The Aging Workforce – Advantages and Challenges

There are many potential implications associated with the aging workforce that employers are faced with today. Many organizations are beginning to understand that their longer-term business strategies have the potential to be compromised if the population of baby boomers currently in the workforce happens to retire at around the same time.

Many believe that older workers are more expensive and less productive than younger groups, but this conventional wisdom may leave you out of an opportunity to maximize talent base.

Aging Workforce Implications

Many employers are wary about hiring or even maintaining a primarily aging workforce at their organization despite many possible benefits. Because of the concerns surrounding this talent-management issue, employers must consider the full range of economic implications of an aging workforce, including both cost and productivity factors. The key to turning this issue into a business opportunity starts with a better understanding of its advantages and challenges.

  • Older workers are somewhat less likely to be disengaged and slightly more likely to be moderately or highly engaged at work than younger groups, according to a recent Towers Perrin Talent Report.
  • Because disengaged workers are more likely to leave their employers, it presents a retention risk for employers. This could mean a higher cost to the organization due to the high expense of employee turnover.
  • Turnover costs can be as much as 50 percent of an annual salary for many positions, so the benefits of maintaining a stable workforce and avoiding turnover often exceeds the increased compensation and benefits costs of aging workers. Because of this, the cost to hire and maintain older workers can be quite reasonable.
  • Hiring or retaining additional older workers may not cost much more than younger workers simply because these workers could offer enhanced skills such as experience, maturity and engagement.
  • Even though cognitive declines can occur with age, knowledge and experience in a field can offset this. Communication and decision-making skills acquired with experience at an organization can often make up for decline in manual dexterity.
  • Obviously, average pay tends to increase with service and age, but this can also result from movement up the career ladder in an organization. So, older employees are not necessarily more expensive in terms of pay.
  • Although health care claims costs do tend to increase with age, and are on average higher for workers nearing retirement age, costs can also vary due to many underlying factors. A study conducted by the University of Michigan Health Management Center found that age may be less of an influence in increased health care costs than factors such as individual health risk and proper health care utilization.

Social Media Safety

We’ve all heard it before but, posting too much information on Social Media can certainly put your safety at risk. Always be conscious of what you are sharing and who you are sharing with.

How the Government Shutdown is Affecting Employers

The current partial government shutdown—which has been in effect since Dec. 22, 2018—is the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Unlike past shutdowns, the government is not completely closed. However, due to the prolonged nature of the shutdown, employers are starting to feel its effects. 

Federal Agencies That Are Unaffected by the Shutdown

Due to the signing of a bill in September 2018 that funded federal agencies through Oct. 1, 2019, a handful of them, including the Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), remain open and fully staffed during the shutdown. This means that it’s business as usual for wage and hour compliance, as well as labor relations and workplace safety matters.

OSHA

OSHA, which is a part of the DOL, will remain open and fully staffed during the government shutdown. As a result, employers need to follow all of their OSHA regulatory obligations, including the annual Feb. 1 deadline to post information on workplace injuries and illnesses.

FEMA and Flood Insurance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will remain open during the shutdown to provide disaster response services. However, many federal contractors that work with the agency have had their operations suspended until the shutdown ends. Which is especially frustrating if you live in Panama City, where a state of emergency for our area has just been extended for the 14th time.

Additionally, Congress passed a measure to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) just before the government shutdown began. And, while FEMA initially ruled against the reauthorization, the agency quickly reversed course and is now offering both new NFIP policies and renewals.

Federal Agencies That Are Affected by the Shutdown

A number of federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the State Department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), are affected by the shutdown. Federal contractors are also affected. Employers, if they haven’t already, will soon start to feel the effects of the shutdown in terms of workplace discrimination claims, DOJ litigation and workplace immigration verification.

EEOC and the Shutdown

The EEOC, which is the office that’s responsible for eradicating discrimination in the workplace, has the authority to receive, initiate and investigate charges of discrimination filed against employers. The government shutdown has reduced the EEOC’s authority to receive, initiate and investigate charges of discrimination filed against employers. The government shutdown has reduced the EEOC’s regular staff of over 2,000 employees to just over 100. The reduction in staff has led to a reduction in available EEOC services, creating adverse effects for employees across the country.

The agency is encouraging individuals who believe they’ve been subjected to workplace discrimination to file charges. However, while the office will continue to receive discrimination charges during the shutdown, it will not be able to begin or continue any investigations, due to limited staff and limited resources. When the shutdown ends and the full staff returns, they will begin to dig through the cases that came in during their absence.

Additionally, access to the EEOC’s electronic portal has been blocked during the shutdown. This prevents employers from receiving information about any pending or closed charges they may have. In addition, any scheduled mediations, hearings and litigations that directly involve the EEOC have either been canceled or suspended during the shutdown. The only exception to this is if the court does not grant a requested continuance.

