EverythingPeople This Week!

Published on Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Quick Hits - November 28, 2018

Author: ASE Staff

Michigan interest rates rising: The Michigan interest rate for underpayments and overpayments of taxes has increased from 5.41% to 5.9% for the period of January 1, 2019 through June 30, 2019. Source:  Michigan Department of Treasury, Revenue Administrative Bulletin 2018-23, November 13, 2018

Can your managers handle stress? Apparently many cannot.  One in three managers is unable to handle high-pressure situations calmly, according to new research from VitalSmarts. And that's a big problem for employers, it said, because managers who blow up or clam up under fire cause employees to miss deadliness, ignore quality standards, exceed budgets, and drive away customers. The leadership training company surveyed more than 1,300 people for the report.  The survey found that when under stress, 53% of managers are more controlling and closed-minded than open-minded and curious. Many also become emotional and upset, stop listening, and abandon attempts to understand situations. Team members negatively affected by these managers are more likely to consider leaving their job; more than half of teams respond to stressed out managers by shutting down and ceasing to participate. When managers handle pressure gracefully and communicate well in high-stakes situations, a team responds with better engagement. In those situations, teams are more likely to meet quality standards and deadlines; their workplaces also enjoy improved morale and safety.  ASE offers a Working under Pressure class in February.  Source:  HR Dive 11/15/18

Walmart looking at new talent pipeline – military spouses: The discount giant announced it will give hiring preference to military spouses, becoming the largest U.S. company to make such a commitment. The new initiative to recruit and hire military spouses is called the Military Spouse Career Connection. It complements Walmart’s 2013 Veterans Welcome Home commitment, enhanced in 2015, to hire 250,000 military veterans by 2020. Walmart said it is on track to surpass its goal next year. There are more than 500,000 active duty military spouses nationwide, according to Walmart. While the U.S. jobless rate hovers at 4% nationally, military spouses face a 26% unemployment rate and a 25% wage gap compared to their civilian counterparts. A full 77% of these spouses want or need work, yet frequent relocation is often a barrier to finding and maintaining a rewarding career, according to the Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Partnership.  “Military spouses are unsung heroes,” said Walmart president and CEO, Doug McMillon. “They serve in partnership with their uniformed spouses, and we want to honor them and help them find a job or build an amazing career. To military spouses: You’ve got a home at Walmart!”  Source: Drug Store News 11/13/18

Microsoft uses new approach for recruiting metrics: Previously, Microsoft was focused on a core set of competitors and the win-loss ratios related to talent. This approach limited their views as to available talent.  The recruiting team at Microsoft realized it needed a new paradigm and shifted its focus to the skills and experiences in the broader total addressable market (TAM) – the number of all candidates who fit the criteria of skills, experience, geography, and other requirements. Instead of recruiting from the same pool as their competitors, Microsoft could start to identify hidden pools of talent in cities and industries with strong supply and weak demand. This important change allowed the recruiting team to “focus our plans and our strategies against the broader set.”  Source: LinkedIn Talent Blog 11/20/18

Employees should be using their FSAs: Health flexible spending accounts (FSA) provide employees a way to use tax-free dollars to pay medical expenses not covered by other health plans. Because eligible employees need to decide how much to contribute through payroll deductions before the plan year begins, many employers are offering their employees the option to sign up for an FSA this fall for participation that begins in 2019.  Interested employees wishing to contribute during the new year must make this choice again for 2019, even if they contributed in 2018. Self-employed individuals are not eligible.  An employee who chooses to participate can contribute up to $2,700 during the 2019 plan year. That’s a $50 increase over 2018. Amounts contributed are not subject to federal income tax, Social Security tax, or Medicare tax. If the plan allows, the employer may also contribute to an employee’s FSA.  Also, depending on how the FSA is written, the funds for 2018 must be used by end of year or March 31, 2019.  Source:  IRS 11/16/18

IRS proposes rules to change hardship withdrawal from 401(k) and 403(b) plans: On November 9, 2018, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend IRS regulations related to hardship distributions from 401(k) and 403(b) plans.  Currently, a distribution is made on account of a hardship only if the distribution is made to satisfy an immediate and heavy financial need and if the amount of the distribution is not in excess of the amount necessary to satisfy that need. Hardship distributions had been limited to the participant’s elective deferrals and could not be taken from the participant’s qualified nonelective contributions (QNECs); qualified matching contributions (QMACs); or earnings on elective deferrals, QNECS, or QMACs credited after 1988. In part, the proposed rules eliminate the six month suspension requirement for employee contributions under all employer plans following a hardship distribution; eliminates the requirement that a participant must take any available plan loans prior to requesting a  hardship distribution; and expands sources of the plan assets from which a participant may take a hardship distribution to include QNECs, QMACs and earnings on QNECS, and QMACs and elective deferrals credited after 1988.  Source:  Seyfarth Shaw 11/13/18

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