25 Sep

Employers Must Start Using the New Form I-9 Now

On July 17, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published a new Form I-9 to be used to verify employment eligibility for new hires. Employers must complete the new Form I-9 for any employee hired on or after September 18, 2017; continued use of the old form will subject employers to significant monetary penalties.

The revisions to the new form are limited to updates in the List of Acceptable documents; specifically, List C has been renumbered and updated to include the current versions of the certification or report of birth forms issued by the U.S. State Department.

Employers are reminded that they must ensure that all new employees complete the Form I-9 within the first three (3) days of employment. The new Form I-9 may be accessed at: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9

14 Sep

TrussU: Marijuana and Other Substances in the Workplace

Join us September 27, 2017, for an afternoon webinar to discuss testing options and tips on crafting a drug and alcohol policy that best fits your company.

Date: Sept. 27, 2017
Time: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. CDT
Guest Speaker: Sarah Borsten, PHR, Training Specialist and Insight Program Manager for HRAnswerLink
Register today: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/2584409058727501827 

With recreational and medical marijuana now legal in multiple states, employers may be left wondering what restrictions they can, and can’t, have in the workplace. We’ll discuss the legal landscape for both recreational and medical marijuana use, including potential ADA issues. And we’ll go over other drugs employers should be concerned about.

 

 

12 Sep

Surety bond vs Insurance: What’s the difference?

Both surety bonds and insurance are needed for obtaining a license, or to be in compliance with local laws. So what’s the difference? Simply put, insurance protects a business against loss, while a surety bond protects a third-party from a breach of contract from said business.

How does it work?
A surety bond is a third-party guarantee that a business will meet their legal and contractual obligations. It is guaranteed by a bonding company on behalf of the issuer, but does not protect the purchaser of the bond; it is similar to co-signing on a loan. The bonding company guarantees that the business will fulfill their obligations. Insurance is a two-party agreement, where the risk is transferred from the insured to the insurance company.

What should I look for when selecting a surety agent?
There are two aspects you need to evaluate before you hire any surety agent. First, they must possess the knowledge to be your business partner by providing you with advice, suggestions and feedback on many aspects of your business. This would include accounting, operations, internal controls, business perpetuation and more. Their knowledge ensures you will be properly represented as the agent seeks surety support on your behalf in the market.

Second, because every surety is different, your surety agent must have detailed knowledge of the various surety markets. A knowledgeable surety agent with strong connections across multiple markets will be able to match you to the best surety partner for your required bond needs.

There are four things you should do when interviewing a potential agent:

  1. Ask them about their relationships within their surety markets.
  2. Test their accounting and business law skills.
  3. Obtain a list of client contractor referrals.
  4. Ask your other valued business partners (such as your attorney, banker, or CPA) about the agents you are considering.

How does surety pricing work?
It depends on the situation and many factors affect pricing. If you upgrade your financial statement presentation as part of the bonding process, it may affect your rates favorably. A new company may have more challenges acquiring rates than a more established one. The quality of your agent is also an important factor. An agent who has good working relationships with markets will be more likely to place you in a better market.

More questions on assessing your surety team can be found here: http://trussadvantage.com/our-services/surety-bonds/

11 Sep

Equifax reveals hack that likely exposed data of 143 million customers

By Yashaswini Swamynathan, Reuters

Originally posted to Reuters.

(Reuters) – Equifax Inc, a provider of consumer credit scores, said on Thursday that personal details of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers were accessed by hackers between mid-May and July, in what could be one of the largest data breaches in the United States.

The company’s shares fell nearly 19 percent in after-market trading as investors reacted to possible consequences of the exposure of sensitive data of nearly half of the U.S. population.

Atlanta-based Equifax said in a statement that it discovered the breach on July 29. It said criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files that included names, Social Security numbers, and driver’s license numbers.

In addition, credit card numbers of around 209,000 U.S. consumers and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information of around 182,000 U.S. consumers were accessed. Information of some UK and Canadian residents was also gained in the hack, Equifax said.

Equifax said in its statement that it was working with law enforcement agencies and has hired a cyber-security firm to investigate the breach. It said its investigation is “substantially complete,” and expects it will be completed in the coming weeks.

The company declined to comment beyond its statement.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is tracking the situation, a spokeswoman for the agency said.

U.S. Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement that it would not be an “exaggeration to suggest that a breach such as this represents a real threat to the economic security of Americans.”

Equifax’s breach follows rival Experian Plc’s breach two years ago that exposed sensitive personal data of some 15 million people who applied for service with T-Mobile US Inc (reut.rs/2f8ES9k)

“This is clearly a disappointing event for our company, and one that strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do,” Equifax Chief Executive Richard Smith said in a statement, adding that the company is conducting “a thorough review of our overall security operations.”

LIKELIHOOD FOR PHISHING SEEN HIGH

Cybersecurity experts said the breach was very serious.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 10. It affects the whole credit reporting system in the United States because nobody can recover it, everyone uses the same data,” said Avivah Litan, a Gartner Inc analyst who tracks identity theft and fraud.

Equifax handles data on more than 820 million consumers and more than 91 million businesses worldwide and manages a database with employee information from more than 7,100 employers, according to its website.

Ryan Kalember, senior vice president of cyber security firm Proofpoint, said the hack was “especially troubling” because companies typically offer free credit monitoring services from firms such as Equifax, which has now itself suffered a huge cyber attack.

“The information is very personal – the likelihood that it could be used for phishing is very high,” said Matt Tait, a former analyst at the British intelligence service GCHQ and a cyber security researcher.

Equifax said consumers could check if their information had been impacted at, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.

Representative Maxine Waters, a member of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, said in a statement that she would reintroduce legislation to “enhance consumer protection tools available to minimize harm caused by identity theft.”

Three days after Equifax discovered the breach, three top Equifax executives, including Chief Financial Officer John Gamble and a president of a unit, sold Equifax shares or exercised options to dispose of stock worth about $1.8 million, regulatory filings show. It was not clear whether these transactions were part of a pre-arranged sales plan.

Equifax said in a statement that the executives were not aware that an intrusion had occurred when they sold their shares.

Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru and Siddharth Cavale and Dustin Volz in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler

06 Sep

Tips for Open Enrollment Success

Health care benefits can be a top recruitment tool for attracting top talent, making it essential that you ensure your employees clearly understand their options and are able to make an informed decision. Truss recommends HR and benefits professionals make this process easier by thoroughly explaining any changes before and during the busy open enrollment period.

Even when employers offer only two or three health plan options, the serious decision to select the right coverage at open enrollment can overwhelm employees.

Are there any changes?

Years ago employer-offered coverage varied little year to year making it easy to simply roll over benefit elections. Unfortunately, the days of easy selection have passed.

Today, we more and more employers are looking for ways to reduce the cost of health care. This includes offering plan designs with higher out-of-pocket cost costs, which means employees must compare plans and understand the potential costs. For example, deductibles might double or co-pays could rise.

Change is normal but even with just a slight increase, families need to understand out-of-pocket costs so they can budget appropriately.

Over Communicate

Many employers successfully use a multipronged approach before, during and after open enrollment by holding in-person meetings, health fairs, webinars, and online portals or apps that centralize all of the year’s benefit information.

Most companies should begin their Open Enrollment communication campaigns 60 to 90 days before open enrollment starts. Larger companies may see the need to start earlier. The industry standard for the open enrollment period is 30 days; most small to mid-size companies still hold it in November.

In the end, a successful open enrollment campaign helps employees understand any impending health plan changes, review their options, and select the right plan for themselves and for their family.