• Top 5 brokerages with the most large-group commission in each state, part 2

    These employee benefit brokerages have the most large-group, in-force commissions for employers in their state. EBA, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge, reveals in alphabetical order the top five brokerages in each state, beginning with Mississippi through Wyoming. The listing is based on Form 5500 Schedule A reporting data on commissions as of July 31, 2015.

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  • Top 5 brokerages with the most large-group commission in each state, part 1

    These employee benefit brokerages have the most large-group, in-force commissions for employers in their state. EBA, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge, reveals in alphabetical order the top five brokerages in each state, beginning with Alaska through Missouri. The listing is based on Form 5500 Schedule A reporting data on commissions as of July 31, 2015.

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  • States with the worst-funded pension programs

    The U.S. had a $968 billion shortfall in 2013 — up $54 billion from the prior year — between the pension benefits that were promised to employees and what was actually saved to make those payments, according to a recent report by Pew Charitable Trusts. Here are the states with the worst-funded pension programs.

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  • How employers are controlling health care costs

    Employers are using a variety of solutions, such as telemedicine, narrow network plans and online enrollment to contain rising health care costs — and each tactic has increased in popularity in the past year, according to Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.’s 2015 benefits strategy and benchmarking survey.

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  • States with best-funded pension programs

    The U.S. had a $968 billion shortfall in 2013 — up $54 billion from the prior year — between the pension benefits that were promised to employees and what was actually saved to make those payments, according to a recent report by Pew Charitable Trusts. Here are the states with the best-funded pension programs.

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  • How has the ACA impacted individual sales?

    Brokers played a key role in helping individuals enroll in health care coverage on the marketplaces under the ACA — 60% of brokers helped up to 50 consumers during the 2015 open enrollment period, and 20% helped more than 100, according to the 2015 Kaiser Foundation Survey of Health Insurance Marketplace Assister Programs and Brokers. However, brokers reported that selling individual policies is more time consuming and less profitable since the ACA was implemented. Here are some other broker-related findings from the survey.

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  • ACA repeal, private exchanges spur reactions

    Do private exchanges bend the cost curve? How does Scott Walker’s health care plan compare to the ACA? What impact will the BIC exemption have? EBA readers share their thoughts on this week’s industry news.

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  • 5 ways to increase ancillary sales on an exchange

    One way brokers are keeping their revenue numbers up is by selling ancillary products. A major avenue to selling ancillary is through an exchange, where consumer decision support tools point consumers toward these products. James Drew, president of Ancilyze, shares five ways to increase these sales.

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  • Announcing EBA’s 2015 Advisers of the Year

    From an unbridled passion for inspiring workplace wellness to unique employee benefit service models that stand apart from the rest, the 2015 Retirement, Technology, Voluntary, Wellness and overall Employee Benefit Advisers of the Year are making waves in today’s benefits industry. Meet the men and women who are receiving EBA's top honors.

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  • The sharpest critiques and key takeaways from the DOL fiduciary hearings

    After four days, nearly 40 hours of testimony and more than 70 speakers, the Labor Department has wrapped up the latest phase in its effort to craft and implement a new fiduciary rule governing retirement advice in America. Here are the sharpest critiques and key takeaways from the hearings.

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  • ACA subsidies, Cadillac tax, fiduciary hearings spark plenty of discussion

    From wrongly issued subsidies to the Cadillac tax to the DOL fiduciary hearings, it’s been a busy week for the insurance industry. Here’s what EBA readers had to say about these topics.

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  • Advisers weigh-in on the future role of the benefit broker

    The IRS has issued a new glimpse at compliance with the ACA’s Cadillac tax and a well-discussed EBA article asked advisers to ponder which of three broker models will survive? Here’s what EBA readers had to say.

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  • Part 3: Fastest-growing ancillary carriers with over $500M in revenue

    Excluding health insurance premium, these ancillary benefit carriers are the top companies experiencing positive year over year growth with more than $500 million in large-group revenue. EBA, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge, reveals in ascending order these fastest-growing companies. The listing is based on Form 5500 Schedule A reporting data on revenues coming from premiums as of June 30, 2015.

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  • 4 health plan elements the DOL is likely to audit

    The DOL has reiterated its intent to actively seek out health and welfare plans across the country for audit. Employers and their benefit advisers should review plans for compliance, paying close attention to these areas flagged recently by the DOL as points of interest.

