Does Your Company Offer Competitive Paid Leave?

Most U.S. employers aren’t required to offer their employees paid leave, but many do and this year they’re offering more. According to a recent Employee Benefits research report by the Society for Human Resource Management, more U.S. employers are offering paid leave benefits. For example, compared to previous years, more employers are offering: Paid sick leave plans Paid parental leave Paid vacation time Paid personal days As these numbers change, it’s important to review your own leave policies to ensure your offerings are competitive. Offering less paid leave than other companies in your industry or geographic area will make it harder for you to attract and maintain top talent. Top Paid Benefits According to the SHRM survey, the top paid leave benefit is paid holidays, which are offered by 98 percent of respondents. Other popular paid leave benefits include: Paid bereavement leave, offered by 86 percent of respondents. Paid jury duty …

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What’s Next for Trump’s Tax Reform Plan

Tax reform took on new urgency for the Trump administration after it was unable to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare), but disagreements that persist between the president and GOP leaders in Congress have put any action in doubt for now. The Senate has passed a budget plan, but no specifics regarding tax reform have been worked out yet, leaving the issue’s fate uncertain. For advisors and consumers alike, this means a wait-and-see situation. “Don’t overreact or make any reactionary plans based off of something that isn’t law, but make sure you’re aware of the changes that are being proposed,” says Garrett Oakley, a certified financial planner at Betterment, an investment adviser. Here’s what could be in store on tax reform. Fewer Tax Brackets While most experts agree that the number of tax brackets is likely to be reduced, it’s unclear what …

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5 Tips for Better Performance Appraisals

Whether your company does official performance reviews quarterly or yearly, they can seem to cause a great deal of stress. Managers can find them psychologically taxing because they don’t like giving negative feedback. Employees can worry that a mistake they made or a goal they fell short of will hurt their livelihood. And people take any remark that isn’t absolutely glowing personally. It can get messy. The ideal performance appraisal would be an opportunity to praise employees who’ve done exceptional work, help those who’ve slipped to get back on track, and to have a real dialogue to clarify expectations, offer solutions to problems and set goals for the future. Is there a way to create this dialogue without all the anxiety and frustration? Consider these tips to help you conduct more effective performance appraisals at your organization. 1. Do the Pre-Work Employees and managers each have some work to do …

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How Tax Reform Could Impact Annuities

Uncertainty around the Trump administration’s tax reform efforts has made it difficult to predict the kinds of effects that could be in store for a wide variety of consumers, investors and employers. It’s especially hard for annuity experts to determine what might happen to retirement spending. If consumers have more money in their pockets because of lower taxes, they may invest it in long-term savings, while fewer savings incentives might inspire them to simply spend the money somewhere else. So how might this affect annuities? “No one has a clue,” says lawyer Mitchell Miller. The estate tax is one of the rules expected to change, but it’s unclear exactly what might happen. “We have no idea of the form estate tax reform will take: Outright elimination? Increased exemption? Will gift tax be maintained? How about the step-up in basis? What happens to annuities will depend mightily on the details.” Here …

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