NY State Governor Sets Minimum Wages for His State Employees

NY State Governor Sets Minimum Wages for His State Employees

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a standard minimum wage for state workers. This measure was undertaken as an executive order and raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The new standard is inclusive for all seasonal and permanent state workers.

Minimum Wages for State Employees

Cuomo has been Governor since 2011 and is the first to seek minimum wages for state employees. Current state labor laws exempt state employees from the standard practice of set wages. Because of the law, Governor Cuomo must seek authority through the Division of Budget. This grants him the power to set the minimums for state employees. He is the first Governor to use his office’s power in this manner.

A New Tone for Cuomo

Governor Cuomo was not always in favor of a $15 minimum wage. March saw the Democrat governor campaigning for a compromise in the wage standards. The Governor has stated before that the proposed minimum wage was too high. But now Governor Cuomo has had a recent change of heart.

Governor Cuomo

In September Cuomo stated his intention to campaign for a statewide minimum of at least $15 an hour. This would be inclusive for all New York State employees. The fight is still on for the private sector minimum wage, with New York City leading the charge. On the public sector front, Governor Cuomo has forged ahead with his plan for state employees. He has named this campaign Fight For 15.

Fight for 15 will reduce the economic stress and burden that hourly workers face. The current state minimum wage is $8.75 an hour. This is a number that Governor Cuomo says is too low for even an individual to live on for a year. Supporters of the plan believe that $15 an hour gives working families a chance to survive. Many labor unions also believe it will bring in revenue and more jobs to the state.

The Timeline

NYC Wage Hikes timeline

The timeline, announced earlier this month, will see full implementation by 2021. The minimum wage is an executive authority action from Governor Cuomo. This means that the state must find the available funds within its own budget. The governor’s office released a timeline that shows the wage hikes for the next five years.

New York City, which has the highest cost of living within the state, will see the minimum wage rise by the end of 2018. The majority of state workers will receive a gradual wage rise until it reaches $15 an hour by the end of 2021.

The $15 an hour wage standard will affect over 5 percent of the total workforce in New York State. This leaves a total of 10,000 people seeing a rise in their standard of living. Most of those workers live in rural areas throughout the state.

Effect on New York City

The biggest impact on the passing of the minimum wage standard is within New York City. The city is the most expensive place to live within the United States. Currently, the state’s minimum wage for all workers is $8.75 an hour. That is only $1.50 more than the federal minimum wage, which stands at $7.25 an hour.

City public advocates have come forward to applaud the governor for his action. They have also urged a city-wide referendum to raise the wages for city workers. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has already pledged a $12 an hour minimum wage. But with the governor raising the wage standard, de Blasio may revisit the issue.

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Political Implications

Political Implications

Governor Cuomo’s sudden reversal has politicians reeling. Cuomo is now facing criticism from former friendly Republicans for bowing to political pressure. The governor has faced criticism for his close-knit working relationship with Republicans. With the action on this issue, the governor is making amends with his liberal base. Public-sector unions have come out in force to praise his measure.

Republican groups, such as Republicans in Albany, have resisted the new measure. Conservative businessmen state that its implementation could stagnant growth in the state. Even so, Governor Cuomo will forge ahead with his plan, and seeking to make it permanent. The governor will attempt to change state law to reflect the new minimum wage standard. Doing so will prevent any future governor from reversing the decision.



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Cost Effective Ways to Show Your Employees Appreciation

The Most Affordable Ideas to Show Your Employees Appreciation

For a great and productive company, many factors come into play. It is not only the products and services and the profits involved that defines a great company, but the personnel. Employees are the image of the company through which it is defined and recognized externally. Thus, there is a need to appreciate employees and show them how much they are valued.

Make employees feel valued
Make employees feel valued


At times at work, I have felt unappreciated and dejected. Many times I have felt like the management does not recognize how much value I am to them. I have felt so bad when seeing them award themselves at retreat parties for the success of the company. They are completely oblivious to the dedication and passion I had to put up to contribute to that success.

Employees need empowerment and appreciation to boost their morale and self-esteem. It accrues to positive outcomes at the end. Increased productivity comes with positivity and feeling of self-worth. As a result, we have put together affordable ways to show appreciation to employees.

