It’s easy to assume that the storage and maintenance of employee files is quite simple. However, they have a bit more complexity to them than one may think.
We’ve worked with several employers to have the best practice of grabbing a file, throwing all employee-related documents into it, storing the file alphabetically and viola; it’s done. Could that be you? If it is, you could be opening yourself up to avoidable risk. Have no fear, we are here to help you get your files up to par.
There are three employee related files that an employer must maintain to ensure that you are legally compliant in your record keeping
• General Employee File
• Medical File
• I-9 File
The organization of documentation within each file is primarily up to you. However, different guidelines are associated with different employee file types, which we will review shortly.
Before we get started, here are a few general accessibility and security measures that should take place to ensure that you are handling sensitive information correctly.
• Access to a personnel file is restricted to certain employees in most organizations. To provide optimal security of your employee's sensitive data, we recommend limiting access to your selected HR representative and business owner.
• Generally, employee access to his or her personnel file is allowed. But it is recommended that you create and distribute a policy outlining guidelines regarding file access. Many states have their regulations regarding this topic.
• Most organizations do not allow the employee's manager to access employee files. They expect the managers to keep relevant documentation in their employee file which is not the official personnel file.
• All files must reside in a safe, locked, inaccessible location. The file cabinet that houses your three files should be separate from each other. The filing cabinet must lock, and your chosen HR representative should have the only keys.
Let’s take a closer look at each required file and how to properly maintain them.
Employee Personnel File
This is the main personnel file an employer maintains for each employee. The personnel file stores the employment history of each employee.
What’s in this file- Application and resume, documentation of employment history, records of contribution and achievement, disciplinary notices, promotions, performance development plans, performance evaluations, and much more belong in a personnel file.
Documentation is necessary, so you have an accurate perspective of the employee's history. When you keep the right documentation stored correctly, you will ensure that you are protected against any legal action or issues. When you can demonstrate your rationale behind hiring, promotions, transfer, rewards, and recognition, and firing decisions through solid documentation and filing practices, you can sleep soundly.
The employee medical file has legal restrictions that the employer must know and heed. The employer must keep a medical file separately for each employee to ensure compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
HIPAA requires employers to protect employee medical records as confidential; medical records should be stored separately from other business records. Never store employee medical records in the employee’s general personnel file.
What’s in this file- The employee medical file is the repository for everything that has to do with health, employee health-related leave, and benefits selections and coverage for the employee. This includes doctors notes and medical leave paperwork.
I-9 Forms File
The Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification is the form that is required by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to prove an individual’s eligibility for employment in the United States.
An I-9 must be completed for every employee. Essentially there are two steps to completing the I-9:
1. The employee must complete section 1 and provide you with original identification that is listed on page 3 of the I-9.
2. The employer must complete section 2 within three days of the employees first day on the job and attach copies of the identification provided by the employee.
The form verifies that you have reviewed the approved forms of identification that prove the employee is legally authorized to work in the United States. There are some nuances to completing the I-9. To ensure that you are completing the I-9 correctly, check out the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) Handbook for Employers for more information. Click HERE to access the employer's the handbook.
To properly store and maintain this document, you will want to keep all employee I-9s, and the accompanying documentation separate from other files. The government may audit these forms. In the event of an audit, keeping your I-9s filed separately will ensure that you maintain company and employee confidentiality.
While it seems that managing three separate files could be quite cumbersome and time-consuming, it is easier than it seems. Having separate personnel, medical and I-9 files will help you to stay organized, compliant and secure. This will result in professional best practices that allow you and your team to focus on what you do best- growing and running your business.
Managing employee files is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to small businesses and their HR needs. HR Branches is here to help you take your HR from Hassle to “Handled!” Check out www.hrbranches.com to learn more how about how our cost-effective solution can help you gain some peace-of-mind today.
**HR Branches provides general information about Human Resources. Please note that the information provided, while reliable, is not legal advice. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make sure your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location and circumstances.
Guest Post provided by: Reanna Werne, HR Branches
Thanks, Reanna, for the excellent information!
Successfully motivating your employees will help you achieve and maintain business goals. Ultimately, you want to create an environment that allows your employees to meet or exceed expectations, do their best and feel valued. While employees are clearly motivated by tangible rewards such as salary and promotion, there are more intangible factors such as mentoring, personal and professional growth and the ability to work on independent projects.
We are all individuals with different needs and aspirations, so what motivates one employee may not motivate another. Creating a work environment which includes a range of motivators can result in improved performance as well as increased retention and enthusiasm for the company.
The following is a brief summary of different motivators:
These strategies may motivate your employees to contribute to your businesses performance:
Effective immediately Health Net now considers employees enrolled in an IFP (Individual & Family Plan) plan as VALID WAIVERS.
