The DOL Continues Warning Employers of Systemic FMLA Issues

The DOL Continues Warning Employers of Systemic FMLA Issues

The DOL or Department of Labor is a part of the United States federal government that is in charge of unemployment insurance and its benefits, wages, employee hours, re-employment services and safety at the workplace, among other things.



FMLA is short for the “Family and Medical Leave Act” which is a federal law guaranteeing some employees 12 unpaid leave of absence per year, without losing their job. Employees who are covered by this act can keep their healthcare benefits as if they were still at their jobs even when they leave temporarily.

The DOL is interested in the systemic notices regarding the abuse of FMLA issues and will try to identify problems regarding compliance with the law. These systemic concerns impact many employees, and sometimes at multiple locations. The job of the DOL is to find out how many complainants there are and at specifically what company work sites.


the Department of Labor

The aim of the DOL will be regarding three systemic types of information:

1) Anecdotal: Those based on interviewing with employees, as well as the supervisors, managers and administrators.
2) Statistical: The trends and requests from the employee, and the approvals and responses that a group, individual or supervisor requests.
3) Documents: The leave request and notice records, medical certifications, and what issue of the FMLA handbook and policies is being used.

Employers will continue to be scrutinized by the Department of Labor on their procedures regarding FMLA laws. If they do not adhere and stick to the FMLA regulations, they will be fined. The DOL will continue to warn employers regarding the investigation of the ongoing systemic FMLA issue.

Self-auditing of a company will help the business as they prepare their budget for 2016.


What to focus on

Focus should be on the following:

– Review of the FMLA Policy

The DOL will review the FMLA policy of the company and make sure that the regulations from March 2013 are being incorporated into their documents. Also important is confirming that the policies regarding the FMLA concerns are incorporated in the employee hand-book.

Such things as eligibility, reasons for leave, defining the 12 month leave per FMLA requirements, medical certificates, and work prohibition during the leave and the rights and benefits while absent.

– FMLA Poster

The poster made specifically by the FMLA must be posted in all languages used at the company and put in the location where it can be seen by all employees.

– Forms provided by the FMLA must comply legally

If there is a violation of the FMLA it will cost the employer a certain fee. All FMLA forms such as certification forms and notice of eligibility forms must be up to date.

– FMLA Correspondence

The letters and certification documents that exist should all be filled out and available when the employee returns. The DOL reviews these types of documents during investigation.

– Audit of FMLA Procedures

What are the rules used by supervisors and managers when the employee reports his or her absence to the position? Are the questions being asked done in a proper way?

– How are the FMLA regulations being complied

Are the employers giving out curing certifications, if not you will need to contact the office for more information. Are the company managers properly sending the notices from the FMLA leaf to the general public?

– Record Keeping Cleaning

All data and records for the DOL should be accurate and kept in a storage area where it can later be found. The documents should all be maintained in a safe place for at least three years.

– Employee Training

All employees must be trained to file for their boss if it becomes necessary. Sometimes some employers have to pay a large sum because their manager responded foolishly.

This content was assembled to inform small businesses – like yours – of potential compliance issues.
To have employees in the United States means you’ll need quality labor law protection. If you’re based in Beverly Hills, try one of these labor posters for total compliance.  Their in-house legal is constantly reviewing their employment posters to ensure 100% compliance.


Avoiding Errors

Avoiding Errors That Are Commonly Made

During DOL investigations some compliance issues come may come up such as:

a) The inability of an employer to recognize that there is a need for an FMLA leave by disciplining the employee regarding his or her absence.
b) Not meeting the deadlines that have been implemented by the FMLA.
c) Incorrect administration of medical certification by the employer.

In conclusion, employers must be concerned about the regulations related to FMLA procedures and whether or not they are following them accordingly. The DOL investigator, on the other hand, will continue to warn employers regarding Systemic FMLA issues and exam and audit the records of a company to find out if proper FMLA laws are being carried out by the employer.

As soon as the DOL investigator has completed his or her fact-finding task, they will meet the employer and if an implementation error has occurred, the examiner will point out the violation to the owner or manager of the business and ask them to correct the infringement violation. The investigator will also tell the employer how to fix a violation, and assist the employee, who was wrongfully terminated, to find another job.



Credit for this small business article goes to Neches FCU, Port Neches, TX.

Neches FCU is a texas credit union and has an awesome team of professionals ready to service its members. When their doors open at any of the several service outlets, the mission of “Ultimate Member Satisfaction” becomes the driving force for every employee. They are respected for a personal, dynamic and fast-paced work environment, providing a memorable service experience, and where clients are known by their name.