Meet employee needs
Meet employee needs


1. Meet Your Employees’ Needs

An expensive gift is not a guarantee that someone will feel appreciated. Think broadly about what your employees might need. As you, what are my employee’s goals, and what are some of the problems they face? Can I contribute to facilitating them in solving the challenges? Your employees will be more satisfied when you decide to offer flexibility hours, and giving in some wellness benefits. They will feel less stressed and be happy. Thus, these will be guaranteed increase in productivity for you.

2. Say “Thank You”

Show appreciation for their hard work. A thank you note can be good at this point too. It makes them feel appreciated, and their morale is boosted. A positive thing for increased productivity

3. Celebrate Employees’ Achievements

It is good to be aware of with your employee’s big moments like work anniversaries, birthdays, life accomplishments, and work accomplishments. Get them together in a room then invite the employee you are celebrating. Give him or her standing ovation. It feels nice and appreciating in nature.

4. Create Company Customs

A committed employee is a huge asset to a company. Creating a tradition can be a fun way to show appreciation. Name an office after employees who have stayed for five years and above. It makes them feel good and more productive.

Throw a company party
Throw a company party


5. Throw a Party

Parties provide a platform to get to know them better. Prepare a toast and a speech to show your thankfulness. Knowing them puts them at ease with you. It gives the confidence and positive attitudes toward you and the company.

6. Instill Love Among Them

At least once a month, organize an event where each employee buys cards to each other. They then read the cards out loud. An employee wants to be appreciated even by their colleagues. It boosts the emotional well-being.

Employee contests
Employee contests


6. Host Contests

It is a cool way to bring employees together and have some fun. Some of the contest can include bingo tournament, pie-baking contests. The contest should have great prices for the winners.

7. Flexibility Hours

Let the employees work when they want. The flexibility can be worth a lot. If work coverage is critical, have a calendar so that they can balance the time with other employees. Flexible hours give them time to rejuvenate.

Offer flexible work hours
Offer flexible work hours


8. Take Them to Tour

Take your employees to a tour at one of your vendors or suppliers premises. It is a fantastic way to expose them to the people they have work relations. The employees gain more insight as a result.

9. An amazing office

Set up an amazing office. One better than yours and each time award the employee you want to recognize with a full month stay at the office. It shows them that you recognize their efforts. Productivity is boosted in this case.

Give Annual Awards
Give Annual Awards


10. Annual Awards

Organize an annual gathering of the company. Recognize employees that have made greater efforts to contribute to company’s success. Make sure you give the other gifts too.

One of the most critical things to avoid is forgetting to deliver business holiday cards, work anniversary cards or corporate holiday cards on time. Any employee will tell you honestly that an employer who forgets to acknowledge their service during the Holiday season is not their first priority.

11. Support Employee Development

Ensure you give them required support to enhance further their career. Offer them training opportunities if need be. Allocate to them a coach to fix whatever they need.

12. Random Gifts

Leave a token of gifts like Starbucks Cards, gift cards or movie tickets. What of an attractive card mounted on the employees’ desk with a note that says “I appreciate your good work”?

Company Family Day
Company Family Day


13. Family Day

Organize a day where each employee has to come with his or her family. Have some fun with the family and get to know each family member. It boosts your relationship with your employees and shows them how much you care and appreciate them.

14. Dinner

Make sure at least you have dinner with each and every employee. Have a one on one talk with them and tell them how much you appreciate their work. Let them share their personal views on work. It creates effective communication.

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How to Avoid Time Theft – A Silent Cost Drain

Avoiding Time Theft – The Silent Cost Drain on the Average Business

With the economy currently on the upswing, businesses have the opportunity to increase productivity. Getting the most out of your employees is something that further fuels the economic engine. More importantly, it helps put additional money in the company coffers.


Lazy Employees
Lazy Employees

However, one issue that needs to be addressed with every company is the cost incurred by time theft. The definition of time theft from a business perspective is when employees waste time on things not related to their jobs. This can entail any one of a number of activities, but regardless of how it’s defined, the numbers are staggering for businesses.

The Financial Cost

The economic cost of lost productivity is more than $400 billion every year. One survey found that employers are paying each employee for over four hours of work that isn’t done because of actions that take employees away from their jobs. With many companies having limited margins of error due to heavy competition, ignoring the problem or not addressing it in a forthright manner can prove deadly for a business’s future.

