July 2009 
5 Ways to Evaluate the Effectiveness of your Payroll Provider

On the surface, a paycheck is simply the payment made to an employee for the services that they provide to your company.  Handling this transaction properly, however, helps an employee manage his or her money, and goes a long way toward building a trusting employee/employer relationship. If you haven't evaluated your payroll provider lately, consider the following:
1.      Do they help me understand and follow the rules?
Taxes, forms, reports, deposits, experience ratings, wage limits etc. Do you understand the payroll process? Can your provider answer questions about deposit schedules and the various tax rates?  Do you understand how unemployment claims affect your unemployment tax rate? Can you get explanations about issues that are important to you?  
2.      Do they help me when I run into unique situations?
If you hire an employee who works for you here in Illinois, but lives in Indiana, do you know how the taxes get handled? If an employee claims Exempt on their W4 form, do you know what that means and should you allow it? If you receive a Wage Assignment in the mail, are you required to comply?
3.      Do they help me provide information to others who need it?   Employment verifications, mortgage applications, attorney requests, insurance companies, etc. Is information readily available so that you can respond to these requests in a timely fashion? Better yet, will your payroll provider respond on your behalf?
4.      Do they help me catch and correct my own mistakes?
Have you ever added hours incorrectly on a time sheet, forgot to make a pay adjustment, or recorded time worked as regular hours instead of Holiday hours?  Does your payroll provider know your business well enough to catch problems like that?  Will they call you up to resolve it before running payroll?
5.      Do they help me answer my employee's questions?
If an employee inquires about receiving EIC payments on their paycheck, does your payroll provider know how to handle this? Will they provide your employee with the correct form to fill out, and answer their questions about how to do so? What if an employee owed too much income tax last year and wants to adjust their withholding. Will your provider work with them directly to make the modifications that they need?

Advantage Employment does do ALL of the things described above. We are a Human Solution, not a Technical Solutions. That is what sets us apart.  Large highly automated or Internet based payroll processors simply can't provide the human touch needed to answer these questions properly. If you are frustrated with that, we would love to help.

Payroll is only one element of the Human Resource services that we provide. I look forward to talking with you about any of the challenges that you face in your business.

Sandra Teague, SPHR
Advantage Employment, Inc.
Family Leave Insurance Act

A bill introduced in Congress on May 25th would significantly alter FMLA regulations and require employers to provide PAID leave. Crain's Chicago Business, in their July 13th edition, wrote the following about this Labor Law item to watch:

The Family Leave Insurance Act would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave benefits to workers who need to care for an ill family member or new child, treat their own illness or deal with the deployment of a member of the military. 

[Applies to] Businesses covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which regulates employers with at least 50 employees. Mr. Obama has indicated his support for expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover companies with at least 25 employees.

For further information on this or other pending legislation, please e-mail Sandra Teague.
Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act
Medical SymbolCapitol Hill continues to consider dozens of employee friendly legislative measures.  Although not all will make it through the legislative process, many likely will, and many have the support of the Obama administration.  The challenge is not in coming up with laws that are favorable to employees. The challenge is in making these laws so that they make sense from an employers point of view, and that they are affordable.  Crain's Chicago Business published the following summary of the Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act in their July 13th edition:

The Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act amends the Family and Medical Leave Act to allow employees up to four hours during any 30-day period, and up to 24 hours during any 12-month period, to attend a child or grandchild's school or extracurricular activities. Time off also can be used to meet routine family medical care needs or the care needs of elderly family members.

[Applies to] Employers with between 25 employees and 50 employees.

Employers need to monitor this legislation and voice their opinions to their congressional representatives. Small businesses especially will be hit hard by this type of mandate, since they will need to staff up in order to cover additional 'absences'.

For further updates on this or other legislative issues, please e-mail Sandra Teague.
How Advantage Employment Saves your Company Money:
  • Eliminate the internal cost of an HR administrator and outsource those duties for less.
  • Stop allocating high level executive time to handle sensitive or confidential HR issues. Focus on your business instead.
  • Stop paying an outside payroll provider steep rates for minimal do-it-yourself service.
  • Don't lose a protestable unemployment claim. Each person who gets unemployment benefits who shouldn't can cost your company $4K to $6K in increased taxes each year.
  • Don't let workers comp claims malinger. Improper case management and lack of a return-to-work plan will increase the cost of the claim and increase your mod.
  • Reduce your exposure to dangerous lawsuits by enlisting the help of HR professionals. Show your employees that policies are sound, and prevent trouble makers from taking advantage of a loosely run organization.
  • Reduce turnover in your staff by maximizing their understanding and utilization of the employee benefits that you already provide to them.
  • Increase employee loyalty by providing them a resource to solve any employment question or problem.
Legislative Update - Things You Should Know
INTRODUCED: Family Leave Insurance Act
INTRODUCED: Family and Medical Leave Enhancement Act
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Advantage Employment, Inc.
205 E. Butterfield Road, #445
Elmhurst, IL 60126
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