Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Payroll NW Employee Gateway

Payroll NW Portland, Oregon Employee Gateway.

Employee Gateway gives employees the ability to view their pay statements and earnings history online.

Please contact us to obtain your employees self-service registration code. The registration code will enable your employees to register online at www.payrollnw.com and view their payroll records.

Remember, all of our web services are free of charge. For more information, call us today at 800-729-7761.


Note: Registration codes will only be issued to payroll administrators or owners. We will not give registration codes directly to employees.




                                                         

Friday, February 19, 2016

Portland, Oregon - House passes landmark minimum wage bill

Portland, Oregon -

After more than five hours of debate on Thursday, the Oregon House passed a bill that would raise the minimum wage in a series of increases over six years.

Debate on the bill exemplified partisanship among Democrats and Republicans, divisions between labor and business interest groups, and rural-urban tensions throughout the state. The vote was 32-26, mostly along partisan lines.

The Oregon Senate passed the bill, SB 1532, after its own six-hour debate last week. Now that it has approval from both chambers, the bill awaits a signature by Gov. Kate Brown, who has said she will sign it.

The bill would institute a series of gradual minimum wage increases through 2022. In a novel strategy, the increases would be in three tiers based on geography: $14.75 inside the booming Portland urban growth boundary, $12.50 in economically distressed counties and $13.50 everywhere else. Salem would fall in the $13.50 tier. The first wage increases would begin July 1.

After 2022, wage increases in subsequent years would be tied to increases in the Consumer Price Index, an economic indicator. Once the law is enacted, Oregon will be the first state to determine minimum wage by geography.

Before Thursday's debate began, a protest erupted in the House chamber, which delayed discussion and voting. Demonstrators were removed from the balcony above the House. Some outside the House pounded on the walls with their palms and shoes, prompting state troopers to lock the doors and several lawmakers to engage with the protesters.

After debate resumed and continued through lunch, it centered on the impact raising the minimum wage may have on businesses and workers. Proponents of the bill say low wage workers are in need of a raise to lift them out of poverty. Opponents say small and rural businesses may not be able to afford higher payroll costs.

Several Republican lawmakers said that although they oppose the bill, it's not because they don't want people to earn more money.

“There is a better way, but the consequences of this bill are layoffs, lost hours, and rising costs for all our neighbors. This isn’t hypothetical. There will be a real impact on real people,” said Rep. John Davis, R-Wilsonville.

Republicans also said that if the minimum wage increases, potential price increases on housing, food and healthcare will negatively affect those on fixed incomes, such as seniors.

Democrats took a different approach during the debate, focusing mostly on the harsh economic reality for low wage workers and their families. Most minimum wage earners in Oregon are women or people of color, and working full time at the minimum wage equates to less than $20,000 in annual earnings. That's not enough to be self-sufficient, many Democrats said.

"Keeping people on public assistance is really not very good public policy," said Rep. Rob Nosse, D-Portland. "All work has dignity and I hope that point does not get lost in our discussion today.”

Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, said the poverty of working families is reason enough to pass a wage increase.

"We see the pain, the worry, the lines and the empty shelves at our food banks," he said.

A statement from the House Democrats Office said low wages cause workers to go on public assistance, which taxpayers foot the bill for. Low wages cause the public to pay billions in subsidies for cheap labor that benefits large corporations, the release said.

Republicans try to stall vote

In the middle of the debate, Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, proposed sending the bill to the Joint Ways and Means Committee for consideration of its financial impact.

When speaking in support of the motion, Rep. Jim Weidner, R-Yamhill, brought up financial contributions from labor organizations to Gov. Kate Brown's re-election campaign. House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, quickly instructed Weidner to redirect his statement to something germane to the motion.

"I'm tired of serving in a House that has a cloud of corruption over it," Weidner said as he finished his statement. The referral motion failed.

Later, House Republican Leader Mike McLane, Powell Butte, rose to declare a potential conflict of interest. McLane cited a memo from legislative counsel advising that a vote for SB 1532 may require raising the salaries of legislators. Eleven other Republicans joined McLane in declaring a potential conflict of interest.

