’s a company to do?

Okay, so it’s a real problem. Now what?

We’re not here to scare you without offering solutions. While we’re talking about what businesses can do, we would be remiss not to address one important aspect of how you can protect yourself on a personal level. You can freeze your credit as well as that of your minor-aged kids. Here’s an article from the USA Today with more about how and why to take this step.

Customers trust companies with priceless personal information and sensitive company data daily and since that’s our main focus, here are some business-oriented tips. 

Password management: There are tools that offer super-secure ways to make sure your company passwords are accessible only to whom you want them to be. If you’ve ever tried to access a company account after the person who managed it is no longer with the company, you see the value here. Aside from the convenience, it’s a way to keep information super secure.

Policies and procedures: Make sure you have policies and procedures in place to prevent attacks. Train employees on good security etiquette. For most organizations, human error is by far the most likely source of mistakes that lead to breaches.

Insurance coverage: Should you experience a breach, having solid insurance coverage in place can make it a lot less painful by covering the financial loss. This article provides a lawyer’s guide to cybersecurity insurance coverage.

Penetration tests: Have third parties perform monthly security checks and an annual penetration test. 

Customer encryption: Encrypt all information at multiple levels. Encryption scrambles data so that it’s unreadable without the encryption key. This article on business cybersecurity says: 

“There are three ways to encrypt data: at rest, in motion and in use. Small businesses should be encrypting customer data at all three points, especially if those companies have e-commerce capabilities. Some of this is simple, like making sure your website is set up to allow only HTTPS transactions, a protocol that activates encryption. Other forms of encryption require expertise or support from a company that provides point-to-point encryption and tokenization technology, like Elavon.”

Conclusion

Any investment in your security is a wise investment indeed.

 

 

Dynamex decision - PayReel

A Dynamex Decision newsflash: It’s about to get real with Assembly Bill 5

A Dynamex Decision newsflash: It’s about to get real with Assembly Bill 5 6000 4000 Heidi McLean

If you’re paying attention to the world of independent contractors (ICs), you’re already familiar with the Dynamex Decision (which we covered here). So what makes the recent Assembly Bill 5 news flashy? It’s that this bill approves codifying the ruling. That means the decision is one step closer to being iron-clad law (along with all the usual associated legalese and fines, of course).  

What are the arguments?

Reclassifying many ICs as employees protects workers

Supporters of the bill, such as San Diego Assembly member Lorena González said, “Big businesses shouldn’t be able to pass their costs on to taxpayers while depriving workers of the labor law protections they are rightfully entitled to.”

While it certainly affects many more industries than the ride-hailing apps Lyft and Uber, those companies do often end up at the center of the debate. Multiple class action lawsuits prove that plenty of drivers are fighting for the labor protections that come with being employees.

It’s not really about the workers

California frequently passes laws claiming to support the workers, but company representatives for the ride-hailing apps are quick to say workers like the freedom to create their own schedules. You’ll find many independent contractors (drivers as well as those in other industries) who agree. They like being able to choose compatible clients and projects and build a business for themselves instead of feeling like a cog in a corporate wheel.

Some workers could end up making less as employees. Employers don’t pay ICs the same taxes and benefits as they do employees and may start negotiating lower hourly rates for workers in order to keep their profits strong. That means newly-minted employees may make less even as they get access to benefits such as unemployment insurance, health care subsidies, paid parental leave, overtime pay, workers’ compensation, and a guaranteed $12 minimum hourly wage.

What is it most certainly about?

Money, cash, and dollar dollar bills

This goes for all parties. This New York Times article says companies like Uber and Lyft would have to raise their labor costs by 20 to 30 percent if they reclassify drivers as employees.

Big-time tax dollars (as in billions with a B)

According to the court’s ruling on the Dynamex decision, “the misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees is a very serious problem, depriving federal and state governments of billions of dollars in tax revenue.”

Small businesses can avoid certain taxes with fewer employees and independent contractors can write off business expenses and may also underreport their income. Hence the resulting “deprivation.”

What about exemptions?  

Not all ICs want to be employees

Many hairstylists, for example, benefit from the “booth rental” model. As part of the salon, they get the benefit of the establishment’s marketing as well as possible walk-in clients. Still, they set their own schedule, manage their own business, and keep any earnings beyond their rent.

The bill seeks to accommodate such industries, hairstylists included, by exempting them from the ruling. There are plenty of other exemptions (such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, architects, insurance agents, accountants, engineers, financial advisers, and real estate agents) in the bill for professionals deemed true independent contractors who negotiate their own contracts.

