Is Your OSHA Log Posted?

If you have 10 or more employees and subject to the recordkeeping requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act you need to  post the OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, between February 1, 2017 and April 30, 2017. This is a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Minor injuries requiring first aid only do not need to be recorded. The Form 300A lists the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred during the previous year and must be posted even if no work-related injuries or illnesses occurred during the year. It should be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted so that employees are aware of the injuries and illnesses that have occurred  in the workplace.  A company executive must review the OSHA 300 Log and certify that the  annual summary is correct and complete.

Do all companies with 10 or more employees have to do this?

No, some companies may be partially exempt if they are in an industry that is typically safer than average, like legal offices, accounting offices, insurance agencies, advertising agencies, etc. Such organizations are not required to keep OSHA injury and illness records unless they are asked in writing to do so by OSHA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), or a state agency operating under the authority of OSHA or the BLS.

The Big Exception?

All employers, including those partially exempted by reason of company size or industry classification, must report to OSHA any workplace incident that results in a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.

So let’s stay safe out there!


ACA – What Now?

First and foremost, just because we had an election doesn’t mean that everything changes immediately.  The Affordable Care Act forms are still going to be required for 2016 reporting.  You do have a one month reprieve:  the forms were originally due to employees on January 31, 2017 and now they are  due on March 2, 2017.  That extra time will be helpful to employers, but perhaps even more helpful is the IRS’s change regarding penalty relief.  Originally the IRS said employers would have to show “reasonable cause” to have penalties waived for 2016 reporting.  Instead, they are extending the good faith penalty relief from 2015 reporting for another year.  Saying ” I though this would go away after the election” will probably not be considered a good faith excuse, however so you should be prepared to take the forms seriously again this year.

There are some changes for 2016 reporting. Most notable is the change to the indicator codes denoting spousal coverage.  Codes 1J and 1K have been added to indicate conditional offers of healthcare coverage to spouses.  The codes go on Part II, Line 14 of Form 1095-C.  These codes will cover situations where coverage is available to the spouse only under certain situations such as when the spouse certifies that he or she is not eligible for other group coverage through an employer or not eligible for Medicare.

The deadlines for filing with the feds remain the same.  The deadline for filing employer copies on paper is February 28, 2917.  The deadline for electronic filing is March 31, 2017.  One reason to consider getting it all done in January is that you can get a special discount if you use the Aatrix tax filing service and are ready to send out W-2’s and 1095-C’s at the same time.



HR To Do List for November

If you are in Human Resources or upper management you have a busy month ahead of you.  You are probably in the middle of Open Enrollment, you are rgetting ready for your ACA reporting in January, and now you have to get the word out to affected employees that some of them are going to be paid hourly effective December 1, 2016.  Here is a little checklist to help you with that last one.

  • Review all exempt salaried employees who earn less than $47,476 per year or $913 per week.  Determine their new hourly rate.
  • Make sure that they are set up to record time the same way the rest of your hourly employees record time.  Set them up in the timeclock and get their badges ready.
  • Be sure that the managers of the affected employees sit down with them to discuss what will be changing.
  • Don’t assume that they know the rules they will need to follow.  Spell them out in a written communication as well and have them sign an acknowledgement.

Suzanne Lucas has provided an excellent letter example for Inc. Magazine.  Take a look at her example and it will help you with a tough communication.

Upgrading Abra Suite

Now that Microsoft is no longer supporting FoxPro people keep asking questions:

  • How long can I stay on Abra Suite?
  • Is it going to suddenly stop working?
  • When should I upgrade to SQL?

There is no one correct answer to any of these questions but there are some guidelines.

  • Sage is committed to continuing support for Sage Abra Suite with tax updates and and legislative changes that fit within the current engine.  They will not be devoting resources to the development of new features, however. If you are interested in having the latest and greatest features, you may want to consider upgrading to Sage HRMS.
  • Some states are starting to develop some unusual employment laws such as the California Sick Pay law that don’t easily fit into the Abra Suite calculation methods.  Customers in some states may find they need the greater flexibility and development of the SQL version.
  • As time goes on there may be components that are not compatible with current operating systems.  These may be Microsoft components like .Net 4.5.2 that is not compatible with older versions of Windows Server.
  • If you have a number of people using Abra Suite HR and Payroll you have doubtless had to log out of the system while a user needs exclusive access for updates or backups.  This is minimized in a SQL environment.

