Tag Archives: hiring

April Fool? Payrolls Are on the Rise

It looks as though payrolls are finally starting to increase. Several data points show that employers are hiring and employment is ticking upwards.

“Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. (AMP) in Detroit, predicts employers will take on 2.5 million workers this year, after hiring 2.2 million last year.”

Firms are hiring employees to meet stronger demand as well as to supplement workforces that have become increasingly stretched during the past few years.

There are 3 leading indicators of the job market:

  1. changes in jobless claims,
  2. temporary help
  3. and the ability of small businesses to hire the employees they need. All three have shown improvement.

We’ll see if the trend sticks, but for now, this is no April Fool!

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Payroll Growth Vaults to Higher Pace at U.S. Companies - Businessweek

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April Fool? Payrolls Are on the Rise

It looks as though payrolls are finally starting to increase. Several data points show that employers are hiring and employment is ticking upwards.

“Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. (AMP) in Detroit, predicts employers will take on 2.5 million workers this year, after hiring 2.2 million last year.”

Firms are hiring employees to meet stronger demand as well as to supplement workforces that have become increasingly stretched during the past few years.

There are 3 leading indicators of the job market:

  1. changes in jobless claims,
  2. temporary help
  3. and the ability of small businesses to hire the employees they need. All three have shown improvement.

We’ll see if the trend sticks, but for now, this is no April Fool!

Attachment

Payroll Growth Vaults to Higher Pace at U.S. Companies - Businessweek

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Tax Credits for Hiring Veterans

Many employers are unaware that there are a number of tax credits available for hiring veterans. For instance, a tax credit provided by the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 was enacted because the unemployment rates for veterans is higher than for those in the general population. This credit provides funding to hire veterans in the medical field. 

How the Tax Credit Works
The provided tax credits for hiring veterans could be as much as $9,600 dollars when an unemployed veteran is hired. The amount of credit would depend on how long the veteran has been unemployed and whether he or she has a disability that is related to the service. 
 
In order for a medical practice to claim this tax credit, a veteran who has been unemployed for at least four weeks in the past year would need to be hired by May 22, 2012. Federal tax form 8850, Prescreening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit, must be filed with the state’s workforce agency by June 19, 2012. If an employer hires a veteran after May 22nd, tax form 8850 would need to be filed within 28 days of the veteran’s first day of employment. Other IRS forms would also need to be completed to obtain the credit, including 5884 and 3800.

Depending on how the medical practice files its taxes, this credit can apply to the year in which the veteran was hired or the quarter in which he or she worked. Eligible employers include for-profitmedical practices, partnerships, and S-corporations, or tax exempt organizations.

Other Benefits of Hiring Veterans

Whether your business is eligible for tax credits or not, there are plenty of benefits to hiring veterans. According to the annual report issued on March 22, 2011 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans is 11.5% compared to 9.4% for non-veterans. That coupled with the tax credit, which can help to offset other employee-related costs, like insurance premiums, makes two good reasons to hire a vet. Hiring veterans is also a good way to honor them for their military service. Finally, veterans generally have strong problem solving skills and are able to perform well under stress. 

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Considering Illegal Interview Questions

There are certain questions that most HR professionals try to shy away from, in some cases because of a belief that those questions are “illegal.” Some common examples of questions that are considered to be “illegal” include questions about a person’s age, marital status, or citizenship. Asking whether someone has kids is also generally considered to be “illegal” as well.

Are These Interview Questions Really “Illegal”?

The reality, however, is that while asking these questions could potentially start trouble, simply asking about someone’s kids or spouse is not illegal per se. As a recent CBS News article points out, the problem with these questions exists because they could potentially provide an employer with information that is used to discriminate against someone.

Discrimination is illegal based on a person’s race, religion, national origin, gender or age. In addition, discriminating against someone because he or she has kids is often considered to be a form of gender discrimination if the manager or employer acts upon stereotypes indicating that women spend more time taking are of the kids or otherwise have their careers impacted as a result of having children.

When an employer or manager who is hiring asks these questions, therefore, this could be an indication to potential employees that the employer is going to discriminate based on some prohibited reason or based on their protected class.

Best Practices

The CBS News article tackling the issue of illegal interview questions indicated that there is not a significant risk in asking questions that might in some way reveal information about a person’s protected status. As the article points out, much of this information is available to employers anyway by virtue of looking at a person or seeing a wedding ring.

While the article recommends keeping the questions job focused, it therefore also suggests that there’s no reason to be paranoid about making conversation about someone’s kids.

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Facial Recognition Software: A Good HR Tool?