The bottom line

It’s hard to overstate the potential impact of this subject. These headlines (from this week) demonstrate that this isn’t the last we’ve heard on the subject:

California bill advances, could shape battle in other states

This bill could make Uber drivers employees in California

Just can’t get enough of Dynamex?! We promise to cover everything you’d ever want to know about it and maybe a few things you wish you didn’t need to know.  

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with contingent workforce management and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

 

affordable care act ACA - PayReel

Here’s what 2019 holds for the ACA

Here’s what 2019 holds for the ACA 5570 3714 Heidi McLean

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is making the news again as a coalition of the Trump administration and GOP-led states are appealing courts to take it down completely.

What’s at stake?

It depends on who you ask.

Many believe that the ACA lands squarely in the land of government overreach. Additionally, the act has its share of problems. Despite President Obama’s assertion otherwise, some people did lose coverage they liked. According to this article, many healthy people also saw “their premiums and out-of-pocket costs soar.” The same article identifies the “hardest hit” as those “who earn just slightly too much to qualify for federal premium subsidies.”

Without the ACA, this USAToday article predicts drug prices will soar and rural care will suffer. Additionallythis article points to concerns about the 21 million people who are at risk of losing coverage, including those with preexisting conditions. For his part, President Trump tweeted his assertion that “Republicans will always support Pre-Existing Conditions” and that a replacement plan “will be on full display during the Election as a much better & less expensive alternative to Obamacare.”

Remind me about that penalty

It’s gone. While proponents of the penalty for not having health insurance say it’s a large part of making the ACA work, Congress declared the penalty unconstitutional in 2017. The new ruling goes into effect in 2019. That means taxpayers can go without healthcare or explore alternative options without seeing a ding on their tax bill starting next year.

How can employers prepare for the changes?

In the Fall of 2018, the Trump administration provided new ways for states to provide alternatives to the Affordable Care Act. So far, no states have taken the offer. Still, under new proposed rules, it’s not out of the question that employers may be able to stop offering group health care in the future. According to this article, the option could make way for employers to offer “employee health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) for purchasing individual health insurance instead of providing group health coverage.”   

While there is virtually no limit to speculation about what lies ahead, there’s no need to jump into action prematurely. Even though it’s a hot topic and a political lightning rod, many analystsincluding those at Littler, our go-to on subjects like thesedon’t expect to see many significant changes in the near future.

Don’t mistake that prediction for a free pass to ignore the subject though. Political persuasions aside, the passing of the Affordable Care Act represented a major overhaul of the United States’ healthcare system. The question of how to move forward continues—whether the bill itself remains in some form or gets dismantled. One thing is certain: This debate isn’t going anywhere and the consequences of every decision are vast.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with contingent workforce management and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

 

 

Cannabis, workplace impairment, and 5 questions to consider

Cannabis, workplace impairment, and 5 questions to consider 3438 5157 Heidi McLean

workplace impairmentWhat used to be black and white, and is now suddenly gray all over? When marijuana use was simply illegal, employers could legally make employment decisions based on use alone. As states decriminalize the use of medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, and CBD oil, the conversation gets much more complicated. Nowhere is it more important to pay close attention than in the workplace.

What are some of the complicating factors?

Marijuana products are increasingly finding their way legally into workers’ lifestyles. While marijuana’s presence in the workplace isn’t new, several factors complicate today’s iteration of the conversation:

What do we do about workplace impairment?

Even in a world where some marijuana use is legal, employers are still required to manage impairment. Trends show a push toward treating cannabis more like alcohol and focusing efforts on impairment rather than on use.

For example, while employers can’t tell employees not to drink, they can require employees not to be drunk at work. Even if the drinking happened outside of the office, drunkenness in the workplace hinders workers’ ability to do their job. To varying degrees, and depending on the role (operating heavy machinery, for example), workplace impairment could affect the employee, company equipment, and the public.

Can we talk about legal stuff for a minute?

For every case that rules in favor of the employee, there’s one that rules in favor of the employer. As individual cases play out in the courtrooms, time will tell which ones set the precedent as the law of the land.

In California’s Ross v. Ragingwire case, the courts ruled in favor of the employer, citing the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which does not require employers to accommodate medical marijuana use.

On the other end of the spectrum, in Whitmire v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the court sided with an employee with a medical marijuana card. It determined that Walmart could not fire her simply for testing positive for marijuana metabolites. She was a legal user who claimed not to smoke at or before work. To justify her dismissal, Walmart would need to prove she was impaired at work—a much harder task. 

