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Valentine’s Day Hearts and Harassment Training

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, we’ll give you things to consider before you ask your coworker to be your secret valentine. And if you still have questions, reach out to schedule your harassment training!

Our training covers:

-Define the differences between bullying and harassment.

-Discuss the different types of behavior in each.

-Why is it important to prevent harassment in the workplace?

-Who’s responsible?

-Company’s policy and complaint process.

-Retaliation (illegal and more than half of all charges filed in fiscal year 2021 included a retaliation claim)

 

Do you know the difference between bullying and harassment?

Bullying is “an ongoing pattern of physical or psychological aggression that is threatening, coercive, relentless, and leaves the victim feeling powerless.” There are 5 main types of bullying which include physical, emotional, relational, bystander victimization, and cyber bullying. Bullying itself is an act of aggression that can be both obvious and subtle. Can you identify examples of both obvious and subtle bullying? Can your employees?

Sexual harassment is “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in which submission to or rejection of such conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s work or school.” There are 2 types of sexual harassment. Quid pro quo occurs when a supervisor causes an employee to believe that they must submit to unwelcome sexual conduct in order to get a promotion or something else desirable at work. The second type of sexual harassment is creating a hostile environment. This occurs when unwelcome sexually harassing conduct is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it affects an employee’s ability to participate in or benefit from a program or activity, or creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive work environment. Harassment can come in the form of verbal, non-verbal, physical, innocent/unintentional pressure. Can you and your employees recognize harassment? 

Employees are responsible for creating a work environment free of bullying and harassment. You should eliminate harassing behavior such as demeaning, embarrassing, or offensive conduct. If you experience harassment, immediately report it to one of the persons indicated in your company’s non-harassment policy. Remember that retaliation is strictly prohibited.

Employers are responsible for creating and distributing a company policy and complaint procedure regarding bullying and harassment. Do you need help creating these? Contact us.

Retaliation is “an adverse action taken against an employee because he or she complained of harassment or discrimination or participated in an investigation” and is prohibited by anti-discrimination laws. Retaliation is any adverse action including demotion, discipline, termination, salary reduction, negative performance appraisal, change in job duties or shift assignment. More than half of all charges filed in fiscal year 2021 included a retaliation claim. Be sure you are compliant with anti-discrimination laws and contact us for support.

Click here to contact us for help regarding bullying and sexual harassment training and policy generation.

February 2023 Dates

FEBRUARY CALENDAR

February is Black History Month.

New W-4 2023 here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf 

*Employers that file 250 or more information returns with the IRS must file the returns electronically.

If you are unsure how to navigate these deadlines and communicate with your team, HR Synergy is happy to help you.

Click here to contact us.

February 1 Post OSHA Form 300A Summary through April 30

 

Form 1099-NEC to both the IRS and to recipients

 

IRS Form 1099-NEC: Report non-employee compensation on Form 1099-NEC instead of Form 1099-MISC (beginning with the 2020 tax year).

February 2  Groundhog Day
February 8  Due Date for Form 1099-MISC with only box 8 & 10 to be sent to the recipient
February 10 Annual Form 940 Due (If quarterly FUTA taxes were paid when due)
February 20  Presidents’ Day
February 21  Mardi Gras
February 28  Deadline to file ACA Forms 1094-C, 1095-B, 1095-C, 1099-MISC without NEC to IRS (If paper filing)

 

(January 31 1095 forms delivered to employees, March 2 proposed automatic extension)

 

Form 8809 Paper filing with IRS*

 

(IRS Form 8809: Request an extension of the due date to file federal tax forms including the W-2, W-2G, 1042-S, and 1094-C.)

March 31 Electronic filing with IRS

2023: Inflation, recession, compensation, & retention

Do your employees feel like their salaries aren’t keeping up with the climb of inflation as their personal financial stressors of housing, groceries, gas, and medical costs increase? 80% of 1,100 employees surveyed this October feel this way according to Remote.co, a remote-work resource. Fortunately, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) only rose 7.1% for the 12 months ending in November, compared to 9.1% year-over-year high for the period ending in June. Employers are concerned about economic uncertainty, the threatening recession, and shifting employee needs.

Be aware that your employees may feel pressure with their career choices, causing 47% of them to look for higher-paying jobs and 31% taking a side job for extra cash.

For the past few years, HR and employers agree with being transparent with employees in regard to pay. HR Synergy offers tools that can help ease your burden with the challenge of navigating a tight labor market amid a shifting global economy.