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  • Part 2: Fastest-growing ancillary carriers with $100-$500M in revenue

    Excluding health insurance premium, these ancillary benefit carriers are the top companies experiencing positive year over year growth between $100 and $500 million in large-group revenue. EBA, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge, reveals in ascending order these fastest-growing companies. The listing is based on Form 5500 Schedule A reporting data on revenues coming from premiums as of June 30, 2015.

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  • 5 reasons why a benefits marketplace is crucial for brokers’ success

    Benefit marketplaces continue to gain popularity, and brokers need to understand and embrace how technology-enabled shopping and enrollment platforms can fit into their current and future business strategies. Here are five reasons a benefits marketplace can enhance brokers’ business, according to technology solutions provider hCentive.

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  • The ACA: Top 10 predictions for 2016

    Advisers and their employer clients have a false sense of calm about the Affordable Care Act in 2015, because nobody has been penalized yet under the employer shared responsibility rule, says Kaya Bromley, an attorney with Your Obamacare Advisors. Next year could change that, she adds. Here are 10 of her top ACA predictions for 2016.

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  • What advisers think about the Cadillac tax

    This week, a new coalition dedicated to repealing the ACA’s excise tax on high-cost group plans was formed. Here’s what EBA readers had to say about the tax set to take effect in 2018.

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  • Part 1: Fastest-growing ancillary carriers under $100 million

    Excluding health insurance premium, these ancillary benefit carriers are the top companies experiencing positive year over year growth up to $100 million in large-group revenue. EBA, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge, reveals in ascending order these fastest-growing companies. The listing is based on Form 5500 Schedule A reporting data on revenues coming from premiums as of June 30, 2015.

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  • 10 myths about private exchanges

    Private exchange growth is expected to explode by 2018. But many employers and brokers alike still struggle with the definition of an exchange. At EBA’s recent Private Healthcare Exchanges conference in Chicago, Ann Mond Johnson, adviser at ConnectedHealth, and Matthew Levin, executive vice president at Aon, shared the top 10 myths about these exchanges.

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  • 7 things employers need to know about the same-sex marriage decision

    The Supreme Court’s recent decision that states are required to recognize as legal a marriage between two people of the same sex has lasting implications on employers that some industry experts are still deciphering. Benefit advisers should be prepared to advise employer clients on some of these changes. Here are 7 things employers need to know about the decision, according to Cherry Creek Benefits.

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  • What factors impact retirement savings?

    The size of an organization, the age of an employee and a worker’s salary influence whether or not an employer offers retirement benefits as well as determines if an employee participates and how much they contribute. Here are some key findings from the ADP Research Institute's retirement savings trends study.

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  • How to avoid getting run over by the Cadillac tax

    In 2018 a 40% excise tax will be imposed on plan costs that exceed pre-determined dollar limits laid out by the Affordable Care Act. Employers and their benefit advisers have already begun to take steps to avoid or mitigate so-called “Cadillac” tax exposure. Here are eight strategies Wells Fargo Insurance Services suggests to ensure employers minimize their tax risk.

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  • 5 summer reading books for advisers

    Hitting the pools and beaches this season? Take along some reading material to get motivated and brush up on sales skills and regulations in the process. These reads — recommended by fellow advisers and industry insiders — range from new thinking to classic, tried-and-true strategies.

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  • Advisers react to Zenefits, ADP dispute

    The Zenefits, ADP dispute continues to evoke strong reactions from EBA readers on both sides. This week EBA also covered the increasing use of data in plan design and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate that broker assistance on the federal exchange nearly doubled in the second year of enrollment.

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  • 10 principles for an ideal retirement system

    What makes a retirement plan successful? How can advisers and other investment management professionals work with plan sponsors to deliver sustainable and trusted benefits? Here are 10 key principles for an ideal retirement system, according to a recent report from the CFA Institute and Mercer.

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  • 8 features a private exchange should have

    As small employers shift from group to individual coverage, private exchanges can be a useful tool to keep brokers competitive and maximize profits during the transition. Here are eight features a broker should look for in a private exchange, says David Holton, vice president of consumer sales at HealthPlan Services.

