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Despite little to no change over five years, investors are more confident

Research and numbers show that investors are more confident in the economy’s stability than they have been since 2007, before the economic downfall. At the same time, most people don’t feel more financially secure than they did five years ago. As a result, employees are still finding it difficult to commit to more investment in employer sponsored retirement plans. The Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index rose to 46 in the third quarter of the fiscal year. This is the highest margin it has been at in seven years. The gains are believed to stem from many investors feeling more confident in the economy and market, according to research. Despite this, 60 percent say that they are not doing any better financially than they were five years ago when the economy took it’s turn. A recent survey indicates that nearly 70 percent of investors feel that they are very confident that they will have enough money between retirement savings and social security income to maintain a ...

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IRS offers answers regarding hybrid plans

The IRS recently released information that many have been anticipating regarding final regulations that define market rate of return issues for cash balance and different types of returns. The new rules offer clarity on plans that had remained unclear for some time, according to industry professionals. The rules are effective for the first year of any plan that begins on or after January 1, 2016. Problems that the IRS has accounted for in the new regulations include plan termination regulations and use of the true rate of return on plan assets in cash balance plans. The 2014 regulations offer specific lists with rates that qualify as market rates of return. Experts say that the new rules provide clarity on the steps that individuals need to take to have a hybrid pension plan. The regulations continue to point out a list of rates that are considered market rates of return. The IRS also released proposed changes that would offer rules for transitioning plans that currently offer interest credits that ex ...

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HR departments among non-profits evolve

Human resources professionals that work in the nonprofit sector are finding that they are more valuable to their organizations than ever before, even if the number of professional in their department hasn’t changed over time. In a recent study released by XpertHR and Nonprofit HR, the typical number of HR staff employees to regular employees is 1:66. This is generally very small despite the size of the organization. Almost half of those who took part in the survey indicated that HR is more recognized by the senior leaders within the organization. Despite this, just over 45 percent say that the recognition of those in HR has not changed. Many professionals are finding that if they devote more resources to ensuring a successful hiring process, they spend less money over time and are more efficient overall. To that end, HR professionals are increasingly more important, especially in the nonprofit sector. Industry experts have noted that despite unanswered questions about potential grant funding ...

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Questions arise for mid-sized employers surrounding Affordable Care Act

Managing health care costs and ensuring compliance within the parameters of the Affordable Care Act are major concerns for mid-sized companies, according to recent research by the ADP Research Institute. Nearly 70 percent of the 756 businesses that participated in the survey expressed that they are “very concerned” or “extremely concerned” about their company’s health care costs and other benefits. The Midsized Business Owners Study asked executive and owners at companies with 50-999 employees. The research was conducted in July and August of 2014. It found that over 50 percent have concerns about the ACA and how it will affect their business. These numbers are 5 percent lower than they were last year. Many employers have issues when it comes to comprehension. The research also indicated that fewer than 25 percent feel that they possess adequate tools and resources to make the best decisions about health care and benefit strategies for their organization. The proposed ch ...

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E-cigarettes: A New Reality in Employee Wellness

A lot remains to be seen and understood about e-cigarettes. They may pose a benefit as potential cessation devices to help smokers reduce or eliminate their tobacco use. On the other hand, they may pose risks for health as the full impact of their use is not yet scientifically understood. Currently, HealthFitness, a health management group, recommends that employers treat e-cigarettes using the same policies as apply to other tobacco products. Since the FDA does not currently have any regulations in place regarding the use of e-cigarettes, there is no definitive answer for employers. Instead, the decision of how to deal with e-cigarette use is a matter of how much complexity an employer wants to incorporate into their incentive programs, and what kind of incentives and testing are already in place for smoking cessation. It may be some time before hard data on e-cigarettes becomes readily available, owing to the fact that often their users are also users of regular tobacco products. This fact makes it diff ...

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