• From rate increases to 401(k) oversights, advisers react to the week's news

    It was a busy week in benefits. Private sector competition is beating out SHOP exchanges, carriers are considering post-King v. Burwell rate changes and the retirement industry is responding to the Supreme Court's decision on Tibble v. Edison. Here's how EBA readers are taking it all in.

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  • 4 apps that will change the way advisers use the Internet

    There are some lesser known apps and tools for the Chrome internet browser that advisers could be leveraging to help manage their day-to-day tasks, according to the Principal Financial Group’s, digital strategist lead, Brian Gualillo.

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  • Fastest growing large-group brokerages with $10M-$100M in revenue

    Of the top 50 large-group brokerages in the U.S., the 10 companies listed are firms with between $10 million and $100 million in large-group revenue that are experiencing positive year over year growth. EBA, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge, reveals in ascending order these fastest-growing firms. The listing is based on Form 5500 Schedule A reporting data on revenues coming from commissions and fees/bonuses as of March 31, 2015.

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  • 5 ways to ensure compliance with ACA’s employer shared responsibility

    Reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act call for high levels of coordination between payroll and HR departments. One of the biggest changes this year is the employer shared responsibility provisions that went into effect for many large employers. Correct payroll data is vital to the end-of-year reporting process and in assessing whether an employer is subject to the provisions. Mike Trabold, director of compliance risk at Paychex, shares five best practices to ensure accuracy and help reduce the likelihood of penalties.

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  • Employees want face-to-face financial advice at work

    Household finances are a major concern for Americans, yet most have debt and are lacking a financial plan. A larger percentage of employees are seeking one-on-one guidance from an adviser through their employer, LIMRA research finds.

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  • 5 ways a plan could lose grandfathered status

    Health plans purchased before March 23, 2010 are considered to have grandfathered status and don’t have to follow the ACA's rules and regulations or offer the same benefits, rights and protections as new plans. But certain plan changes or adjustments can trigger the loss of grandfathered status. What are they?

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  • 7 habits of highly confident retirees

    Growing concern about retirement readiness is top of mind for many employers, their benefit advisers and especially their employees. The financial planning company BlackRock has identified seven habits that highly confident retirees practiced throughout their working career and can be emulated by today's plan participants. .

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  • Fastest growing large-group brokerages with revenue under $10M

    Of the top 50 large-group brokerages in the U.S., the 18 companies listed are firms with less than $10 million in large-group revenue that are experiencing positive year over year growth. EBA, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge, reveals in ascending order these fastest-growing firms. The listing is based on Form 5500 Schedule A reporting data on revenues coming from commissions and fees/bonuses as of March 31, 2015.

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  • How is the ACA impacting employer-sponsored plans?

    More employees are eligible for health benefits, but participation remains flat, premiums are increasing and workforce demographics are changing, according to the ADP Research Institute’s 2015 annual health benefits report.

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  • 5 voluntary products see double-digit sales increases

    Voluntary benefits sales increased 5% from 2013 to 2014, according to LIMRA’s U.S. Worksite Sales survey. Vision saw the biggest gains, followed by critical illness.

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  • 5 ways Facebook, Virgin, Yahoo encourage work-life balance

    Of the 100 million employees in America, just 30% are actively engaged and getting their jobs done, according to Gallup. So how do companies engage the other 70 million? Executives at Virgin, Facebook, Yahoo and Gallup shared at a recent panel how they manage employee work-life balance, including working from home, e-mail after hours and paid time off.

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  • 5 tips from top advisers to promote business growth

    Want to be the best in the business? Executives from the financial advisory space shared their insight with Steve Sanduski, founder of BelayAdvisor.com, during a podcast series. Here are five tips they offered to help promote growth:

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  • 6 Key mistakes that can sabotage IT security

    Maintaining data security and complying with HIPAA are major responsibilities for a all those involved in health care. FireHost details a proactive approach to securing protected health information. The data security vendor shares six mistakes once could make that can sabotage IT security.

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  • How NAHU's 2014 initiatives paid off

    The National Association of Health Underwriters represents more than 100,000 licensed health insurance agents, brokers, general agents, consultants and benefit professionals through more than 200 chapters across America. And that means a lot of Capitol Hill meetings, country wide travel and political fundraising. NAHU breaks down how the organization spent its time and invested its funds in 2014.

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  • The 3 most popular SHOP plans in each state

    Using data from Healthcare.gov, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provide the three largest small-group insurance products (ranked by enrollment) for each state. CCIIO and CMS released the data April 8 (for enrollments as of March 31, 2014) to "facilitate states’ selection of the benchmark plans that will serve as the reference plan for the essential health benefits," as required under the Affordable Care Act.