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  • What impact will the Aetna-Humana merger have?

    Aetna’s recent acquisition of Humana sparked plenty of debate about what this means for the industry and what the future holds for benefit brokers. Here are some reactions EBA readers had this week.

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  • What do Americans think about the King v. Burwell decision?

    Most people in the U.S. approve of the Supreme Court's June 25 ruling to uphold the legality of subsidies used to purchase health insurance on the federally facilitated marketplace. The 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell means that tax credits continue to be valid in the 34 FFM states. Here are some other key findings from the latest Kaiser Family Foundation health tracking poll.

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  • ACA compliance pitfalls advisers need to know about

    Helping clients ensure compliance with the Affordable Care Act is a major part of a benefit adviser’s job. Here are some HR and payroll issues that advisers should pay particular attention to, according to Karen Kirkpatrick, owner of On Your Mark Consulting.

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  • 6 tips for 2013 office holiday parties

    The most common questions ThinkHR, an HR and compliance solution-provider, gets during the holiday season is surrounding holiday parties. The group provides recommendations here for the perfect office-appropriate get together.

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  • 4 more possible changes to health care reform law

    Last week the White House reprieved for a year plans canceled under the Affordable Care Act, a move largely seen as trying to appease angered voters ahead of the 2014 midterm elections. This follows a one-year delay, announced in July, of the employer mandate. While Obamacare doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon, the moves demonstrate that the law is still quite malleable, and more changes could be coming.

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  • 6 wellness tips for flu prevention

    The flu costs businesses approximately $10.4 billion in direct costs for hospitalizations and out-patient visits for adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to encouraging workers to get immunized, employers can further minimize employee sick days and slow the spread of illness by communicating best practices in wellness and nutrition. Share these six preventive tips from Dr. Bruce Underwood, a certified nutrition and preventive care specialist with Healthy Futures, Inc., to keep workers and their families healthy this season.

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  • 6 job search tips for executives

    Job interview errors aren’t just a problem for entry-level applicants. Sometimes a spell on the C suite can render highly qualified talent underprepared for the job search process. You can’t assume that the tactics that worked on your job search three (or 30) years ago will work this time around. The rise of social media and the aggressive hiring market have led to conditions where even the most desirable applicants can falter. And don’t assume that you have an edge just because you’re comfortable on the other side of a job interview, either.

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  • 6 changes employees could see at open enrollment

    Employees generally don't spend enough time choosing their health benefits each year, with many blindly re-enrolling. This year especially that could be a risky and costly strategy as changes from the Affordable Care Act have transformed the insurance landscape. "In some cases, not making an active decision during enrollment means employees could get defaulted into a health care plan that doesn't meet their needs—or even worse—leaves them and their families with no coverage at all," says Craig Rosenberg, Aon Hewitt’s health & welfare benefits administration practice leader. "It’s up to employees to read the fine print and take an active role in understanding if and how these changes may impact them."

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  • Top 10 facts about the Hispanic market and life insurance

    LIMRA research has released two studies on effective ways for companies and financial advisers to connect to the Hispanic market for life insurance. Here are 10 important facts for professionals to know when trying to reach the Hispanic demographic.

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  • 3 tools for reducing the mental health stigma

    The World Health Organization’s World Suicide Prevention Day was this month, with a theme of “Stigma: A Major Barrier to Suicide Prevention.” Now in its 10th year, Suicide Prevention Day aims to combat the 800,000 suicides a year, and stigma is one of the areas where employers can really help.

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  • The workplace goes back to high school

    If you’re feeling nostalgic for the good old days as kids return to school this September, remember the workplace can still offer its share of high school drama to make you glad you've graduated. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, the social dynamics in a typical U.S. workplace aren't all that different from a U.S. high school. In the survey, many employees admit their office has cliques and workers rank which departments are smartest and most attractive, suggesting that popularity contests don’t stop, even in the real world.

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  • 3 things that might surprise you about telework

    Telecommuting and working remotely remains a very popular draw for employees of all ages. Flexible work arrangements – though under fire from some well-known companies – can be a draw for high-value workers, as well as helping everyone achieve work-life balance.

