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4 Workplace Trends For 2016: What Could Happen & How to Prepare



ObamaCare will go into full effect.

What is happening? 2016 is the year that ObamaCare penalties are in full effect for individuals and companies alike. So what does this mean exactly (in the most basic of terms)?

  • For individuals who don’t have health insurance, they will be fined $695/year (compared to $95 in 2014).
  • For companies:
    • With 100 or more full-time equivalent employees: They will need to offer insurance to 95% of their full-time equivalent workforce.
    • With 50 to 99 full-time equivalent employees: They will have to offer insurance to 100% of their full-time equivalent workforce.
    • With 49 or fewer full-time equivalent employees: They are not affected by this specific mandate.

To no one’s surprise the above has already caused insurance providers to raise their rates.

So, how can you prepare? If you haven’t already, it's time to start budgeting for how these changes will affect your company. Unfortunately, for many companies, this change could lead to lay offs and/or an increase in freelance workers. Companies should also be prepared to properly classify new employees as full time, part time or variable upon hire in order to ensure that benefits are offered to the correct employees as necessary. Ultimately, if you are unsure of how your company should handle the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, you should consult your benefit broker to clarify your employer responsibilities under the act. 

New laws for overtime, potentially.

What is happening? The government has proposed a change to the rules regarding who must be paid overtime. The new rule raises the income level at which workers can automatically qualify for overtime. Currently, the only workers who automatically qualify for overtime pay are those earning $23,660 or less. Salaried workers who fall above that limit can only receive overtime pay if they are not classified as administrators, executives or professionals.

If the proposed rule is approved it would require workers to be paid a minimum salary of $50,441 in order to be exempt from overtime pay requirements. 

So, how can you prepare? If the new rule becomes a law, businesses will be faced with three options: tracking/limiting the number of hours people can work, incurring potentially large overtime costs, or raising the salaries of employees to the new threshold ($50,441). Business leaders should begin to discuss what this law might mean for their company.

Generation Z college graduates begin to enter the workforce while Millennials begin to take over.

What is happening? Let’s start by defining who makes up the Millennial and Generation Z crowd. Millennials were born between 1980 and 2000. Generation Z’ers, on the other hand, is a cohort of people born after the Millennials (birth years ranging from the mid-or-late 1990s to the 2010s).

If that doesn’t make you feel old, this definitely will. According to a recent PWC report, Millennials are now the largest part of our workforce and thus hold an influential role in defining how the workplace will operate in 2016. More specifically, adults between the ages of 18-34 make up one in three American workers.

So, how can you prepare? Managing the expectations of Millennials and Generation Z’ers will not be easy. Business leaders and HR will need to work together to: understand the generation, update benefits packages, engage in continuous feedback, provide flexibility, encourage learning opportunities, create a path for advancement, and finally and arguably most importantly, expect that they will eventually leave. It is inevitable that the churn rate among Millennials and Generation Z’ers will be high – build this into your plans.

Workplace flexibility becomes the highest of priorities.

What is happening? I am not suggesting workplace flexibility is a new priority for companies throughout America. Workplace flexibility has been a hot topic for many years and it is becoming increasingly important as we head into 2016. 

Achieving a healthy work-life balance is, and always has been, very desirable for employees. This demand has been intensifying as the Baby Boomers exit the workforce and Generation X and Generation Z’ers enter it. Companies who choose to ignore this demand are taking a risk, especially in today’s tight labor markets.

So, how can you prepare? In order to retain top talent, companies are going to be pressured to push their comfort level with regards to their benefits packages – specifically flexible work hours. Wanting an alternative to the traditional 9 to 5, 40-hour workweek is going to be highly desirable.

Not sure you can swing the flexibility that is desired? You are not alone! Even though 75% of employees ranked workplace flexibility as highly desirable, the availability of this benefit tends to be the exception, not the norm.

There you have it, 4 workplace trends to be aware of in the coming year! Workplace trends will differ from company to company, but as long as we stay in tune and on top of the trends, 2016 will be smooth sailing. 


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