Neches FCU has approx. $438 Million in assets with over 45,000 members. Neches Federal Credit Union is considered by members and the business community as one of the best credit unions in texas and an actively involved partner, helping our Family, Friends and Community!

Show Employees Much Needed Appreciation in These 7 Ways

Show Employees Your Love in These 7 Ways

Grow your business

Grow your business
Grow your business


If you want to grow your business, you’re going to need to keep great employees. Want great employees? It really is simple. Treat them right! Since 1995, the first Friday of March is Employee Appreciation Day. We have national bosses’ day in October, so it is only fair that employee receive the same treatment. So show your appreciation. You will be glad you did.

Be cost effective

If you run a business, you know that you can end up spending a lot of time and money finding, then training a good team member. Did you know that according to new statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, a lack of appreciation is the number one reason that employees leave their jobs. This is not cost effective for you or the employee. Show your appreciation and recognize your employees when they should be thanked. This will avoid disgruntled employees and also create peace and harmony within the workplace.

Throw your employees a party
Throw your employees a party


Throw your employees a party

You don’t need to go broke to throw a great memorable party that everyone will love. Everybody loves to take a well-deserved occasional break during the hard work day. Make your weekday work-party about 30-60 minutes long. Not too long, or short. Make sure it is non-alcoholic and sober, if you expect any work to happen afterwards. Just make sure there is food and drinks that are enjoyed by everyone readily available.

Be there

Make sure that all bosses and management are at the party. Say a few words and express your appreciation. A few kind words can go really far to up the moral of the workplace. Your employees will feel good about feeling appreciated by your publicly voicing your appreciation. It need not be a grandiose speech either. Just a pat on the back or a “good Job” can go much further than you may think.

Face-to-face time with your employees
Face-to-face time with your employees


Get some face-to-face time with your employees

A performance review is absolutely not what we are talking about here. That can be nerve wracking for the employee. By communicating individually with each of your employees you will develop a rapport. Communication is key to an organization’s ability to be productive and maintain and operate smoothly. All employees, new or old deserve a boss who listens to them and tries to understand their needs.

Pick up a pen

Nothing goes further than the gesture of a handwritten note. With today’s technology everyone texts and emails their communication. But the personal touch of a handwritten note goes a step further to show your appreciation. To put a smile on your employees face sometimes all it takes is a quick not of “thank you”.

Surprise employees
Surprise employees


Surprise them

Allowing a day off is always appreciated. But, if your business cannot make room to give a full day off, think about maybe surprising your crew with a half-day. If that still seems too much, try letting certain exceptionally hard-working employees the opportunity to come in an hour later, while allowing others to leave an hour early. Your employees will thank you.

Improve the workplace

Big bonuses and monetary reimbursement is always great, but not always feasible. Small improvements like providing a new coffee maker or cappuccino maker will delight. Go a step further and purchase a foose-ball table or new TV in the break room. Make your workplace a destination that they want to return to day after day.

Offer Employee perks
Offer Employee perks


Splurge on a few perks

Employees love little perks. For a special day, give them what they deserve. Show that you know them personally and care. Great perks can include a gym membership or spa/massage packages. Gift certificates also make great gifts. Impress everybody in the office by your personal gift giving. It will not go unnoticed.

One critical task for every employer or manager each year is to demonstrate your appreciation for employees at the end of the year. You must prepare work anniversary cards, business holiday cards or corporate holiday cards ahead of time to make them feel that they are essential to your business.


To really show you mean business, money is always the king of all appreciated gifts among employees everywhere. A recent survey has shown that more than 67 percent of employees said they wanted to leave their current position because they’re just not paid enough. Not receiving end of the year bonuses also played a significant part of employees reporting their dissatisfaction with their workplace. So, if you can swing it, bring it. To help make up for a lack of a raise, a monetary bonus may just be the thing needed to satisfy everybody at work.

Show you care

Whether it’s throwing a great party to a meeting or just to communicate your appreciation, you should do something this year to put a smile on the faces of your crew for employee appreciation day. Remember that a satisfied employee is a happy employee. A happy employee stays around and is more productive. Not to mention keeps your business lucrative and running smoothly. So, go ahead and make their day. In the end it could make or break your business.

The Optimal Way to Organize Employee Shifts for Your Business

The Best Way to Organize Employee Shifts for Your Business

Responsible manager
Responsible manager

Being a business owner means juggling a lot of responsibilities, including planning how your business will be run. While it may be tempting to manage and run all operations of your business yourself, doing so is largely impossible and will certainly leave you feeling overwhelmed and worn out. This is where well-trained, reliable employees prove absolutely essential to the well-being and success of your business.