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  • Hillary 2016: 6 key stances on health care

    On Sunday Hillary Clinton announced she will seek the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. No stranger to the political arena, the 2016 presidential candidate has had a long history with health care reform and recently championed the Affordable Care Act. Here’s a history of some of her thoughts on health care:

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  • Why young advisers are overwhelmingly satisfied with their jobs

    Employee benefits may be known as an aging industry, but the younger advisers who are entering the business are overwhelmingly satisfied with their career choice. Statistics from LIMRA's Young Advisor Series, which surveyed financial professionals ages 40 and younger, show what makes for such a positive attitude.

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  • 10 things employers think make a great broker

    Employers want to make sure they’ve selected the right broker for evaluating, expanding and maintaining their benefit programs, particularly voluntary. There are 10 common criteria employers look for when trying to find the broker partner, Craig T. Dandrow, executive vice president and senior consultant at Boston-based Hays Companies, has found.

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  • It’s National Employee Benefits Day — celebrate

    Today, April 2, is National Employee Benefits Day. This year, the focus is on Wellness 2.0 — the movement to expand employer wellness programs to encompass all areas of total well-being: body, mind, wallet, community and work. The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans encourages those in the industry to celebrate by examining ways to increase overall health.

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  • Where is Zenefits headed?

    From its broker recruitment efforts to commission-based business model, common misconceptions and areas of business Zenefits will never enter, CEO Parker Conrad gets candid on the future of the fastest growing small-group brokerage in the country.

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  • Top LTD carriers in the large-group market

    The top 10 large-group long-term disability insurance carriers in the U.S., as presented by EBA, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge. Revealed in descending order, the listing is based on Form 5500 Schedule A reporting data on premiums as of Dec. 31, 2014.

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  • 5 reasons companies are hesitant to move to a private exchange

    Despite predictions by consultancies of more than 18 million active enrollees in private exchanges by 2018, many large employers are hesitant to make the jump. Here are the five reasons that employers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health, whose 80 members have more than 1.5 million employees nationwide, say are preventing them from changing.

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  • Scam alert: 12 types of fraud to watch for

    Fraud can occur in a myriad ways, from email scams to ID theft to manipulation of investment valuations. See a dozen common frauds — and ways advisers can help prevent them.

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  • Top STD carriers in the large-group market

    The top 10 large-group short-term disability insurance carriers in the U.S., as presented by EBA, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge. Revealed in descending order, the listing is based on Form 5500 Schedule A reporting data on premiums as of Dec. 31, 2014.

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  • A look at 5 years of the ACA

    This week marks the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Here’s a look at some of the highlights over the years and what can be expected in the future, as compiled by Patricia Moran, counsel in the employment, labor and benefits section of Boston law group Mintz Levin.

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  • 5 best practices for retirement plan fiduciaries

    The current legal and regulatory environment makes it more important than ever that employers and their benefit advisers understand the role of a retirement plan fiduciary and stay abreast of the latest developments and guidance. When considering what plan sponsors can do to most effectively satisfy their fiduciary duties, Dave Burns, a senior ERISA consultant and manager in Vanguard Strategic Retirement Consulting, says these five best practices rise to the top of the list.

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  • Who are the Rising Stars in Advising?

    The benefits industry is in a state of transformation and young benefit advisers are spearheading many of the efforts that promise to keep the profession relevant in the 21st century. Whether they're building innovative technology, launching educational campaigns or encouraging wellness platforms, Employee Benefit Adviser's 2015 Rising Stars in Advising, ages 35 and younger, are truly making an impact on the business of benefits.

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  • The top 10 large-group voluntary insurance carriers in the U.S.

    Employee Benefit Adviser, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge, introduces the top 10 large-group voluntary insurance carriers in the country. Revealed in descending order, the listing is based on Form 5500 Schedule A reporting data on premiums as of Dec. 31, 2014.

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  • EAP and wellness trends to watch in 2015

    Increased utilization of EAP and wellness services, the emergence of fatigue management programs and more demand for mobile health applications are a few of the predictions for this year, according to Chestnut Global Partners. The employee assistance and wellness program provider published a report identifying key developments that are expected to make a large impact on the market in 2015 and beyond.

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  • The top 10 large-group life insurance carriers in the U.S.

    Employee Benefit Adviser, in partnership with business intelligence data analytics firm miEdge, introduces the top 10 large-group life insurance carriers in the country. Revealed in descending order, the listing is based on Form 5500 Schedule A reporting data on premiums as of Dec. 31, 2014.

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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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