IFP members who do not enroll in a group plan because they are already insured (with IFP coverage) no longer count against group participation! This is very important. If you've been denied coverage because your group's participation was too low you now have the opportunity to finally get the coverage your business deserves!
Get a quote for your business today!! The door just swung wide open.
As always, Unlimited Benefits is here to guide you in all your employee benefit needs. Reach out let's see if your group with generally low participation can finally be approved!
IRS Established 2019 HSA Guidelines
Below is an overview of the IRS inflation adjusted HSA dollar limits for calendar year 2019 as published in Revenue Procedure 2018-30.
Minimum HSA Qualified Health Plan Deductibles for 2019 (no change from 2018):
• Self-Only Coverage: $1,350
• Family Coverage: $2,700 (includes embedded individual deductible on a family coverage plan)
Maximum HSA Qualified Health Plan Out-of-Pocket Limits for 2019:
• Self-Only Coverage: $6,750 (increased from $6,650 in 2018)
• Family Coverage: $13,500 (increased from $13,300 in 2018)
• Out-of-Pocket limits include deductibles, coinsurance and copayment amounts, and excludes premiums
IRS HSA Contribution Limits for 2019:
• Self-Only Coverage: $3,500 (increased from $3,450 in 2018)
• Family Coverage: $7,000 (increased from $6,900 in 2018)
• Catch Up Contributions (for individuals age 55+ until enrolled in Medicare): $1,000 (no change from 2018)
Contact Unlimited Benefits at 888.587.9370 for more information
May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, and the number of new cases is on the rise. You can lower your risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers by protecting yourself from ultraviolet (UV) radiation all year long, not just during the summer months.
Being exposed to UV radiation is a risk factor for skin cancers, including melanoma. In the United States, the hours between 10 am and 4 pm are the most hazardous for UV exposure. To protect yourself from UV radiation, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staying in the shade, wearing clothing that covers your arms and legs, and using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and both UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection. In addition to increased exposure to UV radiation, people with the following risk factors are more likely than others to develop skin cancer:
....for certain individuals.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that the 2018 annual limitation on health savings account (HSA) contributions by individuals with family coverage under a high deductible health plan (HDHP) is now $6,850. This limit was previously announced as $6,900, but has been revised downward due to an inflation adjustment provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The 2018 annual limitation on HSA contributions by an individual with self-only coverage under a HDHP remains unchanged at $3,450.
The above change applies to the 2018 calendar year. Employees contributing to an HSA should be informed of the reduced maximum limit, and adjustments in contributions for the remainder of 2018 may be needed. Employees who have already contributed the maximum amount for 2018 will need to receive a refund of the excess contribution.
See page 400 of IRS Bulletin 2018-10
The IRS is sending out "pay or play" penalty letters, so be sure you as an employer are compliant with all your ACA requirements.
Review the ACA Checklist with HR360 for 2018
Review a IRS Questions and Answers regarding "Pay or Play".
Need ACA guidance? Don't hesitate to call Unlimited Benefits, Inc, for assistance. 888.587.9370
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Looking for a way to reduce your workers’ compensation claims?
Voluntary benefits could be the answer. A recent survey of 600 employers* found that nearly half of companies offering accident and disability insurance experience reductions in workers' compensation claims. In addition to asking employers if they could confirm declines in claims, the survey also inquired about the significance of those declines. The results demonstrate that by making voluntary accident and disability insurance available to employees, companies can often decrease the frequency and expense of their workers' compensation claims.
The survey results reveal the following:
Employers who offer voluntary accident insurance noticed declines in their workers’ compensation claims. Specifically:
In examining their volume of workers’ compensation claims and the amount of decline, declines of 50% or more were determined to be significant or very significant:
Interestingly, large employers also saw a 29% moderate reduction in workers’ compensation claims of between 25 and 49%.
Employers who offer voluntary disability insurance noticed declines in their workers’ compensation claims. Specifically:
In examining the volume reduction in workers’ compensation claims, a reduction of 50% or more was determined to be significant or very significant:
Numerous studies indicate an increasing number of employers are offering voluntary benefits as part of their total employee benefits program. However these studies do not review the overall employee/employer satisfaction with the voluntary benefit program. Total satisfaction is based on more than just the product that is offered. Unlimited Benefits' approach to voluntary benefits is customized based upon the needs of each employer and that employer’s team members.
For more information on how VWB's can positively impact you, the employer, and your employees contact Unlimited Benefits at 888-587-9370
Almost everyone knows Dave Ramsey and his common sense tips on wealth creation, debt elimination and financial management. We thought it was kind of cool to run across his great tip about why using Unlimited Benefits, Inc is a great choice. (OK, not UB, Inc. specifically but us as an "Independent Agent").
Check out Dave's #1 Tips right here
Founder of Unlimited Benefits and Financial Services Expert since 1994