Rep. Shemia Fagan, D-Clackamas, said she has a differing opinion from counsel which concluded that voting for SB 1532 may result in a pay decrease for legislators.

Nevertheless, Republicans continued declaring their potential conflict of interest.

"Let's get them all out of the way. I don't have all day," Kotek said, drawing laughter from the floor and gallery.

Lawmakers plan alternatives

Although the ink on SB 1532 has barely had time to dry, a group of lawmakers are already considering legislative tweaks.

Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem, said a group of about 20 bipartisan legislators from both legislative chambers has begun meeting in the so-called "Oregon Caucus" to discuss how SB 1532 might be improved.

The lawmakers, mostly Republicans and moderate Democrats, are unhappy with how high the minimum wage will be increased, although they largely support the tiered system, Clem said. The group is interested in increasing the number of counties who would be in the lowest minimum wage tier, including all coastal counties.

Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, said on the House floor that considering improvements to SB 1532 after it's passed is an "odd reversal of how we should approach problem-solving." Clem said Thursday that Bentz had indicated support for exploring modifications to SB 1532 in the Oregon Caucus.

The group is hoping to schedule a public hearing for a policy proposal as soon as Monday.

Ballot measures shadow House vote

Despite the House's vote bringing a historic increase to the minimum wage, two groups supporting popular ballot measures won't say they're ready to take their proposals off the ballot.

Andrea Paluso, executive director of Family Forward Oregon, has spoken in favor of the "Raise The Wage" coalition ballot measure, which would implement a $13.50 statewide minimum wage. Paluso said the coalition hasn't decided whether to withdraw its measure.

Jamie Partrige, chief petitioner of the "15 Now" Oregon ballot measure that would raise the minimum wage to $15, said he didn't know if his measure would be taken off the ballot, though he called SB 1532 "a step forward."

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/


Thursday, February 18, 2016

ACA Reporting: Get the Facts

For employers, this is the time of year to ensure that your company is ready to comply with all tax reporting requirements. One relatively new key area to focus on is the ACA, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its new reporting requirements.
Small business owners with 50 or fewer employees face no penalties related to ACA filing. Note, however, that if your business falls into this category, you may still qualify for tax credits. 

If you have more than 50 employees, your company is considered to be an Applicable Large Employer (ALE) under the ACA. Read on to get the facts about your reporting obligations.

The basic compliance requirement
The employer shared responsibility mandate: The IRS requires ALEs to report on their health care coverage options for employees. The so-called “pay or play provisions” apply whether you offer ACA-defined minimal essential coverage or a different option. 
  • Forms: Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, and Form 1095-B, Health Coverage.
  • Also mandated: you must furnish to all employees a statement that has the same information that your company includes in your IRS report.
In 2015, you needed to have offered health care insurance to at least 70 percent of your full-time equivalent (FTE) staff. Going forward, that mandate changes to 95 percent FTE health care coverage.

Reporting news
The good news: the IRS is offering an extension for filing.
“Providers and certain employers must now furnish individuals with either Form 1095-B or 1095-C by March 31, 2016.  The due dates for issuers filing these forms and the associated Form 1094 with the IRS are May 31, 2016 for paper filers and June 30, 2016 for electronic filers.”
Note that penalties apply for failing to comply with the IRS reporting mandates.

Where to get filing help


An experienced, qualified payroll service can simplify your task by providing all the reporting paperwork your company needs to comply with ACA and IRS mandates. Payroll NW in Vancouver, Washington stands ready to perform these tasks for your company accurately and securely. We would be happy to assist so that your time can be spent on other pressing business.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Why You Should Run Background Checks.

Hiring is one of the riskiest decisions a hiring manager or business owner makes. Most large companies run pre-employment background checks. It’s a safety net and easy to do, so they include it in their standard recruiting process.

Most small businesses, on the other hand, don’t run background checks. Yet small businesses would benefit from pre-employment screening just as much as larger companies.

At Payroll NW, we want to assure that all of our customers have access to a background screening solution.

Here are just a few of the reasons why.