How do we update our policies to evolve with the times?

Black and white “zero tolerance” statements may not serve employers’ best interests anymore, but that doesn’t mean it’s a free for all. It’s really about updating your workplace policies and complying with best practices. Know the rules in your state and update your policies and procedures accordingly. Consider including a definition of workplace impairment and detailing progressive discipline policies to address the behavioral challenges.

Should employers identify signs of impairment (glassy eyes, changes in behavior, etc.), well-written policies and procedures can guide the response and remove as much subjectivity as possible.

What about hiring and firing?

Hiring and firing bring up challenges from both legal and operational standpoints. First, a note on the legal side: in most states that have decriminalized marijuana use, businesses are still legally able to fire workers who test positive. This is the case here in Colorado. On the other hand, in Maine (another state that has legalized recreational use) companies are no longer able to fire or refuse to hire someone for using marijuana outside work.

Even where employers can legally make hiring and firing decisions based on use, the same article indicates that some companies are still testing for other drugs but dropping marijuana in the pre-screening tests. The article quoted James Reidy, an employment lawyer, saying that some companies have a hard enough time filling positions and “don’t want to exclude a whole group of people.” Instead, “companies are thinking harder about the types of jobs that should realistically require marijuana tests. If a manufacturing worker, for instance, isn’t driving a forklift or operating industrial machinery, employers may deem a marijuana test unnecessary.”

The bottom line

Regardless of anyone’s personal feelings about cannabis, the conversation around marijuana use and workplace impairment is changing. This affects businesses whether they want to think about it or not. As always, there is no gray area in this simple fact: addressing changes proactively makes life better later.  

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with contingent workforce management and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

 

 

Nestle - PayReel

No pressure, but you really need to fix your contractor payroll dysfunction

No pressure, but you really need to fix your contractor payroll dysfunction 501 291 Heidi McLean

I’m not saying you’re dysfunctional, but if you can answer ‘yes’ to any of the following questions, you probably have some flaws in your contractor payroll systems. But don’t worry! This isn’t like family dysfunction that can only be handled with gobs of counseling and Netflix marathons. We’re talking about something that can actually be solved with tried and true, deeply unsexy, un-volatile systems.

Payroll problems are easy to spot

Have you ever made a contracting mis-hire because of a time crunch?

Do you find yourself fighting payrolling fires at least once a month?

Have you ever lost favor with one of your best contractors by paying late?

Do you have a reputation among contractors for slow payments? Do you think you might but just not know it?

Do concerns about compliance, worker classification, IRS audits, and payroll efficiency keep you up at night?

via GIPHY

Yep…we can do better. Now what?

If you regularly hire independent contractors and/or temporary employees, follow these best practices to right the ship:

Go mobile and paperless

Collecting real-time data allows you to monitor your budget. This insight is priceless. Going paperless eliminates a thousand opportunities for error and ensures a digital record of every little thing.

File forms on time   

Plug in important dates as well as their related tasks so tax deadlines and other important dates never sneak up on you. Anytime you miss a deadline with W-2s, 1099s, 1095-Cs, and so on, you’ll end up with more work and headache on the back end. If you’re proactive, you avoid penalties, too.

Classify employees correctly

This is a biggie—and one we discuss often. You’ll need to consider up front whether your workers are full-time employees or independent contractors and whether they’re exempt or not. Getting classification wrong leads to a cascade of issues. If you’re not sure, ask an expert. This is no guessing game.

How to spot the right hiring partner for contractor payroll

If a high level of service would free you up to focus on other aspects of business, you really should think about hiring a partner. Consider a payroll management system. The right hiring partner:

  1. Has checks and balances to make sure contractors receive payments on time
  2. Has a tried and true payroll system that meets state and federal regulations
  3. Is paperless. Because “I need more paper on my desk” is a thing you’ll never hear a reasonable person say
  4. Offers custom solutions for your particular business or industry
  5. Handles employee classification LIKE A BOSS

The bottom line

Payroll dysfunction is a super common, super damaging, and super avoidable issue. Nobody makes great decisions under pressure, and having a systemic problem in a department as important as Payroll can add up to a lot of pressure. Clean up your internal practices and/or hire a partner to take it off your plate so you can sleep better at night and make decisions from that place where you’re a rational, functioning human being.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

 

A one dollar bill is photographed in front of a white background. - PayReel

How to Determine a Payroll Schedule for Your Company

How to Determine a Payroll Schedule for Your Company 500 333 Heidi McLean

Whether you’re starting a new company or you’re trying to develop a better strategy for your company’s payroll, there are a few things to keep in mind. This includes the state your business is presently in, the types of workers you have, and when you are able to push your workers’ paychecks through.