There are a number of different ways that time theft is committed. None of them can be excused since they fly in the face of the overall goals of a company. Here are the three most egregious examples:


Employees hanging around
Employees hanging around

Break and Lunchtime Abuse

The typical break is 15 minutes, and the average lunch period is either 30 minutes or an hour. Yet some employees seem to take their time returning to their work areas after either one. This can be especially true when it comes to smokers, who walk outside to have a cigarette that often takes five minutes. Doing that twice a day over a typical work week means that they were paid for one hour, yet only put in 10 minutes of work.

Unless they’re dealing with a client or the lunch is business-related, there should be no reason employees shouldn’t be able to return to their jobs after eating their lunch. Like smoking, even returning five minutes late every day will add up over the course of a week, month and year.


Internet socializing
Internet socializing

Abusing Internet Privileges

Most office employees have internet access at their desks, which can be an asset. However, too often, these individuals use that internet access to shop online, play games or check personal e-mail. The checking or updating of social media is a more recent addition to this list, but for the past generation, this problem is one that has existed and must be dealt with by employers.

With cell phones now standard for virtually all members of society, iPhones or other smartphones now fall under this area. Texting is something that can be done quietly, which means that it can be a hidden killer for businesses. Unless it’s addressed, the drain on company finances can be damaging.


Employee swipe card
Employee swipe card

Swipe Card Manipulation or “Buddy Punching”

With some businesses, employees are required to use a swipe card to document when they arrived for work or left. While this technology can help eliminate time theft, it remains open to creating negative employee ethical issues. This can include claiming that the card was lost or simply forgotten, or that a fellow employee loaned them a card, a practice known as “buddy punching.” Either way, any productivity gains can quickly be chipped away.

Those companies still using time clocks are even more open to these problems since fellow employees can punch each other in early or late, if necessary. This is also the case when it comes to having a person sign in at a specific time. Actions like those cut into the bottom line, which no business can stand for any extended period.


Monitor employees
Monitor employees

One Plan of Attack for a Business

Some new technologies deal with this problem by having a scheduling system in place that automatically prevents employees from clocking in before or after the schedule states they should. Time record approval sheets can also be created to directly check any problems. “Time is money” is an old adage, but it’s definitely true when it comes to time theft, something every business needs to keep on their toes about. Have ideas on this topic? Please visit our Bitly page and post your comments or recommend other resources to discuss this concept.


Our appreciation for this great Human Resources content goes out to Tracksmart.com, a leader in technology for small to mid-size companies.

Pause for a moment and think about how YOU would deal with the issue of time theft in your company. What do you think would be your go to tool? Is employee time and attendance software? Is it hiring someone to just monitor the activities of employees? What about a new security system for your office? Several thousand businesses trust Tracksmart’s employee time clock software to provide real time employee tracking data to minimize the possibility of time theft in their business. Take a look and see if their industry leading apps can help you.

Got any comments on this article? Leave them below.

Simple Ideas to Successfully Prep For Your First Tax Filing Season

Successful Prep For Your First Filing Season


When anyone begins operating a new payroll business, there is a lot of work taking place behind the scenes. It’s necessary to make certain things operate efficiently. This is one part of operating a payroll business that makes it possible to provide a high-quality product. It’s how a company can give the best possible service to their customers. This type of preparation is essential for anyone owning a payroll business. It will be a huge help when facing the first tax filing season.

Office Preparation

It is essential to make certain everything the staff needs to operate efficiently and effectively is made available. This includes having an adequate number of trained staff members ready to do the work. It’s time to make certain a sufficient number of the latest, and most updated tax forms are available. The most recent versions of accounting software must also be installed and ready to be used. This is a time to make certain all staff members are comfortable with the software they’ll be using.

Tax Season Office Preparation
Tax Season Office Preparation

Understand the Payroll Business

A key to success is understanding the scope of the new payroll business. It’s essential to remember that each client has a unique situation. Knowing the type of individual business needs for each client will benefit both the client and business. This will let the payroll business owner know the level of personalized service they’ll be required to provide. The owner needs to carefully analyze their client list.

Have a database dedicated to managing filing requirements, necessary documents and deadlines for every client. Prior to the filing season, it is important to review the master schedule with staff. This is essential for making certain they know all the important filing dates. Compliance requirements for each client has to be discussed. Staff needs to know what is required for each client they will be working with during the filing season.


Developing successful communication is an important part of preparing for the initial filing season. The payroll business owner will earn a lot of credibility if they take the time to meet with each of their clients. It is best if the meeting takes place in person. These meetings should be a time to discuss the client’s needs and expectations. It’s also a time for the payroll owner to let the client know the expectations of the business.