To assist with educating employees about the direct and indirect costs paid by their employer, we work with clients to prepare a total compensation letter (“hidden paycheck”) at the end of the year; for all employees. See the example below. Do you want your employees to truly understand what their compensation consists of beyond salary?

Employees are feeling the pressure with the financial choices they need to make. 45% tightened their budget and 23% are putting more money towards an emergency fund. Nearly half of employees surveyed were hesitant to contribute as much as they previously did to their consumer-driven health (CDH) accounts (health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs)). Compared to CDH contributions during the pandemic where almost ¾ of employees did not make adjustments. HR Synergy can help counsel how using CDH accounts and paying for things with pre-tax dollars can save your employees money. Billions in tax savings are left on the table. Let us help you help your employees shift their thinking from short-term expenses to long-term investments. We can clearly show how using pre-tax dollars can save them money.

Employers are already increasing salaries an average of 4.6% in 2023 (vs. 4.2% in 2022) in response to inflation and the employee-driven job market. 63% of executives intend to increase compensation adjustments due to inflation this year according to the consulting firm Gartner. Consider making the salary increases through two adjustments throughout the year. Employees do not want to perpetuate the vicious cycle of increased wages causing the price of products and services to increase. Contact HR Synergy today to help you complete a market analysis for your jobs to determine pay increases based on market competitiveness.

These are volatile times. There are other steps besides increasing salaries or giving bonuses to counter inflation felt by employees. Focus on a supportive company culture and retention of quality employees. You can offer fair pay, flexible work options, career development opportunities, promote from within, provide competitive (financial wellness) benefits, and give regular feedback. Lastly, intentionally show employees your appreciation to give them a feeling of job security and foster loyalty.

Click here to contact us for help regarding employee retention and more information on a total compensation letter.

January 2023 Dates

January is National Mentor Month.

Employers & Employees verify your personal information for W-2 purposes.

Be on the look-out for your W-2.

*If you use Bamboo HR for payroll, you have direct access to W-2’s.

Check for poster updates in any of the states where you conduct business.

New W-4 2023 here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf 

January 1 New Year’s Day
January 2 New Year’s Day observed
January 16 Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 28 National Puzzle Day

*Crossword submission due

January 98 Data Privacy Day
January 31 Forms W-2 & 1099 Distribution and Filing Deadlines (paper and e-file)
January 31 Quarterly Forms 720 and 941 Due
January 31 Annual Form 940 Due (if quarterly FUTA taxes were not paid when due)

HR Synergy Recipes

Michelle’s Favorite Buffalo Chicken Dip for the Big Game (1/2023)
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chicken, diced, cooked
  • 2/3 cup buffalo sauce
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese dressing (or Ranch dressing)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine blue cheese dressing, sour cream, and cream cheese.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine diced chicken, buffalo sauce, and garlic powder. Add half of the chicken mixture to cream cheese mixture along with celery, green onions, and half of the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.
  4. Spread mixture into an 8×8 baking dish. Top with remaining buffalo chicken and remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Michelle’s Favorite Lace Cookies (12/2022)

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter salted
  • 2 1⁄4 cups brown sugar packed
  • 2 1⁄4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons flour all purpose
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, brown butter until it turns brown in color and nutty in aroma. Remove from heat. Allow to cool 5 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl or mixer, combine brown sugar, oats, egg and vanilla. Gradually add brown butter. Mix until combined.
  4. Stir in salt and flour.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, drop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet leaving ample room to spread. Bake 6 minutes or until golden brown. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about a minute before removing to a wire rack.
Tips to Make them Thin and Crispy
  • Do not chill the dough. Mix and bake immediately.
  • Do not use aluminum foil or grease your cookie sheet.
  • Use a spatula to remove them from the sheet after they cool for 5 minutes and allow them to cool on a wire rack to continue to crisp.
To Store
  • Room Temperature – Cool cookies before storing in a glass airtight container. Store with wax paper up to 2 weeks.
  • Refrigerate – Cool cookies before storing in a glass airtight container. Store with wax paper up to 2 weeks. This method is great for keeping them crisp, especially in humid environments.