Importance of Good Planning

Having reliable, positive scheduling practices is essential to the health of your business – as well as that of your employees. Having shoddy scheduling can be very damaging to both the success of your company and employee morale. For these reasons and more, putting the proper attention into crafting good work schedules is beyond crucial.

Managing employee shifts
Managing employee shifts

Knowing What to Consider When Organizing Shifts

Scheduling employees can be tricky, especially in the beginning. Understanding your business is probably the most important ingredient to determining the right schedule for your staff. Organizing shifts requires you to know your customer base, your product and the individuals in your employ.

Know Your Employees’ Talents and Schedules

When scheduling your employees, make sure that you have a clear idea of each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. This will help you to pair up employees that can complement each other. You’ll also want to know your employees’ availability so you can schedule accordingly. It helps to be open to your employees’ needs, to listen to their preferred work hours, and to be as flexible as possible with their schedules.

Posting employee schedules
Posting employee schedules


Make Schedules Visible to You and all Employees

Once a schedule has been finalized, make sure that it’s posted in a place that can be easily seen by all employees and managers. You’ll also want to ensure that all changes are brought to the attention of the staff.

Importance of Flexibility and Planning Alternatives

While predictability is important and can make scheduling easier for both you and your employees, it’s going to be largely impossible for you to be able to stick to a schedule indefinitely. All types of businesses have different needs, and those needs can change with time and business growth.

Additionally, you should always have another plan in place should an employee become ill or quit. It also helps to have very firm, yet fair, policies regarding absences and unscheduled changes. You don’t want your employees to take advantage of your leniency.

24 hour employees
24 hour employees

The Perpetual Business

Businesses like 24/7 restaurants, gas stations and other service providers are always going to have employees on the clock. Of course, no one person is going to be able to handle an entire 24-hour shift, which is why most 24-hour establishments run on a schedule of three eight-hour shifts.

If you own this kind of business, make sure that you take your employees into consideration. When possible, don’t change their shifts around on them. Let them keep the same shift for as long as possible so that they can fall into a sleep routine and a daily schedule.

The Convenience of Split Shifts

In businesses such as restaurants and bars, split shifts are one of the most common types of scheduling. With a split shift schedule, employees work a half-shift (four hours), take a break for a period of several hours, and then come back in the evening for the second half of their shift (an additional four hours). This way, employees can enjoy a siesta in the middle of the day.

Employee scheduling app
Employee scheduling app

Customized Schedules

Many businesses are busier at specific periods of the day. In order to save some money and make sure that your business is covered, concentrate the highest number of employees at certain times of day. In a schedule like this, you might choose to schedule a single employee in the morning, then have another employee join him or her during the time of day when your business becomes busier. Once the first employee has completed a shift, another employee joins the second, ensuring that the busy times are all covered by two employees.

Scheduling software
Scheduling software

Make Life Easier With Scheduling Software

If you’re looking for an easier way to manage your scheduling, you may want to consider purchasing employee scheduling software. There are numerous types of scheduling software available, so make sure to do your homework before committing to a purchase. When comparing software, you’ll want to consider the flexibility of the system, its price, and ease of use, just to name a few deciding factors. Visit our Twitter and let us know what you though about this post.


This HR post was provided by, a leader in technology for small and mid-size companies.

Let’s take a second and focus on your business. How do you typically handle the shift scheduling in your office? Do you use time and attendance tracking software? Would you go looking for an in-house solution like downloadable templates or printed products? Do you have peers that you could reach out to for a quality solution? A more convenient solution would be using Tracksmart’s online time clock software to ensure everyone is at their stations at the right time, along with their other suite of apps to manage the shift schedules. Visit their site and test their apps to see if they are right for you.

Insert a comment below this article and let us know your ideas for a solution.

Why Must Small Businesses e-File a 1099 MISC Form?

Why do Small Businesses NEED to e-File a 1099 MISC Form?


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires businesses and individuals to file many different tax forms each year for the purpose of reporting income and determining taxes due. All working individuals must file personal forms to determine if they owe the government any taxes. All businesses and organizations must file forms for their business as well.

1099 Misc Tax Form
1099 Misc Tax Form

There are several different forms and each one has a different application: some are used only for reporting an individual’s income, others are used for non-profit organizations, and still others are specifically for non-resident aliens living in the country. The sheer number of forms can be confusing when trying to decide which form applies to you. If you run a small business, one of the forms you will need to file is the 1099-MISC.

What is the 1099-MISC?