Here are some starting points that will help you find the right payroll schedule for your company.

View your state’s payday requirements

Did you know that each state has a set of specific requirements when it comes to your workers’ payroll? The United State Department of Labor features a graph that shows specific regulations around payroll. This should be your first step, which might narrow down your options.

Analyze your workers’ hours

Most companies have full-time, part-time, and perhaps even workers contracted by the hour (aka freelancers). It’s important to take inventory of this before determining your payroll system. If you’re working with freelancers, for example, you’ll want to understand the time-card approval process your company is currently using.

Decide the payment cadence

When putting together your payroll schedule, the biggest question might be how often your workers are paid. Some companies, including non-profits, have specific guidelines, such as only having the option to pay full-time employees once per month.

If your business has options, consider which system is best: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly. There are pros and cons for each, however, you could also send a survey to your workers to collect their preferences. This might also help you decide what day of the month will be payday.

Payment date

After the payment cadence, it’s time to decide when your workers will be paid, versus how often. If you have to approve hours in order to issue paychecks, give yourself or your accountant plenty of time.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “36.5 percent of U.S. private businesses [pay] their employees every two weeks.” Fridays are common for paydays, although it will vary depending on your cadence. Although your workers might have preferences, you’ll want to consider what’s best for your organization as well.

All-in-one payroll management solution

If you’re looking for another way to help organize your payroll system, consider a payroll management system that will take the hassle out of paying your workers. PayReel offers an innovative solution to aid companies with managing freelancers, ensuring they receive their payments on time. Our paperless payroll system meets state regulations, and it delivers payments efficiently and with ease. You no longer have to worry about all the details — we do the hard work for you.

Your specific payroll strategy will depend on your state’s requirements, your accountant’s suggestions, and what’s best for your business overall. Read more tips for payroll management!

If your company is looking for a payroll management system, it would be worth considering an Employer of Record (EOR) who can handle all of your business’ payroll, employee tax work, benefit management, compliance and worker classification. Payroll is simply the tip of the iceburg when it comes to business needs in employee management and support. Think about all of your company’s short and long-term goals when selecting the best payroll management system and EOR for your business.

Learn more about how PayReel can simplify your payroll and worker management processes.

 

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

overtime payreel - PayReel

What the new DOL proposal means for overtime

What the new DOL proposal means for overtime 4978 3319 Heidi McLean

Heads up: overtime exemptions are about to change. On March 7th, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed new regulations which will make more than a million more people eligible for overtime pay.

The proposal raises the salary-level threshold 

The proposal increases the salary-level threshold for white-collar exemptions. Workers earning less than $35,308 a year ($679 a week) will be eligible for overtime even if they’re classified as a manager or professional. This is a scaled-back version of the Obama administration’s 2016 proposal, which sought to increase the cutoff to $47,476 in 2016 and automatically adjust the threshold every three years.

Other key points

  • Nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level.
  • Workers who earn at least $147,414 ($679 of which must be paid weekly on a salary or fee basis) are considered highly compensated and therefore exempt.
  • The expected effective date will be around January 2020.
  • The DOL will evaluate updates to the salary threshold every four years.

What it means for business

Scandals in the making

Nobody wants to be the center of the biggest scandal of the year. Still, wherever you find guidelines, you’ll also find someone trying to get around them. It behooves companies, however, to be proactive about new guidelines instead of trying to work around them. Just ask the happiest place on earth. For its not so happy dealings (broken down here), Disney agreed to pay $3.8 million in back wages for violations (including failing to pay overtime).

More people will be eligible for overtime 

The key point in the proposal stands to make over a million more workers eligible for overtime. Many companies and industries that traditionally require long hours have always made room for fudging paperwork. In some cases, companies negotiate a flat rate and contractors work as long as it takes to get the job done. Since it’s standard practice, submitting time sheets that read “9-5” when everyone knows it was actually 9-9 hasn’t necessarily seemed unethical or unfair to either party. That’s just the way it is. Or at least the way it has been. As attention increases, workers may start questioning their overtime eligibility.