In general, if you are a single user with Abra Suite installed on one workstation you may be happy staying with Abra Suite for quite some time.  If you are in a state like California with new laws all the time, a company with lots of diverse users, or an organization that tends to move to the latest operating systems, you should be considering a move to Sage HRMS if you have not already moved.  If you are somewhere in between, then talk to us.  We would be happy to help you evaluate your best move.

Sage Employer Resources

Do you know about Sage Employer Resources?  If you are a Gold Business Care customer for Abra Suite or Sage HRMS you may have this benefit and not even know it.  Sage Employer Resources in a website powered by HR360.  In it you will find everything you need to deal with your employer compliance issues.  Main topics include Employee Benefits, Healthcare Reform, Human Resources, Recruitment & Hiring, Discipline & Termination, State Laws, Forms & Policies, HR Apps & Tools, Resource Center, Safety & Wellness, and HR Training.  When you sign up for your user ID and password you can login and setup your account to customize it for yourself.  For example, you can identify the states that you are most concerned about.  Then you can set up the topics for which you would like to receive Alerts.  You will receive email alerts on changes and legislation that affect the states that you work in without getting an avalanche of information that does not affect you.

In the HR Apps and Tools there are a number of interactive tools to help you analyze your company’s compliance.  For example, there is a great tool that helps you analyze your Federal Poster compliance.  Here is an excerpt:

Federal Poster Advisor

Whether your company is small or large, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requires that you display a number of different posters in your workplace where employees can easily observe them. The Poster Advisor can help you identify the required posters for your company, including:

  • Fair Labor Standards and Minimum Wage
  • Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Family and Medical Leave Act
  • OSHA Job Safety and Health Protection
  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

Based on the information you provide in response to various questions, the Poster Advisor generates a list of federal laws administered by the DOL which have poster requirements that likely apply to your business, along with links to download printable posters at no charge.


Need help with setting up this benefit?  Let us know.

My Workforce Analyzer

The end of the year is fast approaching and if you have not yet figured out how you are going to handle the forms required by the Affordable Care Act you have no time to lose.  These requirements are somewhat tricky because they depend on information regarding your health benefit enrollments and payroll information.  If you have a self funded health plan they require information about your employees’ enrolled dependents as well.  If you have Sage HRMS or Sage Abra Suite you are fortunate because all of the information you need resides in your current systems.  Then the Sage My Workforce Analyzer module gathers it together in easily understood dashboards to help you manage your employee eligibility information throughout the year.  At year end it produces the forms you need for your employees and the government.  It even connects to the Aatrix tax filing service to handle all the paper pushing at year end.


If you are stuggling to deal with employee compliance issues this may be your answer.  For more information see My Workforce Analyzer.

Automation Can Help

If you have never thought you needed an HRMS system, now may be the time to reconsider.  There is a lot of work ahead for HR professionals and benefit managers to comply with new laws, especially the Affordable Care Act.  An HRMS system is designed to centralize HR and benefits information so you can more easily access the data and run the reports you need for compliance.  In addition to compliance with the Affordable Care Act your HRMS solution would help keep your company in compliance with EEO-1, EEO-4, I-9 Citizenship Verification, Vets-100, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and OSHA record-keeping requirements.

Although HR compliance is at the heart of your base HRMS system, it can also become the center of a more fully featured system that can include payroll, Employee Self Service, Paperless HR Forms, Org Charts, Recruiting, Training Management , Timekeeping and more.  Imagine entering employee information only one time and knowing that all of your employee-related information is up-to-date and available to the people who need it most.  No spreadheets with conflicting information, or duplication of data.

So if you never thought and HR system was for your company, maybe now is the time to take a look and see what you have been missing.