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December 3, 2013
The Department of Labor and Industries announced that businesses in Washington State will pay 2.7% more for workers’ compensation insurance in 2014. L&I said 2.7% is an average for all businesses and some will pay more or less than this, depending on their safety record and other factors. This modest increase in rates is part of a long-term plan to ensure steady and predictable rates by benchmarking against wage inflation,” said L&I Director Joel Sacks. “It will also help to gradually rebuild the workers’ comp reserves.
November 7, 2013
The first phase of the Global Harmonized System (GHS) standards takes effect on December 1, 2013. This is an entire revision of the Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) regarding chemical safety in the workplace.
October 24, 2013
The federal and state exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act are open for business. The U.S. healthcare system has taken a significant, transformative step in the way Americans purchase health insurance. Those who buy individual health insurance, including millions who are currently uninsured, are expected to shop at these new online marketplaces. In addition, small employers will soon be able to offer their employees insurance purchased via the small group exchange known as SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program)
September 18, 2013
News about the rapid recovery from the recession is filling the airwaves, but some Washington businesses are not celebrating. Businesses are still gauging the effects of wage hikes, mandatory sick leave, and Obamacare. Now, Washington Labor and Industries (L&I) is raising workers’ compensation premiums by a proposed 2.7% in 2014. This may affect overall business growth in Washington.
September 12, 2013
In the not too distant past, only companies with thousands of employees and lots of liquidity could afford to self insure their employee benefits. Small to medium sized employers are in a difficult situation because they have few options and very little information on the healthcare system. They don’t know what claims they have or what their premium dollars go towards.
September 5, 2013
An engineering firm needed semi-permanent employee housing for a long-term project in a remote part of Alaska, known for extreme weather conditions. They hired a general contractor (GC) to do the job who was familiar with the working environment in rural Alaska.
The GC, a client of Parker Smith & Feek, found a manufacturer in the southeastern United States, which produced reinforced modular structures strong enough to withstand hurricane-force winds. The structures needed to be transported to Alaska.
September 5, 2013
Thousands of private practitioners are selling or dismantling their practices and taking jobs in hospitals. The reasons why doctors discontinue their private practices vary. Some doctors cite the volume of work involved in running a business, as compared to the return on investment. Others say that medical malpractice insurance, administrative costs and increasing regulatory requirements make private practice too expensive to maintain.
August 26, 2013
Are we safe?
This is one of life’s more vexing conundrums.
In his landmark book, The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes a type of event called a “Black Swan.” These events appear to be a complete surprise, but in hindsight can be rationalized as being inevitable.
August 19, 2013
As of July 11, 2013, the State of Alaska published new Employer and Employee Report of Occupational Injury or Illness forms for workers’ compensation claims. The State confirmed on July 15, that these new forms must be used starting July 22, 2013 and replace the existing Report of Occupational Injury or Illness (Form 07-6101 Rev 08-2012).
The new forms are:
August 14, 2013
In the world of mergers and acquisitions, both sides of the due diligence process often overlook the impact on their company’s benefits plan. There are 3 fundamental positions to consider:
1. What will happen to the seller’s existing plan?
2. What hidden costs are lurking for the buyer?
August 5, 2013
Have you seen the latest Gallup poll on employee engagement? The overall statistic in their findings is staggering – 70% of US workers are actively disengaged in their jobs. This means that employees may be showing up for work but aren’t feeling compelled to give 100% to their employers because they don’t feel their employers […]
July 22, 2013
Internal audits of benefits policies show spousal (or domestic partner) coverage costs employers up to 40% more than coverage for the employee. This revelation could inspire businesses to make two very bad decisions: hire talent based on employee marital status and/or, disproportionately raise benefit rates for families versus singles.