Stephen Miller

Articles by this author:

  • Thu, 03/06/2014 - 12:00

    Back pain not only takes a toll on the quality of employees’ lives but affects workers’ productivity as well. Nearly one in four U.S. employees report experiencing lower-back pain, costing businesses $51,400 annually per 100 employees in lost productivity and medical treatments, a 2013 report by the nonprofit Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) found.

    Lost work time and underperformance on the job (presenteeism) due to low-back pain costs employers $34,600 per 100 workers, according to IBI Chronic Disease Profile: Low Back Pain.

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  • Wed, 02/26/2014 - 15:57

    Companies looking to pare health costs by requiring working spouses to get health insurance through their own employer may find the move has some unexpected consequences, according to a new study by the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

    The report, "The Cost of Spousal Health Coverage," was published in the January 2014 EBRI Notes.

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  • Fri, 01/10/2014 - 13:11

    The maximum allowed pretax mass-transit benefit for employees fell from $245 per month in 2013 to $130 in 2014, beginning Jan. 1.

    Employees can deduct commuting costs from their paychecks, tax free, through an employer benefit program up to the allowable monthly limit. Similarly, organizations that subsidize their employees’ commuting costs may do so up to the allowable limit, which results in lower payroll taxes than if they paid the money in wages.

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  • Tue, 12/03/2013 - 11:57

    At organizations offering paid-vacation plans, most full-time employees (86%) have sufficient tenure to accrue from six to 20 vacation days annually. But many fail to take all their leisure days, which can negatively affect performance and morale, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in collaboration with and commissioned by U.S. Travel Association, a trade organization.

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  • Fri, 11/01/2013 - 10:09

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  • Fri, 10/18/2013 - 12:01

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  • Wed, 09/18/2013 - 11:19

    Workers will be confronting a changed benefit landscape in 2014. For one thing, all Americans will be required to have healthcare coverage or face a penalty. By Oct. 1, 2013, employees should have received a required notice about their options under federal- or state-run health care exchanges (marketplaces), notices that many will find more confusing than enlightening. Employers also may be making changes to rules that determine which employees are eligible for health coverage, perhaps excluding part-time workers who previously received coverage.

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  • Fri, 09/13/2013 - 12:31

    Budgets for pay raises at U.S. employers have picked up from all-time lows, going from an average (mean) of 2.2 percent in 2009 to 2.9 percent in 2013, according to the 40th annual WorldatWork 2013-2014 Salary Budget Survey. U.S. salary budgets have averaged 2.8 percent for the past two years.

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  • Thu, 09/12/2013 - 11:15

    As more American employers turn to high-deductible health plans to reign in escalating health care expenses, many are offering health savings accounts (HSAs) in an effort to encourage workers to make cost-conscious health care decisions. But according to a recent survey by financial services firm Fidelity Investments, two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans who make household health-benefit decisions simply do not understand how an HSA works.

  • Thu, 08/22/2013 - 09:44

    As more baby boomers approach age 65, they are confronting the complexities of making first-time Medicare enrollment decisions.

    “At many companies, retiring used to mean transitioning from your employer’s health plan to a retiree health plan,” said Paula Muschler, manager of the Allsup Medicare Advisor. “Now, rather than selecting from one or two employer-provided options, more individuals are faced with trying to navigate through dozens of different Medicare plan options,” Muschler said in a media release.

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