DOJ and the Shutdown

Since the DOJ was not covered under the minibus funding bill last year, they are impacted by the partial government shutdown. DOJ lawyers are directly affected, as they have been furloughed during the shutdown, and any litigation that involves the federal government has been affected. And, DOJ lawyers requested that their civil cases be stayed, with deadlines postponed for the duration of the shutdown.

The DOJ has been operating with a reserve source of money since the shutdown began. However, federal courts announced that their funds will run out on Jan. 18, at which point the Anti-Deficiency Act will take effect and only employees who perform essential work will be retained. Because each court gets to determine which of their workers are essential, each court will look different.

Criminal and time-sensitive cases are expected to be prioritized over civil litigations and employment law cases during the shutdown. As such, employers with upcoming trials should still prepare for them, but should not be surprised if their case is postponed indefinitely during the shutdown.

Immigration, the State Department and the Shutdown

Unlike past shutdowns, immigration-related agencies will generally stay open, lessening the effects employers will feel this time around. However, the State Department is affected by the shutdown, which, in turn, means that the E-Verify system is not available for employers. Employers will not be able to do the following during the shutdown:

  • Enroll in the E-Verify system
  • Create, view or take action in an E-Verify case
  • Add, edit or delete a user account or company information
  • Reset passwords
  • Run reports
  • Resolve E-Verify Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs)

Despite the E-Verify system being down, employers are still subject to Form I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification obligations. In an effort to minimize the burden on employers and employees, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented the following policies for cases affected by the unavailability of E-Verify:

  • The three-day rule for creating E-Verify cases is suspended.
  • The period during which employees may resolve TNCs will be extended, regardless of how many days E-Verify is unavailable.
  • USCIS will provide additional guidance regarding the three-day rule and the period to resolve TNCs deadlines once the shutdown ends.
  • Employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against an employee due to their interim E-Verify case status, including when the case is in extended status due to the unavailability of E-Verify.
  • Federal contractors with the Federal Acquisition Regulation E-Verify clause should contact their contracting officer to inquire about their deadlines.

USDA and the Shutdown

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for regulating food producers, ensuring food safety and protecting natural resources. The agency was not covered by the 2018 minibus funding bill, but some USDA activities that are related to law enforcement or are financed through other available funds will continue.

The USDA has provided a list of procedures in the event of a government shutdown on the agency’s website. The USDA will continue initiatives related to commodity inspections, nutrition assistance programs and law enforcement. However, many of the agency’s offices and administrative services will close until the end of the government shutdown.

Federal Contractors

While federal contractors aren’t government employees, most businesses that perform work for agencies affected by the shutdown have been forced to suspend their operations. And, while many federal employees will receive back pay for the duration of the shutdown, contractors that are paid based on their time working will not receive any compensation.

Employers’ Impressions of the Shutdown

As the shutdown continues, many employers across the country are starting to feel its effects in more ways than one. While the shutdown is impacting workplace laws, it has also attributed to the largest one-month stock market decline since the Great Depression. As the uncertainty persists, employers will start to feel the shutdown’s effects even more.

Home Matters – Loss prevention tips for all your home matters

The Importance of Being Prepared

Hurricane season lasts from June through November, when storms with heavy rains and catastrophic winds can severely damage or destroy homes in low-lying coastal areas. There is no time like the present to work together to create emergency kits: one for use if you need to evacuate your home and one for use if you get trapped in your home for several days.

PREPARING FOR A HURRICANE

Here are some suggestions on what to do before, during and after a storm.

Before:

  • Refill prescriptions, fill up your car’s gas tank and withdraw a week’s worth of cash.
  • Store valuable papers and items in waterproof bags.
  • Cover windows and secure any outdoor items.
  • If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately.

During:

  • Tune into a battery-operated radio or TV and follow instructions.
  • Seek shelter in an interior room away from windows, such as a closet.

After:

  • Stay inside until an “all-clear” is issued. If you have evacuated, don’t return until the area is re-opened.
  • When inspecting your home, wear sturdy shoes and clothing for protection.
  • Allow only those trained to turn off damaged utilities and appliances.
  • Use only bottled water until tap water is determined safe.
  • Contact your agent promptly to report damages. Be patient, as delays are likely.

Safety First

Plan evacuation routes and designate a “post-disaster contact” that family members know to call after a hurricane. Stock up on items such as a week’s supply of bottled water and canned goods, along with a manual can/bottle opener, flashlight, battery-operated radio or television, nails, tarps and plywood. Keep an up-to-date log (including photos/videotape) of your possessions and review your insurance policy coverage annually.

 

Please click the link below for a printer friendly version of this information.

Home Matters – Preparing for a Hurricane

 

Hurricane Insurance: What Homeowners and Renters Should Know?

Tropical storms and hurricanes can cause major property damage. If you live in an at-risk area, be sure your home is protected. 