Both parties benefit when successful communication occurs in regards to their filings. There will be deadlines and filing requirements that must be discussed. In many cases, there will be important documents necessary the client will need to provide. This is the time to make clients aware of the documents and discuss a process to provide them for the filing.

New Tax Laws
New Tax Laws

New Laws

The new tax laws usually go into effect on January 1. It is important to be aware of all the changes in the tax laws and how they will impact clients. In many cases, there can be new requirements or changes in filing methods. Meeting with clients before filing can help them to plan and meet any new requirements that affect them. When payroll business and clients work together, it will be easy to obtain all required data and information to make the filing process simple.

Big Picture

Once the master schedule of deadlines is finished, and a list of required filing dates is complete for every client, the big picture will quickly come into focus. All the work that needs to be done for the first filing season will be realized. It is important to determine the amount of time necessary to meet each client’s needs. This should be matched against the number of staff and their availability. Once this is done, it is not uncommon for a payroll business to realize they need to hire additional staff for the filing season. Proper staffing is essential for success.


Regular Tax Season
Regular Tax Season

Regular Business

During the filing season, there will be forms that need to be prepared and filed for clients. Regular payroll work will also need to be maintained during this time. It is important to have an effective process in place before the start of the tax season to make certain regular payroll work is not overlooked.

During the tax filing season, things will be very busy. If there is a process in place to handle the increased volume of work, it will provide the ability to focus on any urgent situations that may occur. It will be important to communicate with both staff and clients about the process that will be in place. Staff and clients also need to know any steps that are necessary for them to make certain the process works effectively.


Anybody who has a payroll business knows the most detailed plans will have problems. They may even need to be altered. Unanticipated issues will arise, but they can be handled. A process must be designed so that it is flexible and can handle unexpected issues during the filing season.

Mis-filings, incorrect information as well as errors and penalty notices will be part of the filing season. It could be a benefit to create a hotline or email address dedicated to deal with filing issues. Staff must be adequately trained on a firm’s process to deal with any issue that may happen with clients.


Stressful Tax Time
Stressful Tax Time

Stressful Time

The filing season is a very stressful time for all payroll firms. Old and new firms must handle an increased sense of urgency and work load. When heading into the filing season with a well-devised plan and adequately trained staff, the first filing season can have fewer challenges.

Then, while all this is happening you’ve got to stay current with tax filings for yourself or clients.  When considering providers to file your 1099 online, consider an industry leading service like eFile4Biz.com.  They’re one of the standard bearers in the e-file service industry. Even if you choose not to use them, you can measure other providers’ service levels and quality against theirs.

They do it all. They will file 1099 online for you. They will print and deliver your tax forms to recipients too.  This alone will save you countless hours of stress involved with organizing forms getting them off to the right people.  Their video is presented above, if you want to hear more about them. Stop by our other WordPress page, and post your comments or resource links to debate this matter further.

Why File For Insurance Payments Using The HCFA CMS 1500 Doc

The typical form processing.

Working in a medical office, you probably use specific forms for billing insurance. Confusion often results from the myriad of options. The most essential insurance payment form is the HCFA CMS 1500 doc.

Lab work typically is covered by insurance. CMS 1500 filing is needed for payment.
Lab work typically is covered by insurance. CMS 1500 filing is needed for payment.

Back in time.

The cms 1500 version 02/12 claim forms were not always called as such. In the beginning, it was called they were called HCFA 1500. It was named after the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Most medical outfits use this form to bill Medicaid State Agencies.

Who needs the CMS 1500?

This doc is usually used by patient care providers and medical equipment suppliers. By law, the filled in form needs to be sent in less than 365 days to be paid for services tendered.

Surgery covered by insurance typically needs CMS 1500 filing for payment.
Surgery covered by insurance typically needs CMS 1500 filing for payment.

Why buy it when you can color copy it?

It can only be used if it is produced with a specific ink. This makes using downloads or photocopies unusable for turning in claims. The technology that scans the forms at payer’s offices is called OCR, or Optical Character Recognition. If the form is not precise, it will not be read clearly.

In the end…

When you send in your claims, make sure you have the new hfca cms 1500 form, and verify the ink quality as well. If you don’t send in the right form, or one with the wrong ink, your request will not be processed. What’s worse is if you wait too long to send the corrected document, you might not be compensated at all. The result of this diligence is a stream of timely payments.