A cultural shift 

The proposal also brings into question current pay practices and the broader culture they exist in. The more the press highlights these points, the more the people talk. And the more the people talk, the more the wink and nod approach will come under scrutiny. The frequency of corporate scandals similar to Disney’s points to a broader culture that tolerates or encourages finding a way around the rules. A 2014 study found that “Nearly nine in 10 (89%) fast food workers report that they have been the victim of wage theft at their fast food job, and most have experienced multiple forms of wage theft.” 

Nothing shifts culture quicker than attention. As laws change and contractors and workers start thinking “this relates to me,” there will be pushback against industry norms. And it’s not just the workers. The media love to find and expose wrongdoings.

The benefits of compliance are bigger than complying

A mutual expectation of a flat rate for an undetermined number of work hours doesn’t count as compliance. Duties and level of pay dictate whether or not someone is eligible for overtime, not tradition. Disney isn’t the only company bending the rules. They just got caught. While the circumstances differ, any industry can learn a few lessons from Disney about how to walk above board and avoid ending up in court. Disney said in a statement to the Orlando Sentinel, “We are adjusting our procedures to avoid this in the future.”

The benefits of complying with rules go far beyond avoiding scandals and fines. Companies who get ahead of the game and comply—without before being forced to do so in the courts—stand to maintain consumer and employee trust. Such trust is hard to earn but even harder to win back after losing it. Why gamble your business instead of just recognizing eventual changes to overtime regulations now?

 

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

workers comp - PayReel

When workers’ comp sucks: a cautionary tale

When workers’ comp sucks: a cautionary tale 6500 4333 Heidi McLean

An insurance company says a doctor provided false info. The doc has no comment. Meanwhile, the psychologist says the insurance overruled his decision and handled the case so poorly he’s not going to take workers’ comp cases anymore. And then there’s Neil Eckelberger — the guy in the middle of it all trying to get on with his life after a devastating accident at work left him with ringing ears and painful skin grafts. Seventeen months later, he’s still fighting with insurance. It’s a cautionary tale.

Any form of insurance is a gamble and we don’t expect it to be perfect. But we keep our end of the bargain by paying our premiums and we expect insurance companies to keep their end by covering the unexpected incidents we’ve insured against. The above story shows just how vulnerable we are to the companies we trust with our insurance policies. So let’s dig a little deeper into who needs workers’ comp insurance and where the industry is going.

Who needs workers’ comp insurance?

Offering proper insurance is crucial for every company with employees. Of course, the best claim is the one that’s never filed and we talked recently about how companies can mitigate risk when it comes to workers’ comp. The point remains, though. At its best, insurance protects the employee and the employer. By putting the onus on the insurance company to address claims, companies ensure against lawsuits for accidents and injuries that occur on the job while still ensuring workers get the care they need.

While some companies don’t want to offer coverage on such a small scale, some suggest that even freelancers need coverage. The higher the job risk, the more important the coverage. Freelancers who feel this investment might be important for them may consider checking if their state has a state-sponsored workers compensation fund where self-employed contractors may apply for coverage.

What else?

The cautionary tale above ends with the reporter saying the whole thing highlights the need for reform. Maybe it’s to be expected that a complex subject like workers’ comp would come with some issues. Take the following headlines (from this week alone!) for example:

  1. Do high health plan deductibles lead to more workers’ compensation claims?
  2. Participants in $200 million dollar workers’ comp scheme sentenced
  3. Orlando Apollos will start practicing in Georgia because of Florida workers’ compensation laws
  4. Workers’ compensation costs rise; Unified focuses on safety 
  5. Buffett confirms Berkshire Hathaway selling workers comp unit

These headlines indicate that workers abuse the system, employers are attempting to curb costs, health insurance issues may bleed over into workers’ comp, doctors are fed up, and Buffett is bailing. Perhaps these issues point to the canary in the coal mine that this battle is just beginning.

The bottom line

The list of reforms is long and everyone has a different opinion. But one thing isn’t up for debate: workers’ comp is important to both employers and workers.

The best workers’ compensation insurers will respond quickly and address claims fairly. As usual, some companies are better than others. You never know how an insurer will handle a claim until you’re involved. This guy Neil likely didn’t lose sleep over his coverage, but now he is really in a pickle. It’s a good idea to get personal recommendations. Ask people in your network who’ve had a front row seat to a claim how they felt their insurance company handled it. While cost is certainly a factor when choosing insurance, it pays to think beyond the numbers. If your coverage sucks, any claim you end up with will suck your time and energy into it. You have better things to do.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

men on stilts - PayReel

If your benefits went with you, how far would you go?