1. Trust

When you hire people without checking backgrounds, you’re trusting blindly. Without checking, there’s no way to know whether the experience and credentials they claim are accurate.

A recent report from CareerBuilder, for example, found that 58% of résumés include misleading or incorrect information such as falsified education details and inaccurate job titles, seniority levels, and employment dates.

Hiring someone with false credentials might directly affect your existing employees. In fact, 95% of employers surveyed by Robert Half feel that a poor hiring decision affects the morale of the whole team. The survey also showed that managing a bad hire can take 17% of a supervisor’s time (that’s almost a whole day per week).

2. Workplace Theft

Most business owners are worried about employees stealing cash and inventory, and that’s a valid concern.

Businesses estimate that they lose 5% of revenues to employee fraud each year, according to a 2014 study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (AFCE). The study also found that the median fraud loss at businesses with less than 100 employees is 28% higher than at larger companies ($154,000 at smaller companies vs. $120,000 at larger ones).

But money and inventory aren’t the only concerns. Many small employers neglect to consider other forms of potential theft, such as cybercrime.

With fewer resources to put strict security protocols in place, small businesses are particularly vulnerable to the actions of rogue employees. Unfortunately, employees with access to sensitive data have stolen (and in some cases, sold) client and fellow employee information from company computers.

3. Negligent Hiring

“Negligent hiring” is a legal term that describes an employer’s liability for an incident caused by an employee when the employer knew (or should have known) that the employee posed a risk.

For example, let’s say a company hires a delivery driver who gets into an accident that causes an injury, and that leads to a lawsuit. One of the first questions a plaintiff’s attorney is likely to ask is, “Did the employer run a background check before hiring the driver?”

The company would be in a much better position having run a background and motor vehicle records check that came back clean.

On the other hand, if the company didn’t check, and there were previous license suspensions, the company could be found liable for the injury. That’s because it could have found out about the employee’s previous driving record, but failed to check.

The average cost of a negligent hiring lawsuit is estimated to be $1 million. And, when such cases are brought to court, employers lose about 70% of the time.

4. Creating a Safe Workplace for Customers and Employees

Employers have an obligation to create a safe workplace for employees. Yet 36% of employers reported workplace violence incidents, according to a SHRM study. These incidents result in physical or emotional harm to employees and customers as well as damage to company operations and resources.

Background screening before hiring is one of the most important steps you can take to reduce the risk of workplace violence. Convictions for violent crimes are an obvious red flag.

Drug screening can play a role when it comes to reducing on-the-job injuries, too. Implementing drug screening reduced worker’s compensation claims by about 50%, according to a survey conducted by SHRM.

Taking every reasonable step to keep employees, customers, and clients safe makes business sense — and it’s the right thing to do. Without a background check, though, you’re hiring in the dark.

Think of a background check as an inexpensive insurance policy. A basic check can start as low as $30.




Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What is Section 125?

The US Congress created Code section 125 in an effort to make benefit programs more affordable for employees.
Section 125 is part of the IRS Code that allows employees to convert a taxable cash benefit (salary) into non-taxable benefits. Under a Section 125 program employee's may choose to pay for qualified benefit premiums before any taxes are deducted from their paychecks.

The Section 125 program is a tremendous opportunity for employees to enhance their benefits package.

The Premium Only Plan is the building block of the Section 125 Plan. It allows for certain employee paid group insurance premiums to be paid with pre-tax dollars. The qualified premiums (if offered by employer) are:

Health

Prescription

Dental

Vision

Disability (not recommended)

Employee Group Term Life (up to $ 50,000.00)

Cancer

Medicare Supplement

Hospital Indemnity

Accident

Monday, February 8, 2016

Oregon Sick Time

How much sick time does the law require?

Employees begin accruing sick time on the first day of employment and earn 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked or 1 1/3 hours for every 40 hours worked. Employees may use accrued sick time on the 91st calendar day of employment and may use sick time as it is accrued.

Employers with 10 or more employees in the state (6 or more in Portland), must pay employee's for sick time taken at the employee's regular rate of pay.