Peak hurricane season runs from mid-August to late October, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The organization predicts storms for the East Coast this year, and there’s a 70-percent chance that up to six could become full-fledged hurricanes — with sustained winds of 75 mph or higher. As a homeowner or renter, you may wonder, “Do I have enough insurance protection to withstand a potential hurricane?” Unfortunately, you might not want to hear the answer.

If you’re a homeowner

Like any responsible homeowner, you’ve got a standard homeowners insurance policy. And even though most policies offer a wide range of protections, hurricanes may only be partially covered.

When purchasing a home insurance policy, you want enough dwelling coverage to completely rebuild your home if it is destroyed by a covered peril. Remember, this is the cost to rebuild your home, which isn’t the same as what you originally paid to purchase it.

Not sure if you have enough dwelling coverage? Use a home insurance calculator to help estimate your home’s replacement value and then compare it to the amount of coverage on your policy. If you are a current or prospective customers we are always willing to review your policy or provide a quote at no cost to you.

If you’re a renter

If you live in an apartment, your building is likely covered by your landlord’s policy. It’s up to you, however, to purchase protection for the items in your apartment.

The perils covered by your policy depend on your specific policy and provider. Generally, wind, lightning and hail damage — all common during hurricanes — are included as covered perils. Water damage, however, can be a different story.

Flood insurance is extra

When it comes to water damage, matters can get a little complicated in regards to home and renters insurance. Standard home insurance policies often include some coverage for water damage — if a pipe breaks, for example. But if your home is damaged by flooding, you’ll be in trouble without a flood insurance policy.

With hurricanes bringing powerful storm surges and excessive rain, flooding is common — think Superstorm Sandy from late October 2012. If a flood damages your house, you could be out a lot of money.

According to the National Flood Insurance Program, just a few inches of flood water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. The program’s website,FloodSmart.gov, lists hurricanes as a common but often overlooked cause of flooding. If you weren’t already required by your mortgage lender to purchase a flood policy, you can do so through the NFIP.

Special hurricane deductibles

Suppose a hurricane hits your house, causing wind damage. Now you’ve got to file a claim, but you might find out your policy treats hurricanes differently than other perils. In fact, it might even have a special deductible for them.

A deductible is the amount you agree to pay out-of-pocket toward a claim. Common deductibles are $500 or $1,000. The deductible has an inverse relationship with your premium — all other things being equal, higher deductibles generally result in lower premiums. However, be sure you can afford your deductible if you need to pay it.

Many home insurance policies on the East Coast have hurricane or wind deductibles. Unlike traditional deductibles, hurricane and wind deductibles are set at a percentage of the home’s value. For example, if your home’s insured value is $300,000 and the hurricane deductible on your policy is set at 3 percent, you would pay $9,000 out-of-pocket before your insurer would step in.

Hurricane and wind deductible details and percentages vary depending on your provider and the state you live in. If you aren’t sure whether you have a hurricane deductible, call your insurer to check the details of your policy.

Additional coverage gaps

Besides flooding, there may be other coverage gaps lurking in your home insurance policy. For example, you may not have enough protection for your personal items. Contents coverage is what protects the items in your home, but it has limits — usually 50 to 70 percent of the insured value of the house.

The best way to make sure the value of your possessions doesn’t exceed your coverage limits is to compile a home inventory — a listing, complete with photos and any receipts you might have, of your possessions. In addition to helping you determine the value of your possessions and whether you need more contents coverage, a home inventory can help speed the claims process.

However, there’s another potential problem. Some policies limit payouts for certain high-value items such as jewelry or artwork. Talk to your provider about scheduling endorsements to fully cover such items.

It pays to be prepared

Don’t wait until a storm is in the forecast to think about insurance. Call your insurance provider now and get to know the details and limits of your policy.

Throughout hurricane season and beyond, you want to have peace of mind that your investment is fully protected.

For more information on how to protect your home and your family before a storm, check out this hurricane disaster guide.

 

Source Credit: http://www.zillow.com/blog/hurricane-insurance-179591/ (Samantha Alexander)

 

How is El Nino Impacting The South East

El NinoEl Nino actually isn’t all that bad like most of us think. The global impacting climate cycle know as El Nino will bring a cooler, wetter climate to our area helping to reduce hurricane activity in the Atlantic and wildfires.

However, there will be increased chances for severe storms throughout the winter along with greater chances of flooding.

Homeowners and Businessowners Insurance does NOT cover flooding! There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into affect, so don’t wait.

With an increased chance of flooding this spring now is the time to either add a flood policy or update an existing policy. Even just 2 inches of water can cause in excess of $20,000 in flood damages!

If you have questions about flood insurance we can help 850.770.7047

Life Insurance Awareness Month – September

To make sure Americans are reminded of the need to include life insurance in their financial plans, the nonprofit Life Happens coordinates Life Insurance Awareness Month. Each September, Life Happens is joined in this educational initiative by more than 100 of the nation’s leading insurance companies and industry groups.

Head over to www.lifehappens.org to learn more about the importance of Life Insurance or call us today to discuss your specific needs.

850.770.7047

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