Employee Benefit Guidance & Compliance Solutions

March 2020 Newsletter

Posted by on March 1, 2020 in Newsletters

Dear Valued Clients and Associates,

The Spring Equinox is March 19; a time of renewal, it is the day of the year that light and dark are balanced. Symbolizing a time of regrowth and rebirth, it is a great time of year to regroup and re-prioritize! From spring cleaning to religious ceremonies and rituals, how do you welcome the longer, warmer days to come?

Would you like to discuss your company’s group insurance options? Interested in assistance navigating the available employee benefits options? We have been working with businesses for over 20 years and hold a 98% retention rate!

If you’d like to learn how we can help you reach your employee benefits and compliance goals, let’s chat! Give me a call today 732-258-1032.

Here is your March 2020 Newsletter with a combination of HR and Health related news. I hope you enjoy!



Coronavirus Prompts More Companies to Encourage Telework


Reduce exposure to community settings

Businesses in the U.S. should plan for “social distancing,” such as canceling meetings and conferences and arranging for employees to work from home, according to health officials.

To read more, click here



DOL Increases Civil Penalty Amounts for 2020

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently released its 2020 inflation-adjusted civil monetary penalties that may be assessed on employers for violations of a wide range of federal laws, including:

  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA);
  • The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA);
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); and
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).
  • To maintain their deterrent effect, the DOL is required to adjust these penalties for inflation no later than Jan. 15 of each year. Key penalty increases include the following:

  • The maximum penalty for violations of federal minimum wage or overtime requirements increases from $2,014 to $2,050 per violation.
  • The maximum penalty for failing to file a Form 5500 for an employee benefit plan increases from $2,194 to $2,233 per day.
  • The maximum penalty for violations of the poster requirement under the FMLA increases from $173 to $176 per each offense.

Employers should become familiar with the new penalty amounts and review their pay practices, benefit plan administration and safety protocols to ensure compliance with federal requirements.



Getting Real About Women’s Health Needs


For the first time since Mercer began this groundbreaking study five years ago and published the inaugural When Women Thrive global report, our latest survey shows that hiring, promotion and retention rates of women are comparable to those of men across all career levels. This finding represents a significant achievement, and was a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8.

Read more here



Healthy Muscles help you Look Great, Get Strong, Be Healthy

Natural Medicine & Rehabilitation

Healthy muscles enable you to move freely, keep your joints in good shape, help you keep your balance to reduce your risk of injury, and since muscles burn the most calories, maintaining and/or building muscle mass will help increase your metabolism to burn more calories more efficiently in order to keep you looking great, getting strong and being healthy. Exercise and good nutrition will help keep your muscles healthy.

Exercise is the only way to build muscles, but nutrition plays a critical role in building muscle mass while you’re not at the gym in between your workout sessions. Sugar is the number one ‘bad boy’ on the list. Whether you are trying to lose weight, tone your muscles, strengthen, or rehabilitate from an injury, sugar gets in the way!

Click here for the entire article



Employers Must Begin Using New Form I-9 by May 1

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently published a new version of Form I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification. The previous version of this form expired Aug. 31, 2019, but USCIS advised employers to continue using the expired form until a new form was made available.

Transition Period

With the new form, USCIS has also clarified that employers have the option of initially using either the expired or the new Form I-9. However, employers must begin using the new form exclusively by May 1, 2020.

What’s Different?

The paper version of the new form has not changed, but the electronic form shows a few minor changes. Specifically, the new form:

  • Lists additional countries (Eswatini and Macedonia) in the country of issuance field;
  • Clarifies who can act as an authorized employer representative;
  • Updates the USCIS website address;
  • Clarifies the list of acceptable documents;
  • Updates the process for requesting paper versions of the form; and
  • Updates the privacy notice from the Department of Homeland Security.

New Expiration Date

The new Form I-9 was approved by the Office of Management and Budget on Oct. 21, 2019, and has a new expiration date of Oct. 31, 2022.



IRS Releases Final Version of 2020 Form W-4

By Paylocity


  • The final is virtually unchanged from the previous draft.
  • The computation of withholding has not changed from the previous drafts.
  • Only new employees hired in 2020 or current employees that want to adjust their pay dated 1/1/2020 or later, must complete the new form.
  • The IRS has released a new Publication 15T, currently in draft form, located here. This contains the withholding tables and going forward will be released separately from Publication 15. The pub 15 and 15T are in the final stages of being finalized and will be published shortly.

To read more, click here



Helping Employees Embrace Workplace Change

Workplace changes are common across all organizations. Although some employees may embrace various changes to company systems or procedures, most individuals find workplace changes to be confusing, stressful and overwhelming. In fact, a recent study found that 71% of employees who experienced a large company change within the last year were less satisfied with their job than those who experienced little to no change.

While companies can’t avoid change in the workplace, there are steps they can take to minimize the negative effects that change can have on employees, such as dissatisfaction and burnout. To ensure a smooth transition, try the following action items:

  • Communicate the change early on. Have an open discussion with employees about why the change is occurring and what the expectations are for the change (e.g., better work environment, equipment, operations or opportunities). Never wait to communicate a huge initiative until the last second.
  • Recognize the achievements made under the old systems or operations. It’s important for employees to feel that all their hard work is still appreciated and is not being overlooked by the new system or procedure.
  • Discuss the pros and cons. Be transparent about any roadblocks or inconveniences employees may experience during the change.
  • Explain who will be affected and how. Before the change occurs, ensure all employees are aware of how it may affect them individually or as a department.
  • Explain when the change will occur. If possible, provide employees with a timeline for when the change will be taking place and how long it will take for the company to prepare for it.
  • Allow employees to express their concerns. After presenting the change, give employees the chance to ask questions or discuss any concerns they may have. Managers should touch base with employees throughout the transition process to ensure all employees are supported and well-informed.
  • Implement the change in stages. If there are various phases to the new change, try implementing them over time. This allows employees more time to grasp any new concepts and ask questions as necessary.
  • Be open to any modifications to the new procedure or operation. Once the transition has begun, be open to any new suggestions that employees may have that could improve any new systems or processes.



Exploring First Day of Spring Celebrations Around the World

By Staff, AccuWeather

Out of all four seasons, spring is one of the longest. This can come as a surprise, since winter usually seems never-ending, but the time to celebrate spring is coming before you know it. The first day of spring offers many gifts and symbolizes a period of regrowth and rebirth. Around the world, there are many different ways of celebrating this season. Read on for our list of ten spring equinox rituals and traditions in ten different places.

Read Here



Managing the Excuse-Makers

Some employees always seem to have an excuse for failing to meet expectations. Luckily, there are strategies managers can use to turn repeat excuse-makers into productive team members. Learn about these strategies in the video below.

Managing the Excuse-Makers – HR 360, Inc.



Need Dental Insurance?

Delta Dental now offers individual policies – Search Plans, see prices and sign up online here.


November 2019

Brandi Bowers | Benefits Consultant
PF Compass Employer Guidance & Benefit Solutions

461 Somerset St. North Plainfield NJ 07060
Tel (908) 791-5799

The content herein is provided for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other advice or opinions on any matters. This information has been taken from sources which we believe to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy.


Credits: Copyright © HR 360, Inc. All rights reserved., mercer.us, Natural Medicine & Rehab, AccuWeather, shrm.org, Paylocity

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