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  • 3 Things business must do to save American jobs

    The Great Recession has masked the fact that employers and employees are headed for a “jobs cliff” at breakneck speed. In these excerpts from his new book, “Future Jobs,” workforce development expert Edward Gordon describes the danger of the coming talent train wreck and how to prevent it.

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  • 9 tips to help employees transition to public exchanges

    According to the Obama administration, the state insurance marketplaces set up under ACA are on schedule to begin open enrollment on Oct. 1. To aid in communicating health care reform changes this fall, here are nine tips for transitioning employees into the public marketplace from Sara Taylor, health solutions development leader at Aon Hewitt.

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  • 4 calls for medical help from employees

    The Grand Rounds’ recent Employee Benefit Expectation survey, the results of which were announced Wednesday, emphasizes the high value employees place on medical plans that can extended to newer shapes of families – same-sex couples, aging parents and medical dependents much older than 21. "The modern employee," the survey reads, "is looking for employers that recognize the changing state of familial responsibilities."

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  • Employee suggestions for improving trust around mobile privacy

    Although Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is becoming a standard business practice, employees express concern about their privacy when using a mobile device for work purposes. In addition, there's a gulf between privacy expectations and reality, but employers can increase employee trust with these suggestions from employees surveyed in the MobileIron Trust Gap Survey.

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  • Employees can't get no satisfaction

    The Rolling Stones' famous lyrics may apply to the workplace as well as rock stars. According to a recent survey conducted by Philips North America, only 43% of workers are "very" satisfied with their current job. Here are five other takeaways from the work-life survey of 1,000 working Americans.

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  • Unique workplaces built to reflect company culture

    While companies are spending millions of dollars on branding, marketing, recruiting and managing, they’re typically overlooking their central office space to ensure they are proactively and purposefully communicating their story. An organization's office space is the singular point where staff members, prospective employees, customers and brand all come together. As attention and focus are made scarce by a constant barrage of information, the ability to have your brand stand out — and its story understood — has never been more critical. Kahler Slater, a global team of Experience Designers, presents four client workplaces that have transformed this critical touch point into a brand experience.

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  • 7 wealth destroying management styles

    Whether you’re running a small business or a giant corporation, leaders — and even trained MBA’s — are making major mistakes when it comes to their management styles, says corporate turnaround executive Kathleen Brush, author of The Power of One. She provides the top seven mistakes. [Images: Thinkstock]

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  • Relive the best of BF&E 2012!

    Benefits professionals and advisers enjoyed three days of exciting keynotes, including Meghan McCain, and informative sessions, expansive networking, and a rockin’ 80s party in tranquil Phoenix, AZ last week at the 25th Annual Benefits Forum & Expo. Experience moments you may have missed or relive the best of them in this special slideshow.

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  • 7 keys to 401(k) engagement

    Offering a 401(k) plan to employees is only half the benefit; sponsors need to design plan features to maximize enrollment and communicate the advantages of the plan. With strong plan construction and sound communication and financial education campaigns to support it, employers can help workers save and plan adequately for retirement.

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  • 2012 elections signal historic change for workplace benefits

    The results of the November election will dramatically affect major employee benefits issues, most notably health care. No matter who wins the White House, the makeup of Congress after the elections could also significantly influence how employers manage their workplace benefits. Chantel Sheaks, a principal in government relations with Buck Consultants, outlines how the most likely scenarios could determine benefits strategy for plan sponsors.

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  • HR and benefits professionals share their benefits communication pet peeves

    Some HR terms and buzzwords are overused and ineffective to communicate benefits information to employees and report to executives. EBN readers shared benefits vocab or phrases they despise on our LinkedIn Group and on Twitter. What HR word or concept would you add to the list?

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  • Plan ahead with Mercer's open enrollment checklist

    Against the backdrop of health care reform, planning and prioritizing health benefit programs for 2013 is an immediate need for plan sponsors. Employers may find strategies and tactics for rolling out plans to be more complex. Based on key survey findings, Mercer has developed a short checklist to help ensure an efficient and effective open enrollment season.

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  • Summer reading list for benefits professionals

    This summer, enjoy some educational reading while relaxing by the beach or pool. Have you read these must-read books that bring insight to the HR and benefits profession?