Facial recognition technology has become more widely available and more useful than ever before. Facial recognition technology involves automatically identifying a person from a video or picture source. The technology allows you to learn a great deal of information from a face, including a person’s home address, social security number, social clubbing behaviors and criminal background. It is also available to anyone.

Facial Recognition Technology and Employment Implications

The implications of face recognition technology could potentially be huge to employers, if they choose to use them. Face recognition technology could help in the hiring process by allowing employers to find out all of the information they could want or need about potential candidates. It could also make background checks and security clearances much more streamlined and simple.

However, most employment law experts warn against the use of this technology by HR professionals. This warning comes not just because there are no clear rules about the use of the technology or about how it impacts privacy, but also because it is possible that employers could find themselves facing problems with allegations of discrimination as a result of using face recognition technology.

Anti-discrimination laws forbid employers from taking any employment action on the basis of someone’s age, race, gender, religion or national origin. When employers begin to keep information – pictures- that show a person’s race, and when they use those pictures to find out other things- like their employee’s religious affiliations- this can make the employer susceptible to a case under Title VII or other civil rights laws.

Essentially, this means that unless you are in an industry where security is vital, or unless facial recognition becomes the standard and clear rules and guidelines develop, it is best to steer clear.

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Are You Familiar With QR Codes?

QR Codes are the latest thing in recruiting technology and, according to ERE.net, there are many benefits for HR professionals. While not everyone agrees that QR codes will have that much utility, HR professionals should be aware of what they are and how they are used just in case you come across a resume that has one. 

What are QR Codes?

QR Codes are small barcodes on employee resumes or business cards that HR professionals and recruiters can scan by using their SmartPhones. When you scan a WR code on an applications resume, you are taken to targeted online links. Ideally, these links will contain something that gives you more useful information about the candidate. They might take you to a profile on LinkedIn, a Facebook page created to highlight relevant information about an applicant and his career, or a video that the applicant has made introducing himself to you. The applicant can really link the QR code to anything of his choosing and you’ll be taken directly there.

Are QR Codes Useful?

QR Codes can be useful for HR professionals because they allow quick access to employee information. However, the utility depends upon the quality of the information that the candidate has linked you to. If the candidate doesn’t provide relevant and useful links that actually add value in learning about his fitness for a position, then the QR Code is just more useless information.

QR Codes will also be most useful once an HR professional is already interested in a candidate. When you are reviewing resumes, typically you aren’t going to click on the QR code on every single resume you receive, as this could take a significant amount of time. Therefore, the original resume data that people include should still contain the meat of their details, since that’s what will convince you to click on the QR Code. Since the resume still has to contain the essential information, this too raises questions about how useful QR Codes will be. 

Finally, remember that there are other ways to access the same employee information. Googling the name of the employee, for example, can lead you to any online information you hope to find. And, unlike with QR Codes, the traditional Google method will allow you to find out information the employee doesn’t specifically want you to know, which can be more useful to getting to know a potential employee than looking at a sales pitch he has created. 

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Managing Unemployment Benefits

According to a recent New York Times article, many businesses are struggling to understand their unemployment obligations during a time of increased joblessness. The New York Times tells the story of small business owners who found their unemployment premiums rising as a result of claims from employees who were laid off more than a year before. In order to manage and combat these problems, the Times advises taking steps to understand what your obligations are and making smart hiring decisions that minimize your unemployment obligations.

Your Unemployment Obligations

According to The New York Times, both federal and state rules impact the amount you will pay in unemployment. The general rule is that employers pay a base rate of .6 percent of the first $7,000 paid to employees in wages annually. However, when states do not pay the loans made by the federal government to cover unemployment costs, rates rise for employees. This, for example, explains why Michigan employers now pay .9 percent in unemployment costs.

In addition to federal costs, states also charge employers for unemployment insurance. These charges are based on your company’s unemployment history. The more unemployment claims made by former employees, the higher your premiums will be.

Because of the way that most states determine unemployment costs, it is important to minimize the number of claims made. The best way to do that is, of course, to be careful in your hiring. Don’t hire people if you aren’t certain you’ll be able to keep them and make sure to screen new hires carefully to determine if they are a good fit. If someone is hired and it appears that the person won’t work out, acting quickly is key. Since an employee typically won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits unless he or she has worked for at least 30 days, if you have any suspicion that the employee won’t make it for the long haul, you should act within this 30 day period.  

The Times also advises making sure you have a clear company policy regarding terminations for cause, and stresses the importance of keeping records of warnings or disciplinary action so when an employee is fired for cause, you have a strong case showing that they should not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

By making smart decisions on hiring and keeping careful tabs on your unemployment numbers, you can help keep costs affordable for your company.

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