December 2022 Dates

December is Safe Toys & Gifts Month.
Remind Employees to verify their personal information for W-2 purposes.
Remember to update Handbooks.
December 4 National Cookie Day
December 18-26 Hanukkah
December 21  Winter Solstice
December 25 

(December 26)

Christmas Day

(observed) 

December 26-January 1  Kwanzaa
December 31  New Year’s Eve

End of Q4

Holiday Party Dos and Don’ts

Remember, this time of year is not just for celebrating Christmas. To be sure you create an inclusive office party, consider the timing and title of your celebration. Consider branding it an End-of-the-year or New Year party. You can focus on the organization’s accomplishments over the previous year, not a holiday. Whatever you do, steer clear of calling it a “holiday party,” consider a winter/New Year theme with snowflakes, icicles, balloons, streamers, and confetti if you want it to be seasonal.

Location is important; everyone should have the chance to be included. Find ways to recognize all employees, regardless of where they work. If you have out of state employees, consider a virtual option for participation. Consider a virtual seasonal sweater or best decorated desk contest.

Food needs to be inclusive too and not related to a single cultural event. A fun way to include everyone is to have employees bring their favorite dish to share with a write-up on its ingredients and seasonal significance. If you choose to provide alcohol, also include a mocktail bar for those that do not drink.

Don’t unnecessarily spend on company gifts. However, showing genuine appreciation is important. Employees prefer to have options to choose what gift fits them best. A catalog of options, including tangible and experience gifts, based on points an employee receives through the year gives autonomy in gift selections. Think of items/experiences that will build a connection between employees and your organization that they will remember.

Help your employees avoid office party pitfalls. Recirculate your anti-harassment policy prior to the party. Inviting a Santa to have employees “sit on his lap” or hanging mistletoe is probably a bad idea. Do not include a dance floor in order to prevent inappropriate interactions. If complaints do arise from the gathering, give a prompt and thorough response to resolve the issue.

Lastly, about ⅓ of employees actually enjoy office parties, ⅓ are indifferent, and ⅓ don’t like them. Talk to your employees about their preferences. Therefore, you could replace the party altogether for an alternative event, team building, or service project. Think about attending a sporting event, going bowling, attempting an escape room, or painting your own pottery party.

Whatever you decide, show gratitude to your employees and celebrate the year you’ve had together.

Click here to contact us for ideas on hosting HR-friendly inclusive end-of-the-year celebrations.

2022 Employment Law Updates (not all inclusive)


Employment laws and regulations are constantly changing. If you are not one to keep an eye on the Federal DOL and your State DOL, you may miss out on some important compliance updates. Failure to comply with labor laws can result in fines and penalties.

 

HR Synergy is constantly monitoring labor law changes and updates across the United States. We put forth our best efforts to make sure our clients are aware of these changes in the states they operate in and help them to understand what they may need to do to be compliant.

 

If you are unsure your company is compliant with all of the employment laws that apply to your business, give us a call!

 

Here is a condensed (not complete) list of a few of the Employment Law Changes in 2022.

 

Arizona Law Imposes New Workers’ Compensation Notice Requirements

California Revises Formula for Paid Family Leave and State Disability Insurance Benefits

California Requires Pay Range in Job Postings

Colorado Blocks Noncompete Agreements

Colorado Requires Contributions for Paid Family and Medical Leave on January 1

Connecticut Employers Must Provide Notice of Rights Under Family Medical Leave Law

D.C. Employers of Tipped Workers Must Conduct Sexual Harassment Training

D.C. Tip Credit Eliminated

Delaware Paid Family and Medical Leave Law Signed

Florida 2023 Minimum Wage

Maine Prohibits Hairstyle Discrimination

Maryland Legalizes Cannabis

Massachusetts Updates Paid Family and Medical Leave Contribution Rates

Massachusetts Prohibits Hairstyle Discrimination

Nevada Minimum Wage Increase July 1, 2024

New Hampshire Employment of Minors Law Changes

New Hampshire Failure to Consider Medical Cannabis as a Reasonable Accommodation and Employment Discrimination Liability

New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission Issues Guidance for Workplaces

New York Home Care Aides Minimum Wage Increases

Washington Requires Pay Ranges in Job Postings

Washington: PFML Premium Rate Increases for 2023

 

Wondering if any of the 2022 Employment law changes apply to your organization? Let’s set up a free consultation to discuss how we can help!

 

2022 Year-End HR Checklist

W-2’s will be sent out this month. To limit the risk of being delivered to the wrong address, remind employees to verify their personal information, most importantly, current mailing address.
*Note: Check with your payroll provider to see if W-2’s will be available electronically for employees. If you use BambooHR for payroll, employees will have direct access to their W-2’s in BambooHR.
Check for poster updates in any of the states where you conduct business.
Access new 2023 W-4 here.
Also, be sure to use our HR Checklist below.