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  • 10 major concerns for health care reform after Supreme Court ruling

    Global consulting and actuarial firm Milliman identifies the major strategic considerations for plan sponsors, insurers, and advisers now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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  • Top 5 locations for recruiting, retaining and relocating employees

    Where does your city rank? Aon Hewitt’s 2012 People Risk Index measures the risks that organizations face with recruitment, employment and relocation in 131 cities worldwide by analyzing such factors as demographics, access to education, talent development, employment practices and government regulations. Here are the top five lowest risk cities -- in descending order -- in which to recruit, employ and relocate top talent. (Images: Thinkstock)

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  • Financial Fitness Challenge

    Retail salespeople, biomedical engineers, furniture makers and firefighters -- these and a host of other workers from around the country will face off this summer in The EBN-EBA Financial Fitness Challenge. Eighteen U.S. organizations will be giving their employees the opportunity to take a five-week online financial education course developed by our partner, The Educated Investor. The aggregated results of their efforts will be published by EBN and EBA. Here are 16 of the employers chosen for the first Financial Fitness Challenge.

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  • 7 tax-free benefits for employees

    During tax season, employees are sharply reminded of how much cash Uncle Sam takes from their paychecks. Many workers already take advantage of benefits such as tax-exempt health savings accounts, group term-life insurance and even tax-deferred benefits in retirement plans. Some fringe benefits, however, are lesser known for their tax-exempt status. Here are seven tax-free benefits that keep cash in employees’ pockets, as well may provide attractive deductibles to companies.

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  • 5 winning vacation benefits and policies

    Taking time away from the office has been shown to reduce stress and improve employee productivity. Here's 5 unique approaches to vacation benefits that encourage employees to unwind and return to work with renewed vigor.

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  • Health care reform stirs protests at Supreme Court

    In March 2012, the Supreme Court heard six hours of oral arguments over three days on the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which would require nearly every person in the United States to purchase health insurance, whether through an employer, state exchanges, Medicare, Medicaid or private exchanges. The mandate, the most polarizing provision of the law, brought American from both sides of the issue to Washington, D.C., to converge on the Supreme Court steps to protest or advocate for PPACA.

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  • 6 tips to make sure your DC plan is successful

    Defined contribution plans are becoming more and more the primary employer-sponsored retirement plan for most Americans. Yet, along with participants’ need for strong performance, plan sponsors must deal with increased regulatory activity, governance requirements and fiduciary concerns. Mercer’s Toni Brown and Bill McClain share how to make sure your plan is as successful as it can be. For more information on DC plans, visit Mercer.com.

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  • 12 Most bizarre excuses for employee sick days


    It’s that time of year again when employees have trouble making it in to the office — and no, we don’t mean cold and flu season. Some employees, not quite ready to go back to the grind after extended holiday time off, may be looking for some extra time away. According to CareerBuilder, the highest period of employee absenteeism occurs between January and March, with 34% of employers noting that use of sick days peak in the first quarter of the year. Further, 29% of workers cite errands and plans with family and friends among the top reasons for calling in sick when they were well.

    Starting the year on a light-hearted note, EBN selected a dozen from CareerBuilder’s list of some of the most outrageous excuses employees have used to call in sick. We hope they’ll help you maintain your sense of humor as you endure the absenteeism of the winter months.

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  • Eight steps to a healthier holiday season

    Kaiser Permanente recently launched "Maintain Don't Gain" campaign to help employer's wellness efforts through the holidays. Part of the KP campaign includes an eight-week guide to help employees avoid winter weight creep. As we approach the holiday season and the winter months share these tips with employees to encourage winter wellness.

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  • 5 holiday benefits and perks to thank employees

    Spread some holiday cheer around your workplace this season with these creative and thoughtful end-of-year benefits and rewards to celebrate a workforce that has dutifully taken on extra work and stress during trying economic times. Whether it’s giving a small gift or throwing a holiday bash to show your care, employees will be thankful for your support and recognition. When they return to work in the New Year, make sure employees are listing “exercise more” and “eat fewer sweets” as their 2012 resolutions, not “find a new job.”

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  • 8 ways employees can use their flexible spending accounts before 2012

    As 2011 comes to an end, it’s time for employees with health care and dependent care flexible spending accounts to use up their remaining balances before the end of their plan year, when any leftover money is forfeited. Here are eight ways your employees can spend down their FSAs before 2012, courtesy of Save Smart, Spend Healthy.

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