If your benefits went with you, how far would you go? 4000 4000 Heidi McLean

The idea of a safety net takes its inspiration from a circus act. The net allows performers to leap from one bar to the next knowing that if they fall, they will be caught by the net instead of falling directly to the earth. On top of a regular paycheck, traditional employment comes with a safety net. Workers at traditional jobs have access to a variety of benefits, including some or all of the following: short-term disability insurance, health insurance, tax-advantaged retirement plans, training and development, advanced education support, workers’ compensation, paid vacation time, and sick pay. There are some real perks!

The idea of a portable benefits system is to provide a form of safety net to non-traditional workers (think contractors, freelancers, and on-demand workers) who do not have access to the same benefits aside from what they buy themselves. The premise is that the security of a fallback plan at its best allows for innovation, flexibility, and freedom. In theory, that in turn creates more entrepreneurs, more jobs, and more spending power. According to the Aspen Institute, a portable benefits system “would improve financial security and empower workers to take more control over their own economic future.”

Who pays for portable benefits?

Okay, so who’s going to buy and build this safety net? This, of course, is one of the foundational questions. Proposals vary, but in one option, workers, the government, and companies all contribute to a portable benefits account. The fund then covers medical insurance, workers’ pension, training and development, paid leave, and employment insurance. Such a system requires heavy government involvement, which has its critics. Another option would be for companies to contribute to a pool of money for non-traditional workers. That money would then be distributed to the workers through intermediaries or by the employers directly.

While some say both workers and employers can benefit, it could be a tough pill to swallow for employers, who may have to pay more, pass on costs to consumers, or limit the number of contractors they take on.

What’s ahead?

There are a lot of dogs in this fight. Uber (which has come under fire for their handling of employee classification) has provided what it calls guiding principles for a system and asked for a collaborative effort from lawmakers. For their part, lawmakers in Washington, California, New Jersey, New York and beyond have made proposals to address the subject. Even our neighbors to the north are wrestling with the options.

All this points to the fact that this subject is very much on the radar. All parties will continue searching for answers. Employers and the government will wonder who should pay for/administer such benefits and what level of involvement (if any) the government should have. No matter where the evolution takes us, it’s a hot topic and it pays to pay attention. And one question might be on workers’ minds above others: If benefits follow them, how far might they go?

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

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Four ways to mitigate workers’ compensation risk

Four ways to mitigate workers’ compensation risk 5184 3456 Heidi McLean

Who needs workers’ compensation? Anyone with employees, it turns out. Workers’ compensation provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment. Just like any other insurance, it’s one you hope you’ll never need. Still, if you do need it, you’ll be so glad you have it. Employers that ensure worker safety and implement best practices before they need them are in the best position to protect employees, keep claims manageable, and maybe even keep premiums down.

Four ways to mitigate workers’ compensation risk

Prevent the need for claims:

Chase prevention like you would chase the crisis or you’ll certainly end up chasing a crisis. Make regular safety meetings, ongoing education, and performance metrics standard procedure. If you don’t have the budget to implement every possible safety measure, you don’t have the budget for the project. The best workers’ comp claim is the one that never happens.

Implement and/or refine your claims management process:

Instead of scrambling to figure out how you’ll handle a claim if it comes up, take steps ahead of time. Make sure that reserves are accurate. Have a standard operating procedure. Decide who will talk to the adjuster and within what time frame. Taking the time to lay out your processes while your brain isn’t in crisis mode means sounder decisions. The added benefit is that it will reassure your adjuster that you’re engaged and motivated to reach a speedy resolution.

Implement a return to work program:

Have a plan for injured workers who have been cleared for modified duty. These measures reassure insurance companies while demonstrating professionalism to employees.

Invest in accurate worker classification:

An independent contractor filing a workers’ comp claim can easily land a well-intentioned company on IRS and DOL radar screens. This happens with surprising frequency despite the logical assumption that an independent contractor should understand the implications of a business-to-business relationship. One key aspect of a true B2B relationship is that a worker’s business activity exists independent of the employer. Preventing misclassification and communicating clearly with workers is a worthwhile preventative investment.

What’s ahead

Analysts anticipate changes for the workers’ compensation industry ahead. They expect “value-based care, political party changes in several states, and a more holistic view of patient injuries” to affect coverage in 2019. Workers’ compensation carriers may face declining profits and escalating claims costs and operating expenses. Companies that address the subject proactively will be in the best position to ensure minimal premium increases. Aside from cost, keeping employees safe is forever a worthwhile investment.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.