The 1099-MISC form is a form within the 1099 series of tax forms. This series of forms is related to taxable income other than wages and salaries paid. In other words, if you have paid money to someone other than an employee, you need to fill out this form. An example of this type of payment is money paid to an independent contractor.

The MISC stands for “miscellaneous income,” because it is not covered under the general scope of salary or wage income. The income paid to an independent contractor is miscellaneous income. If you have paid anyone a fee for a service related to your business, you will need to fill out the 1099-MISC form. The only exception is if the total amount paid to the contractor through the course of the year is less than $600.

Tax Consequences
Tax Consequences


What are the consequences to not filing?

Failing to file the 1099-MISC form will result in under-reported wages for both your small business and the individual (independent contractor). As a small business, you are subject to penalties (fines) for failing to file the 1099-MISC form. The fine is $30 to $50 per form – that is, if you have hired 50 independent contractors throughout the year, and you fail to file the corresponding forms, you will be fined up to $2,500 for those 50 forms. There is a maximum fine for businesses at the amount of $500,000. This means that you cannot be fined more than $500,000 for failure to file 1099-MISC forms for your independent contractors and miscellaneous income.

If, however, you fail to issue the forms on purpose, with the intention of evading the IRS, the fine is increased to $250 per form. In these cases there is no maximum limit, meaning you will be fined $250 per form regardless of how many forms you ignored and if that amount totals above $500,000. Obviously, the penalties for failing to file IRS forms can add up quickly.

Tax Penalty
Tax Penalty


How to file form 1099-MISC

If you have read this information and realize that your small business falls under the category of paying miscellaneous income, here’s how you can file the 1099-MISC.

There are four parts to the form itself. This is because copies need to be sent to four different entities: first and foremost, a copy is for you, the payer. The second copy is for the payee, so he or she can report the income as an individual on the 1040 tax form for individuals. The third copy goes to the IRS and the fourth copy goes to the state.

You must file 1099 online or via mail no later than February of the year following the tax year. For example, if you paid miscellaneous income to an independent contractor in 2013, you will need to issue the 1099-MISC form before the end of February 2014. Not filing on time will result in being charged the fines previously mentioned. However, if you do need an extension, don’t worry – there’s another form for that! You have the same amount of time (end of February) to file with the IRS for a 30 day extension.

Tax Deadline
Tax Deadline


There are a couple of options when filing the form. If you wish to file electronically you may do so. Paper forms are also available if you prefer that method. In most cases, you must provide your independent contractors with a paper copy of the form unless they inform you that they would rather receive a copy electronically. Also, if you have more than 250 independent contractors in a year you are required to file electronically with the IRS.

How do I obtain a copy of the form?

Lastly, a copy of the form can be viewed on the IRS’s website. However, because it is a multi-step, multi-copy form, you will need to get an original copy. Contact the IRS for more information on how to receive an original copy. If you decide to efile 1099 forms this year, consider using the standard-bearer in e-filing tax returns. They’re Here’s a some info on them.  If you have ideas on this topic to share, please visit our WordPress page here and leave your comments or suggest some useful links to explore on this topic.

Does Your Medical Office Need The HCFA CMS 1500 Form

It’s just the process…

If you’re in a medical office, typically, insurance repayments come from the submission of specific documents. They can often end up confusing to figure out.


In most offices, an Hcfa Cms 1500 form is the most widely used document. Previously known as the HCFA 1500, it is now labelled the CMS 1500 version 02/12 claim form. The change resulted after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services suggested it.  It can be used to bill several Medicaid Agencies.

If you’re in this industry, you need it.

This document is used for claims by suppliers and medical service providers. It should be submitted within a year of the day a patient receives service.  This form can only be used if it is printed with a specific ink. This makes getting downloaded or photocopied copies of the form unusable for turning in claims.

Medication covered by insurance.
Medication covered by insurance.

Play by the rules, or don’t get paid.

The technology used to read the filled in forms at payer’s offices is called OCR. If the ink is not the specific quality required for easy OCR scanning, errors result. Successful form submissions only happen when you use the exact form, with the correct information. To avoid this issue, you may consider using Cms 1500 claim form software.

Guidelines are your friends.

Two keys to ensuring your submissions are as follows. First use only the most current form. And make sure the ink is exactly what is required. If you don’t send in the correct form, or send in a form without the correct ink, your forms will be returned unpaid.

Family care insuarnce is billed using the CMS 1500
Family care insuarnce is billed using the CMS 1500

Stay inside the lines, or be punished.

Even worse, if your re-submissions take too long, you won’t be paid. See that when you buy these forms, you choose a company that offers a quality form, with the specs needed. The result of this diligence is a stream on timely insurance payments for your services rendered.